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mgcharleston

Alaska in September- book now or wait??

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My husband and I have a cruise picked out on the Bliss leaving 9/15 from Seattle. It is hard to tell availability as NCL is showing most cabins as guaranteed. We don't particularly care what cabin class we are in although a balcony is definitely preferred!

Since this is the shoulder season, should we book now or take a chance the boat will be pretty empty and rates will drop and book later? We could also book an inside GTY cabin and hope for some fairy dust to give us an upgrade to a balcony..

Any thoughts??

 

Thank you in advance!!

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It really depends on different situations. Some would book now in case no more cabins/price would be increased/they wanted specific cabin/closer to the floor/area they wanted so they do not have to walk too far.

 

Last minute - if any cabins are available, it will be probably be at a sail away rate or at expensive rate like only suites available.

 

I heard from other people on CC Forum that having a balcony cabin on the Alaska cruise was so worth it. Go read other people reviews.

 

Are you first timers with NCL? Wanted perks?

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Hello mgcharleston.  I'll give you my opinion which is worth exactly what I'm charging for it.  😎

 

It depends on a number of things which have much to do with you and what makes you comfortable.  Booking late can get you good deals and it is a "shoulder time" for Alaska. 

--Are you close to the port so that you don't have to make extensive flight arrangements to get there?  Last minute airline reservations can be problematic and/or expensive. 

--How long do you intend to wait to book? On board things (like restaurants and excursions) can get booked up although restaurant reservations can generally be booked when boarding the ship. 

--Is your schedule such that you can modify it at the last minute to make the cruise?  Or do things at home/work need planned around certain dates?  I don't think there is much risk the ship would totally fill-up but you might have limited cabin choices booking late.  If you have your hearts set on a balcony and an inside would be disappointing, that might impact your choice of timing.

--Are there any perks now that might not be available for a last minute booking?  I've never done a last minute (since I'm not very close to a port and I have control issues) but it might be worth considering.

 

Enjoy your cruise!  

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Here was the scenario when we booked our AK cruise for May 2019

We booked just after final payment deadline and the prices had dropped to $549 p/p  we thought that was a good price for 7 days and we booked.  It was an inside GTY, we were assigned a IG cabin on deck 9 fwd. 

I kept watching the fares, it dropped a few weeks after that to $449 p/p asked for my 1 free upgrade and got a porthole cabin on deck 4 and there we stayed. 

3 weeks before sail date and the prices just kept falling -- down to $250 p/p a week before sail date.  I wish we would have waited, we fly standby anyways so no flight booking was involved. 

This was on the JEWEL on the second inside passage cruise of the sesason.

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I sailed the Bliss to Alaska last September and the ship was booked almost completely. In fact, it was unpleasantly crowded.  Maybe they all got special deals or were last minute but the ship was most definitely NOT empty.

 

I do not know what to tell you but if you feel that you have a good deal at this time, grab it.

 

The food was great and I loved the observation deck. However, my complaint was the crowding. The elevators were a nightmare except very early or late.  However, someone told me that there were other elevators in a less convenient area. The atrium and other public places were also overcrowded. 

 

Alaska is beautiful. I loved all the ports especially Skagway. 

 

 

 

 

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We booked the Bliss for Sep 2019 back at the end of last month. Balcony GTY. $1389/pp (before all the taxes/fees/etc).

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I know the prices on our Sept. 7 Joy sailing have increased (I regularly check the balcony and Haven prices).  Also the prices for 2020 are almost double. Maybe they always start out high.

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The BLISS was new to Alaska last year and now has competition from the JOY - expect that the

cruise fares will be guest friendly - both sail primarily out of Seattle.

For the Anchorage and Vancouver cruises the JEWEL is the ship for that.

Mid September is the last of the Alaska cruises with a coastal repositioning cruise venturing into

October. Generally the coastal repositioning cruises are not full except in the Suite category.

Thing to remember for the Anchorage and Vancouver port cruises and coastal repositioning ones

these all leave from a port and don't return to it unlike the Seattle cruises.

Thus if flying to meet your ship you will have two one way trips with transportation logistics

and perhaps higher airfares but lower more attractive cruise fares.

NCL jargon - Closed loop cruises begin and end at the same port i.e. Seattle -cruise- Seattle

Airline jargon - Open Jaw Flights depart and return to the same airport but the destination

is not the same i.e. Chicago Anchorage -cruise- Vancouver Chicago  

 

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55 minutes ago, teachberry said:

I know the prices on our Sept. 7 Joy sailing have increased (I regularly check the balcony and Haven prices).  Also the prices for 2020 are almost double. Maybe they always start out high.

 

My experience with prices on my Alaska cruise was the price for most categories went up slightly from the time they were first released.  However, the least expensive category in each meta (i.e. BF balcony) experienced significant price drops starting about 9 months out and continued dropping gradually after final payment, but these categories quickly turned into guarantees.  There were also a significant drop in Haven prices at the same time but those remained stable thereafter.

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5 hours ago, mgcharleston said:

My husband and I have a cruise picked out on the Bliss leaving 9/15 from Seattle. It is hard to tell availability as NCL is showing most cabins as guaranteed. We don't particularly care what cabin class we are in although a balcony is definitely preferred!

Since this is the shoulder season, should we book now or take a chance the boat will be pretty empty and rates will drop and book later? We could also book an inside GTY cabin and hope for some fairy dust to give us an upgrade to a balcony..

Any thoughts??

 

Thank you in advance!!

If  you picked the ship and date, then it comes down to promos. Right now you get all of the free at see promos. Later, high probability that you won't (since the promo has run for a while now). 

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Interesting.. Thank you to all who replied! We will definitely be on this cruise as we have already secured airline tickets for this specific week. Since the final payment window is basically right now and NCL is running their CruiseNext double up promo thru the end of June, I think i will go ahead and book. My biggest fear is the boat being overly full as Bostonphil experienced. Thank you again for all the insight!!!

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Wise decision -- if you want a balcony, book a balcony

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I just saw the post above where a cabin went for $250pp. We are about to pay another $400+ just to upgrade our drinks package to the Gucci one. 

I don't even want to think about what we will end up paying for the DOS if they accept our upgrade bid from our 'Steerage' Haven 2 bedroom. DW won't tell me. That normally goes for about $25,000 for the week. 

I saw a video the other day of some other cruise line where THE 'cabin' costs $50,000 for the week. I would need a big Lotto win to think about that one. Craaaazy prices. I see now why they say that the Haven is a profit center.

 

As an FYI, the Alaskan cruises can get very busy, and viewing space is at a premium, so you 'need' a balcony, or you might struggle for the week to see much over the side. The fun thing about Alaska is there is a lot to see from the ship, and it is nice to be able to watch it go by without fighting to get to a railing somewhere. Aaaand, inside cabins on our Joy cruise are going for $699pp with no add ons that we can see, so if you can get a better deal than that you might want to grab it.

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