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zry900402

Limiting availability for 3-4 people in one room

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Hi everyone, I'm really looking for some help from cruisers who have more experience with Princess, as we have never cruised with Princess before and have never seen this issue with other cruise lines. We typically cruise with Norwegian and Carnival, but thought we would try Princess for the Alaska cruise that we are trying to plan for Sep next year. We really want to go on the Island Princess since we liked the itinerary and it departs on Wednesday which fits in our schedule well. We have 3 people in our family and we want to stay in one interior room together because we would rather spend our limited budget on excursions. But here is the problem, when I try to do a booking online with 3 guests, it shows that all interior rooms and oceanview rooms are sold out, not just for one sailing, but for every single sailing on the Island Princess for the entire season. When I go back and change to 2 guests, it then shows a lot of opening for interior rooms, and majority of them have the symbol on them that indicates capacity for 3rd or 4th guest. This is also not the case for sailings outside of Alaska, the Panama Canal sailings shows plenty of availability for 3 guests in interior rooms.  It appears to me that Princess is intentionally blocking people from booking more than 2 people in any room cheaper than a balcony for the Island Princess Alaska sailings. Is this a common thing with Princess? Is there any theory on why this is happening? Will they open up availability for 3 people interior rooms as the date get closer if the ship doesn't fill up? This is creating a huge price difference for us and we might be forced to book with another line. 

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Wow! That’s interesting. I just double-checked the IP and she seems to have far fewer inside cabins than other ships. I believe she has just a few inside cabins with 3-4 passengers so it’s possible that those are sold.

 

I’d check with my TA. A good TA that books a lot of Princess cruises can help you and since Princess allows them to discount fares, you can save money. 

 

It’s possible that a cabin will become available if someone cancels. The best pricing is well before now and Alaskan cruises are usually completely sold out well in advance. 

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I would also call & maybe ask for a guarantee inside during the 3FF sale. 

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8 minutes ago, Ombud said:

I would also call & maybe ask for a guarantee inside during the 3FF sale. 

You can't book a guarantee with 3 people.

 

I wonder with the modifications in the ship, if they are unable to put 3 in many of those cabins. I would still call Princess to find out.

Edited by Coral

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43 minutes ago, zry900402 said:

Hi everyone, I'm really looking for some help from cruisers who have more experience with Princess, as we have never cruised with Princess before and have never seen this issue with other cruise lines. We typically cruise with Norwegian and Carnival, but thought we would try Princess for the Alaska cruise that we are trying to plan for Sep next year. We really want to go on the Island Princess since we liked the itinerary and it departs on Wednesday which fits in our schedule well. We have 3 people in our family and we want to stay in one interior room together because we would rather spend our limited budget on excursions. But here is the problem, when I try to do a booking online with 3 guests, it shows that all interior rooms and oceanview rooms are sold out, not just for one sailing, but for every single sailing on the Island Princess for the entire season. When I go back and change to 2 guests, it then shows a lot of opening for interior rooms, and majority of them have the symbol on them that indicates capacity for 3rd or 4th guest. This is also not the case for sailings outside of Alaska, the Panama Canal sailings shows plenty of availability for 3 guests in interior rooms.  It appears to me that Princess is intentionally blocking people from booking more than 2 people in any room cheaper than a balcony for the Island Princess Alaska sailings. Is this a common thing with Princess? Is there any theory on why this is happening? Will they open up availability for 3 people interior rooms as the date get closer if the ship doesn't fill up? This is creating a huge price difference for us and we might be forced to book with another line. 

They could be.  It also could be based upon the number of 3-4 passenger rooms already booked. A cruise line will not put 4 people in a room, if it means that they will have to leave another room empty.  A ship has a max capacity limit. They, in general, do not have the capacity to fill every 3-4 person rooms with 4 people.  If they are running ahead of projections in their revenue model with 3-4 bookings, they will limit new ones, especially in low revenue rooms.

 

Since Alaska is prone to family travel it tends to be cruises where max capacity comes in play as an impact upon revenue.

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Keep in mind that the Island Princess was modified.  When the Island and Coral was built they had a 2 berth capacity of 1970. The Island was then modified increasing two berth capacity to 2200. According to icruise.com both ships are still listed as having 2214 max capacity. If that is true than the Island Princess does not have much capacity for 3-4 rooms (about 14 slots in the entire ship). So that would explain why a lot of cabins show 3-4 capacity, but they will not allow them to be booked for 3-4. 

