Who doesn’t love getting a great deal on a cruise? If you’re a fan of Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet of 25 ships, you’re in luck. Depending on the embarkation port, the ship, the cabin category, and the time of year, you can snag some pretty amazing cruise deals. Here are eight things to keep in mind when hunting down a deal on one of Carnival’s “Fun Ships”:
1. The best Carnival deals are out of Florida.
Carnival operates 13 ships out of five Florida ports — Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Jacksonville, and Tampa. So you’ll find the greatest selection of Carnival deals on cruises from the Sunshine State.
2. Don’t overlook fares from ports within driving distance.
With ships sailing from Baltimore, Charleston, Galveston, Mobile, Norfolk, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, Carnival makes it easy for cruisers in more than 20 states to drive to their embarkation port in less than one day and forgo the added expense of flying. This can be a real boon when you’re looking at last-minute deals or a cruise for the whole family.
3. Be open to older ships.
Carnival has been busy in recent years refitting its older ships with new restaurants and activities — including water parks, Seuss at Sea, RedFrog Rum Bar, the Alchemy Bar, and Guy’s Burger Joint.
4. Watch for inaugural season deals.
New ships — such as Carnival Vista, which debuted in Europe in May 2016 — often come with savings if you plan ahead. An Interior cabin for a 10-day Barcelona-to-Athens sailing on Carnival Vista on an early October 2016 sailing was selling for $699 per person in late May 2016. At the same time, a six-day Western Caribbean cruise from Miami in early January 2017 was selling for $379 per person.
5. Review every cabin category.
If you’re planning a romantic or celebratory escape, or you just want to get the most cruise cabin for your money, look at every cabin category, including outsides with balconies and even suites. You never know where you might find a deal: In May 2016, we saw a balcony fare listed at $426 per person for a five-day Western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans in January 2017 on Carnival Triumph.
6. Don’t balk at interior cabins.
If you want to get the lowest possible Carnival deal — especially for a seven-day sailing — don’t turn your nose up at an interior cabin. With all of the activities on board, you’ll only be in your cabin to sleep anyway.
7. Look for short sailings.
Carnival’s three- to five-day cruises are true bargains, with interior cabin deals on September-to-December 2016 sailings to Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas, starting as low as $179 per person for three days and $269 per person for five days. These quick trips are always prime routes for a Carnival cruise deal.
8. Shop for deals in January, February, and March.
During these months, competition to fill ships in the summer and early fall is in full swing. Cruise lines, including Carnival, typically offer price breaks and value-added incentives, such as free Wi-Fi, free gratuities, and reduced or complimentary beverage packages. How good are the bargains? In the industry, this is called “wave season.