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Tell me your good, bad and ugly with Sail Away category

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We are booked on the Epic out of San Juan in March. Flights are WOW expensive. Traveling with friends and really want to go so we are considering changing our booking to Sail Away to save the money for airfare. We like the drink package but knowing its a port intensive cruise we arent too upset about losing the offers.

So I am just curious on peoples experiences with Sail Away. We really arent that picky about our room location. Close to elevators wouldnt bother me etc. The only thing that might is all the way forward. 

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance 🙂

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Well after nearly 25 cruises we are trying sail away. Wow yes big $$$ difference. We are booked for December and got a cabin assignment right away. It suited me fine. balcony BTW. Well price has dropped twice and when you notify NCL about the drop they start over so now no assignment. I figure how bad can a balcony be.  Next cruise (march) i choose our cabin.  Started to change it to sail away as i would of saved 880.00

then for December 2020 we did sail away. Still no assignment. 

I guess the reason we never did it before is we either had a suite or i was picky about location. I never wanted to chance a super low deck.  With a balcony on getaway or breakaway the lowest balcony is deck 8 and oddly enough that is where i would prefer t be.  Take my word the life boats was NOT an issue.

I will definitely be doing sailaway in future with the huge savings. Like the PCC said, you can buy a lot of extras with the savings.

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Posted (edited)

the past three cruises we have booked sail away staterooms. One in an inside sail away the other two Balcony Sail away.  We have been pleasantly surprised and were happy with the staterooms we got. On the Inside we got mid ship, but then an ocean view became less expensive than the inside and we were bumped to an mid ship ocean view for free. On the other two we booked the Balcony sail away and ended up forward, near the elevators, in fact 4-5 doors from the elevator. One of them was a connecting balcony but we did not mind it at all we got good neighbors. Some people have mentioned that they did not get good locations but up to now, it has never been our experience. Good Luck.

Edited by spanishguy1970
adding to it

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Have done sailaway twice this year, once for a balcony on the Bliss and an inside on the Sky.  Both times received a mid ship, deck 14 on the Bliss and deck 8 on the Sky.  Happy with both, especially on the savings. Maybe I have been lucky but have decided this is the way I am going to go from now on. Not a big drinker and paid for my specialty dinners out of pocket, saving way more than if I had picked my cabin and gotten a perk.

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36 minutes ago, cruisinmeme said:

Well after nearly 25 cruises we are trying sail away. Wow yes big $$$ difference. We are booked for December and got a cabin assignment right away. It suited me fine. balcony BTW. Well price has dropped twice and when you notify NCL about the drop they start over so now no assignment. I figure how bad can a balcony be.  Next cruise (march) i choose our cabin.  Started to change it to sail away as i would of saved 880.00

then for December 2020 we did sail away. Still no assignment. 

I guess the reason we never did it before is we either had a suite or i was picky about location. I never wanted to chance a super low deck.  With a balcony on getaway or breakaway the lowest balcony is deck 8 and oddly enough that is where i would prefer t be.  Take my word the life boats was NOT an issue.

I will definitely be doing sailaway in future with the huge savings. Like the PCC said, you can buy a lot of extras with the savings.

So you booked sail away for this December and got your cabin assignment right away? I guess I was assuming it didn’t happen until like the week before. 

And do I understand correctly the sail away category dropped in price?

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I always book guaranty cabins and have never been put somewhere awful.  BUT its always the luck of the draw.

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Sail Away after final payment is the only way I’ll sail NCL. The other fares are a rip and they punish you for booking in advance. 

 

Anyways, GTY Sail Away has never treated us wrong. In fact, I’ve gotten some cabins I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to purchase, such as an accessible cabin. They are huge!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Sail away is the only way to go if you do not have to fly and are not going with other people. I have booked sail away rates 4 times with 30 days or less and have gotten 25 to 50% off the original rates. It helps if you can get away with short notice. I have never gotten a pour location on breakaway plus ships. I would not try it on the smaller Norwegian  ships.

Edited by waterjock

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I always  get sailaway.    I don't care where my cabin is.     But with your "forward"  thinking-   you are going have to be accepting of this.     With this rate,   you  can NOT have any preferences.   You can be under the buffet and over a late night show lounge  (first hand experience)  

 

This type of booking is not for everyone.   If any possibility  you are going to be miserable-   then do not book this this rate.      Always bring ear plugs.  

 

I've been on 14 cruises this year,   with 2 more starting Saturday,   so I do have some stats.   However,  it isn't very predictable to draw much from this.   Thousands of cabins-  are possible every week.    So a bunch of positives is no guarantee.  

 

Expect the worse,  and be delighted with something better.   

 

 

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Posted (edited)

We ALWAYS cruise at the GTY/SailAway rate.  Yup, we miss the perqs but we did a cost comparison and we're still saving a LOT of $$ at this rate.  We do SailAway/GTY Inside so we're REALLY at the "Steerage" rate!

 

Cabin assignments have varied greatly over the 15 years or so we've cruised this way.  I have noticed, however, that as our Latitudes status has increased from Bronze to Silver to Gold & now Platinum the QUALITY has increased also.  We started out on Deck 5 & we now regularly get the upper decks, mid-ships.

 

As several other posters have pointed out this rate is NOT for everyone; families requiring adjacent cabins, special needs and, of course, "high-maintenance" 😏 pax.  We really don't care where we are so long as we're aboard!!

Edited by tomk3212

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we never book sail away as we like the booze package.

that said, i just booked a sailaway ocean view on Sky because the booze is included.

