Why You Should Re-Shop Your Cruise

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When it comes to travel, one of money expert Clark Howard’s favorite things is to take a cruise on the high seas. He recently booked a cruise for himself and his family and discovered a new way to unlock some savings.

“I got an email from the cruise line — once you’re booked with a cruise line, they’re emailing you constantly with the latest, greatest offer,” he says. “So I’m seeing this email, and I’m like ‘Wow! That seems like an incredible offer,’ but is it more hype or is it the real deal?”

How Clark Was Able To Save on a Cruise: Re-Shop

Clark says he took a deep dive on the cruise line’s website and saw that they have a “Lowest Price Guaranteed” offer, which can be triggered when you find a price advertised lower than what you have booked. After that, you can just contact the cruise company and they will refund you the difference.

“And in the case of this cruise line, if you’ve made the final payment, they give you credit for a future cruise or they give you back the money,” Clark says. So, I contacted the travel agency that has the booking. and sure enough, we got the 22% discount simply by asking.”

To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, Clark compared prices across several different travel sites and found that he had indeed gotten a deal.

The key to it all was that he re-shopped his cruise booking and found a cheaper ticket.

“Think how I always tell you to always re-shop your hotel the week before you go – never book a non-refundable hotel because the rates move around so much. As I’ve said for the last 20 years, always re-shop a car rental the week before you take the trip, because 90% of the time, you’ll get a lower price last minute than the one you originally booked.”

“Now I can add something that’s never occurred to me: The same thing can happen with a cruise, that if the cruise line has a price guarantee you can now get that difference either as a credit or as money back,” Clark says. “I got actual money back – 22% of the cost of the cruise. That was good stuff.”

Cruise Lines With Best Price Guarantees

A few cruise lines that have price guarantees include:

  • Royal Caribbean says “Our Best Price Guarantee lets you take advantage of a better price within 48 hours from the time you booked— just give us a call or use our online form. You’ll receive the difference as a non-refundable onboard credit inside final payment or rate adjustment outside final payment.”
  • Princess Cruises says “If you find a lower identical cruise fare** on Princess.com within 72 hours of booking, we’ll match the difference!”
  • Carnival Cruises says “If you find a better Carnival-advertised deal within two days of booking your cruise… well, we’re going to be very surprised. And then we’ll give you 110% of the difference in onboard credit!”
  • Celebrity Cruises says “If a lower cruise fare or different promotional offer advertised to the general public is found and your booking meets certain requirements, you may request to have that savings or promotion applied to your booking.”

How You Can Save on a Cruise: Re-Shop

Clark says these are the steps you should take to save on a cruise:

  • Book your cruise as far in advance as you can.
  • Use a cruise line or travel company that offers a low-price guarantee (and read the fine print!).
  • Re-shop your cruise as the travel date draws near.
  • If you find a lower price, cash in on the low price guarantee.

“It varies by cruise line, but if you have a cruise booked for this summer or later and you get one of those things about ‘Hey, great new deals,’ go check out your sailing just as I did and go book speculatively as if you’re a new passenger, and see what you’re offered for the same cabin category you have,” Clark says.


By re-shopping your cruise, you stand a chance to get:

  • Partial refund
  • Travel credit

If your cruise line offers a low price guarantee, you may get to travel at a lower cost than you had originally booked – and that’s a win for your wallet.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a Clark fan, re-shopping is something you’re likely familiar with. Re-shopping everything from your car insurance to your lodgings is a huge way that Clark saves on travel.

Clark says this is a good time to book a cruise because after demand sank due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise companies had to dig themselves out of the red, which they did. “But now there are signs that bookings are not as strong as before and the deals have gotten better,” Clark says.

Clark is a stickler for finding ways to save money, including paying for a cruise the right way and knowing when and how to tip.

Read our guide on how to book a cruise and save.


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