Sign Up for Email Alerts. The vast majority of cruise lines and agencies still rely on eletters to help fill cruise ships. The major cruise lines sailing from Port Canaveral offer deals via emails with ongoing promotions, in addition to last-minute deals and short sales.
Monitor Price Drops. Be your own best-price advocate. Before you've booked a sailing, do some research on typical rates for the cruise you have in mind, and check back frequently (we mean daily, at least) to see if the fare has dropped.
Ask for Cash Back When Fares Change. If the cruise fare changes after you've booked but before you've made your final payment, it's possible to take advantage of the lower rate. Enlist the help of a travel agent who can monitor pricing after you've booked. If the fare plummets, you can request a rate change, cancel and rebook at the lower rate or request the difference in onboard credit.
Book at the Last Minute. For those locals who can be spontaneous, flexibility can pay off. Typically there are bargains on a variety of sailings leaving within 90 days -- 90 days out being the typical point at which final cruise payments are due. In general, there are always plenty of Bahamas deals.
Go for the Cabin Guarantee. If cabin location isn't important, you might want to opt for a "cabin guarantee," which basically means you're assured to get a cabin in at least the category specified -- and, if you're lucky, even get an upgrade. However, you can't choose your exact stateroom. Lines like Carnival typically discount guaranteed cabin bookings about $50 to $100 per person off the advertised fares.
Leave the Deals Search to the Experts. If you don't have time for online cruise research nothing beats a good travel agent to help you score a deal. Because agents often book in bulk and work directly with the lines, they have access to deals that normal cruisers don't. Cruise lines will offer their top agencies special discounts that the agents can't promote on their websites, so even if you see a good deal online, it's best to talk to a real person and ask for the best fare.