I am an airline employee so I don't know if this is true for everyone or just interline people. I was told by a Carnival agent that I can just show up to the cruise port the day of the cruise and if someone does not show up for the cruise I can take their room for just the taxes. Has anyone else heard of this? He did warn me that if the missing passenger meets the cruise at another port "if they missed due to a flight issue". I would be bumped off the cruise without any consideration. I am completely willing to take that gamble but don't want to show up at the cruise port and have someone tell me they have never heard of that before.
I have looked into this issue somewhat - from what I have found out the cruise Line has to submit their passenger minifest to the Dept Homeland Sec only about one hour before sail away - so if you get to the pier and are somehow able to get into the reservations area (most cruise ships require you to have cruise documents before you are allowed in the building) then you may be able to get a cabin for a discount.
I have never heard the "taxes only" comment before, but I have heard "substantial discounts."
A questioned this pretty strictly and a few people swore they had done this, so I guess it is possible if you live in Florida.
Now - as far as them selling you a stateroom that is empty only because someone missed the ship - that I do not know about, but I have never heard of this. If they did put you in an already sold stateroom just assuming the person missed the ship, then they would have to accomodate the person if they showed up late.
If someone did pay for a cruise, miss the sailaway and show up at the ship late then they should be allowed to occupy the stateroom they paid for - (reservations always indicate a specific stateroom). If there was no alternative then I am guessing you would be bumped to different cabin - or have to leave the ship.
Thanks for the feedback. That sounds like exactly what he told me. The fact that I would need something to get in the reservations area does worry me a bit. I may contact him back to get clarification. With being able to fly for free I don't mind making the trip if there is a chance for an "almost free" cruise. Just don't want to be turned away because they say there is no such thing. I did call a general sales agent at Royal and they deny it can be done. One of them said they have to turn the manifest in like a week in advance or some crazy lie.
The normal response you get to this question is "no, it can't be done" because they do not want people thinking it is possible. Their goal is to sell out ships as far in advance as possible, and they do in most cases.
It is a long shot - I m just saying that I asked in depth to find anyone who had done it and few people came forward and said they had done it the same day - within the last two years.
Just an FYI for anyone who might try this. I showed up for the cruise and they let me through to speak with a supervisor who claimed it was not possibly to stand by for just taxes. He said if anyone did not show up for the cruise and a room was available it would be over $1200 even if it was an inside cabin. I personally think the guy was full of it since I could have bought a cabin for $379pp just a day earlier. I had a good time in PR for a few days anyway.
I used to "show up' at the port occasionally, luggage in hand, and get last minute deals on cruises, but that's been a while. It certainly wasn't for "taxes only" but was a GREAT deal, none the less. We haven't done that in quite a long time however.
On a very recent cruise, our cabin was sold "on the pier" and we were upgraded. We didn't mind that so much, but apparently, all that didn't happen until after we had checked in, and the "new occupants" of our cabin came into our cabin, after we were checked in, and sitting on the bed. (Glad we were just "sitting" on the bed!) There was quite a bit of confusion at first, until someone at the pursers desk figured it all out, and they moved our luggage to the new cabin.
As I said - the usual answer you will get is "it can't be done." There are certain policies that are not revealed by the cruise lines to the general public and this is one of them.
I have had people tell me they showed up and purchased a cabin the same day as a ship is sailing. However, most ships are sold out when they sail, and there real security restrictions. So at best, I would say the answer it "yes, it may be possible, depending on the circumstances."
If a ship has plenty of room, and is going on a simple itinerary, you may just happen to talk to the right person in the reservation department who knows what strings to pull to get this done and he may just have the time to get it done.
But I suspect most workers at the pier are advised that it can't be done, because most of the time they are very busy and the process is too complicated, so workers are directed to tell the people who walk in and ask that it cannot be done. Certainly, if you ask officially in advance you will be told it can't be done.