Unless you are booking a guarantee in a category, you pick your cabin when you book.
SS Norway (12 times) '85 - '97; Radiance OS 06/01; Island Princess 11/04, Grand Princess 11/04/05, Golden Princess 7/21/06, Golden Princess 2/24/07, Explorer of the Seas 12/23/07, Island Princess 11/15/08
Unless you have chosen the guarantee which means the cruise line will assign any available cabin in the balcony category definitely pick a room. There are many considerations as they say location... location... location. And like many repeat cruisers we have our favorite areas on the ship. Unless you like the noise of passengers late at night be careful booking to close to elevators. Be careful of balcony rooms directly under the Horizon Court. Also Princess ships have self-service laundries and sometimes on long trips there is a gathering around there that can become friendly but noisy. Lower balconies have others above and sometimes ashes and cigarette butts from smokers above can litter your balcony – this from several personal experiences. Depending on the configuration of the ship some lower level balcony rooms actually have larger balconies - usually the level above the deck of mini-suites. But those balconies are open to all the levels above so be careful with your choice of activities while on the balcony. Check each ship diagram for the difference deck layouts since there is a variety. The SUN deck on the Crown has no cabins but the SUN deck on the Dawn has cabins. But any room with a balcony is better than no balcony. Do your homework since you will be spending time in the cabin not your travel agent. Pick a few and tell your travel agent your choices. After all you know what you like more than they do.
Thanks. I must be dense because I don't understand what you all mean by "guarantee." I am not dealing directly with the travel agent... my husband is handling it... so I'm sure she could explain it.
The concept of "guarantee" is quite simple. The cruise line guarantees that you will have a cabin no lower than a certain category, but does not assign a specific cabin at the time of booking. The fares for a "guarantee" are considerably lower than for an assigned cabin of the same category, and your chances of an upgrade to a higher category than the minimum of the guarantee are very high.
Backing up a step, cruise lines offer these "guarantee" bookings because they know, statistically, that a certain percentage of passengers invariably must cancel at the end of the booking cycle. They assign the "guarantee" bookings to the vacated cabins as they receive the cancellations. The assignment might occur before the cruise line issues your ticket (in which case the cabin assignment will appear on the ticket) or not (in which case you probably will receive a separate phone call from your travel agent a couple days before embarkation to inform you of your cabin number).
This process might sound similar to the airlines' custom of "overbooking" flights based on knowledge that a certain percentage of passengers do not show up, but there are a couple significant differences.
>> 1. From a statistical perspective, the number of cancellations on a cruise ship is much more predictable because the cruise ship carries a lot more passengers.
>> 2. The cruise lines do hold a few cabins open for contingencies, so they can use those cabins to accommodate "guarantee" bookings in a pinch.
>> 3. The cruise lines do not push the "overbooking" concept to the same extent as the airlines, but rather limit the "guarantee" bookings to the number that they are confident that they can accommodate.
As a result of these differences, it's extremely rare for a cruise line to "bump" passengers due to overbooking.
I actually prefer to book a "guarantee" rather than an assigned cabin to take advantage of the lower fare. On a couple Princess cruises, my "Guarantee Inside" booking has netted me an upgrade to an outside cabin with a balcony!
Originally Posted by You
I agree that I need to communicate my wishes about a room, as the last poster suggested, but I am not sure how to do this since the travel agent said "they don't assign the rooms."
Also, even though I know what I want ... I have no idea where that would be on the ship.
So I'd love some suggestions about which deck to choose, etc. Thanks!
On a "guarantee" booking, what you want is irrelevant. You have to take what you get. If you want a specific category of cabin (or better), book a guarantee for at least that category.
Regarding which area of ship
Any balcony is better then none
We have been forward, middle and back of ship
Everyone has favorite or preferred spots
Something to think about
Most eating is in the lower middle or back
Theater is in front
Activities middle (pool)
Always will be on the wrong end of ship when you need that forgotten item
Being on the docking side is interesting to watch all the port action
Port side of ship is not always the docking side. Think it’s a 50/50 guess
Have guessed wrong before and watched the water while docked
In the long run it will be the neighbors that will make a balcony enjoyable
Remember someone could be above your balcony watching
Seen it all
We just came back from a Christmas cruise on Dawn Princess. We were on the Caribe deck, #418. Beware -- there are different size balconies, which we didn't realize. We had been used to having a sofa in the room. There was no room for a sofa, and only 1 chair. This cabin was very cramped -- only one of us could move around the cabin at a time -- and the balcony itself was smaller than what we had on the Tahitian Princess. I would call Princess and ask what balcony cabins are available and the square footage of each. We learned our lesson, so when we got back home, I talked to Princess about our upcoming cruise in February to Antarctica on Star Princess. The outcome, after a very friendly (i.e. not confrontational) talk with the agent, we were upgraded to a mini-suite with balcony for only an additional $600 for both of us!
Speaking of Antarctica, I'm still waiting for some advice about what clothes to pack as we will be in Buenos Aires when it's in the mid-80's, then down to Cape Horn and Antarctica where it's in the 30's. I always pack too much, so could use some help!