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I saved $100 by letting Royal Caribbean choose my cruise ship cabin location, and I would let them do it again

21 Feb 2023
Elizabeth Wright

On my recent Symphony of the Seas cruise, I decided to book a guarantee cabin and let Royal Caribbean assign my stateroom closer to the sail date. I saved $100 by doing so and would let them choose my cabin again in the future! 


I booked an interior guarantee for less than choosing my stateroom at the time of booking. When I received my cabin assignment, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I got an accessible interior cabin, which meant that my cabin for my cruise was going to be much larger than a traditional interior stateroom. 

Here's why I'll choose to save my money next time and book another guarantee cabin.

What does it mean to book a guarantee cabin?


Guarantee staterooms are cheaper cabin options offered by Royal Caribbean (and most other cruise lines) in exchange for allowing them to assign your stateroom closer to the sail date. In other words, when you book your cruise vacation, you will not have the exact room assignment until later on, as you won't get to choose your cabin.  

Additionally, Royal Caribbean states that you will receive the stateroom category you booked or higher. There is always a slim chance that you could receive an upgrade. If, for instance, you booked an interior, you may find that you got an upgrade to an ocean view cabin. However, as cruises are booking up further in advance and sailing at full capacity nowadays, it is unlikely that this will happen. You should not book a guarantee cabin expecting an upgrade!

The purpose of guarantee cabins is to help fill in the gaps of unsold staterooms-- some rooms are less likely to get booked. 

I did not mind taking the chance of getting a cabin in a less desired location. While that meant that I may have had to walk further to and from my cabin or deal with some noise from the casino, theatre, or nightclub, I knew that I would still be on the same ship as everybody else and enjoying the same amenities. I don't spend much time in my stateroom; I'm always exploring the ship, listening to live music, hanging out on the pool deck, or off in port. 

Cabin assignment

Royal Caribbean states that guarantee rooms will be assigned at some point between 5-30 days before the cruise. This means that you could potentially be one week from embarking on your cruise vacation without knowing where your stateroom is located yet. 

Most of the time, rooms are assigned a few weeks before the cruise. Sometimes, though, people have not received their stateroom until a day or two before sailing. These instances, however, are rare!

Additionally, you will not be notified when Royal Caribbean assigns your stateroom. You will have to continuously log into the cruise line's website to check.

I booked my stateroom after the final payment date and was assigned a room fairly quickly-- I had one within two weeks of booking, or about 1.5 months before the cruise sail date. To me, I was surprised that I was given an accessible cabin so early. There was ample time for another cruiser, one who truly needed the benefits of an accessible room, to book it!

I spent the time leading up to my cruise wondering if this meant that my stateroom could change again at the last minute. This never happened, and I spent my week onboard Symphony of the Seas enjoying my oversized stateroom. As a solo traveler, this felt like I was royalty! 

Stateroom #6189 impressions


Since I looked up my stateroom in advance, I knew that it was an accessible cabin. As mentioned earlier, I was confused as to why this was assigned to a solo traveler over one month before the cruise. I knew that the cruise was pretty booked, so this probably all that was left when I booked the cruise.


This is usually how guarantee cabins are assigned, anyway. Cruisers who are willing to pay to select their staterooms choose the ones in more desirable locations to be near their favorite amenities or closer to family and friends. Those that have yet to be booked are what guarantee cruisers are given. 

The guarantee process itself was straightforward. I was assigned my cabin in a timely manner and had no issues with the room. 

What I did not know, however, was just how large my stateroom was going to be. The room was 258 square feet, so it was over 100 square feet larger than traditional interior staterooms! 


While the square footage of the room was larger, there was not really much more storage space. It was outfitted with the same amenities as other standard cabins, including two closets, a dresser, vanity area, and three bathroom shelves.


The two primary difference that I noticed were that the nightstands were larger than the ones I had in my last interior room onboard Symphony of the Seas, and the bathroom sink did not have a long shelf underneath it. The bathroom counter, however, was wider. 


There was not a glass shower door, either, but that was to be expected in this category of stateroom. I was a fan of the oversized cruise shower; I did not accidentally hit my arm on the door or shower wall!

My largest issue with the stateroom was the automatic door. I either had to forcefully shut it or wait for it to close on its own and let people passing by peer into my room. There were switches that were supposed to toggle this function on and off, but neither myself nor my stateroom attendant could figure them out.


Overall, this was such a minor issue that I came to appreciate the mini-workout I got trying to close my door, and for people who are utilizing every function of an accessible room, this would be useful!

I loved how I actually saved money to end up with a specious cabin! It was a comfortable place to call home for the week. 

Cabin location


My stateroom was located on deck 6 midship, and honestly, it was probably the most centrally located stateroom I have ever stayed in! Midship staterooms are great because they are never a far walk from the elevator or stairs, meaning you can navigate the ship quicker.

If there is one thing I could have changed about this location, I think I would have preferred to have been on a higher deck to be located, quite literally, in the middle of the ship. The Windjammer Marketplace was all the way on deck 16, so that meant I had quite a ways to travel to reach the buffet for breakfast or lunch.

That being said, the forward elevator bank was close by, and I was a short walk to my morning coffee at Café Promenade each morning. Plus, returning from port meant I only had to walk up three or four flights of stairs, as I usually never take the elevator since it's so crowded; I enjoyed being able to quickly return to my stateroom! 

The one downside was that it got pretty noisy at night from the events in the Royal Promenade. To me, though, that is not a dealbreaker. I always assume that I'll hear something in my stateroom. I'd much rather it be a little bit of vibrations from the music below than the dragging of pool chairs early in the morning. 

Overall thoughts on booking a guarantee stateroom


Guarantee staterooms are not for everybody. Whenever I cruised with my parents, for instance, they loved to be able to pick two staterooms close to one another-- we often ended up in connecting balconies!

For myself, though, I don't mind saving the money and letting Royal Caribbean choose my cabin. I figure that I can use the extra cash to book other experiences that will enhance my cruise vacation, such as shore excursions or specialty dining.

I know that even if I end up in a location that requires more walking or is a little noisy, I will still enjoy my vacation. And walking on a cruise is never a bad thing, right? 

I got lucky with my cabin and location. Guarantee cabins are the luck of the draw, but I think playing the game of chance is worth it, especially if you end up with a cabin like mine! After staying in a larger stateroom, it will be difficult to return to the standard sized ones! 

Sometimes, the price difference between choosing your own cabin and booking a guarantee is negligible. In that instance, I would probably opt to select my own cabin somewhere on deck 8, as I love being located near Central Park! 

If you're prone to seasickness or really do have a preferred location (i.e., close to Central Park or the Main Dining Room), it may be best for you to pay the difference. Choosing the ideal stateroom and location is one easy way to make sure that you start your cruise vacation as seamlessly as possible! The savings won't be worth it to someone who would fell ill all night or be kept awake by the activities nearby. 

Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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