 

Would not be surprised for it to be more of an issue on Island than Coral or any or the larger Princess ships.

Edited by RDC1

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Get on a wait list.  You will need to put a deposit down and you will not "book" it until a cabin becomes available. 

We are booked on the Island in March 2019.  I recall checking out our cruise and noticing that cabins for 3/4 were sold out a few months ago.  I just checked again and they are available today.  Sometimes they are held by groups and released, or as others have stated, reached their limit.  I suspect your cruise may open up availability at some point, cabin releases or people cancelling.  If you are set on the Island, then I would get on a wait list or review what other ships would work for you.

Good luck.

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8 hours ago, RDC1 said:

Keep in mind that the Island Princess was modified.  When the Island and Coral was built they had a 2 berth capacity of 1970. The Island was then modified increasing two berth capacity to 2200. According to icruise.com both ships are still listed as having 2214 max capacity. If that is true than the Island Princess does not have much capacity for 3-4 rooms (about 14 slots in the entire ship). So that would explain why a lot of cabins show 3-4 capacity, but they will not allow them to be booked for 3-4. 

 

Would not be surprised for it to be more of an issue on Island than Coral or any or the larger Princess ships.

I believe you have the correct answer if those capacity figures are correct, and I expect they are, since max capacity is based on lifeboat capacity, and that was likely not changed (lots of money to retrofit larger boats) when new cabins were added.

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I think that they are just booked.  All the insides are waitlisted and a good amount of the balcony cabins are closed.  It sounds like that the ship is booked pretty good

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Some thoughts:

I would recommend you contact a T.A. and see what they can do. Some cabins are blocked by T.A.'s and are then released later  if not totally sold.

Princess Alaska is a very popular family cruise, books early.

Many cabins are allocated by Princess for their customers that take their land tours and are thus mentioned as sold when you look on line. 

I know you mentioned the Island Princess, but maybe take a look at the Coral Princess which is an original sister ship to the Island, but still has less passengers and more public space. I would also look at the Golden. I do see interior cabins on the Golden.

If you do not plan to take a pre or post land tour maybe a RT Seattle would be an option.

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2 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

I believe you have the correct answer if those capacity figures are correct, and I expect they are, since max capacity is based on lifeboat capacity, and that was likely not changed (lots of money to retrofit larger boats) when new cabins were added.

If the max capacity for lifeboat is the limit here, why are there still plenty of balcony and mini suites showing as available when 3/4 guest is selected but just not inside and oceanview. Do you have a limited lifeboat quota for inside/oceanviews but more allocated for balcony/mini? That seems unfair.

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Yes I would look at the Coral.  It has the same sailing dates as Island (9/4/19 and 9/11/19) and while the fares are a bit higher it includes the 3 For Free promo (Island does not).  The 3FF would get you free gratuities and $150 OBC.  And there are plenty of triple interior cabins available. 

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It's also possible that Island is sold out for triple interior cabins because I only count 50 interior cabins on her that would hold 3.  

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9 minutes ago, zry900402 said:

If the max capacity for lifeboat is the limit here, why are there still plenty of balcony and mini suites showing as available when 3/4 guest is selected but just not inside and oceanview. Do you have a limited lifeboat quota for inside/oceanviews but more allocated for balcony/mini? That seems unfair.

No, there is not more capacity based on the cabin category, but it will be determined by the muster zone that the various cabins fall into.  In other words, if all the zones (boats) where 3/4 inside cabins are located have reached their max capacity, then they will not allow any 3/4 in any cabin category in that zone.  You would have to see where the cabins that are allowing 3/4 guests are located, and where the available inside cabins that can accommodate 3/4 (but will only allow booking 2) are located, and even then that only gives a rough idea of which muster station each cabin belongs to.

 

And just because there are a lot of balcony and mini suite cabins available for booking 3/4, that does not mean that they can all be booked.  In other words, if you book one balcony cabin, it is distinctly possible that several balcony cabins could drop out of 3/4 availability, just from your booking one extra guest.

Edited by chengkp75

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8 minutes ago, zry900402 said:

If the max capacity for lifeboat is the limit here, why are there still plenty of balcony and mini suites showing as available when 3/4 guest is selected but just not inside and oceanview. Do you have a limited lifeboat quota for inside/oceanviews but more allocated for balcony/mini? That seems unfair.

if they have limited 3/4 capacity they are going to save that for cabins that maximize revenue.

