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pmjnh

Last minute cruises

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We are thinking about booking a last minute cruise (one to two weeks out). We do not need airfare. On the cruise we are looking at there are both Interior (which we have never done) and OV left. 

 

If you have done this before,  what has been your experience as to the type, location of the stateroom assigned, etc?

How close to sailing date did you book?

Did you book with a TA or directly from the cruise line? 

 

On our last cruise there were MANY people who booked last minute, so we thought it might be interesting to try this (we have never done it)

Thanks

Edited by pmjnh

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Define "last minute". Some people define that as 2 or 3 months out. Some define it as one or two weeks out.

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Just now, CruiserBruce said:

Define "last minute". Some people define that as 2 or 3 months out. Some define it as one or two weeks out.

 

 

One to two weeks

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We live in Fort Lauderdale, and do a lot of last minute cruises.  We did an interior on Princess just to see if we would like it. I will tell you, I will never do an interior again unless I don't have the money to cruise.  Have done two ocean view rooms.  Not bad, but now my threshold is a balcony or higher.  Even an obstructed balcony is OK.  Just will never do an interior again. Once the door was closed, you felt like you were in prison. 

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A few years ago we booked an interior guarantee on Westerdam to the Caribbean (7 nights) for $499pp about six weeks out.  A week after we booked, the price went down to $459 so I called my PCC to ask about some on-board credit and she convinced me to spend another $50pp to upgrade to a balcony guarantee.  This would be our very first balcony and for $549 we though that was a really great value...didn't matter where we ended up.

 

Much to my surprise, we were assigned an AMAZING balcony...aft, deck 5 with a super-deep balcony.  The assignment came at about 10 days out.  It absolutely spoiled us and now we've booked verandas ever since.

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We usually book last minute.  More often anywhere fro 30 to 40 days out.  The closest have been three days out.  Always a balcony.  We select two or three competing ships and buy when our target price hits.  If we need air watch those prices as well.  

 

Usually when we are ready to book our TA hold the cabin for a few hours or until the end of the day.  Just enough time for us to finalize our air arrangements.

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We almost always book cruises within a month or two of sailing. Have also booked some last minute cruises--the day before, two days before, etc.  We always know our cabin assignment prior to completing the booking. We normally use an online TA (but can call and speak to an agent but not usually necessary). The time that we booked the afternoon before sailing, we booked directly with HAL as to expedite the process--this was a sailing that we really wanted to get on. 

 

Our preference now is  verandah cabins but would book an outside cabin for the right price/cruise. Have sailed in inside cabins on the S & R class ships but would have to consider long and hard before would consider doing so on the larger, newer ships.

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I guess we're the outliers.  We usually sail inside cabins and we're fine with that. OV is nice but only if it's cheap. We won't pay a whole lot of money for a window.  Neither of us feel like we're in a "prison."

One time I was feeling poorly (a cold), and I'll tell you this, there is nothing in the world like an inside cabin when you're sick and need a nap in the afternoon.  I can sleep like a baby - because it's dark.

Our very first cruise consisted of 4 back-to-backs, including a transatlantic, and we were in an inside guarantee.  We were upgraded (for free) on the last leg to an OV which was nice of NCL to do, but we'd been fine in our little hidey-hole up til then.  I was warned repeatedly about doing an inside for our first cruise, and about doing such a long cruise at first, but I knew it was all good within an hour of boarding.

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7 minutes ago, cowmilker said:

I guess we're the outliers.  We usually sail inside cabins and we're fine with that. OV is nice but only if it's cheap. We won't pay a whole lot of money for a window.  Neither of us feel like we're in a "prison."

One time I was feeling poorly (a cold), and I'll tell you this, there is nothing in the world like an inside cabin when you're sick and need a nap in the afternoon.  I can sleep like a baby - because it's dark.

Our very first cruise consisted of 4 back-to-backs, including a transatlantic, and we were in an inside guarantee.  We were upgraded (for free) on the last leg to an OV which was nice of NCL to do, but we'd been fine in our little hidey-hole up til then.  I was warned repeatedly about doing an inside for our first cruise, and about doing such a long cruise at first, but I knew it was all good within an hour of boarding.

 

 

Funny, our second cruise was in an inside cabin..hubby and 2 "tweens". Yikes 4 people in the same cabin and I swore I would never do that again. However, this time it is an experiment of sorts, looking at a 7 night cruise, so we are thinking what the heck. My next booked cruise to the Baltic is a balcony and looking forward to that!

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1 hour ago, iancal said:

We usually book last minute.  More often anywhere fro 30 to 40 days out.  The closest have been three days out.  Always a balcony.  We select two or three competing ships and buy when our target price hits.  If we need air watch those prices as well.  

 

Usually when we are ready to book our TA hold the cabin for a few hours or until the end of the day.  Just enough time for us to finalize our air arrangements.

