Trying to understand the "guarantee" reservation

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#1
450 Posts
Joined May 2001
I often see posts where people talk about having a "guarantee" cabin in a specific category, but needing to wait for a cabin assignment. I'm wondering why someone would book a "guarantee". Is the ship sold out and they still want to cruise? If there is a difference in price, I'm interested in knowing how to book a guarantee at a lower price.

Thanks.
#2
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,128 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
At times guarantees may be the only choice available. Sometimes the price may be a bit lower. Or, some hope for a upgrade. I have booked guarantees many times. With that said, when you book a guarantee you must be willing to accept you could be booked in the worst cabin on the ship. A guarantee means the cruise line assigns your room instead of you choosing it. With Celebrity, when the guarantee is assigned, you may request a change within the same category IF there is availability. This has worked well for us. It's been a few years since I have cruised with HAL so I am not sure what their policy is. We chose our room for our upcoming HAL cruise, J1043, an inside.
I hope this helps!
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#3
AZ
4,238 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Generally, the guarantee bookings are somewhat lower in price than a specific cabin because you never know where that final cabin assignment will be on the ship. It could be a nice location or a not-so-nice location, thus the lower price. You take a bit of risk, exchanging lower price for an unknown location.
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#4
Battle Ground, WA
566 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
A guarantee says "I will accept any cabin in this class (i.e. interior, ocean view, veranda, etc.) or higher". Often we will book a BC (lowest priced Vista suite, forward or aft) and get upgraded to a B (Vista mid-ships). Note that with a Guarantee you do not get to choose which deck you will be on, if the class you choose is on multiple decks, nor the side of the ship you will be on.
One other thing to consider is that you will probably not get your cabin assignment until 5 to 10 days before sailing.
#5
2,432 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
HAL guarantees are the same price as specific cabins. Guarantee cabins are booked at a specific level or category and HAL assigns you a cabin that is at that category or higher. Example: If you book a J guarantee and pay the same price as a specific J cabin. HAL will then assign you a cabin that is at the J level or higher. The cabin is usually assigned about a week or two before sailing, but occasionally it is assigned several weeks before or as close as embarkation day. We have always booked guarantees until our upcoming cruise. We've usually been assigned a cabin at a slightly higher category and have been happy with all our cabin assignments. Our upcoming cruise is the first specific cabin we've ever booked. It seemed best for this cruise, but most likely we'll go back to booking guarantees.
Different cruise lines have different guarantee practices. My post explains how it works with HAL. We've done 21 HAL cruises in a guarantee cabin, so I do know how it works with HAL.
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Jemima
#6
Palm City, Fl
4,076 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by FlorenceItaly
when you book a guarantee you must be willing to accept you could be booked in the worst cabin on the ship.
Respectfully, this is the worst description of a guarantee that I have ever read on CC.

You can book a guarantee in any category on the ship, so if I book a balcony guarantee, I will get a balcony room or better. How is that the worst cabin on the ship?

To the OP....booking a guarantee is an opportunity to receive an upgrade for no additional cost. At the least you will get a cabin in the category that you booked a guarantee.

Example: We booked a BD balcony on the Ruby Princess a few years back. We received a BA cabin assignment....a better location that would have added several $$ to our fare but the upgrade was 'no charge'. We were happy!

Most of our guarantees have led to upgraded cabins, but when it did not, we were quite satisfied with our quarters.
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#7
Warwick, R.I. , USA
38,249 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by FlorenceItaly
We chose our room for our upcoming HAL cruise, J1043, an inside.
Assuming it's a Vista or Pinnacle ship, that's an excellent choice.
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#8
Warwick, R.I. , USA
38,249 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by Jemima
HAL guarantees are the same price as specific cabins. Guarantee cabins are booked at a specific level or category and HAL assigns you a cabin that is at that category or higher.
This is correct. There is no lower price in booking a guarantee over an assigned cabin. The potential for an upgrade without additional charge appears to be greater with a guarantee, however.
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CCASE/LSSE

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#9
107,559 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
JMO -- but I would prefer to book a cabin in a location that I like.


That way there are no surprises -- a few people here have reported that they were not happy with the cabin assignment they received when they booked a guarantee.
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#10
New Cumberland,PA, USA
27,700 Posts
Joined May 2000
Common sense would seem to say that one should choose a cabin in the location desired. Many cruisers spend lots of time gazing at a deck plan and carefully choosing their cabin. We have been cruising for around fifty years (like many HAL cruisers) and used to carefully choose our cabin. But we also did a few guarantees because it was all that was available or the price made it worthwhile. We discovered that even the most carefully chosen cabin might have major issues such as noisy neighbors, an awful squeak, bad A/C, etc. After lots of cruises we realized that our guarantees were fine, often got us nice upgrades, and the cabins were fine. We are not choosy as to location so that is not a big factor. On our most recent HAL cruise (VOV) some of our friends had carefully chosen cabins (some were suites) and all had issues with plumbing, A/C, noise, etc. Meanwhile, we were in our much lower cost (we are talking thousands of dollars) guarantee, and had a wonderful cabin. It was pretty quiet, A/C was near perfect, our stewards were terrific, etc. So, all things being equal we would still choose our cabin...but to us, a guarantee is no biggie and its fun to see what we get.

