In response to my Sunday article on “The true cost of cruising,” which mentioned a Wenatchee couple who got a cut-rate, last-minute $299-per-person fare for an Alaska cruise, some of you are wondering, “How do I get that deal?”
First, know that there’s no promise that the $299 deal will come up again soon. The cheapest Seattle-to-Alaska cruise I see today (June 17) on the Princess Cruises website is $599 for a 7-day trip leaving July 28. Whether the price continues to drop likely depends on whether the ship is full before it sails. But even $599 is a bargain compared to the advance-sale price currently offered for the same trip at the same time in 2014: $1,099 per person. (Both quotes are for an inside cabin with no windows.)
To find the sale prices, choose which cruise lines you might want to sail on (the Port of Seattle has a list of cruise lines sailing from Seattle) and then keep an eye on their websites for special sales. Here’s a calendar of sailings from Seattle this summer and fall.
The key to getting the best price is that you have to be ready to go on short notice. More than one couple I met on the Alaska trip who got the $299 fare booked less than two weeks before they sailed.
Because of the short notice, you won’t save so much money on cruises departing from other parts of the world because you’ll then have to buy airfare on short notice, which can be quite expensive. If you live near Seattle, your best bet for savings is an Alaska cruise leaving from Seattle or Vancouver.