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Old May 21st, 2016, 04:37 PM
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Smile Booking the day of departure?

Does anyone know if the days of booking cruises the day of are still around or long gone? If anyone has recent experiences, I'd love to hear them! Looking for a 6+ day cruise this summer and are considering all of our options for the cheapest fare.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 05:49 PM
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they may be long gone you might be able to book the day or two before
if you live in the port city or close enough to arrive on short notice you can sometimes get a cabin
I would sign up with the cruise lines under "special deals " they send out emails to those people you can travel short notice
Most of the time the ships sail pretty full or the prices can rise closer to sailing
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Old May 21st, 2016, 07:20 PM
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Can no longer book a cruise less than 48 hours prior to sailing. But if you think you'll get a better rate 3 days prior to sailing than if you book it months in advance, you're in for a rude awakening.

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Old May 21st, 2016, 09:26 PM
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I remember standing in a terminal, when two passengers who had just disembarked one cruise, were trying to get on our cruise...long gone are those days...
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Old May 26th, 2016, 11:43 PM
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During the summer this may be next to impossible. I'm hearing from other cruise "talk" web sites of many cruises already being sold out for July and August.
Though actually it may not be completely impossible as some ports allow cruise lines to maintain a last minute approved to sail but not booked list (aka stand-by passengers), for last minute cancellations.
Before a cruise last year out of NOLA we talked to the owner of the B&B we stayed at prior to sailing and she told us she sailed frequently w/ RCI as a standby guest getting deals on 7 day outings for as little as $75 + port fees and taxes.
Here's the catch though, you needed to be a prior passenger w/ that cruise line and possibly have had sailed from that port then have your cruise line associated vacation planner/consultant get you on the standby list and tell them which weeks you were available to sail. Then the process, least in NOLA, was early on the turn around day (like 8 am) she would need to go to the port terminal w/ carry-on only bags and passport in hand. As a stand-by customer she needed to confirm that she was pre-vetted by the appropriate government agencies by the cruise line w/ the terminal staff to get her name on their ready to sail list, that as they confirmed travel related cancellations and out-n-out no shows they would match the now to be vacant cabins with those waiting in the order the signed up on the list (just like restaurant matching table request to waiting customers). If a cabin matching what she needed/wanted (she travels solo so it easy for her to take any cabin) became available she would be escorted by a RCI representative to a back office to fill out booking info then making her full (special rate) fare payment including pre-paying the hotel service charge (aka auto-grats), receive a boarding pass then proceed to do the security check and physical check-in. Now sometimes she would be there in a waiting room right up to the cut off point (1.5 hours prior to cast off about sometime around 3:30 pm) for pre-boarding processing before being told yea or nay to getting on the cruise. Some times she would arrive at the terminal only to find out the cruise line rep did not get her pre-vetted with DHS or the CBP as a stand-by for that cruise.
Honestly, if true and not just a story for her guests, for those retired or with very flexible travel plans living in or near a port city, this is a great deal because it sounds like you can get as much as 90% off the highest offered fare, especial for those that can deal with the disappointment after spending most of a day of waiting in a terminal & not getting to cruise. For most work-a-day and family types there are just to many what-ifs to squander almost a whole day of their perhaps assigned (or hard fought for) vacation time on the possibility of being left in the departure port w/ no reservations for a local hotel or plans for activities.

Last edited by maryred; May 26th, 2016 at 11:48 PM. Reason: syntex
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