First time cruiser. Want to book a 10 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise on the Noordam. I'm a bit lost on what the whole "Guarantee Cabin" vs "Getting a room number assigned in advance". I'm at a loss??
And any pointers regarding this particular cruise ship?
A guarantee means you pay the price for the category in question, but you may get upgraded for free to a higher category. For example, if there is a guarantee rate available for a Category K room, you pay the Cat. K rate but you don't find out which cabin you're actually in until close to cruise time. When they do assign you a cabin, you could be in a Category K or in a more expensive category. You will never be assigned to a less expensive category.
The advantage to purchasing a guarantee is that you could be upgraded for free. The disadvantage is that you don't get to hand-pick the location of your cabin. You could get an upgraded cabin but it could be all the way forward, or under the show room, etc. Some cruise lines will upgrade you only within your category type, for example, if you buy a Category K guarantee, with K being an inside (no window) cabin, some cruise lines will only upgrade you to a higher inside category. Other cruise lines allow you to be ugraded from an inside to an Ocean View. I'm not sure of Holland America's policy on this.
If you do not get a guarantee, but opt for a cabin assignment, you get to choose the location of your cabin when you book the cruise, but then that's the room you'll have with almost no chance of an upgrade.
Your travel agent can advise you of the best locations for your room, based on the available rooms at the time you book your room.
Hi Sld323, welcome to Cruise-Chat. A guaranteed cabin means, no matter what, you are guaranteed a cabin in that catagory. Nine out of ten times you will be "bumped up", which normally means a deck higher in the same catagory. The ships have different catagories according to location, size, and type of cabin. An inside cabin, lower deck will be the least expensive, a suite the most. HAL has deck plans on their website that can show you which deck has which catagory of cabin. If you don't have a travel agent, that is a cruise specialist (certified by CLIA), then the HAL agents can help you. However, a good cruise specialist will make sure to ask the right questions and match you up with the right ship for your desires. Best wishes and welcome aboard!
No I don't have a travel agent - I was just doing this all online with several cruise sites. They do have cruise specialists you can call at these sites - so I'll do that.
Thanks for the help. Wish me luck!!
The "cruise specialists" at the various online sites are not really so. They are order takers looking at a computer screen. Nobody will go through the arduous CLIA accreditation process so they can sit at a terminal wearing a telephone headset for 8 hours a day.
Beyond that - I book a specific cabin, as in cabin number XXX. I don't like surprises. Booking a guarantee could mean I get a cabin located in less-than-desirable part of the ship.
We've done it both ways, by booking a guaranteed and by selecting a cabin. There's not much difference to me because I'm happy just to be on board. We don't get sea sick, so high or low/front or rear doesn't make any difference to us. There are some that have problems with motion and mid-ship is about the best place for that. There are some that have problems with noise, but we've never encountered a cabin where we had any problems sleeping. We were even in the midst of a family reunion where they would yell at each other in the hallways, guess they hadn't heard of a phone. The cruise line reps are very helpful!
As far as what long time cruisers do, the answer is - "It depends" If we are looking for the least expensive cruise fare, we book a guarantee cabin. Typically an oceanview. Only once did we not get upgraded. But, we have also learned that the cabin doesn't really make the trip as we don't spend lots of time in the cabin (sleeping and changing). But, having said that we have also booked a specific cabin. Once because of a special rate and finding a great cabin was included in that rate offer and once on our next cruise because we wanted to try a suite and they don't do Suite guarantee's.
I wouldn't be too concerned about getting a specific cabin. If you book a TBA oceanview and you get upgraded to an obstructed view balcony, that would be great but maybe not any better than an oceanview. Like Sandy said, book a TBA with the lowest category you would like and see what you get unless the cabin really makes a big difference to you. For most people the money they save means more.