Is the Carnival Early Saver rate going away?

So we’ve been keeping a close eye on an Southern Caribbean cruise we want to do with the family next year, and we have been waiting for the window to open where we are within the 5 months required to book Carnival’s Early Saver Rate.

CarnivalWe were surprised when we then noticed that the rate wasn’t available. We tried different dates and options and had no luck, so we called them to ask.

We had the Carnival rep look through different dates, and she wasn’t actually able to find the Early Saver rate for any cruises in 2014. The rep told us that they try to come up with different promotions and they make available those that make the most sense, so it is possible that it will come back in the future or they will have other promotions. In my opinion this loosely translates into: “We’re phasing the Early Saver rate out”.

We did get offered a somewhat less favorable offer than Early Saver. We received a resident rate that will allow us to cancel and rebook up to 75 days prior to sailing. Within the 75-day window, if the price drops there is nothing else we can do.

In my experience, waiting to book cruises at the very last minute sometimes pays off and you can find deep discounts, but to do this you have to be flexible, and it doesn’t really work for us since we have to coordinate dates, time off, flights and hotels. Throw in a large group of family members and this makes booking and coordinating at the last minute simply impossible. In the end, there is still a slight possibility that if the price drops and you are beyond the cancellation or rebooking deadline, you can still call the cruise line and ask them to match it or at least give you some perks like upgrades or other benefits, as we were able to do during our Panama Canal cruise last year.

While it’s possible we got a rep on the phone who wasn’t quite knowledgeable, the fact that I’m not able to see the Early Saver rate online anymore gives me some indication that this rate is no longer available, at least for the foreseeable future.

I’m curious to know whether anyone has had different luck booking a Carnival Early Saver rate recently. If so, I’d love someone to prove me wrong!

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