Price alerts on cruise fares save you money. There are a few ways to do this, but in this article, we will examine the best and easiest ways to stay on top of price fluctuations so you always get the best deal.Cruise ships in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo 273725073 | Cruise © Darryl Brooks | Dreamstime.com)
By not setting up price alerts for cruise fares, you’re leaving money on the table, even if it’s just a small amount. It all adds up if you take a lot of cruises.
There are a few reasons you should set up price alerts. If you paid your deposit on a cruise but want to take advantage of any price drops, you can set up a price alert so if the price falls enough to justify rebooking you can pocket the difference.
Also, if you have price protection on a cruise that you already paid in full you can often get a cabin upgrade or onboard credit should you find a price drop.Sponsored Links
Carnival Cruise Line actually offers price protection for free on some early saver rates, but you still need to contact them by filling out a form. This is where having a cruise price alert tool comes in handy.
And if you haven’t yet booked but just want to keep an eye on cruise fares you can use a tool to track these fluctuations in price. If you have a target price you can set it and just wait for an email to trigger the alert as well.
A good travel agent might find these price drops for you, but price alerts are so easy to set up yourself and you don’t have to worry about a few price changes getting overlooked or unnoticed.
Related: Cruising on a budget: 12 money saving tips
One of my favorite tools for cruise price alerts, Cruisewatch allows you to use many different factors in setting up an alert.
After creating a free account, the first thing you need to do is find a specific cruise to track. You can filter by cruise line, ship, destination, departure, port, and the length of the cruise.
Then you simply click the button that says “Set Price Alert”.
A form will pop up that allows you to select which kind of cabin you want to track, and you can really drill down to specific cabin categories after clicking one of the main categories.
Then you can check boxes for price drops, price “pops”, sold out cruises, and when cruise cabins become available if it’s already a sold-out cruise.
The feature I use the most is the price section at the bottom that lets me set a price that will trigger an alert if it crosses that amount, whether it’s heading up or down.
Keep in mind that the price you set for the alert is for the cruise fare based on double-occupancy (taxes and fees not included).
Price alerts page showing your current watchlist on Cruisewatch.
Related: 7 ways to avoid spending a single penny on board your cruise
On the price alert page for Cruiseline.com you can simply enter your cruise details and your email and you’re all set to get price alerts right in your inbox.
It’s very convenient since you don’t have to sign up or create an account. You can’t set a price to trigger the alert or a specific cabin category to watch, but any fluctuations in price for the exact cruise itinerary you selected will be sent to your email address.
You will get email alerts when the cruise price changes from the current price which you can see when you select your cruise ship’s itinerary.
In the email you will see how much the price has changed and in what direction.
Here is an example of what the email will look like that is sent to you once a price alert triggers.
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New on our radar is a price alert service from Cruiseplum.com. We haven’t used this tool as extensively as the tools above, but apparently, it’s a service put together by cruise enthusiasts who built their own cruise search site.
On Cruise Plum you can search by hot deals and price drops, or you can just find the exact cruise you’re interested in to set up the alert.
You also can see a great price breakdown for each cruise that shows the base fare, taxes, gratuities, and totals based on number of passengers.
One of my favorite features of this tool is the base fare history, which is a chart that shows the different cabin categories and how the price has changed over the last several months.
This site is more than just a price alert service and there are some great cruise search tools I will talk about in greater detail in the future.
To set up price alerts and tracking you will need to create a free account first. Then you need to find the cruise you want to track using the many filters available. Clicking the “Track” button will open a window that allows you to pick which cabins you want and at the bottom you can set your target price for the base fare of the cruise. If this target is met, you will receive an email from Cruiseplum.
At any time, you can go into your account and see your watchlist with the list of cruises you’re currently tracking. This page shows the current price of the cruise fare and gives you the ability to edit the price target if you choose.
Currently, you’re allowed to have 20 cruises on your watchlist and 5 active alerts.
This video give a little more insight into how Cruiseplum works:
Bonus Tool: Visual Ping
This tool is not just for tracking cruise prices but for any kind of price alerts online. Visual Ping is a free website change monitoring tool.
First you need to find the exact url of the specific cruise on the cruise line’s website, and then you can enter your email for notifications of any changes.
On the next page you will see a snapshot from the cruise line’s webpage in a box. You will need to select the portion of the page that has the pricing information. I prefer to use the “Element” type and then click on the total price to make sure it’s selected.
The free version allows you to scan the webpage once per day, which will be plenty for most users, and you can track up to 5 pages (cruises) at a time.
If the item you selected changes at all you will be notified with a price alert.
Some cruise lines have “watchlists” for cruises. In theory you can subscribe to a watchlist and wait for an email if the price changes. However, many cruisers have expressed frustration that these emails don’t always get triggered even when there is a price drop.
Remember, cruise lines are not really incentivized to tell you if you can score a cheaper deal on a cruise you’ve already booked.
Last year Royal Caribbean added a watchlist feature to its website. So far, results have been mixed with some saying it’s still quite buggy. Also, you can’t set any filters to trigger an email, so we’re not sure exactly what kind of price change would even trigger an email. It’s simply a notification bell icon next to the word “Watchlist” that users can click.
If any readers have used this feature or other price alert tools be sure to let us know in the comment section below.
I recommend the above tools to help stay on top of prices, but you can always just check the cruise line’s website itself on a regular basis.
Cruise Critic used to have a price alert tool on their website. Now there is just a “Price Tracker” that allows you to see the last 90 days of prices for a particular cruise to see which direction the price is trending. This may prove helpful to at least get a baseline for where prices have been.
Read more: 25 cruise cabin hacks for making your stateroom more livable