How much can you expect to save last-minute?

We live within one-day driving distance of both Galveston (5 hrs) and PC (10 hrs), so we don’t need much advance planning to pick up a last-minute cruise, throw some clothes in a suitcase and drive for a day. My question is, if DCL is trying to fill up a ship at the last minute, how much can one expect to see fares drop at the last minute?

I know that’s hard to quantify since fares are constantly changing, but let’s say that today, 12/27/15, a Cat 6 with two adults for the 2/6/16 W. Carib Fantasy cruise is going for $4000.

If they can’t fill that Category, and it’s still open a week before the cruise, historically how much lower could I expect to see that fare drop at the last minute to fill the cabin?

Check out http://blog.touringplans.com/2015/08/18/book-early-saves-money-disney-cruise-doesnt/ for a good analysis of DCL prices.

Traditionally the prices go up as the ship fills up regardless of category (to a degree). I think flexibility is your friend here. If you are willing to do a category or cabin that may not be your first choice you can get some last minute deals. Also if you are flexible where you have a category - but will “float” to whatever room - that opens up some possibilities as well. I think it will just come down to constant checking and the flexibility you noted you have.

Thanks! Yeah, I am not picky about cabins if I get a decent deal in return. I will just keep checking.

I wonder what the break-even point is in terms of per-day/per-person fares where DCL would rather let a cabin go unoccupied than fill it at a fire-sale rate. Even if the fire-sale rate is still profitable, does DCL want even a nominal percentage of people to latch onto a last-minute booking strategy?

Last time we went on a cruise - it started out just my family of 4. By the time we boarded there were 20 of us. So we brought 16 additional guests on board. They had some upgrades to other cabins available. I spoke with someone to see what they could do. I noted - Hey - these 16 other people are here because of us. NOTHING - they didn’t care one bit (the woman was very nice) but they have specific levels of what is / isn’t worth it for them and they don’t budge. I think it also comes down to how full is the ship as a whole as compared to a single cabin