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grest

last minute booking

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we have never booked close to a cruise, but now are considering a cruise that sails in 2 or 3 weeks....wondering about pros and cons.  Obviously cabin choice is impacted, and we may not get the dining arrangements we want.  What else should we be aware of ?

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I say go for it!  If you want to do  it and can afford it why not?   This spring friends  joined us on a cruise in Japan with just over a week to plan international arrangements.   We had a blast.   Life is short and can be very fragile.  

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Posted (edited)

Why not go for it?

 

We typically book well inside the final payment window.  Anywhere from six weeks out to thee days out.  We have been fortunate.  Never been disappointed with our gty balcony...quite the opposite actually.

 

We sometimes do not get the right dining choice....but we have always been able to change it once on-board.  Typically the M'aitre D has a desk set up in the late afternoon where change requests are handled.  Once we had to wait until day two.  No biggie and we  are very flexible.   Getting more challenging as it seems that more and more people request anytime dining.

Edited by iancal

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We just booked a cruise for Jan. 26. 

 

I'd been watching it for over a month, so I made air reservations and a pre-cruise hotel reservation back then.  We only fly Southwest in the US, so I could have cancelled with no charge [and I never book pre-paid hotel rates], so we'd have lost nothing had we not been able to go.

 

I was able to book a room that I like--very, very important to me as I won't book guarantees--at a good price.  I'm sure had we waited longer we could have gotten an even more rock bottom price, but we didn't want to risk it selling out

.

This close, you get no perks & you pay in full immediately, so you better be sure.  You also must know if you want their cruise protection plan [we buy travel insurance from a 3rd party].  You can't transfer the booking once it's paid in full, but of course if you have a TA, you can book with them from the get go [in some instances, HAL insists that you can only get a guarantee, so the agent may need to push a bit to get the room of your choice].

 

I ask for no upgrade, but I have called a close as 3 days before sailing if I see a room that I prefer is available.  I've been able to get a free upgrade doing this, but I've also been turned down, too.

 

Even this close, we've been able to book the shore excursions that we wanted.

 

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In October of 2018, escrow closed on the sale of our house and we were scheduled to move into our brand new apartment the next week when we were suddenly informed the building wouldn't be ready until mid-November.  What to do when  you're suddenly homeless? Find a cruise to fill some of the time, of course!

Checking all of the cruises, we found a 15-day cruise on Volendam down the Pacific Coast and through the Panama Canal. Our AAA agent quickly booked  us into a Dolphin deck mid-ship outside cabin.  Although we were a bit concerned about the cabin (our previous cruises had all been verandahs), it all worked out just fine.  In fact, seeing the walls of the locks just a few feet outside the big windows added a whole new and  unexpected dimension to the canal crossing.  We were so pleased with that cabin that we booked the same cabin on Zaandam (Volendam's sister ship) for a Boston to Montreal Cruise this spring.

We still would prefer a verandah on some cruises, but were very pleasantly surprised with some of the advantages of Dolphin Deck.  Dinner was no problem since we never choose set seating arrangements.

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Since you live in FL -- go for it as you don't have to worry about air fare or hotels.

 

As long as you don't care what kind of a cabin you end up with, no problems.  With Open Seating -- you can choose whenever you want to dine.

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Posted (edited)

We have done quite a few last minute bookings, some of these were any where from  24 hours to several days/weeks  prior to sailing.  We would do it again (and most likely will) with no second thoughts. Payment is due immediately and the very next thing you should do (if you choose to) is purchase travel insurance. If you have a Future Cruise Deposit, you can apply it to your payment. It really is the same process whether you book a year out or several weeks before. 

 

You may or may not be able to choose your cabin, so be sure you will be comfortable with the category you are choosing. I've read on these boards for years, that you will receive the worse cabin assignments for last minute bookings. This has not been our experience.  Some of out best cabin assignments have been very last minute cruises.

 

If you are not able to access your online documents after payment, you (or your travel agent) might have to give HAL a nudge. With a phone call they can grant you access within several minutes. This will make check-in at the pier easier and faster.

 

I say if you are able to do it, why not?

Edited by adrift@sea

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8 hours ago, grest said:

we have never booked close to a cruise, but now are considering a cruise that sails in 2 or 3 weeks....wondering about pros and cons.  Obviously cabin choice is impacted, and we may not get the dining arrangements we want.  What else should we be aware of ?

Sounds great, exciting for last minute cruises, go with the flow, have a great time.

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