I'm going to make an assumption so correct me if I'm wrong. You're looking at a Princess sailing that is sold out and have been offer the possibilty of being added to a waitlist. Princess seems to never actually close their sailings anymore, they just offer you a waitlist when they sell out. For most people a waitlist position is futile no matter the number. Waitlists open to allow them to sell cabins if there are cancellations. Most cancellation inside the penalty period happen within 48 hours of a cruise. That's when you realize you're too sick to go or their is a death in the family or some other tragedy that will prevent you from going. Remember, you can't just cancel and be refunded so there are very few cancellation inside penalty.
If they call you 24-48 hours before a sailing can you pack and get to the pier? If you need to fly, probably not. Also they won't confirm the price until you clear the waitlist. They can charge anything they want at that point. If you decline, they call the next person on the list. If you want to cruise, skip the waitlist and find another ship or sailing date. You'll be assured of having a cruise that way and be able to know the price and make other arrangements for transportation.
The only waitlist you can find out your position on is the list for dining room sitting--first or second. You can find this on the website once you've made final payment and completed all the e-paperwork. And very few people change their mind until after they are aboard. So if you are #173 like my wife was on Golden Princess last October (last minute booking), you can pretty much count on getting "Personal Choice".
Thank you for your responses. And you're both very correct in that I should have added more detail.
Here's my scenario, we booked an "Ocean View" room for my wife, 2 young daughters, and me on an Alaskan 10-dayer out of SF. Unfortunately, we were too late to land a balcony room that accomodates the 4 of us. So we went ahead a booked the former and were wait listed for the latter (our T/A was told that we were #7).
I guess our scenario is a little different in that we are planning on going either way, so our base case scenario is a last minuite upgrade. For the reasons TrvlPro mentioned, that may ultimately play to our advantage. We shall see.
(This is our first cruise, so I will have plenty more questions.)
By the way welcome to Cruise-Chat! You're in the best possible senario. You already have a cabin and are waitlisted simply for a better category. Being # 7 there is a chance you'll get the oppt'y to move up.
Whatever happens, have a great first cruise and come bakc and let us know about it.
If I'm understanding you correctly, you have a confirmed booking for one cabin and are waitlisted for another? I would make sure your travel agent knows what you are thinking. If the balcony cabin becomes available, that may not automatically cancel out the booked cabin.