You can tell we're really new at this. We're going to Alaska in August for our 15-year anniversary (w/out the kids!). We have never cruised before, or done anything fancy for that matter. We currently have an inside cabin, MM category, booked as "guaranteed". We did that mostly for price considerations, but also figuring we could just use the common area decks for viewing. Now all your messages are making me dream of a verandah. We're already booked, and this along w/ the fact we're not Mariners makes it look like most upgrade promos wouldn't apply to us. We booked through AAA and have a travel agent there.
Can anyone give me advice on upgrades, and how much we'd have to pay for a verandah from the MM we have now? Is it better to wait until close to sailing or try now? We will be thrilled with whatever we get, so are very willing to risk waiting 'til the last minute and ending up w/ what we originally booked. I really appreciate any advice you experienced folks could give. Thanks!
Don't worry about it. Since you have booked your cruise so far in advance and have booked a guaranteed there is a good chance you will be upgraded. It's often easier for HAL to sell the cheaper catagories last minute and upgrade passengers who book early. That way they are able to fill a ship. Also HAL has a pricing policy that they offer your cruise and category on sale at a rate that is lower then 10% of what you paid you are entitled to the discounted amount or they will offer you an upgrade. (one note this doesn't apply to non-refundable prices) Keep an eye on the pricing and ask your AAA travel agent to get you the details.
We booked a BC (balcony guaranteed) 4 weeks ago for a March 5th trip on the Volendam and received a category A verandah suite. We are looking forward to our trip!!
Just to get your juices flowing...We booked a oceanview guaranteed on Celebrity 3 years ago and were assigned the Royal Suite..600 square feet, butler, all kinds of VIP treatment, etc. Since that experience, we have only booked guaranteed staterooms as our experience is you always get upgraded.
I am also booked for an Alaska cruise on May 5th on Volendam. I booked a L Guarentee. I just checked a couple days ago and found out everything in L is completely booked as well as the next category above. I booked this cruise in December, so I hope that I do get upgraded. The majority of the cruise is booked. I am keeping my fingers crossed. This is my first cruise and I am 29 yrs old.
Wow! I didn't know I might automatically get an upgrade. That's really cool! I also finally figured out how to spell Zaandam. Thanks for sharing the info. I really can't wait. Is it always this exciting, or just your 1st cruise? Hopefull, it's like marriage and just keeps getting better and better so you're hooked for life (if you get the right person, that is). Maybe I'll see some of you in August.
You must have been born under a LUCKY STAR. I can honestly say I have never recieved upgrades like this in during my 15 cruises. We have booked garantee's and early booking too. We have also done cruises during the SLOW times of the year, meaning May, September, October. Our next one is on the Zuiderdam in May. Booked a BB (BALCONY) garantee. During my previous cruises we got upgraded to a cabin right under the stage! It was HORRIBLE. Oh, and the ship was sold out, so no change allowed. Another time we were upgraded from an inside to an outside, aft 3 cabins from the end of the ship. The vibration was deafening. This is just a reminder that Not all upgrades are good!
Ladies - don't get your hopes up about being upgraded. Only once in over 40 cruises with HAL have I been upgraded and that was from a B to an A - all we did was move from the stern to the middle of the ship. Same cabin, same amenities.
Our upgrades have been on trips where we booked late (within 45 days of departure). On the Celebrity cruise where we were upgraded to the best suite on the ship, my wife had prebooked a delux spa treatment and we were coming from California. We guessed that Celebrity was looking for big spenders (spending on spas and travelling longer distances) and upgraded accordingly. I also made a point of telling the travel agent that we had been on luxury cruises previously hoping that the lines would try to entice us. It's all business on the cruiselines' part. It doesn't cost them anymore to put someone in a nicer cabin that would otherwise go empty...they do it on the belief that by upgrading the "right" person, they will get repeat business which they do!!!
If you really want a verandah call your TA and ask her how much it would cost.
Don't count on being upgraded to a verandah. Going from an MM to a verandah is probably not going to happen.
I looked on Hal's site, but you didn't post the date or ship. I looked at a couple on the Statendam and they had A and B available. 2500 - 2600 + per person. Your TA should be able to do better than Hal's price. This is a big jump from the MM I saw for 1257.