After about a week i was assigned my room.  im quite pleased to see i got an unobstructed porthole on deck 8.  i was fully prepared to be sleeping with the fish on deck 4 or 5.

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We booked a Sail Away balcony for the Sun a couple weekends ago about a month ahead. We are picky about our room location yet for the money saved we figured we could live with wherever for the weekend.  The room was assigned right away - right around the corner from the elevators.  Worst location possible in our minds, yet it turned out just fine with only one night where we heard much noise.  Oh, and our gifted door magnet was stolen. 

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On our last two cruises we booked inside sailaway rate and got an IA cabin.  Then when the time came to bid we bid on a balcony.  Three days before sailing was informed our bids were successful.  Got great locations on both.  Now I'm thinking about booking a cruise on the Gem.  It is a jewel class ship that has those priva see balconies up front which I do not want.  May just book a balcony directly.

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I only book sailaway rates because the perks are of no value to me and we live "almost at" the port, plus we're retired.

 

So, with that being said, on the "probably 10 cruises" all the cabins were good except for the time on the BA.  It was a guaranteed inside and they gave us a family inside.  So, I was happy....thinking it was good for 4 people and we were only 2.  Boy, was I wrong.  The bunk beds made floor space really tight.  We kept the bunks up (didn't need them) and the beds separated so at least we could walk upright (and we're short...I'm under 5' and dh is 5'6".  In addition...there was no storage space, basically no shelves.  It was the smallest cabin I ever saw. 

 

Unbelievably there were 4 adults sharing the same cabin across the hall.

 

After that incident I never booked inside sailaway again.

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We have booked sailaway most of the time and have always been happy. Much less to book but still got the perks each time including full drinks package and speciality dining.

 

Unless you have specified requirements such as adjoining cabins etc I don’t see any point.

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12 minutes ago, SullytheBFG said:

We have booked sailaway most of the time and have always been happy. Much less to book but still got the perks each time including full drinks package and speciality dining.

 

Unless you have specified requirements such as adjoining cabins etc I don’t see any point.

You do not get any perks with sailaway.  Maybe you mean guarantee.

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No definitely Sail Away, I am in the U.K. I think we get different offers.

 

just checked my cruise docs for 12 days time.

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I couldn't tell you how much money I would save by booing a sailaway because every time I look at a cruise I'm interested in the price is listed as "Sold Out"!.

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I booked a sailaway inside guarantee on the Bliss for practically nothing and ended up in a balcony!  It was a bit of an unusual situation as I booked at the very last minute (you can read more about our crazy adventure booking last minute here: https://profcruise.com/last-minute-cruising/), but I would definitely do it again for the price regardless of which cabin we end up in.  If I can pay less and cruise more (even without the drink package, etc), count me in every time!

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I do sailaway all the time, never had a bad experience, once I had a slightly noisy over head(could happen with many $$$ cabins) but got quiet at night. In your position I would just worry about "we", you could be perfectly happy but depending on how many "we"s there are involved someone will have a complaint and you're the guy to answer for it.

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Last fall, we booked a Sailaway inside on the Dawn's last Quebec-Boston cruise before she headed south. The price was insanely low for an after final payment booking, since we would be sailing the North Atlantic in unpredictable weather. We figured for a week's cruise and being Platinum, we didn't need the perks. We were almost immediately assigned a cabin on deck five.

We're not picky about cabin location, but surprisingly we received an upgrade invitation, and I bid. We would up with a balcony for less than the price of the sail away rate for it.

I think it depends on the things you are willing to trade for the price you want. We would do it again for a short cruise, and especially for one that doesn't seem full. But, there are only 2 of us, we don't drink a lot, we really don't care about location ( except over a lounge. I had that happen on the Spirit, and I was the one who booked it...lesson learned!) We'll be on the Star next May going to Iceland,  but for a two week cruise, we did not do Sailaway. But that's us.

I say, try it. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised. At the least, you will have a cheap(er) cruise.

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My wife and I have booked sail always several times, and have always gotten our cabin assignment very quickly; and even at times immediately.  We are booked on the Getaway at the end of March, and took the perks deal instead.  Kind of regretting that choice now though, as I think, because we are not huge drinkers, and the specialty dining isn't a big deal to us either, we might have been wiser to have taken the sailaway and paid for drinks as we go.  I guess I was thinking we can let our hair hang down on this cruise.  Now I am reflecting on it with more practicality in mind.  In short though, don't hesitate to take the sailaway rate.  Our cabins have always been as good as if we picked our room.

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Posted (edited)

I've mostly had good luck with sailaway room assignments. My best story is getting a Spa Balcony on the Escape from a sailaway. 

Edited by Bonobochick
fixed something.

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All of the responses have been very helpful!!! The difference in price is less than I thought, $677. We are now debating just sticking with what we have. Even if we don’t drink that much I think the gap will come closer. BUT this info has been very helpful because this will definitely be something I will consider more seriously in the future!

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52 minutes ago, brovol said:

My wife and I have booked sail always several times, and have always gotten our cabin assignment very quickly; and even at times immediately.  We are booked on the Getaway at the end of March, and took the perks deal instead.  Kind of regretting that choice now though, as I think, because we are not huge drinkers, and the specialty dining isn't a big deal to us either, we might have been wiser to have taken the sailaway and paid for drinks as we go.  I guess I was thinking we can let our hair hang down on this cruise.  Now I am reflecting on it with more practicality in mind.  In short though, don't hesitate to take the sailaway rate.  Our cabins have always been as good as if we picked our room.

So if you get your assignment and don’t like it can you change back to a category where you pick your own? I have never changed a booking with NCL so I’m not familiar how it works w sales etc 

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