Think back to a time Before Children (BC), when you didn’t have to plan to get away. You simply booked a couple of days off work, asked the neighbour to feed your cat, and left.
Those days may be gone, but that doesn’t mean going on a family holiday has to be all military lists and mayhem. There are still plenty of last minute family cruise deals to take advantage of. If you can be flexible with your dates and destination, family fun could be just around the corner.
Here are five tips to snag a great last minute family cruise deal:
1. Make a list of must-haves
Just as with any holiday, before you start browsing the hottest cruise deals, you should have an idea of what you want. Think about the accommodation, kids’ clubs and facilities that are non-negotiable. What are you willing to sacrifice to get the best bargain?
2. Know the magic number
It’s a little-known fact that some passengers will cancel their trip about 60 days before the cruise departs. For many cruise lines, this is the last point they can cancel without paying a penalty. So if it gets to within 45 days of departure and these cabins cannot be sold, the line will whip up last minute deals with agencies. The good news for families is that this means you can actually get some great last minute deals and still have at least a month to get everything and everyone organised!
3. Study the small print
You know those last minute deals that seem too good to be true? Sometimes they are. Look at whether the price includes the kids clubs, tips and so on. Remember to factor in other costs, like your travel to and from the port and any accommodation. You can get great last minute deals on flights and accommodation, but it will prove easier and cheaper to choose a last minute cruise that sails from your local port.
4. Keep your eye out
The best last minute cruise deals won’t just fall into your lap – you need to look for them. Regularly check online cruise sites like Ozcruising and sign up to their Facebook page and email newsletters, which are packed with the hottest deals.
5. Be flexible and move fast
The real secret to getting the best last minute family cruise deal is simply to be flexible with dates, destinations and departure ports. Sure, you’re less likely to get the best balcony cabins or interconnecting rooms (especially because these are limited on most ships), but how much time will you actually spend in your room anyway? Then, when you see the one you believe to be a great bargain, move fast and book.
It’s never too late to take your family off on a fantastic cruise holiday. And who knows…you could be cruising sooner than you think!