I am a travel consultant and I can offer a few comments.... I think that you have reason to be optimistic!
Did you reserve a guarantee stateroom? If so, I think your chances are especially good for a really nice upgrade. Most of my clients get upgrades of 5 or 6 categories and can go from a minimum inside to a top category. In almost 10 years in the industry, I can only remember a few occasions - less than five - when clients didn't get a really nice upgrade on their cabins. Holland America Line is a really lovely cruise line and they do their best to accommodate special requests, even on guarantee staterooms. Just recently, some clients did not want to be on the lowest deck and I made a note in their reservation of this special request. When the special request was not received, HAL was very kind and gracious and reviewed the room assignment. Ultimately, the clients' special request was accommodated and they were re-assigned to another deck.
Of course, these guarantees are not guaranteed, but I have rarely seen a guarantee stateroom category not receive some sort of an upgrade. By the way, the common wisdom is that a mid-ship location is the best - I like the staterooms that are located forward or aft because there are fewer people passing outside your door on a regular basis and it tends to be more quiet and private.
As a Travel Agent, I am sure you always advise your clients to always book (and pay for) the miniumum category cabin they can be happy with. To book less than that is to expect to get for nothing what others have paid for . You could be very disappointed to learn, when your documents arrive, that you were assigned exactly what you booked paid for.
We sail on the Oosterdam on FRIDAY, and still have no cabin assignment (booked as Guarantee W). Should we be nervous? When I called about 10 days ago, there were 2 restricted view outside cabins and nine with OK views. Do you EVER get upgraded to verandahs with just outside guarantee? We got our tickets DEEPLY discounted (2/3 inside price for W guarantee). Do they use cost as a basis for u/g decisions?
Anyone who has figured out the method of the "upgrade fairy" can make a bundle selling the secret to cruisers looking for all sorts of "better than they booked and paid for". To date, I have never read anyone who can predict who will be brushed by the "fairy's wand".
Steve...When you get to the dock, the Stevedores will have a manifest and can tell you your cabin number. Fill out your luggage tags and leave empty the space for cabin number. When the stevedore tells you the cabin number, you can quickly enter it onto your luggage tags.
Steve, you may want to go to the HAL site and check the immigration form online. Several other posts suggest checking there for your cabin number. You are now less than 7 days out and might find your cabin number there. You can also call HAL now and see if one has been assigned. Have a great cruise!
If you read the many posts on this subject on cruise critics forum (HAL board) you will find some very different experiences. But I know I rarely heard of someone getting a 5-7 category upgrade -- especially to a top level. But it may be dependent on the travel agency you use and their business with HAL as much as how full the ship is. This summer HAL drastically reduced the price of some of the top suites to ensure they were booked so I doubt there were few, if any, who got a free upgrade to a Cat S or PS unless perhaps an ocassional Cat SS booking. Personally I want to know what cabin I will be in and book what I want, check on fluctuating prizes before full payment is due, get decreased rate if and when available for the category I want, and do not depend on the upgrade fairy getting me anything. I am much happier that way and know what to expect as far as my cabin. Now we won't cruise on less than a Cat S on HAL, so we always book at least a Cat S.