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I saved $240 on my cruise by letting Royal Caribbean choose my room, and I'd totally do it again

31 Oct 2023
Calista Kiper

I've never experienced what it feels like to win the lottery, but this cruise hack made me feel pretty close.


For my latest cruise on Freedom of the Seas, I chose to book with a guarantee cabin, allowing Royal Caribbean to assign a room location instead of choosing my own.

By selecting this option, I gave up the option to pick a specific room, but it saved me a couple hundred dollars.

In retrospect, I think this was a really smart decision!

What is a guarantee cabin?

A guarantee state run offers a cheaper cabin option in exchange for you allowing Royal Caribbean to assign your stateroom closer to the sale date. 

If you choose to book a guarantee stateroom you won't have the room assignment until later on, but you will receive one when Royal Caribbean assigns it. 

This usually falls somewhere between 5-30 days before the cruise.

You don't get the opportunity to choose your cabin but the cruise line states that you should receive the stateroom category you booked or higher.

There's also a chance you could receive an upgrade like I did.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean cruise ship cabin and suite guide

The guarantee stateroom process is intended to fill in the gaps of unsold staterooms. So, rooms that are less likely to get booked are more likely to be assigned to a guarantee cruiser. 

Since cruises are usually booked up further in advance and sailing at full capacity, it was a rare opportunity for me to get such a big upgrade on my guarantee stateroom. 

This option saved me about $240, ending up with a total price of $2,021.68, or $336.95 per night per person.

My cabin assignment


Since guarantee rooms are usually assigned at some point between 5 to 30 days before the cruise, it takes some time before you know where your stay room will be located.

Most of the time, a stateroom is assigned a few weeks before the cruise.

Royal Caribbean does not notify you when you are assigned a stateroom, so you have to log into the cruise line's website or continue checking the app to verify.

I received my cabin assignment a couple weeks prior to the cruise and saw that we were located on Deck 8, midship, in room number 8388.

I was already grateful to see I received the prized midship location—which prevents seasickness and allows proximity to elevators, stairs, and other amenities in the middle of the ship.

This location also gave us enough proximity to the Windjammer and pool on deck 11 and the Royal Promenade on deck 5 that we barely had to use the elevators. 

We only had to take a few flights of stairs to reach our destination. 

In addition to the convenient location, I had been assigned a spacious, deluxe oceanview balcony room for the same low price!

After I got my assignment, I felt like I had won the stateroom lottery.

Stateroom #8388 impressions

When we first opened the cabin door, we were greeted with a spacious room—214 square feet in total. 

The stateroom’s space was most visible in its length, stretching from the cabin’s front door to the back door leading to the balcony.

The room features a long couch, a spacious queen bed, and a desk and vanity.

The floor between the couch and the deck/vanity was wide enough that we could leave our luggage right there. 

To the right of the stateroom door was the small bathroom. Where the stateroom had surprised me by its size, the bathroom definitively felt pinched, similar to the size of a bathroom in an interior cabin. 

And the shower was even smaller, with only enough space for one person to stand in. However, I was satisfied with the water pressure and hot temperatures.

The sink and counter, although small, did have enough shelf space for our 3-night cruise. Two cups under the mirror served to hold our toothbrushes and toothpaste. 

The mirror was wide, and the counter was thin but long enough that we could spread our items out. However, I think we would have struggled to fit all of our toiletries if we had been on a longer trip.


To the left of the stateroom door, we found a large closet with several shelves, a safe, and hangers for our larger clothes. There was enough floor space in the closet to store several pairs of shoes.

Directly behind that closet faced a floor-length mirror, and opposite that stood the desk and vanity space.

The desk was long enough to hold makeup, jewelry, and multiple bags during our cruise. We also found shelves behind the vanity mirror.

Facing the desk was the long couch, large enough that I could have laid down to nap on it. However, the bed was so comfortable that we never felt the need to.

The highlight of this room was its large, comfortable bed. Although I did find a few stains on the sheets, it was soft and restful for the length of our stay.

Two large paintings above the bed brightened the room, adding to an already relaxing atmosphere, thanks to the cabin’s natural light.

On either side of the bed were two nightstands, with lamps above them. 

Lastly, at the very end of the room was our balcony door. Although heavy, and hard to push open and closed, the door led to a beautiful view.

The balcony held a small, round table and two deck chairs that could be adjusted to recline. 

The view itself was unbeatable: ocean water during the day and clear, starry skies at night. I also loved that we could wake up on port days and see the island right outside our window.

We also found that the cabin was peaceful and quiet: even when we sat on the balcony, we barely heard noises from other cabins. 

I’m someone who loves sunlight and natural views, so having the balcony attachment made the room so much more enjoyable. After experiencing my first balcony room, I don’t know if I could go back! 


The room felt large and luxurious. I loved this stateroom, from the size of the cabin, the beautiful balcony, and its convenient location in the middle of deck 8. 

I found that I didn’t experience any seasickness in the middle of the ship, and we enjoyed spending time relaxing in our room and on the balcony. 

For me, booking a guarantee stateroom was worth it. For the money I saved, I got a lucky cabin location.

But this location wasn’t a requirement for my cruise, so in the future, I would book a guarantee and hope for the best again. 

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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