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WA Bubbles

Disappointed on HAL cabin guarantee upgrade

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We are sailing out this Sat to AK, we purchased a oceanview room with guarantee, we were assigned a fully obstructed when ticket was purchased and never received an upgraded cabin, they kept offering upgrades for $$ and even up to last week they were not even sold out.  What's the deal?  Little disappointing no upgrade was done.  Previously when we purchased a guaranteed room we either got a partial, full and even an obstructed balcony!

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I received 'upgrade' offers that I considered to be a slap in the face.   They were barely below ($10 less) the published prices........

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A "Guarantee " booking doesn't mean you are guaranteed an upgrade. Just because YOU don't think it an upgrade doesn't mean it's not an upgrade. Too many personal emotions here.

 

 

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It depends on what guarantee category you booked.  Sounds like you booked a low  category and that’s what you got.  We personally do not like guarantees.

 

 You never know-maybe at check in you’ll be upgraded if there is lots of availability. 

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33 minutes ago, WA Bubbles said:

We are sailing out this Sat to AK, we purchased a oceanview room with guarantee, we were assigned a fully obstructed when ticket was purchased and never received an upgraded cabin, they kept offering upgrades for $$ and even up to last week they were not even sold out.  What's the deal?  Little disappointing no upgrade was done.  Previously when we purchased a guaranteed room we either got a partial, full and even an obstructed balcony!

You are only guaranteed that you will be assigned a room in the category that you booked.  Did you book an Obstructed Oceanview?  Or just an Oceanview?

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, canadianbear said:

It depends on what guarantee category you booked.  Sounds like you booked a low  category and that’s what you got.  We personally do not like guarantees.

 

 You never know-maybe at check in you’ll be upgraded if there is lots of availability. 

Check in agents don't  do upgrades or assign rooms. Those come from the HAL's Ship's Inventory dept.  The check in agent simply checks the guest in to whatever room it says on the booking when they pull it up. 

Edited by Boatdrill

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1 hour ago, WA Bubbles said:

We are sailing out this Sat to AK, we purchased a oceanview room with guarantee, we were assigned a fully obstructed when ticket was purchased and never received an upgraded cabin, they kept offering upgrades for $$ and even up to last week they were not even sold out.  What's the deal?  Little disappointing no upgrade was done.  Previously when we purchased a guaranteed room we either got a partial, full and even an obstructed balcony!

You roll and dice and take your chances with a Guarantee.  "Guarantee" does not mean you are guaranteed any type of upgrade, just a room in the grade your purchased OR higher.

I've received great guarantees (my last from a lowly inside to a Spa inside that actually had a window and was easy access up to the Retreat the the cabanas...

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1 hour ago, Boatdrill said:

Check in agents don't  do upgrades or assign rooms. Those come from the HAL's Ship's Inventory dept.  The check in agent simply checks the guest in to whatever room it says on the booking when they pull it up. 

Yes however when they get the cabin card it COULD be a different cabin and an upgrade.  People have checked in thinking they were in a certain cabin only to be in a different one.  

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I wouldn’t book a guarantee room. Period. I booked my cruise ( 5/4/19) directly through HAL and the agent assigned us a fantastic room for the same price a guarantee room was through Travelzoo. When you book a guarantee room my understanding is you tell them what the lowest category is that you will take. So if you don’t get an upgrade that should be expected. 

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When you book a guarantee cabin, you should not expect to be automatically upgraded or offered an upsell.

 

Sorry that you are disappointed.

 

I would never book a guaranteed cabin bu that is just me.

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like you got exactly what you booked, an Oceanview guarantee cabin, that was the only guarantee. getting upgrades depends upon the availability of inventory for higher class cabins. If there is inventory the passengers willing to pay$$ for upsells get first choice. This is why I would never book any guarantee cabin category, I want to choose where my cabin will be located on any ship.

Edited by terrydtx

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I guess sometimes you get what you paid for.  We don't ever book 'guarantee' cabins.  After spending thousand of $ we don't mind spending an extra couple $ for what we want.   If you actually do get an upgrade consider yourself lucky.  JMHO

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9 hours ago, WA Bubbles said:

We are sailing out this Sat to AK, we purchased a oceanview room with guarantee, we were assigned a fully obstructed when ticket was purchased and never received an upgraded cabin, they kept offering upgrades for $$ and even up to last week they were not even sold out.  What's the deal?  Little disappointing no upgrade was done.  Previously when we purchased a guaranteed room we either got a partial, full and even an obstructed balcony!

 

Your post says it all IMO.  Previously HAL was very good about upgrading guarantees (like you experienced), but recently they have moved to aggressively offering "paid" upgrades.  This lessens the chances for better upgrades for guarantees, since people who take these generally get assigned the higher ranked cabins within the category.  Basically, they "jump over" the guarantees.  You cannot blame HAL for doing this, as they increase their profits by doing so and at the same time the guarantees still get the minimum level cabin they agreed to.

