Last-minute Costco cruises, as you can probably guess, are cruises offered by Costco that can be purchased at the last minute, often at a discounted rate. You can book last-minute cruises with essentially any cruise line or travel company – all you have to do is, well, book at the last-minute – but Costco specifically advertises their last-minute offerings and dedicates a section of their website to them. They are therefore something of a focus for Costco. All Costco’s last-minute cruises are also classified as “featured deals,” which means that the trips will be discounted in one way or another – you’ll get a special rate for being a Costco member or you’ll get shipboard credit. Below we assess Costco’s last-minute cruises, providing you with a guide to the various offerings as you contemplate your next vacation.
As we mentioned above, you can always find last-minute cruises simply by searching for cruises that are taking off in, say, the next month or so. (What precisely constitutes “last-minute” is an open question, but given that cruise vacations are generally booked many months in advance because of the planning that is involved, we’d say you are in the realm of last-minute cruises if you are looking to sail within a month or two of beginning your research.) Even when searching at a late date, you can generally find a decent number of cruises that are accepting passengers. So, if some vacation time appears out of nowhere, leaving you little time to plan, you might still be able to plan the cruise you would like to take if you had more time.
We mention this to point out that if you are trying to plan a cruise in the immediate future, you don’t necessarily need to confine yourself to the deals that are explicitly advertised as “last-minute cruises.” The latter are generally cheaper because the cruise company is scrambling to fill vacant spots before setting sail, but your options are generally fairly limited (Costco currently only has 12 last-minute cruises for sale), and you might think it is worth paying a little bit more for a cruise if it goes to exactly where you want to go. This is especially true if you are booking through Costco, as so many of their cruises are discounted anyway. So, by all means look at Costco’s last-minute deals, but don’t feel restricted by them. You can book a last-minute cruise, even if it isn’t marketed as such, and this cruise might be discounted anyway if booked via Costco Travel.
Of course, though, some people are interested the cheapest cruises possible, regardless of where they go, and some of the cheapest cruises can be had by looking at the last-minute deals. Costco’s last-minute cruises all offer discounted cruises. Some of the cruises not only are specially priced for Costco members, but also provide shipboard credit, which could enable you to take a cruise on essentially a shoe-string budget. And although there are only 12 cruises available, these 12 cruises are actually fairly diverse. There is a heavy concentration of cruises to tropical destinations (like the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Mexico), and the majority of cruises last seven nights, but there are a few other options available, and seven-night trips to tropical places aren’t bad. If you are primarily looking for a cheap cruise vacation and aren’t worried overly about the specifics, Costco probably has a last-minute cruise for you.
And so, to recap, if you have a very specific cruise in mind, you might look to see what’s available at the last-minute through regular searches. A lot more may be open than you realize. However, if nothing turns up, Costco’s featured last-minute cruises are well worth considering. You might not get exactly what you want, but you’ll probably find a vacation worth taking, and one that could be steeply discounted.