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42 minutes ago, rocklinmom said:

Yes I would look at the Coral.  It has the same sailing dates as Island (9/4/19 and 9/11/19) and while the fares are a bit higher it includes the 3 For Free promo (Island does not).  The 3FF would get you free gratuities and $150 OBC.  And there are plenty of triple interior cabins available. 

Island goes to Icy Strait Point for northbound sailings while Coral does not. Not sure why the difference but we liked Island more because we want to visit ISP. We will probably reserve the Coral and check to see if anything opens up on the Island. Will we be able to change ship without penalty if something does come up?

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I just looked at what may be the sailing you referenced.  The Inside and oceanview cabins are sold out for 3.  Balcony for 3 is $60 more than the same balcony for 2 before adding the $499 for the 3rd passenger.  It is interesting that it would have only cost $399 for a third person in inside or oceanview.  Clearly, Princess is steering parties of 3 or more to the more costly balconies and minisuites.  Maybe there is a large organization that booked a block of inside cabins for a theme cruise on that sailing.

 

I see two options for now, first is take the higher cost room on your preferred sailing and try to save the difference by purchasing excursions from less expensive local providers.  Second, you lose one day by booking inside on the Golden ten days later and you save money to boot.  The inside cabins are showing as available for 3.  These aren't the only options available to you, but they are the ones I'd be looking into.  Using a travel agent was also a very good suggestion.  Good luck with your planning.

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4 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

I believe you have the correct answer if those capacity figures are correct, and I expect they are, since max capacity is based on lifeboat capacity, and that was likely not changed (lots of money to retrofit larger boats) when new cabins were added.

Did find an Authorization to Discharge filing with Alaska for the Island Princess that lists the maximum passenger capacity per voyage to be 2390.  I would expect that to be fairly definitive.

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Are you sure that Island goes to Icy Strait Point in September 2019?  I don't see it.  I do see it going there on the August 28th cruise, which also has the 3 for Free promo and a "free Alaska companion book" to boot.  

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55 minutes ago, rocklinmom said:

Are you sure that Island goes to Icy Strait Point in September 2019?  I don't see it.  I do see it going there on the August 28th cruise, which also has the 3 for Free promo and a "free Alaska companion book" to boot.  

You are right, the one I’m interested in is the 8/28 sailing. I will be able to get a few days off before and after Labor Day next year to go on this cruise, and since Labor Day is in September, I qualified the cruise as a “September” cruise in my mind. 

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2 hours ago, zry900402 said:

Island goes to Icy Strait Point for northbound sailings while Coral does not. Not sure why the difference but we liked Island more because we want to visit ISP. We will probably reserve the Coral and check to see if anything opens up on the Island. Will we be able to change ship without penalty if something does come up?

 

Might one inquire why Icy Straight Point is important to you? I've been on five Alaska cruises, including two that stopped there, and IMO compared to other ports it's just meh. It's a place specially created for cruise tourists; unless you go on the utterly overpriced zipline or take a pricey ship's excursion, there's nothing there, really, except a pleasant walking path and a reconstructed cannery. Anyway, as many of us are only too eager to tell you, the Coral is nicer than the butchered Island, especially if you have an inside and are dependent on the ship's public outdoor viewing spots.

 

And as far as "unfair": Princess is a business. Businesses aren't fair, especially to those they stand to profit least from.

Edited by shepp

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14 hours ago, Coral said:

You can't book a guarantee with 3 people.

 

I wonder with the modifications in the ship, if they are unable to put 3 in many of those cabins. I would still call Princess to find out.

 

I was unable to book any interior cabins for 3 people on either Regal or Royal Princesses this Thanksgiving. None have been available for a year! A year! I checked every day (and I am still checking for funsies), and they never became available. We never had this problem with Princess before. So, we had to go with Norwegian this year, because balcony prices on Princess (the only cabins available for 3-4 people) were quite unreasonable.

 

At this time, inside cabins for 3-4 people are available for next Thanksgiving on Regal Princess.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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9 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

 

I was unable to book any interior cabins for 3 people on either Regal or Royal Princesses this Thanksgiving. None have been available for a year! A year!

 

I've booked an inside on an Antarctica cruise a full 15 months from now. As of today, insides are completely sold out. Takeaway: lower-priced options on desirable cruises go fast.

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