Well, I finally made a decision. I am booked on the Holland Volendam for May 5th out of Vancouver. I am 29 yrs old and going alone. The ports will be Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. I am completely clueless on what i will do in the ports. Right now, I know that i will have to spend a couple hours in Juneau looking at their University. I am seriously considering the college and want to transfer up there in their Winter/Spring Semester.
For this cruise, I got a fairly good price and got my own cabin. I am paying a very low single supplemental % for having my own cabin. I am staying in an inside cabin. Right now, they have me down as a Guarentee L category. Only available cabins are at the front of the ship, back ones are taken. Since cabins are going fast, and i want a cabin in the back or middle, she said if I went with a Guarentee, I would most likely be bumped up. There was no additional cost going guarentee. I end up booking this through the cruise dept at my parents timeshare.
Now, i am just trying to figure out about getting a hotel in Vancouver for the night before the cruise. I know I will take amtrak up to Vancouver the day before I board. Any good hotels somewhere between amtrak and Canada Place (where i get on the cruise).
Anyone else going this time as well. What will the weather be like? I have traveled many times on my own but never on a cruise, so this will be the first for me. I love the idea of only unpacking once and going to bed and waking up in a new port. Plus, this cruise will go up to Glacier Bay which i heard is great.
"Since cabins are going fast, and I want a cabin in the back or middle, she said if I went with a Guarantee, I would most likely be bumped up."
I'm not sure your travel agent has adequately explained a Guarantee to you and is leading you to believe that since you 'want' a back or middle cabin that your wish will be honored and they will bump you up to provide that location for you. NOT SO. All you are buying with a Guarantee is a cabin in a category not less than what you paid for, in this case an L. Yes, you might get bumped up if all L's are sold out to people booking specific cabins. But all the cruiseline is obligated to do is give you no less than an L cabin, and that L cabin could be the most forward cabin on the ship. If that is what happens you have no right to complain because you booked an L Guarantee which means ANY L cabin on the ship.
No one should ever book a Guarantee w/out being prepared to happily except any cabin in the category of their Guarantee. If you really only want an aft or midship cabin, then you must book a specific cabin and not a Category Guarantee. That is why a Guarantee is cheaper. I could be reading your post wrong, but it sounds like the TA is leading you to think that the cruiseline is going to find you what you want in a higher category if necessary and that is just not how a guarantee works.
I just got off the phone with HAL. The rep told me that since I booked a Guarentee L category and request to be in the middle or back of the ship. If the L Category in the back is booked, she said they would most likely bump me up to the next category to meet my request. She said they will do whatever makes the customer happy on the ship. She suggested that i make a request through my travel agent which is already done.
I did the guarentee because all of the L cabins are either in the front or back. The worst thing that would happen is if i get one in the front. The best thing is that i would get one in the back or upgrade up to the next level. IF i picked my own cabin, the only option would be the front. So, I am not losing anything. Either way it will be in the L category. The agent also mentioned that sometimes cabins open up in the back and if that is the case, i would get that.
It sounds like they would meet my request to make me happy, even if they have to bump me up to the next level. Going guarentee is not cheaper. I did some research and AAA charged $76 to do that. While my timeshare doesn't charge extra.
Thanks. I am so new to cruising. I wish there was some type of book called "dummies to cruising guide"
I agree with Peaches - hope you got the HAL reps name - don't believe everything that you are told. The statement that "we will do anything to make you happy" actually makes me laugh.
There was a family on board our ship last week who were furious with HAL. They said they ALWAYS book the lowest Guarantee cabin and are always bumped up. Well, guess what - didn't happen this time. On another cruise we met a couple who did the same thing, lowest Guarantee and guess where they were put - furthest cabin at the bow of the ship and they said every time the anchor was dropped they thought it was coming through their room.
I am sure you will be comfortable in any cabin you get and do have a great time. Volendam is a lovely ship and the crew are great. Sailed on her 3 times in the last year and loved it. Alaska is so beautiful. Make sure you take the White Pass & Yukon Rail excursion. It was fantastic and the scenery is breathtaking.
We took an excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, went to a Salmon Bake (delicious), wandered around Juneau and Ketchikan and just enjoyed ourselves, although we did have rain in these 2 ports but that didn't stop us.
Remember to take clothes that you can layer. In Skagway the morning was quite cool and by the afternoon when we went on the train (1pm excursion) I wore light cotton pants, short sleeved blouse and a light cardigan. We had a bright, warm sunny day. Also make sure you take gloves and a hat and possibly a scarf as it could be cold in May. With Alaska weather you never know.
The Volendam has a pool mid-ship with a retractable roof, so if you like to swim, make sure you take a bathing suit - the water is heated.