Hank
#11
FL
429 Posts
Joined Nov 2013
I had my best upgrade and upsell on my first two cruises - while I don't know why I haven't made out as well with GTY bookings since then, I tend to think a newbie should book GTY, if at all inclined.
#13
USA
324 Posts
Joined May 2016
Originally posted by calteacher
So, if the price is just as if I were booking a cabin, how do I indicate that I am booking a "guarantee"?
On the hal website there is an option to choose your cabin or let hal pick for you. If you are going through a ta you would tell them you'll take a guarantee. You decide at which level you want the guarantee.
#14
Raleigh, N.C.
12,033 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Originally posted by RuthC
This is correct. There is no lower price in booking a guarantee over an assigned cabin. The potential for an upgrade without additional charge appears to be greater with a guarantee, however.
But there is an advantage when there's not a specific cabin available but HAL is still taking reservations for guarantees. For instance, I just checked out a last-minute booking on the Veendam. To book a specific ocean view cabin would be more than twice the price of booking a guarantee ocean view.
#15
NM Northern Mts
3,946 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by geoherb
But there is an advantage when there's not a specific cabin available but HAL is still taking reservations for guarantees. For instance, I just checked out a last-minute booking on the Veendam. To book a specific ocean view cabin would be more than twice the price of booking a guarantee ocean view.
Yes, we booked for October in May and the category we wanted was not available, and to upgrade slightly to a location not much different cost a LOT more, so we booked the Guarantee for the category we wanted and rolled the dice. We will be on the ship! and we have had some nice rooms assigned on guarantee bookings.

The cruise line may overbook some categories and having people book guarantees gives them some flexibility in case some category is overbooked, and some may be underbooked. Usually there can be some very good deals last minute to entice people to book at good rates to fill the ship, but sometimes the ships of sold out well in advance, especially true for popular itineraries with no competition.

m--
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#16
New Jersey
8,987 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Jemima
HAL guarantees are the same price as specific cabins. Guarantee cabins are booked at a specific level or category and HAL assigns you a cabin that is at that category or higher. Example: If you book a J guarantee and pay the same price as a specific J cabin. HAL will then assign you a cabin that is at the J level or higher. The cabin is usually assigned about a week or two before sailing, but occasionally it is assigned several weeks before or as close as embarkation day. We have always booked guarantees until our upcoming cruise. We've usually been assigned a cabin at a slightly higher category and have been happy with all our cabin assignments. Our upcoming cruise is the first specific cabin we've ever booked. It seemed best for this cruise, but most likely we'll go back to booking guarantees.
Different cruise lines have different guarantee practices. My post explains how it works with HAL. We've done 21 HAL cruises in a guarantee cabin, so I do know how it works with HAL.
Excellent explanation! I was surprised when I learned that HAL's guarantees are no cheaper than choosing a cabin (except for last-minute deals).

The thing to think about for someone who has never done a guarantee is will you be happy at the level you've booked. Every once in a while, we see a post from someone who booked a guarantee and assumed there would be an upgrade, and then was unhappy when the upgrade didn't happen. So, for the OP, look at the deck plans. If you book a J guarantee (to use Jemima's example), you won't get lower than a J. But are you going to be OK with a J cabin? Don't book a category that is less than you can live with.
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#17
450 Posts
Joined May 2001
Thanks for the explanations. We are almost at 200 days with HAL but have nearly always booked the cabin we felt we could afford given the itinerary, etc. A couple of times the price went down after final payment and we were able to upgrade for a very small amount (not an upsell from HAL, we just saw the lower price and our TA was able to help us spend a little more and get a lot more.) I was just curious as to how you would go reserving a guarantee.

The one time we booked an SZ, it was a guarantee, and it was after final payment. But I was on pins and needles until we actually got a cabin assignment. It was the one time we got an upgrade and it was for an SA. And, we only received it 3-4 days before sailing. This was a "spur of the moment" 7-day cruise. Not sure I would do that for a longer cruise or one that involved expensive flights.
#18
Alicante, Spain
5,681 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by RuthC
This is correct. There is no lower price in booking a guarantee over an assigned cabin. The potential for an upgrade without additional charge appears to be greater with a guarantee, however.
Not 100% correct Ruth.

On my upcoming cruise on the Veendam I booked my first guarantee cabin. I wanted a Neptune (SA). My TA said why not book a guaranteed SB. It was quite a bit cheaper than an SA.

There are only two SB suites on the Veendam. Either of these are acceptable to me but with only two of them we stand a good chance of getting an SA.

If that is the case I won't mind where it is but I will have saved quite a bit of money.
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#19
New Brunswick
41,535 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by geoherb
But there is an advantage when there's not a specific cabin available but HAL is still taking reservations for guarantees. For instance, I just checked out a last-minute booking on the Veendam. To book a specific ocean view cabin would be more than twice the price of booking a guarantee ocean view.
I have seen this as well when it is past final payment time. Not all the time, but I have noticed that on some sailings the guarantee pricing was cheaper than the rates shown if you select a cabin.

Now, those guarantees could be for a lower category than what is available to select a cabin, not sure.

But there was a significant pricing difference.
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#20
Central Florida
965 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
You need to think about what is most important to you. If you are prone to seasickness, and require a midship cabin, booking a guarantee is probably not the best idea. If you are assigned a cabin that is located fully forward on the ship, you will probably be miserable.
If you have a disability and require a cabin close to the elevators, dining area, etc., choosing a guarantee cabin may result in a very long walk.
Or if you are a light sleeper, your cabin might be located below the galley, where they may be working late into the night and early in the morning.
If cabin location is not that important to you, then it is probably a risk worth taking.


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