Verandahs sell out on many Alaskan cruises so if you really want one talk to your TA.
Thanks, Gizmo. How do I check what's full on the ship? I think I did it once, but now I can't remember how! I'm on the 8/7 Zaandam to Alaska. After I look at what's available, I'll call my TA and see what she can do for us.
If you go to Hal's site hollandamerica.com, select your desination then your month/year and ship. All the cruises for that month and ship will appear. Click on Price next to your cruise and select an airport on the screen. All the categories will appear and show you what is available. If it says closed, no cabins in hat category.
You can do the same thing with many of the .com sites.
I took a look at your cruise. Many categories are sold out. They do have A at 2521 and B at 2446 Per Person. These are non mariner prices.
The mariner prices were 2456 for an A and 2383 for a B. A and B cabins are the same. The only difference is location.
I priced it at cruisevacationcenter.com. They only had 1 B cabin listed and it was 1915 Per Person. The A had a lot of cabins listed at 1972 Per Person.
I looked at cruise -n more and they only showed a B at 1898.
WOW! I got on there (thanks to your instructions, I forgot to click "price"). We paid $812 pp before port charges, etc. for our MM (came out to $2,000 for us both w/ all taxes, port charges, etc), which is sure a lot less than the $1,603.64 listed on there now!
I would watch pricing on the internet travel sites. Last year we were able to get a full suite on the Amsterdam for $1500 P.P. We booked in late March for a late June cruise. The prices will go down very soon as vacancies are not filled close to final payment due date. You can always rebook your cabin if you find a better rate on a better cabin. It is always best to make all changes prior to final due date of paymernt. Otherwise they may or may not make the necessary changes at the better rate.
I just booked a BC guarantee on the Zuiderdam. They only have 4 cabins in this category and all are booked. These BC cabins are verandah cabins but with showers only in the bow. I will make a bet that we will be upgraded. ANY verandah cabin would be better then these.
I have booked a guarantee twice before with HAL. Went from inside to outside cabin once. Second time went from outside to mini-suite.
However, there are no guarantees that you will be upgraded. I always book what I will be happy with. If I am upgraded, great. Luckily, I have been happy with my upgrades.
Sounds like you will be happy with whatever you get also.
65+ cruises on over 10 cruiselines.
Celebrity Mercury 09-24-07
HAL Veendam 12-16-07
PCL Golden Princess 04-19-08
Cunard QM2 11-29-08
CCL Splendor 04-26-09
Thanks for all your advice. It's nice to know about checking for changes in price prior to when our final payment's due in May. I've been checking HAL's site, and the prices are certainly not going down anywhere near what we paid in Jan. I'm getting so excited! Is it too early to start a countdown for August.
Just another point of view - our first cruise I talked my husband into an outside cabin (also to Alaska). I imagined us sitting on the loveseat drinking wine and enjoying the view. This just never happened. When we were in our room, we were doing things that didn't require a view - we much preferred being on deck or in a lounge when we wanted to relax or read or chat.
Our second cruise we got an inside cabin and we loved it. Completely dark at night and very very quiet. It was like a cocoon. I thought I'd be claustropobic - but not at all!
We will always book an inside cabin from now on - we prefer it and its so much cheaper!
So, you may find you really like an inside cabin if you decide not to upgrade.
And, Alaska is AWESOME! Would do it again in a heartbeat.
Congratulations on your first cruise! You've received some superb advice and comments here, one of the reasons why I love this forum. I've asked some very elementary questions and people have answered with kindness and respect.
My husband and I took our first cruise in 2002 and we loved every minute of it. We were so exhilarated with the ship, with the activity, with the fact that we did not have to do our everyday chores that I am certain we would have been delighted if we had had nothing but a cot and a toilet!
I think that you'll have a wonderful time.
We are going to Alaska on the Volendam on June 30th.
I found that getting anything more than an inside cabin can be very costly and dangerous. For 25 plus cruises we took the cabin with the lowest price and were occasionally upgraded. Then for our 50th I got a Deluxe Verandah Suite and now she won't let me book anything less!