Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Let's say you made your cruise ship reservations 8 months in advance, and have been eagerly counting down the days until you sail. Suddenly you spot a price for your cruise that is $400 cheaper. Can you get a refund?
First, it's important to be realistic here. Prices on just about ANYTHING you buy can go up and down. You can buy that laptop you love, and see it for half the price a few months later. You can get your car on sale - but still see it $400 cheaper during a later holiday sale. That's how life works. Prices increase, prices decrease, and you do your best to optimize your purchase plan.
Generally cruise ship prices are cheapest when you get them far ahead of time. They slowly creep up, month to month, as they get closer and closer to the sailing date. Then, just before the ship has to start doing its final paperwork for the FBI and other agencies, they often do bargain specials to fill up any remaining rooms.
So yes, if you wait until the last minute, you can get those bargains - but you might also see a completely sold out ship. It's happened pretty frequently. Also, the rooms that are left might be far less than ideal. There's a reason they are empty :)
Let's take an example. I booked 4 rooms, for 13 people, well in advance of a cruise. Everybody had months and months to plan, be excited, prepare, make sure their schedules were free. I re-checked pricing on the rooms about 45 days out. Two of the rooms were now completely unavailable. The other two rooms were cheaper - one by $450, one by $200.
Yes, we could moan and groan about that $650 we "lost". But actually, we couldn't GO if we had waited. There were no longer 4 rooms available. If we had waited, our schedules would have filled with other things - we wouldn't have had the dates free. We wouldn't have spent all this time in delicious anticipation, getting our clothes bought, our research done, our preparations made. In short, that money is imaginary. If we hadn't made our arrangements months ago, we never would even have though to see what the current prices WERE.
If you are very far out in date and it's just a matter that you realize that you went with an awful, overcharging travel agent, that's one thing. You can usually cancel, rebook and the small cancellation fee will be made up for in the savings you make. But if you got the best price at the time, and booked far ahead, then you really have done the best you can. Even if prices drop near the sailing date, you have well made up for that dollar amount in the ample preparation time and planning that you have done. That time and energy you spent is worth quite a bit of money, after all!!