Last-minute cruise deals are a great resource for the traveler who is able to make spur-of-the-moment decisions. The savings over the published rate for a cabin can be up to 80 percent. Ordinarily, the solo traveler is still almost always required to pay a "single supplement," which can be as much as his fare was to begin with, or even more. But the nature of the "last minute" market means that the solo traveler can often avoid paying the extra cost of occupying a two-person cabin. Finding cruise deals isn't very hard; looking at various cruise websites can help you get the best last minute cruise deals.
Low Single Supplement
There are two places in the cruise market where there are low single supplements, and sometimes none at all: the high and the low ends of the market.
The most upscale cruise lines often sell single cabins; this will often depend on whether a particular ship was built with single-occupancy berths in the first place. "Classic" luxury liners like the Queen Elizabeth II have many single cabins, for example.
At the other end of the spectrum, Carnival Cruise Lines charges a relatively small single rate, usually 30 to 50 percent of the double-occupancy fare. The ready availability of Carnival cabins with last-minute deals means that even a single traveler, paying the single, can find a terrific cruise deal.
The traveler willing to book a cruise-ship journey on short notice has a tremendous bargaining advantage. The cruise line would rather sell a cabin at a deep discount than sail with it empty. So try to make the best deal that you can. If you don't want to pay the single supplement,rate then ask for it to be waived. A crucial part of negotiating—in a flea market or with a cruise line agent—is that you should be willing to walk away from a deal that you don't consider good enough. Cruise deals are the same, from big liners like Holland America Cruises to cheap European cruises.
Traveling at the times of highest demand means that you will pay the maximum for that travel. If you have any flexibility at all, use it to schedule your trip accordingly and you'll likely find good cruise deals. Midweek departures (and arrivals) are usually cheaper, and weekends, holidays, and popular vacation times are the most expensive. The cruise line may be unwilling to offer significant discounts for a sailing that will likely be full anyway; conversely, they will practically give away a cabin if they know the ship will be, say, only half full. This is the best chance you will have to persuade them to waive the single rate.
By law, the cruise lines have to have a complete passenger manifest 48 hours before sailing. This means that there is a limited time window for obtaining last minute cruise deals; if you wait too long for a particular departure, it may not be possible to buy a ticket at any price. The best time to negotiate is 48 to 96 hours before scheduled departure.
Where to Find Cruise Deals
There are two sources: cruise ship discounters, such as Cunard Cruise deals and Crystal Cruise Discounts, and the cruise lines themselves, such as Royal Caribbean Cruises and Disney Cruises. Both can be easily accessed on the Internet. If you wish to specifically negotiate to get the single rate waived or reduced, you will probably have to talk to an agent directly; the online booking engines don't allow you to disregard the supplement. The good news here is that none of the prices is carved in stone. Feel free to negotiate, and to do so aggressively. Time your negotiations so that the 48-hour window is about to close, and you may very well find yourself with a terrific cruise deal—and with no single rate, to boot.