Sorry, it doesn't happen. There was a time years ago that people did just that but those days are gone forever. Your best bet is to post in the Bargain Finder section of this website listing details of what you want and let the TA come to you. If, and this is a BIG if, you are very familiar with cruising and what all the details are and what is involved you may check out egghead.com in the auction section for cruises. Sometimes there are good deals, sometimes not, you really need to know what is involved to make an intelligent choice.
In the fall I was talking to the restaurant manager on the Celebrity Millennium. He told me he resides in Florida, and during his last vacation time, he indeed did just showed up at the pier, and managed to get on a Carnival ship last minute.
He didn't tell anyone who he was, or who he worked for. Simply went on to be a enjoy being a passenger. So, apparently it can happen, but U do need to be prepared to go home disappointed.
Kuki, Interesting in that I have never heard it actually happening. The question would be, however, at what price? Was there a big discount or did they sell it at regular rate? I would presume the only reason people inquire in standby is that they are anticipating a firesale rate. Was this the case?
The one thing we didn't get around to discussing in the conversation was the rate. I doubt someone in the business would be willing to overpay, but I have no way of knowing.
And, of course, you're right, I think anyone trying this would expect a fire sale rate.
If I lived in a port city I'd certainly be willing to try this in the interest of science<G>