Do you live in Florida (or close by) and want to take a Caribbean cruise, but don’t want to pay full price for your vacation? It’s well know that booking a last minute cruise is a great way to save. Here we’ll take a look at exactly how to find and book a last minute cruise deal departing from a port in Florida – Port Canaveral, Miami, Port Everglades, Jacksonville, or Tampa.
How to Snag a Deal
Since the 2020 pandemic, the cruise industry is in a restructuring phase. Cruise lines are finally dropping covid vaccine requirements and cancellation policies have had to become far more flexible. No one wants to book a trip and then find out last minute they can’t get their money back. In order to stay afloat, the cruise industry had to make some major concessions to get their customers back.
Most cruise packages are paid in installments. The final installment is due three months from the departure date, and it’s also the last chance customers have to back out and receive a full refund.
Therefore, most cancellations happen three months prior to departure. So if your dates are flexible, then consider booking within that three month window to score some pretty major last minute deals.
Popular Cruise Destinations from Florida
There are lots of cruise destinations departing from Florida ports. Here’s the most popular ones:
- Puerto Rico
- St. Maarten
- St. Thomas
Each of these destinations has what are referred to as “shoulder seasons,” which in layman’s terms means oﬀ-seasons. During this time, cruises are often substantially cheaper. September specifically is known as the cheapest month to take a cruise since children are back in school and families can no longer travel.
Eighty percent of the Port Canaveral’s revenue is generated from cruise business, making it imperative to provide the state-of-the art facilities necessary to service today’s largest and most sophisticated cruise ships that now homeport or make a port call for the day.
PortMiami, the Cruise Capital of the World, welcomes a host of new cruise brands and new build ships that rank among the most innovative vessels on the seas. In 2021, PortMiami welcomed more than 252,000 cruise vacationers, this coming after the CDC placed a pause on the cruising industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes PortMiami the preferred departure destination to the Caribbean, Mexico and beyond.
Port Everglades, located in Ft. Lauderdale, is the third busiest cruise port in the US. Everglades consists of eight modern cruise terminals welcoming ships from prominent cruise lines like the Viking ocean cruises, Silversea cruises and Balearia Caribbean. The fully air-conditioned terminals offer free wifi, restrooms and a huge seating area with a cafeteria, a shopping center and a few exhibition halls.
Tampa Cruise Port
Multiple cruise lines homeport their ships at Port Tampa Bay. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Paradise and Carnival Pride, Royal Caribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn will all sail out of the city, enabling cruise travelers to explore multiple destinations across the Caribbean and Central America.
Joining these ships is Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Constellation, is operating 10- and 11-night roundtrips from Tampa. Following a 14-night transatlantic crossing from Barcelona, Spain, Celebrity Constellation will begin sailing three unique itineraries, including a 10-night Eastern Caribbean escape that calls at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Samana, Dominican Republic.
Recent Last Minute Deals
Yes last minute cruises really are cheaper. Cruise lines are committed to sailings departing from Florida anyway, so if they leave with empty cabins, they’re simply missing out on money. They don’t want to do this. So the closer the booking date is to the sailing date, the cheaper cruises become. If you have a flexible schedule (retired, work from home, etc) and live in or close to Florida cruise ports, you can save a lot by booking a cruise vacation last minute. Be sure to join our email list for new deals and check current cruise deals at the link below. We hope you have a wonderful trip!