MrsMJ and I are taking a cruise next month. The thing is…we have not booked it yet. We usually take the same week in August off each year, and book a cruise for the week following a meeting she attends in Florida each year. Most years, we book well in advance, but this year is different. First, we haven’t had the luxury of knowing we would actually be able to pull this off (still aren’t totally sure). Second, without fail, for each year we’ve done this, prices have dropped in the days and weeks just before the cruise. We haven’t always had the luxury of being flexible, so we booked what we booked and dealt with it. This time, things are different. We live within driving distance of the port (I can drive down to join her, saving airfare), and if we happen to not make the cruise this year, there will be others. This flexibility and open-mindedness about the cruise enables us to capitalize on attractive pricing. I’ve been “stalking” the particular itinerary we want for weeks, and pricing has been static. Yesterday, it started to creep…down, and now I bring in my secret weapon – CruiseFish.net.
CruiseFish.net allows you to set up pricing alerts for itineraries you are interested in, and receive an alert via email when the price of a cruise drops below a certain point that you choose. The service isn’t free, but it is reasonable, and worth the effort to me. You can buy credits, with each credit being worth one price alert. I bought a package of 5 alerts for $4.95. You can review all pricing options here. Once you are set with credits, you can begin setting up your pricing alerts which is pretty straight forward.
Clicking on “Finder” will take you to a list of cruise lines. Clicking on the cruise line of choice will offer a list of ships, and then you can get specific with the sail date you want.
Your next choice will be a selection of cabin types. For this short cruise, I prefer the cheapest accommodations available, which are typically inside cabins.
Clicking on the green price (279) takes me to the next screen where I can set up my alert. In my case, I want an alert if the price drops under $250 per person.
After entering the information, click save. When you do that, the cabin category you’ve set the alert for turns pink.
Now, you wait, and hope for the best possible result. Some travel agents are very good about doing price checks for you, and some aren’t. If you have one that routinely monitors pricing, that’s great. But I think this is a good insurance policy for achieving the best possible price for your cruise. Happy sailing!
-MJ, July 16, 2014