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Last-minute Caribbean cruise deals abound

SmarterTravel

For the past few years, cruise industry representatives have been spreading fear in procrastinators everywhere. “Book early,” they hissed, “because last-minute deals are a thing of the past.” Apparently, these so-called experts didn’t foresee the softening that’s occurred in the Caribbean market. The combination of warm winter weather, more available cabins with the arrival of new ships, and increased interest in Europe and Alaska as cruise destinations has led to a slowdown in Caribbean cruise bookings and consequently an increase in last-minute deals.

In other words, now’s the time for all you indecisive travelers to book a last-minute cruise. Bargain hunters with flexible schedules should also take note. Several cruise lines have discounted winter Caribbean sailings when these warm-weather getaways should already be sold out.

Check Carnival’s [% 14435 | | last-minute specials %] and [% 1651415 | | top deals %], and you’ll find plenty of February and March departures for a few hundred bucks per person. [% 2301802 | | Royal Caribbean %] is running a post-holiday sale on many of its February Caribbean departures. Princess has upcoming seven-night Caribbean sailings for as little as $549 per person—that’s a mainstream price for a premium line. Similarly, Holland America is offering Caribbean cruises in March for $599.

If you’ve always wanted to try a Caribbean cruise, now’s the time to go without breaking the bank. Families who’ve put off booking a trip for the kids’ February vacation week might want to consider cruising as a cheap way to have some fun in the sun. As always, check airfares before you book if you can’t drive to the homeport—pricey last-minute flights could void out any savings from your cruise purchase.

To all the procrastinators, I say, “Rejoice!” Last-minute deals are back again, and—who knows?—they might be here to stay.

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