 

Booking a cruise last minute (days or weeks prior to sailing) wouldn't be difficult but I am curious; how do you handle your air arrangements?

Months out when I check air it always seems the flights are sold out or only 1 or 2 seats remaining at that immediate time. 

Do you face higher air prices; non-availability of seats, etc?  I have to fly to every port and the air would be a concern. 

Thank you.

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I have done the vast majority of my 50+ cruises in inside cabins, with an outside and a balcony cabin tossed in there & there. I am happy in inside cabins most of the time, but would not want one on the new Pinnacle class ships. 
So, to help answer your question it would be good to know what ship, or at least what class of ship, you are considering. 

The S-and R-class ships have large insides that are more than adequate.
The Vista and Signature ships have some J- and K-category cabins on Main Deck only that are
huge (much larger than any outsides on the ship, and with more walking space than the balconies and suites!). But it's only those insides (and a few I-category cabins on one higher deck). The other insides are just tiny
On the Pinnacle class ships I would have to go up to a balcony cabin to approach the room the insides on the earlier ships have. 
The problem with this advice for you at this point is that it is most likely that the larger, more desirable, insides are long gone 2-3 weeks before sailing. 

A mid-ship cabin has smoother sailing in rough seas than any other. Next best is toward the aft, with further forward giving the most motion when the seas are tossing the ship about. 
again, at the late date you are considering, forward is most likely what is left.  

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We require air for most cruises.  There have been times when we stopped shopping for last minute cruises because of air prices.  Other times we have been on extended land trips and fairly close to a port.

 

Popular vacation times can be a challenge for air.  Having said that we are flying to Athens this week.  We booked air in early July.  We checked the prices two days ago.  If we purchased the exact same flights  the price would  have only been be $33 more than we paid in July.  In between the prices did go up, and then came down again.  It happens.

Edited by iancal

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Hey RuthC...Fannish asked me to get in touch with you.  Sorry about hijacking the post and hope others don't mind me, but was not sure how to get in touch with you.

Do you think Zaandam 3316 will be ok for Antarctica?  It's forward and looks a little bit under the Main Stage.  My only other options are about 4 staterooms from rear on Promenade as we just booked this.  Thanks for any info.  

 

 

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9 minutes ago, AKJonesy said:

Hey RuthC...Fannish asked me to get in touch with you.  Sorry about hijacking the post and hope others don't mind me, but was not sure how to get in touch with you.

Do you think Zaandam 3316 will be ok for Antarctica?  It's forward and looks a little bit under the Main Stage.  My only other options are about 4 staterooms from rear on Promenade as we just booked this.  Thanks for any info.  

 

 

I would prefer the aft cabins. Crossing to/from Antarctica can be either the 'Drake Lake' or the 'Drake Shake'; my three trips have had a lot of 'Drake Shake'. The further forward you are, the rougher it is. 
Lower Promenade is great in that it gives quick opportunity to get outside to see all the grandeur of Antarctica. It also has places that are sheltered from what can be bitter wind. It's a great deck to be on. 

As it happens, I was in a nearby cabin (think it was 3315) on the Rotterdam while the ship went through 38 hours of 45' seas---including 'The Wave', which was 80', and hit the windows in the Crow's Nest. Water came through the forward doors on Upper Promenade! 
Obviously, I made it back alive, but it is not an experience I would want to repeat. 

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5 minutes ago, RuthC said:

 

RuthC...thanks so much

Edited by AKJonesy

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1 hour ago, RuthC said:

I have done the vast majority of my 50+ cruises in inside cabins, with an outside and a balcony cabin tossed in there & there. I am happy in inside cabins most of the time, but would not want one on the new Pinnacle class ships. 
So, to help answer your question it would be good to know what ship, or at least what class of ship, you are considering. 

The S-and R-class ships have large insides that are more than adequate.
The Vista and Signature ships have some J- and K-category cabins on Main Deck only that are
huge (much larger than any outsides on the ship, and with more walking space than the balconies and suites!). But it's only those insides (and a few I-category cabins on one higher deck). The other insides are just tiny
On the Pinnacle class ships I would have to go up to a balcony cabin to approach the room the insides on the earlier ships have. 
The problem with this advice for you at this point is that it is most likely that the larger, more desirable, insides are long gone 2-3 weeks before sailing. 

A mid-ship cabin has smoother sailing in rough seas than any other. Next best is toward the aft, with further forward giving the most motion when the seas are tossing the ship about. 
again, at the late date you are considering, forward is most likely what is left.  

Hi Ruth, This is on the Veendam and category N looks like what is available from what I can tell. We were mid-aft on the Maasdam in June on deck 4 (OV) and had no problems. I was afraid we would hear the engines but nothing.

