Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

How full is my cruise ship: How to tell if your cruise is fully booked

18 Sep 2020
Matt Hochberg

Wondering if there are any cabins left on your cruise or just how busy it will be onboard?

Pool deck on Oasis of the Seas

It can be very helpful to know if the Royal Caribbean cruise you have booked (or are thinking of booking) is getting close to selling out, and there are some easy ways to get a ballpark idea of what to expect.

It's fairly common for cruise ships to sail at full capacity, but occasionally there are some sailings that do not get completely booked up, especially if there are last-minute cancellations.

You should expect your cruise to be completely sold out by the time you sail, as it's the exception to have ships sail with empty rooms. The cruise industry is built around the concept of filling every room.

Anthem of the Seas at night docked

In Royal Caribbean's second quarter earnings for 2023, the average capacity for the second quarter was 105%. This means ships were sailing on average with every room full, and some rooms with third or fourth passengers in them.

This is a testament to the high demand the cruise industry enjoys, so it's quite likely your cruise will be sold out.

However, there is a chance for some sailings to have less demand, especially in the shoulder seasons when less people are able or willing to cruise.

Read moreWhen is the best time to go on a cruise?

If you're curious how to tell how full the ship is at any time, here's the easy steps to figure it out.

Why should you care if ship is close to full?

Reading this post, you might be curious why someone might want to know their cruise is almost full, and there are a few good reasons.

If you are on the fence about booking the cruise, depending on how full the ship is will determine how much time you have to decide to book the cruise or not.

In addition, prices tend to go up as rooms get booked, so a ship that is less than half full means prices may not fluctuate that much in the short term, whereas a ship nearing selling out likely will not see any price drops soon.

How to tell if your cruise ship is almost full

There is no exact method for knowing precisely how sold out a ship is or not, because Royal Caribbean does not divulge that information to the public.

However, there are some good strategies for getting a ballpark idea of how close to selling out a cruise is.

Making a mock-booking on Royal Caribbean's website is a very easy and simple way to get an idea how many rooms are left to book.

By going through the website and pretending to book a cruise, you will end up on the stateroom choice page, where you can see which categories are sold out, and drilling down from there, see how many cabin options come back as bookable.

A good travel agent can also provide insight into what is available by having them check on their site for availability. 

Is there any way to view the current amount of booked rooms?

Room booking on website

The only way to figure out how many rooms are left on any particular cruise is to do a mock booking.

What you want to do is pretend you are going to book a cruise on the Royal Caribbean website. Select a stateroom category, pick the deck, and see how many are available.

The only caveat to this strategy is you cannot see rooms that might be in a travel agent group that is being held.

Everything can change at final payment

Symphony of the Seas sailing away

If you are looking this up, keep in mind that the final payment date can drastically change how booked up a cruise is or not.

Prior to the final payment date, anyone can place a deposit and hold a cruise reservation that assures them of that particular cabin.  That cabin will remain unavailable to book and appear sold unless the person fails to make final payment and/or cancels their reservation.

A very common occurrence is people who make reservations many months in advance and then decide to cancel it at the final payment date because they decided not to sail.  

If you are trying to get an idea of available rooms, or discover a sailing is sold out, prior to final payment date, be sure to double-check again the day after final payment to see if more rooms opened up.

Once you get past final payment, cancellations are less likely since there is a penalty associated with canceling.  Cancellations past final payment date are not unheard of, just less likely.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

Get our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with cruise news & advice

    We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy