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zry900402

Limiting availability for 3-4 people in one room

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1 minute ago, shepp said:

 

Takeaway: lower-priced options on desirable cruises go fast.

like I mentioned - we'd never had this problem with Princess before. And we can only cruise during Thanksgiving and spring break, so it's not like I tried booking for less popular times in yesteryears.

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2 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

like I mentioned - we'd never had this problem with Princess before. And we can only cruise during Thanksgiving and spring break, so it's not like I tried booking for less popular times in yesteryears.

 

Maybe you've been lucky? Maybe more people feel like they can afford cruising now? The way the stock market is going, maybe more cabins will become available soon? 

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11 minutes ago, shepp said:

 

Might one inquire why Icy Straight Point is important to you? 

The reason is that we really want to see brown bears in the wild but don’t have the budget for the $600-800 fly in bear viewing excursions. Based on my brief research, ISP/Hoonah seems to be the only port that offers reasonably priced (less than $200 per person) bear searching excursion. I understand that sighting is not garanteed like on some of the very expensive bear excursions, but should be much better than just hoping to see a bear on the side of the road on other excursions in other ports. 

Please please let me know if there is any other reasonably priced excursions in other ports that offers chance to see brown bear, cuz I can’t find any. 

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15 minutes ago, zry900402 said:

 

Please please let me know if there is any other reasonably priced excursions in other ports that offers chance to see brown bear, cuz I can’t find any. 

 

Hmmm. Most cruises don't stop at Haines, but when were there we rented a car, easily drove to a little dam where the salmon got backed up, and the bears were right there across the road, chomping away. I assume that's a seasonal thing. Maybe other people have better suggestions?

Edited by shepp

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We did the "Evening Wildlife Excursion" in (I think Skagway????) the port with the train. It was a Princess excursion. We took a ferry from the port to Haines and then school buses to a small lake. There were bears at a salmon weir on both sides of a river. We probably saw 8 or 10 bears as well as eagles and seals. It was a great tour.

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52 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

like I mentioned - we'd never had this problem with Princess before. And we can only cruise during Thanksgiving and spring break, so it's not like I tried booking for less popular times in yesteryears.

We traditionally cruise during these holidays and have 4 to a cabin but we book when the itinerary comes out, about 2 years in advance? Christmas and Thanksgiving are usually fully booked by sail time. 

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OP, in my view Icy Strait Point is the absolute best Alaska port stop.

 

We visited in September 2017 and took the ship sponsored Whale Watching/Bear Search tour.  We spent the morning on the Whale Watching tour.  That was a lot of fun.  At around noon, we returned to the dock and walked over to a bus for the Bear Search portion.  We rode the bus for about 40 minutes and, then, disembarked and hiked a neat trail through the forest.  There are some viewing platforms overlooking a river.  The hope is that bears will be feeding in the river in view of the platforms.  We saw no bears at the first two platforms.  Then at the third, and last, platform we did see a bear.  Very cool.

 

On the bus trip back to town at an overpass over that same river, we could see several cars were stopped and people were looking over the bridge.  Sure enough, another bear was feeding in the river.

 

The local bears are Coastal Brown Bears.  According to our docent, they are the largest bears in Alaska.  May be true, may not be, but they were plenty big enough for me.  On this island the bear population vastly outnumbers the human population.

 

Now, here is what I really like about the Icy Strait Point stop.  All the businesses are locally owned.  There are no Diamonds International outlets, there are no Walmarts.  Every dollar I spent there supported the local economy.  None of it was funneled back to some corporate entity.

 

And, yes, you can see bears in other locations.  On our very first AK cruise, the on-ship naturalist told us that the sure way to see bears at just about any port stop is to go to the local dump.

 

😁

 

 

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2 hours ago, jennybenny said:

We traditionally cruise during these holidays and have 4 to a cabin but we book when the itinerary comes out, about 2 years in advance? Christmas and Thanksgiving are usually fully booked by sail time. 

I didn't mean that we were booking close to the sail time, but we usually book around July for November time frame. This year I started looking at these 2 sailings around NY, and no inside cabins have been available for 3-4 people all this time.

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Thank you guys so much for all the feedback and ideas. I think the conclusion is that the Island Princess probably does have somewhat more limited capacity for 3/4 passengers compared to other ships.  But the inside rooms with the capability to house 3/4 people are definitely not all sold out for the entire summer next year. Princess probably started to restrict people from booking 3/4 people in the cheaper rooms earlier to steer families of 3/4 to book the balconys in order to make more money based on the current demand. It is not convinent for us,  but I do understand that princess is a for profit business and they will do what make the most money. 

Based on the one reply here, I’m still really interested in going to ISP. I might just need to choose another line. 

 

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The other cruise line we like is NCL and they have an itinerary with Icy Strait Point, it's on the Jewel.  It would be a seven day between Seward (instead of Anchorage/Whittier port) and Vancouver.  Cruises for August and September 2019 are around $700 pp with the third person at $399 range for triple interior cabins. They also have a Friends & Family perk that could include your third person (if you chose that as your perk). And NCL deposits are currently only $50 pp (so total deposit of only $150).  Something you could take a look at 🙂

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36 minutes ago, zry900402 said:

Thank you guys so much for all the feedback and ideas. I think the conclusion is that the Island Princess probably does have somewhat more limited capacity for 3/4 passengers compared to other ships.  But the inside rooms with the capability to house 3/4 people are definitely not all sold out for the entire summer next year. Princess probably started to restrict people from booking 3/4 people in the cheaper rooms earlier to steer families of 3/4 to book the balconys in order to make more money based on the current demand. It is not convinent for us,  but I do understand that princess is a for profit business and they will do what make the most money. 

Based on the one reply here, I’m still really interested in going to ISP. I might just need to choose another line. 

 

Get on a wait list.

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Same thing happened when we tried to book three to a window suite ... just call and make your reservation ... NO PROBLEM!  

I don't understand why their website won't show availability for additional passengers (beyond 2) but it doesn't always do so.  

There are definitely a few online agencies out there that will show availability ... check one of those and either book online using one of those agencies or call in to Princess if you wish to book direct.  Easy breezy!  

 

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Definitely get on a wait list! You decide what category you want to wait list, Any inside, or any cabin in a specific category. They will tell you how many people are ahead of you. Be sure to call regularly and check often because even though you are on a wait list it’s better to be proactive about your vacation 

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The number of cabins that accommodate the additional 3/4 pax is limited. It's just plain possible because of the sale they're all booked.

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5 hours ago, XBGuy said:

OP, in my view Icy Strait Point is the absolute best Alaska port stop.

Now, here is what I really like about the Icy Strait Point stop.  All the businesses are locally owned.  There are no Diamonds International outlets, there are no Walmarts.  Every dollar I spent there supported the local economy.  None of it was funneled back to some corporate entity.

 

I'd beg to differ here. I totally support the port making money for the tribe. But at most ports, you can shop around and use locally owned operations for a variety of excursions and activities. At ISP, there's a virtual monopoly. Pretty much you book through excursions through the ship or not at all. So in fact maybe 20% of the dollars you spent on your excursion actually went straight into the corporate coffers in Santa Clarita.

 

And if you don't want to spring for a Princess excursion, there's little you can do in port. Second time I was there, I did the ridiculously expensive zip line as a special treat, then felt ripped off.

 

No one is forced to shop at Diamonds International, anywhere. But at ISP, your options are limited.

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43 minutes ago, jlp20 said:

The number of cabins that accommodate the additional 3/4 pax is limited. It's just plain possible because of the sale they're all booked.

If you read my whole post carefully, you would know that is not the case. Give you a very specific example: I did a mock booking for a random Panama Canal sailing on the island with 3 guests for an interior cabin and it shows that cabin A517 as one of the available rooms I can pick. So that indicates to me that cabin A517 is a room that can accommodate 3. Then I go back to the 8/28 Alaska sailing on the Island, try to book interior for 2 guests, it shows that A517 as available (along with plenty of others), so this indicates that this particular cabin A517 that can sleep 3 is available on the 8/28  sailing. But then when I go back one step, and change guest count to 3 for that same 8/28 sailing, it then shows all interior cabins are sold out. So this means that this room A517 that can accommodate 3 is available on this sailing, but Princess is intentionally not letting people book more than 2 passengers in it. 

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3 minutes ago, zry900402 said:

If you read my whole post carefully, you would know that is not the case. Give you a very specific example: I did a mock booking for a random Panama Canal sailing on the island with 3 guests for an interior cabin and it shows that cabin A517 as one of the available rooms I can pick. So that indicates to me that cabin A517 is a room that can accommodate 3. Then I go back to the 8/28 Alaska sailing on the Island, try to book interior for 2 guests, it shows that A517 as available (along with plenty of others), so this indicates that this particular cabin A517 that can sleep 3 is available on the 8/28  sailing. But then when I go back one step, and change guest count to 3 for that same 8/28 sailing, it then shows all interior cabins are sold out. So this means that this room A517 that can accommodate 3 is available on this sailing, but Princess is intentionally not letting people book more than 2 passengers in it. 

I would say the ships capacity for 3rd and 4th berths has been reached then.

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13 minutes ago, shepp said:

 

I'd beg to differ here. I totally support the port making money for the tribe. But at most ports, you can shop around and use locally owned operations for a variety of excursions and activities. At ISP, there's a virtual monopoly. Pretty much you book through excursions through the ship or not at all. So in fact maybe 20% of the dollars you spent on your excursion actually went straight into the corporate coffers in Santa Clarita.

 

And if you don't want to spring for a Princess excursion, there's little you can do in port. Second time I was there, I did the ridiculously expensive zip line as a special treat, then felt ripped off..

No one is forced to shop at Diamonds International, anywhere. But at ISP, your options are limited.

We are not the type of people who like to walk around in town and shop for souvenirs or handicraft. In fact, my husband hates all forms of shopping with a passion, so how nice or not nice the port itself is irrelevant for us. Instead, we love nature, forest and animals. I think it's against the rule to post name of the operator, but we did find a local operator in Hoonah (same place as ISP) that offers wilderness tour and brown bear search for 100 dollars. The tour is very well reviewed on tripadvisor. They also have a whale watching tour. I can't find any other wilderness or bear search tour for that price in the entire state of Alaska. Even a car rental in certain ports is more expensive than that. So I would say that it's possible that you just didn't do enough search before the cruise? I know in most popular ports, you can just wait until you get there and there are just a ton of operators at the dock waiting to take people on tours, but for the smaller ports, it simply require more pre-planning. 

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14 minutes ago, Colo Cruiser said:

I would say the ships capacity for 3rd and 4th berths has been reached then.

As I stated in a previous reply, that also cannot be the case, because you can still book 3/4 people in a cabin for both balcony and mini suite. 

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2 minutes ago, zry900402 said:

We are not the type of people who like to walk around in town and shop for souvenirs or handicraft. In fact, my husband hates all forms of shopping with a passion, so how nice or not nice the port itself is irrelevant for us. Instead, we love nature, forest and animals. I think it's against the rule to post name of the operator, but we did find a local operator in Hoonah (same place as ISP) that offers wilderness tour and brown bear search for 100 dollars. The tour is very well reviewed on tripadvisor. They also have a whale watching tour. I can't find any other wilderness or bear search tour for that price in the entire state of Alaska. Even a car rental in certain ports is more expensive than that. So I would say that it's possible that you just didn't do enough search before the cruise? I know in most popular ports, you can just wait until you get there and there are just a ton of operators at the dock waiting to take people on tours, but for the smaller ports, it simply require more pre-planning. 

 

I stand corrected.

 

The only thing I wonder about is whether the local provider has an exclusivity deal with Princess, or whether it's possible to book when you're arriving on Princess. On my upcoming Amazon cruise, I booked a tour with an operator who'll book HAL pax but passengers on most other lines have to book the very same tour through the ship. (For, I assume, more money.) Both times I was at ISP I booked ship's tours, so didn't do research on independent options.

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14 hours ago, zry900402 said:

Thank you guys so much for all the feedback and ideas. I think the conclusion is that the Island Princess probably does have somewhat more limited capacity for 3/4 passengers compared to other ships.  But the inside rooms with the capability to house 3/4 people are definitely not all sold out for the entire summer next year. Princess probably started to restrict people from booking 3/4 people in the cheaper rooms earlier to steer families of 3/4 to book the balconys in order to make more money based on the current demand. It is not convinent for us,  but I do understand that princess is a for profit business and they will do what make the most money. 

Based on the one reply here, I’m still really interested in going to ISP. I might just need to choose another line. 

 

 

as far as I saw, the ability to book 3/4 insides were sold out and it isn't Princess holding them back, they just are gone.  Even though a cabin maybe designated as a 3/4, doesn't mean it will have the capability to hold 3/4 at this time in the year for alaska bookings.  Alot of it has to do with the other cabins around it and the overall capacity in muster stations or a travel agency has group space taken out for the cruise and they take out so many spots, not specific cabins, for the cruises.  Alaska is one of those cruises you have to book 12-18 mos out or cabins will disappear.  Alot of people maybe taking insides to save money since there is a big difference in price between a inside and balcony

Edited by skennedy25

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15 hours ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

I didn't mean that we were booking close to the sail time, but we usually book around July for November time frame. This year I started looking at these 2 sailings around NY, and no inside cabins have been available for 3-4 people all this time.

  In cruise standards, booking in July for November is close to sail time.  We are in the same boat, but we always book our cruises a year out for thanksgiving and guess roughly for springbreak and book a year out.

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11 hours ago, zry900402 said:

As I stated in a previous reply, that also cannot be the case, because you can still book 3/4 people in a cabin for both balcony and mini suite. 

Re-read chengkp75's explanation in post #16. 

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17 hours ago, shepp said:

 

I'd beg to differ here. I totally support the port making money for the tribe. But at most ports, you can shop around and use locally owned operations for a variety of excursions and activities. At ISP, there's a virtual monopoly. Pretty much you book through excursions through the ship or not at all. So in fact maybe 20% of the dollars you spent on your excursion actually went straight into the corporate coffers in Santa Clarita.

 

And if you don't want to spring for a Princess excursion, there's little you can do in port. Second time I was there, I did the ridiculously expensive zip line as a special treat, then felt ripped off.

 

No one is forced to shop at Diamonds International, anywhere. But at ISP, your options are limited.

 

You are, of course, correct.  I was either duplicitous or naive.  Let's go with naive.

 

It's still my favorite AK port.

 

I have to admit, however, that I've only visited there once.  I've been to Skagway/Juneay/Ketchican multiple times.  Maybe, if I visit Hoonah multiple times, it will lose some of its charm.

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22 hours ago, Cruise Raider said:

Same thing happened when we tried to book three to a window suite ... just call and make your reservation ... NO PROBLEM!  

I don't understand why their website won't show availability for additional passengers (beyond 2) but it doesn't always do so.  

There are definitely a few online agencies out there that will show availability ... check one of those and either book online using one of those agencies or call in to Princess if you wish to book direct.  Easy breezy!  

 

I called a TA and I called Princess, and - no, there was no availability.

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