Skip to Content

This post may contain commission-paying affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our disclosures.

Carnival Cruise Price Protection Saved Me $160

If you read Crystal’s blog Budgeting in the Fun Stuff this may feel slightly familiar. A few months ago I contributed to her site explaining how at the time I saved $40 using Carnival Cruise Line’s Price Protection. Since then I have saved quite a bit more. Here’s how it works.

Book the Early Saver Fare

We knew we wanted to go on our first cruise this year so we planned extremely far in advance. We had to get our time off from work approved and plan it around some other events in our lives. In order to book the Early Saver Fare you must book 3+ months in advance for cruises 5 days or less and 5+ months in advance for cruises 6 days or longer. We did exactly that.

This doesn’t always lead to the best price up front but Carnival has a great option that allowed us to save a ton of money on the back end. By booking the Early Saver Fare you get Price Protection, even though you do have to pay a non refundable deposit.

Price Protection

So what is price protection and how does it work? Basically if there is ever a lower rate for the same stateroom type you booked on the very same cruise you can fill out a form to get that new base price.

Price protection stops working 48 hours before cruises depart. Taxes/fees don’t change but you do get the base price back either in the form of a lower fare if you haven’t paid the cruise off yet (at least that is how it worked for me), an on-board credit or a stateroom upgrade.

The other catch is that the price must be the price or a Carnival advertised price. Prices through travel agents don’t count. Of course with all of these deals you do need to read all of the fine print to completely understand the process and the way refunds are handled.

Related: 3 Ways To Get Refunded For Price Drops After You Buy An Item

How Can Carnival Afford This?

It is pretty simple really. Think back to your last vacation… Did you check the prices after you booked it to see if you still have the best deal? I’d bet 95% of people don’t. On top of that, even if you did find a lower price to you try to get it honored? Each step loses more and more people and that is why Carnival can offer this service. There are very few people that actually ever use it!

I don’t mind checking prices and filling out form though. In fact, I’ve checked the price a few times a month and have been able to fill out three requests to lower my cruise price. The first time I saved $40 the second time I saved $80 and this last time I saved another $40! All I had to do was fill out this form at

This again proves that you don’t get what you don’t ask for. It really is simple and often is just a matter of knowing the details of the transactions you agree to. Read the fine print and find ways you can use it to your advantage.

Have you ever been on a cruise? If so did you use price price protection? Do you have any tips for my first cruise? Let me know all of the details in a comment down below!


Thursday 1st of February 2018

I love to cruise. Five days are my limit. My first cruise, I hated when we neared the port back to Galveston. After the second, five days was enough. It is my way to relax and leave all my problems behind. I have cruised as many as four in one year. Sickness in my family slowed me down, ready yo sail again. I travel out of Galveston, close to Houston. No bad experiences with carnival. Everybody should sail once. I will get price protection in the future.

Lance Cothern

Friday 2nd of February 2018

The way price protection works now, you'll have to pay a fee if you cancel. Make sure you're going to go and not just booking a hopeful vacation or you could get hit with cancellation penalties with early saver.

Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths

Thursday 4th of October 2012

That's kinda awesome. I get lazy if its anything under $100.


Wednesday 3rd of October 2012

We typically wait for the 90 days out window to book cruises that leave from the US. Prices at that point tend to drop really low, even during "wave" season. But we do have a large family vacation we are planning for next year, so we will probably book early so this might help us a lot!

Thanks for the tip!


Wednesday 3rd of October 2012

Glad I could help! I hope you guys get a great deal!

Tackling Our Debt

Tuesday 2nd of October 2012

Good for you for saving money and you haven't even left yet.

I've been on many cruises over the years and it is all what you make it. You will find many people on board complaining about everything they see and do and you will also meet lots of wonderful people, that you might even develop friendships with, esp on Carnival. Just relax and enjoy your trip. And remember your travel insurance too. Have a great time!!


Wednesday 3rd of October 2012

I'm sure we will.

Aloysa @ My Broken Coin

Tuesday 2nd of October 2012

We went on a cruise last July. It was our first and our last cruise ever. We did plan way in advance, and we did get a good price for it. However, it was the end of us pouring money into the cruise line. We did get travel insurance through the third party just in case. I deleted all surveys, forms and whatever was sent our way. :) I don't want to go on any cruises ever! :) We are not cruise people.


Wednesday 3rd of October 2012

Sorry you had a bad trip... I guess we'll figure out if I'm a cruise person or not soon enough.