 

Example - I booked a Signature cabin (selected my SY cabin) and my friend a Neptune SC guarantee.  Two weeks prior to sailing I received an email offer to upgrade to the Neptune for $200, which I quickly accepted and I was able to pick my cabin from those available and I was able to get an SA right by the Neptune Lounge (choice location in most people's opinion).  A few days prior to sailing, my friend was assigned a SB cabin, one deck below the Neptune Lounge.  So, in the end I paid less for a higher ranked cabin then my friend - not fair to be sure, but this is how the system works currently.  Of course, he was assured of getting  Neptune while I was not.

 

Because of this situation, in most cases I would avoid guaranteed on HAL and pay a bit more (if that what it takes) to know where my cabin is, and of course, closely watch for potential upgrade offers. 

 

One more thing - I normally mark my reservation - DO NOT UPGRADE.  I have taken the time to carefully select my cabin location and many times my idea of a higher ranked cabin location is not the same as HAL's, so I could end up being upgrade to a worse location (IMO of course).  There are times however that I do allow for free upgrades, but only if I would be comfortable with ANY higher ranked cabin.  Since most free upgrades are within the same category you booked (like Inside, Ocean view, etc) and since most upgrades to a higher level are preceded by upsell offers (for a price) which I can take advantage of if I wish, this approach works for me.  Of course, each person's thoughts o this will vary! 

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We recently booked a cruise for next winter and the only cabins left were guarantee.  Not my first choice but what can you do?  I was assured that since I booked an oceanview guarantee that I would not receive an obstructed view.  Perhaps the op booked a guarantee for the obstructed category.  If not, I would not be happy with my cabin either.  If they did then they got what they paid for.   I understand the disappointment though.  

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Posted (edited)

It always depends how the ship is sailing.  HAL is better than some lines in that occasionally prices GTY's below the rate for selected cabin in a given category.  That being said, its a guarantee for that category or better.  If they can sell "upgrades" vs free upgrades, you can probably imagine what will happen.  

 

If you want to play the upgrade game, Alaska is not a great place to do it since ships tend to sail full, especially the ones that are RT from Seattle.  Another strategy is to book at GTY in a category with few rooms...I used to have a spreadsheet somewhere with the breakdown of cabins, by category, and by ship.  For instance, on signature and vista ships, booking a GTY in G category is better odds for an upgrade than an H or HH since there are fewer.  Of course they cost more than an H or HH, but if an upgrade is your main goal, well you have to play the numbers and odds, even though it may cost you a bit more.  Another strategy is to book the highest category guarantee in a cabin type, ie a C oceanview - even a 1 category upgrade would be to a verandah room.

 

My last HAL cruise was booked as a GTY in a J on the Eurodam - which I was looking forward to the large room.  Got an upgrade to a D oceanview on Main deck, which is a pretty substantial upgrade, however it was a 4 day re-positioning cruise on the west coast, so there were probably many folks booking the lowest category.

Edited by cruisingrob21

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25 minutes ago, Riversedge said:

I was assured that since I booked an oceanview guarantee that I would not receive an obstructed view

 

Your “assurance” needs to have the word “unobstructed” in it.  Check your confirmation for the category letters to see what you’ve booked.  That will tell you where you are in the Obstructed/Partially-Obstructed/Unobstructed view categories. 

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We have had to book Guarantees for two HAL cruises this year in order to receive drastically reduced prices. Not something we like to do at all. The first on the Oosterdam was a Neptune Suite and even after contacting the special needs dept. and the inventory dept. regarding my mobility issues and needing to be near forward or mid ship elevators, we were assigned the dreaded Neptune Suite on Deck 4 - as far aft as one could be. My HAL agent told me that those who pay full price for Neptunes receive the priority locations near the Neptune Lounge and the Guarantees get what's left. Our second Guarantee is coming up on the Nieuw Statendam for October, again a VIP casino rate. We'll see what we get this time. At this point, I've had cortisone shots in my knees and am able to get around pretty good, so it doesn't matter so much this time. Previous to this year, with the casino rates, we were able to select our Neptune Suites and always got one close to the Neptune Lounge so we are disappointed that is no longer true to get those reduced rates.

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3 minutes ago, Djptcp said:

We have had to book Guarantees for two HAL cruises this year in order to receive drastically reduced prices. Not something we like to do at all. The first on the Oosterdam was a Neptune Suite and even after contacting the special needs dept. and the inventory dept. regarding my mobility issues and needing to be near forward or mid ship elevators, we were assigned the dreaded Neptune Suite on Deck 4 - as far aft as one could be. My HAL agent told me that those who pay full price for Neptunes receive the priority locations near the Neptune Lounge and the Guarantees get what's left. Our second Guarantee is coming up on the Nieuw Statendam for October, again a VIP casino rate. We'll see what we get this time. At this point, I've had cortisone shots in my knees and am able to get around pretty good, so it doesn't matter so much this time. Previous to this year, with the casino rates, we were able to select our Neptune Suites and always got one close to the Neptune Lounge so we are disappointed that is no longer true to get those reduced rates.

