It’s always a sinking feeling when you see the cruise you’ve just booked, on sale. What many don’t know is that some cruise lines have a program called best price guarantee. This means if the price drops, you can get your initial fare changed to the new price, and save yourself some money.
Vigilant cruisers are shaving thousands of dollars off their fares through this method, and Aisha Abdullah is one of them. Ms Abdullah was booked in to sail on Ovation of the Seas in December 2023 for $4,000. After noticing the fare dropped, Ms Abdullah called up Royal Caribbean and saved a hefty $1800 on her cruise fare for her and her three-year-old.
“The process is incredibly easy. I was so surprised. I did a dummy booking of the cruise I had booked on the Royal Caribbean website. When I saw the rate was cheaper than what I had originally booked it for, I called Royal Caribbean directly.
“They quickly searched the cruise and put it in their system, and advised that I was able to get the new fare.
Since initially booking, Ms Abdullah has actually done this multiple times, with the fare getting lower and lower.
“Every time there’s been a price reduction, they haven’t ever knocked me back.”
Ms Abdullah says she wouldn’t have known about the guarantee if not carefully combing through the terms and conditions before booking, which led to her vigilantly checking for changes in the fare.
“I found about the price guarantee prior to booking as I went through the terms and conditions and I was hesitant at booking at a higher rate until I read about the cruise with confidence and then I didn’t hesitate to book.
“I have a habit of checking on a weekly basis to see if my cruise has dropped in price by doing a dummy booking online of the cruise that I have booked for and when it is lower, I jump straight on the phone to have the new rate amended.”
The name of the game is all about consistently checking for changes in fare.
“If you want a good deal, you really need to be checking on a weekly basis. Your travel agent might miss it, Royal Caribbean won’t tell you it’s reduced. You need to keep checking and if you think the cruise rate might not be changed please call the RC team you’ll be highly surprised how accommodating they really are!”
While this cruise will actually be Ms Abdullah’s first, from talking to other cruisers she doesn’t think many know about this method.
“I definitely don’t think other cruises know about this. Whenever I mention it everyone seems so surprised and think it’s too good to be true until they follow through and have their cruises amended. So many people have said they have done multiple cruises and haven’t even heard of it.”
The savings were so significant that Ms Abdullah has actually booked a second cruise with the saved money, a Christmas cruise to New Zealand. On top of this, she is also looking forward to splurging on specialty dining and buying wi-fi for her three-year old with the extra cash.
Other Royal Caribbean cruisers report saving up to $3300 through the price guarantee, some chased up by their travel agents and others ringing up themselves like Ms Abdullah.
If you’re looking to join the money-savers, here are the cruise lines currently offering price guarantees and how they work.
One quick thing to note is that the advertised price must be for the same cabin category you have booked, and the reduced rate may not contain certain inclusions that your initial booking did.
Royal Caribbean’s best price guarantee program is simple, if you see a better price on your booked cruise you can simply call them on 1800 754 500 or fill out this online form and get your money back. If you’ve already made your final payment then you’ll receive the difference in onboard credit, or if you haven’t made your final payment yet your rate will simply be adjusted.
Carnival Cruises guarantee is slightly different, if you find a lower price, Carnival will give 110% of the difference in onboard credit. Meaning that if Ms Abdullah’s savings were with carnival, she’d have received $1980 to spend onboard. However, sadly the Carnival price guarantee is not available on Carnival Australia sailings, but can be used overseas.
The Celebrity Cruises best price guarantee ensures that if you see a lower cruise fare or promotional offer advertised to the general public, you can request to have those savings applied to your bookings. Savings options will depend on if you made your final payment yet.
Seabourn has a best fare guarantee, meaning booked guests can request the lowest publicly available fare offered on Seabourn’s website for their cruise. Guests or travel advisors can contact Seabourn for a reduced rate but it must be 30 days prior to departure. Compensation may be given via onboard credit, fare reduction, suite upgrade or other methods.
Silversea also has a fare guarantee program that is eligible on all voyages. If fares drop on a booked cruise you must submit a request for the changed fare before the sailing date. Silversea will determine whether you receive a changed rate or onboard credit.