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How to book a last-minute cruise

Its not as big a risk as you might think and it could even save you a bit of money

Last-minute cruises

Posted on

24 Sep 2021

It is well-known that cruises are often booked far in advance. But they don’t always have to be! Last-minute cruises are a great way to get away sooner, save money and discover a new destination. Here, we talk you through how to book a last-minute cruise deal that suits your needs perfectly.

Tips for booking a last-minute cruise

The thrill of the unexpected is just one of the many lures of booking a last-minute cruise deal. You may think you’re taking a risk when it comes to availability and choice but that isn’t the case at all. Cruises are like any other type of holiday - the length and destination is completely up to you. They cater to every timeframe and desire, leaving you with a bounty of choice even at a later date.

“If you have the flexibility to book last minute, you can achieve considerable savings on a great trip,” Tracey from Solo Traveler explains. “Booking a cruise last-minute can be a great way for solo travellers to get a better deal. Sometimes, cruise lines will waive the single supplement on remaining cabins to fill them up or reduce the double occupancy rate enough that it has a similar effect.”

If you’ve been consumed with the uncontrollable urge to leave behind the drab weather and head for sunnier shores, then let us run through everything you should consider before booking your next cruise:

Deciding where to travel

When booking a last-minute cruise, you may think you’re limited by destination but that simply isn’t the case. You can explore the Canary Islands, discover Spain and Portugal or even head off on a Caribbean adventure. You may have the opportunity to visit a destination you’ve never considered before. If your options become limited due to your specific requirements, you could come across a hidden gem that may have once been disregarded.

Here are some popular last-minute cruise destinations:

Cruise Destination Itineraries
Canary Islands See all featured cruises >
Caribbean See all featured cruises >
Greece See all featured cruises >
Italy See all featured cruises >
Spain See all featured cruises > 


Getting organised

“My top tip is to remember the 90-day rule,” Gary from Tips for Travellers told us. “Final balances have to be paid at this time and then cruise lines review their availability and start to offer deals to fill ships with unsold cabins. If you’re flexible on dates and happy not to plan too far ahead, start looking for cruises within 90 days.

“I strongly recommend signing up to email newsletters from cruise lines and websites, like ROL Cruise. This is a key way to receive messages about deals. Make sure you open them as they come in as not to miss out on the best ones!”

Compromise is key

“Flexibility is key when booking a last-minute cruise,” Tanner from Cruzely explained. “If you have your heart set on a specific itinerary, ship or cabin type, you might end up disappointed. After all, other passengers have had months and sometimes years to book their trip. You may find you’re more restricted when it comes to availability but that’s not necessarily a bad thing - you may just need to compromise."

See all featured last-minute cruises

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Featured cruises

Last Chance to Book
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

The 2021 No-Fly Canary Islands Winter Escape

  • 07 Dec 2021
  • 14 nights
  • Ship: Borealis
  • No-Fly Cruise

Itinerary: Liverpool - Las Palmas, Gran Canaria - Arrecife, Lanzarote - Puerto Del Rosario, Fuerteventura - Santa Cruz, Tenerife - San Sebastian La Gomera, Canary Islands - Santa Cruz, La...

Includes: Earn Cruise Miles® with every booking*, Pound sterling on board*, Incredible late deal*, No-fly small ship cruising*

Last Chance to Book
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

2021 No-Fly Landscapes of the Canary Islands

  • 06 Dec 2021
  • 14 nights
  • Ship: Bolette
  • No-Fly Cruise

Itinerary: Southampton - Las Palmas, Gran Canaria - Santa Cruz, La Palma - Santa Cruz, Tenerife - San Sebastian La Gomera, Canary Islands - Funchal, Madeira - Lisbon, Portugal - Southampton

Includes: Earn Cruise Miles® with every booking*, Pound sterling on board*, Incredible late deal*, No-fly small ship cruising*

Choice of benefits

The 2022 No-Fly Spanish Gems & Mediterranean

  • 18 Jan 2022
  • 12 nights
  • Ship: Queen Elizabeth
  • No-Fly Cruise

Itinerary: Southampton - Lisbon, Portugal - Cadiz, Spain - Valencia, Spain - Cartagena,Spain - Malaga, Spain - Gibraltar - Southampton

Includes: Top partner for Cunard*, Choose From: FREE On Board Spend* | FREE Car Parking* | FREE Coach Transfers*, Please do not delay - Prices WILL Increase*, Complimentary Inside to Balcony…

See all featured cruises