 

Are you referring to the casino rate or the casino offers (deeply discounted or free cabins that come through an email or snail mail offer?  We get the casino RATE - about a 10% discount and can always pick our cabin (did so just last week).  I understand that the casino offers are now all guarantees,  so you either take your chances or step up and pay the difference to a higher category.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Djptcp said:

We have had to book Guarantees for two HAL cruises this year in order to receive drastically reduced prices. Not something we like to do at all. The first on the Oosterdam was a Neptune Suite and even after contacting the special needs dept. and the inventory dept. regarding my mobility issues and needing to be near forward or mid ship elevators, we were assigned the dreaded Neptune Suite on Deck 4 - as far aft as one could be. My HAL agent told me that those who pay full price for Neptunes receive the priority locations near the Neptune Lounge and the Guarantees get what's left. Our second Guarantee is coming up on the Nieuw Statendam for October, again a VIP casino rate. We'll see what we get this time. At this point, I've had cortisone shots in my knees and am able to get around pretty good, so it doesn't matter so much this time. Previous to this year, with the casino rates, we were able to select our Neptune Suites and always got one close to the Neptune Lounge so we are disappointed that is no longer true to get those reduced rates.

 

Those who paid full price got priority locations because their higher fare allowed them to choose cabins, and they chose the ones that you describe as "better." So yes, guarantee bookings get what's left. Sounds fair to me--pay more and get to choose where your cabin is. Roll the dice and get what you get. Guarantees are assigned at a point after many/most cabins in that grade have been purchased by people whose fare allowed them to select.

 

Edited by 3rdGenCunarder
typo

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We were on the Koningsdam in January, and booked a verandah guarantee.  My TA asked if I would take an obstructed verandah, which wasn't what we wanted, and so we opted to pay extra for guaranteed unobstructed verandah.  (I think it was $117/person extra) We got an aft on 4th floor, with a HUGE verandah.  You really should check if your guarantee was obstructed or not....

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Posted (edited)

We've booked a handful of guarantees, usually because it's late in the game and that's all that's left.  Almost always got the the category we booked, or one category higher (booked MM, got M) and never received any upsell offers.  Twice we got an upgrade, once at the pier which was the best ever, an OV from an Inside.  My biggest concern with guarantees is getting placed under the galley, horrors! 

Our upgrade to OV was a long time ago and things may have changed in the way HAL fills their ships.  But you'll be on a cruise!  Some ships have the obstructed OVs on the Lower Promenade deck so you'll have quick access to the outside.  Enjoy! m--

 

Added:  One time we booked a guarantee at a F or better to avoid obstructed rooms, so it depends if you can have a lowest category of comfort.  I see your comment that you were assured that you wouldn't have an obstructed view, I hope you've contacted your TA to see what can be done.  

Edited by RMLincoln

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12 hours ago, WA Bubbles said:

we purchased a oceanview room with guarantee

 

I don't believe that this is quite accurate.  I think you purchased a 'Gurarantee Oceanview' room, which is slightly different.  I have never seen a HAL offer of 'room with guarantee'.

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I really don't understand the complaints.  We have done many guarantees and it is clear that you are paying for a cabin in a specific category.  There is never a promise of an upgrade or even an upsell.  Maybe it happens and maybe it doesn't.  HAL is under no obligation to give guarantees any kind of upgrade/upsell.  

 

One interesting thing we were told by a very high volume cruise agent.  She said that her experience (and that of others in her office) are that HAL tends to be more generous with upgrades when its for a new customer (1st time on HAL) then with 4 and 5 Star Mariners.    Not sure  if there is any truth to this...but it is fascinating if true and makes sense.  HAL knows that long time customers have some degree of loyalty so there is no reason to give them anything.  But an upgrade for a newbie may help build some loyalty with that customer.   

 

Hank

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6 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I really don't understand the complaints.  We have done many guarantees and it is clear that you are paying for a cabin in a specific category.  There is never a promise of an upgrade or even an upsell.  Maybe it happens and maybe it doesn't.  HAL is under no obligation to give guarantees any kind of upgrade/upsell.  

 

One interesting thing we were told by a very high volume cruise agent.  She said that her experience (and that of others in her office) are that HAL tends to be more generous with upgrades when its for a new customer (1st time on HAL) then with 4 and 5 Star Mariners.    Not sure  if there is any truth to this...but it is fascinating if true and makes sense.  HAL knows that long time customers have some degree of loyalty so there is no reason to give them anything.  But an upgrade for a newbie may help build some loyalty with that customer.   

 

Hank

I also don't understand the complaint as a guarantee is only a guarantee for at least that category, not for something higher.

 

As for first time, our only guarantee on HAL was on our first HAL cruise, and we did receive an upgrade from inside to an obstructed view. 

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