Ever wondered how cruise ships fill unsold cabins? You must be aware that the last thing the cruise lines will want is to sail a ship with too many empty cruise ship cabins So, how does a cruise line ensures that they sell unsold cabins? 

The only meaning of empty cruise ship cabins is that there are even fewer passengers to spend money on drinks, excursions, in the spa, and restaurants.

So, here is a secret that the cruise companies will never tell you. And, as the best travel agency in London, we are going to spill the beans for you. This is our secret to scoring the best last-minute cruise deals and how cruise ships fill unsold cabins. Because believe us, everyone wants to get the best vacation possible and your cruise ship passengers are no different.

cruise ship unsold cabins
Unsold solo cabins on Cruise Ships

You must have heard about the dramatic price drop at the last minute, ever wondered why? Because the goal of any cruise ship is to sell 100 percent occupancy and they have their own strategy to fill empty cabins, and this can result in more savings for the passengers.

However, it’s not that simple. Getting a last-minute deal on a cruise sailing is not that simple. So you would require a professional travel agent to do so. Cruise ships will not start discounting tickets until they really have to. You need to plan early to take advantage of the unsold cabins.

This is how it actually works:

The cruise ships fill unsold cabins in two processes. First, they will sell the higher category cabins like the ocean-view and balcony level suites at much-discounted rates. Because it is always better to sell the cabin at  £500-600 less than sailing it empty. 

how cruise ships sell unsold cabins
Cruise ships have to sell unsold cabins!

So, they might upset the already booked passengers on the cruise – giving them discounted upgrades. So, if you have already booked yourself on the cruise ship, you might get a call from the representative asking if you would like to upgrade for a couple of hundred pounds more.

Secondly, the remaining unsold cabins will be then given to travel agencies or internet agencies to sell because they always have the ability to move the capacity. There might be flash sales, of which you can deduce that the cruise ship is trying to see unsold cabins.

Free Upgrades

The cruise ships fill unsold cabins by simply changing the way of general sales. Many cruise liners now sell expensive inside cabins & term as a “free upgrade” to a Balcony cabin which is in fact a discounted price for a Balcony cabin. This saves them of ire of currently booked passengers on Balcony cabin and surely helps them selling the unsold cabins without being noticed.

But frankly keeping track of all this is not an easy task. So, how to make sure that you snag a deal with the cruise lines. Here are a few tips and tricks of the trade we are sharing with you:

Communicate with your travel agent

It might always not be easy to find a last-minute cruise deal all by yourself because the cruise lines are not going to flag specifics of unsold cabins. So, it is always better to book through a travel agent. They are professional and well-rehearsed with what, when, and how cruise lines will offer discounted deals. Moreover, they know the current discounted prices are actually cheaper or not, or they actually the same prices but advertised better.

Subscribe to Mailing lists

Another way to find out about unsold cabins and discounts is to subscribe to mailing lists. They will surely be advertising flash sales. Also, join the mailing list of your trusted travel agents because they too advertise exclusive cruise discounts.

cruise ship unsold cabins
Cruise ship do sell unsold cabins
Book if you have specific sailing in mind

If you are particular about the sailing, we advise you to book it on a minimal amount and make sure you see if there are any discounts available a week before the final payment is due. This way you will at least not have to shell out more if there are no unsold cabins. After all, it is all a bargain.

Repositioning Voyages

Cruise companies offer massive discounts when they reposition their ships from one continent to another part of the world. Some cruise experts also call it “Follow the Sun”.

From our experience biggest bargain lies when Cruise liners are reposition from Europe to Australasia or Australasia to Europe. To prepare for a change in seasons or as they call following the sun.

Check if you have upgrades available

Check with your travel agent if there are any upgrades available on your booking. There are chances that are open-higher category cabins available.

Make Group Bookings

Another technique to get the best cruise deals is to make group bookings. It is highly likely that you will get great discounts if you traveling with more people – in groups than traveling alone. Group cruise cabin bookings are a sure-shot way to get major discounted deals.

Travel in low season

If you can, we advise you to make your cruising plans in the low season. This is the time when there will be a lot of unsold cabins and cruise ships will be ready to sell them at lower rates. The off-season is the best time to find the best cruise deals, for example – the winter season in the Mediterranean and hurricane season in the Caribbean. Avoid booking at the time of summer school holidays, Christmas and Easter, as they are more expensive.

Choose an inside cabin

If the view of the sea isn’t important and you are not planning to spend more time in the room then, we suggest you book inside the cabin. They are much cheaper as compared to balconies or ocean views. After all most time, you are by the pool, in the city where you docked & finally around at the bar or dinner table.

Consider the ship and port of departure

Cruise holiday that doesn’t include airfare is far cheaper than the ones far from home. If you are working on a tight budget, make sure that you book the cruise that has a departure port closer to home. Also, consider cruising on a ship that has already been broken in. Chances are that when a cruise line launches a new ship, there are major discounted deals.

Consider booking Business Class Flights

Always & always ask an upgrade cost on to business class flights or to premium economy flights.

Ssshhhh … so a trade secret for all of you. When you book a cruise it opens highly discounted Inclusive Tour rates otherwise called as IT fares. Ask your cruise company on that if they can book you in IT fares. In case if it still does not sound good. Call us & give your cruise details we will surely fetch you an upgrade to a business class flights with an additional but marginally more to economy flights.


Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. If you have booked a flight only where the ticket is not issued immediately, your flight will be protected under our ATOL. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

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    Disclaimer : We are not an airline but provide most of the negotiated airlines deals which more often than not are cheaper than booking direct with the airlines. We are in true essence a travel agent who save your valuable time & efforts and arrange your travel arrangements as per your needs and in your budget.