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I spent 32 days on Oosterdam in an OV cabin.  It was okay, I was solo... But I really didn't get much use of the window, with the nightstand in front of it... I did enjoy leaving the drapes open at night and watching the reflection of the biolumination on the ceiling.  A year later I booked a cruise to sail with friends, a 14 day collectors cruise in the Caribbean.  Solo again, I booked an inside gty.  I got one of those large K cabins on main deck (Westerdam).  Wonderful!  Too bad it was only me...  But two years latr, I sailed a 24 day collectors cruise in the Med. and booked the same main deck inside.  Like Ruth C, I would not book anything else on a ship that had them, and would not accept an upgrade except to a suite, as nothing else would give me the same space.  EM

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Thanks you Essiesmom for mentioning your stateroom on the Westerdam. I am about to go on my 2nd(1 day) and 3rd(Trans-Pacific) HAL cruises and the TP will be on the Westerdam. I have a J category large inside cabin on the main deck and I am so glad to hear the large inside worked out well. I   noted the size of the stateroom before booking and I am relieved to hear that is quite spacious(obviously more than the standard inside) I usually travel on ships without inside cabins and so am used to an ocean view from my stateroom.

 

The website does not give specific dimensions and I had to go to another website to see what the large inside looks like.I have no idea why they do not have a picture of it in the inside category on the list of stateroom types. I was able to zoom out the picture on my reservation, but I should not have to do that. Again thanks for the information

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I booked a 7 day trip to Alaska on the Nieuw Amsterdam about 10 days before.  I was solo in my room as I didn't have a roommate and selected a partially obstructed view room on deck 4.  It was terrific.  Floor to ceiling glass panels rather than a small window, let in tons of light and I could see the ocean and check the weather.   The best part was that the price was almost half for a room to myself than what my family paid for their rooms they booked early.  

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6 hours ago, pmjnh said:

 

 

We are thinking about booking a last minute cruise (one to two weeks out). We do not need airfare. On the cruise we are looking at there are both Interior (which we have never done) and OV left. 

 

If you have done this before,  what has been your experience as to the type, location of the stateroom assigned, etc?

How close to sailing date did you book?

Did you book with a TA or directly from the cruise line? 

 

On our last cruise there were MANY people who booked last minute, so we thought it might be interesting to try this (we have never done it)

Thanks

 

We’ve done it many times, with excellent results.  Especially is you do not need to fly, it’s a wonderful way to get away at minimal cost.  We book the kind of cabin we’d usually book (OV or partially obstructed OV) unless a verandah cabin is available at an equally attractive price.  If flights are required, we first check availability and costs, see if we can use points or airmiles or if it’s not worth it. We have also booked guarantee cabins, even though it’s not my favourite way to do it, but sometimes you need to take the chance. We’ve booked direct with HAL, unless the ‘deal’ is through an agency, both work just fine.  Make sure your insurance is in place when you book that close to sailing, also your passport is up to date (voice of experience here, mad dash to the passport office is not conducive to being relaxed).  In short - YES, totally doable and worth it.

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We used to live in Illinois. We had to fly all the time to get on a ship. The cat and Karen disliked the winter weather and said to moi, move south. We now live on the Gulf side of Florida. Last minute cruise? Yep. Tampa is one hour away; FLL and MIA are 4.5 hours away, Port Canaveral is 3 hours away. Never been to Jacksonville, but that would be about 4.5 hours. If it is a long cruise, we rent a car (using AARP discount) each way. If 10 days or shorter, we'll park near the pier.

We used to do the inside cabins, but found that we overslept too often. Now it is ocean view with an occasional balcony/verandah. We always book with our Travel Agent, we keep the money in the community that way.

Jim

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3 hours ago, pmjnh said:

Hi Ruth, This is on the Veendam and category N looks like what is available from what I can tell. We were mid-aft on the Maasdam in June on deck 4 (OV) and had no problems. I was afraid we would hear the engines but nothing.

On the Veendam the N-category cabins are standard, not large, IIRC. If they are the standard variety, I really don't know much about them; I have never been in one. I did check the deck plans, though, and the cabins I found are smack dab in the very front of the ship. They would not be my choice. 

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We did the same when we lived in Vancouver.  The other big bonus was that we were able to see the weather forecast for the next two weeks just prior to booking three days ahead.

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14 hours ago, RuthC said:

On the Veendam the N-category cabins are standard, not large, IIRC. If they are the standard variety, I really don't know much about them; I have never been in one. I did check the deck plans, though, and the cabins I found are smack dab in the very front of the ship. They would not be my choice. 

It looks like it might be the Interior guarantee, so not a specific category yet. Many port days out of 7 and our hours of light are dwindling up here in the northeast, so cabin type not so important. Will take our chances on cabin placement if we go for it. Thank you!

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