Empty rooms?

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#1
Ontario, Canada
1,260 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Do the cruises sail with empty rooms? And if the cruise is getting close (say a month or less away) and they still have a number of rooms not booked how do they deal with it...do they just drop the pricing evenly for all the room? or do they bump passengers already booked into high priced rooms to open more of the less expensive rooms and then drop the prices on them?

Just curious?

Also...when are you most apt to see price drops (if they even happen) months before a cruise if it isn't selling well? or weeks before?

Thanks
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#2
madison, ms /orange beach, alabama
5,268 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
i have only been on 10 cruises- have always been told at check in that the ship is full- they may just say that?
my guess about price drops is that rci has a sales schedule for each ship and week it sails- if at 11 months out a ship is not selling like the sales model says it should be, there may be a small price drop or promotion. this is reassessed as time goes by- when a ship isn't selling.....prices drop.......when a ship is selling well..........prices go up- so a price drop can occur anytime really- i have seen them drop for our cruises 8 months out, 12 months out, 2-3 months out- sometimes this comes in the form of a happy hour special which is for new bookings only- this is just my guess and my observation from watching our cruise prices before and after we book and continuously til we sail-
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tamra
commodore caribe 1981, ccl destiny 2000, ccl victory 2002, ccl conquest 2003, adventure of the seas sept 2004, mariner of the seas oct 2005, enchantment 2006, mariner oct 2006, explorer nov 2006, sovereign b2b 2007 , mariner 2007, navigator 2007, navigator 2008 , caribbean princess 2008 , voyager of the seas jan 2009 , freedom of the seas aug 2009, ccl triumph may 2010, freedom of the seas sept 2010, norwegian spirit may 2011, freedom of the seas nov 2011, voyager of the seas feb 25, 2012, navigator of the seas dec 8, 2012, adventure of the seas dec 8, 2013
#3
madison, ms /orange beach, alabama
5,268 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
i have only been on 10 cruises- have always been told at check in that the ship is full- they may just say that?
my guess about price drops is that rci has a sales schedule for each ship and week it sails- if at 11 months out a ship is not selling like the sales model says it should be, there may be a small price drop or promotion. this is reassessed as time goes by- when a ship isn't selling.....prices drop.......when a ship is selling well..........prices go up- so a price drop can occur anytime really- i have seen them drop for our cruises 8 months out, 12 months out, 2-3 months out- sometimes this comes in the form of a happy hour special which is for new bookings only- this is just my guess and my observation from watching our cruise prices before and after we book and continuously til we sail-
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tamra
commodore caribe 1981, ccl destiny 2000, ccl victory 2002, ccl conquest 2003, adventure of the seas sept 2004, mariner of the seas oct 2005, enchantment 2006, mariner oct 2006, explorer nov 2006, sovereign b2b 2007 , mariner 2007, navigator 2007, navigator 2008 , caribbean princess 2008 , voyager of the seas jan 2009 , freedom of the seas aug 2009, ccl triumph may 2010, freedom of the seas sept 2010, norwegian spirit may 2011, freedom of the seas nov 2011, voyager of the seas feb 25, 2012, navigator of the seas dec 8, 2012, adventure of the seas dec 8, 2013
#4
126 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
I have always been told at check-in that they are full. However a couple of years ago when travelling on the Enchantment my son got very sick in the middle of the night. He vomited on his bed, the carpet, it was a mess. We called for the room steward, and they moved us to another room till moring while they cleaned our room up. So, they must have a few rooms aside on each cruise for just that purpose.
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Victory 2005
Enchantment of the Seas 2004
Imagination 1999
Norway 1993
Ecstasy1992

#5
23,077 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
It also depends on the total number of people of board. They may have many 3 or 4 person rooms sold to the max so if they reach the limit (number of lifeboat seats) then they could still have empty rooms that they wouldn't be able to sell them because they would go over the limit.

Prices can change anytime. As our last sailing got closer the prices went up,up up!!!
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Liberty Travel-Flight Centre USA
#6
Northern Wisconsin
428 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I remember reading a few posts where passengers had been moved to other rooms, so I wouldn't be surprised if they do keep a few empty ones available.
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John and Angie

#7
Staten Island, NY
2,283 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Also, if you're talking about the Explorer out of Bayonne, those ships almost always sail full, all year long.
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#8
Toronto, Canada
3,398 Posts
Joined May 2006
I don't think the cruise lines will admit to it, but I'm sure that they do have empty cabins on some sailings.

I think its standard procedure for the front desk to post a 'ship full' sign the day of departure. I suspect its simply there to cut down on the number of people trying to finagle a cabin change.

It seems to me that statistically one would expect that out of 1,200+ cabins at least three or four would be empty because their occupants didn't make it for some reason or another. Otherwise, why would cancellation insurance be so expensive?

