Cruise deal alert: West Coast sailings starting at $129

Looking for a last-minute deal on a cruise? You might want to look at short sailings along the West Coast.

Some of the lowest fares right now for cruises at three major lines — Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises — are available on soon-to-depart short voyages out of such West Coast ports as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Note that, in most cases, the short sailings are one-way trips from California ports to Vancouver, British Columbia, as the lines reposition vessels to that port for summer sailings to Alaska. That means that you’ll have to book at least a one-way flight to make them work.

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The trips also are happening very soon. Many have departure dates just days or weeks away.

That said, they’re very affordable — with starting rates under $40 a day in some cases. Most of the sailings range from three to five days and start at under $150 per person for the entire trip. That’s less than the average cost of a single night in a hotel in many West Coast cities.

At both Holland America and Norwegian, soon-to-depart short cruises along the West Coast currently are the least-expensive sailings among all the routings the lines offer in the world. At Princess, short sailings along the West Coast are mixed in with short sailings in Australia among the line’s least-expensive offerings.

Here are some of the best cruise deals we’re seeing right now on these soon-to-depart West Coast sailings, all available as of Thursday morning:

  • A four-day sailing from Los Angeles to Vancouver on Norwegian Encore, departing May 1. Fares start at $149 — or about $37 a day.
  • A five-day sailing from Los Angeles to Vancouver on Norwegian Bliss departing April 9. Fares start at $149 — or about $30 a day.
  • A three-day sailing from Vancouver to Seattle on Royal Princess departing May 3. Fares start at $129 — or about $43 a day.
  • A three-day sailing from San Francisco to Vancouver on Royal Princess departing April 30. Fares start at $149 — or about $50 a day.
  • A four-day round-trip sailing out of Vancouver on Holland America’s Volendam departing May 6. Fares start at $149 — or about $37 a day.

Holland America is also selling several inexpensive one-night trips on the West Coast starting at $89 — not just for the coming months but later this year, as well as in 2024 and 2025.

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The fine print on short-cruise deals

Note that the deeply discounted fares above are only available for windowless interior cabins, which are the lowest-category cabins on each of the ships.

However, there are notably low rates available on ocean-view and balcony cabins on some of the trips, too.

Related: 6 ways to get a deal on a cruise

Ocean-view cabins (cabins with a window) on the Norwegian Encore sailing from Los Angeles to Vancouver departing May 1 were listed on Norwegian’s website Thursday for $179 — just $30 more than a windowless cabin. Balcony cabins on the sailing were listed for $199 — about $50 a day.

All the fares also are per-person rates and are based on two people staying in a cabin. They’re not available for solo travelers.

In addition, the rates include accommodations, meals and entertainment, but they don’t include port taxes and fees, which will add another $126.10 to $245 to the cost of the trips mentioned above.

Cruise lines typically advertise their fares without port taxes and fees included but add these costs to final bills at the time of checkout.

The itineraries also are heavy with sea days. Some bring no calls at all. They’re just one-way sea voyages between West Coast cities. Others include a single stop at such destinations as Victoria, British Columbia.

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