The trend seems to be to drastically reduce the price on some sailings for certain groups of consumers. Late last year, for example, RCCL dropped the price of my Jan cruise substantially (>20%) for some cabin classes but only to consumers residing in certain areas. This of course was done after final payment was due.

There are persistent rumors that cruise lines often offer very steep discounts to residents local to the cruise port the week of departure. Never having lived in such a location I have no idea of the validity of this.

It does seem that more and more cruises are being sold like airline seats and on the same sailing one may very well find a 200 - 300% difference in prices paid for the same cabin class.
#9
1,713 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
I think the expression is that most ships are "priced to fill," meaning that if sales are "off plan" or the ship simply isn't filling up, the price drops - this is when you start to see the sailing show up as a hot deal or in the Happy hour and Promowave, and you may see a lot of "guarantee" rooms available. I've heard in the past that one strategy is to advertise and sell a lot of "guarantee" rooms knowing full well that there aren't enough cabins in that category and some will be upgraded - this allows them to advertise the sharp price point without diluting the "value" of the higher priced cabins by advertising them for less (and they also don't have to give refunds for a price drop). I was reading an interview with a cruiseline executive that was refuting the assertion that just because ships were sailing full from New Orleans that the cruises were popular - he basically said that they had to lower the price so much to fill the ship, that it wasn't really profitable, and that the ships sail full because they're priced that way.

I've heard a lot of stories that involve the availability of an "emergency room" - I think it's probably fairly common to hold one or two for those occasions when a toilet overflows and floods a room or something like that. I suppose it's also possible that people who have booked and paid simply do not show up (for whatever reason).

The other posters are correct that there are also region-specific promotions (residency rates) - this could be tied to where they've already bought advertising space, where they know they have a base of customers, or even where they may be sitting on a pile of unused air tickets. I too have heard the "home port fire sale" rumors, but since no ships homeport in Arizona I've never witnessed it firsthand
#10
199 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Just wondering from your name if you come from NC
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#11
Davison, MI
6,891 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Supply and demand.

My sister lives in Tamapa. When a ship dosn't fill they will put a add in the local papers for say a 7 day cruise for $199. Just to fill the ship as, they want the consumer paying the tips/wages of thier workers.

If the ship fills early the prices just climb. I've found the best price to be the early bird pricing and the last minute pricing.
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#12
Ontario, Canada
1,260 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by bahami
Just wondering from your name if you come from NC
I am aware that there is also a Millbrook there, I come from Ontario, Canada.
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Completed cruises.....

Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda......May 10-17,2009
Oasis of the Seas - Western Caribbean........July 9-16, 2011
Explorer of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean......March 9-19, 2012
Explorer of the Seas to Bermuda......June 8-13, 2013
Explorer of the Seas -Caribbean..... Dec. 12-22, 2013
Celebrity Summit - Bermuda......July 27-Aug.3, 2014
Anthem of the Seas.....Dec. 9-16, 2016

Upcoming cruises:
Oasis of the Seas......May 14-21, 2017
Grandeur of the Seas......Mar. 24 - Apr. 5, 2018
#13
Central Coast, California
12 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Actually, my travel agents said that each boat will often sail with empty cabins. The ship's fullness does not depend on the rooms booked, but on the weight of the boat. For instance, we have two cabins, but 3 in each cabin. If we only had two in each cabin, that would make space for two others in another cabin. My travel agent said that sometimes they will move you to another cabin that is more comfortable just because they have it available because their weight limit has been reached, even if their cabins are not full... kind of interesting...
#14
405 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
If weight really had anything to do with it, they'd have to disembark passengers half-way through the cruise!

Actually, the head-count is the controlling factor, although a previous poster is slightly off - there will never be empty staterooms because too many are sold as triples or quads. Triple and quad sales are cut off at a point at which if all the remaining staterooms were sold as doubles the ship would be at capacity.

That's what they mean when they tell you the 3/4 limit has been reached.
#15
Oceano, CA, USA
1,041 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
[quote=broberts;9774762]
There are persistent rumors that cruise lines often offer very steep discounts to residents local to the cruise port the week of departure. Never having lived in such a location I have no idea of the validity of this.
QUOTE]

I happen to know this is true, not because I live in such an area, but we took a cruise out of San Juan Puerto Rico a few years ago. It was a 10-day cruise and many of the passengers were Puerto Rico residents. We became freindly with some and they said that they get huge discounts, like over 50%, on certain sailings out of PR. I'm guessing it may be the longer more expensive cruises that might not fill up as fast. But it is true.
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#16
Coastal North Carolina
5,499 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
It makes sense that a ship would keep a few rooms available for emergencies such as the child who got sick or perhaps a bathroom toilet that floods, etc. Of course, that's an opinion and not true knowledge.
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