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I've never done it.  But in a nutshell, you pay less to allow the cruiseline to assign your room.  It usually happens around 2 weeks before the cruise.  

If you choose an OV Balcony, for example, you will definitely be assigned an OV Balcony.  The issue is, if the ship is very full, you'll probably get a partially obstructed view.  If not, you could end up at one of the higher categories for that class.  Many people like to take the chance for the potential savings.

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To help fill in empty staterooms, Royal Caribbean will offer a guarantee room rate.  This means you pick a category of stateroom that you are promised you will receive nothing less than that.  In fact, you might even be upgraded to something higher.  On top of it, you will pay less than someone who picks their stateroom.

The "catch" to a guarantee room is that Royal Caribbean will assign your room number at some point between when you book the stateroom and your sail date.  You are essentially trading the ability to pick your stateroom location for a lower cruise fare.

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As the others have said, it's a way for Total to better manage their inventory, and in doing so they give you a discount and the possibility of an upgrade. Thus, if balconies are selling well and that's what you booked, they can sell everything more and then if they run out, move you up to say a junior suite. The downside is that you have no say in the location and no recourse if you dislike the assigned cabin. You could end up anywhere on the ship, including in less desirable areas where there might be added noise and/or traffic. 

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I've only booked  2 RC cruises but have gone with Guarantee rooms both times.  Last year it was an Ocean View Guarantee and when we were finally allocated a room we were initially disappointed to find it was on Deck 2.  However, I was actually really pleased with the room in the end.  The location was really quiet and there was nothing above us either.  We barely felt the ship move and I'd have no hesitation in having a room on deck 2 again.  This year we went to book and would have been happy taking the risk with another OV guarantee room but bizarrely, the balcony guarantee room was cheaper.  We were allocated our room a few weeks ago and we've got deck 9.  From the plans it doesn't look like it's in a bad location either but we'll see.

For me, it seems to have been worth the risk so far. 

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I booked one for my last cruise...was an inside guar room...ended up on deck 10 with a virtual balcony which was great....but that's not the norm.

 

I wonder now that Royal is willing to sail with empty cabins in order to keep prices high and not offer last min discounts, if that will affect the rooms you may end up getting with a guar booking?!

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I will probably continue to book a guarantee cabin unless I am sailing with a group.  I booked an inside room and ended up with a promenade view and that was pretty cool.  I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. My next cruise is with a group and we wanted our rooms to be together so I was not able to for my Feb liberty sailing.

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36 minutes ago, monctonguy said:

I booked one for my last cruise...was an inside guar room...ended up on deck 10 with a virtual balcony which was great....but that's not the norm.

 

I wonder now that Royal is willing to sail with empty cabins in order to keep prices high and not offer last min discounts, if that will affect the rooms you may end up getting with a guar booking?!

Rather than lowering prices, I think they'd be more inclined to open up "cheaper" cabins (e.g., insides) by moving those with guarantees up and/or upselling people who are already booked to spend more for a better cabin.

Princess is doing some weird stuff. Because there was a demand for balcony cabins on our cruise close to sailing (or they simply oversold them, perhaps), they were offering people a full refund if they voluntarily downgraded from a balcony to an obstructed ocean view. For a free cruise, I'd do that in a heartbeat! Given that they can't manage their My Time Dining situation, I'm inclined to believe it's bad inventory management. ;)

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I did a balcony guarantee on Anthem and the cabin was assigned 5 months out...so there is no set time for when they are assigned.  Second, and from what I've heard from a good source (Michael Poole), when your cabin is assigned, you can call Royal and ask to be switched to another location in the same category.  I haven't tried it yet but I've been told it can be done.  I for one don't mind Royal picking the cabin for me as long as it's a good savings, and I'm not looking at a lifeboat. 

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We did a guarantee ocean view once, the room was assigned about 2 weeks before sailing. We were on deck 2, felt every rock of the ship. We were given a handicap accessible room that had not been booked. The room was larger than a standard room. It was OK, but I haven't booked a guarantee again.

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I frequently book guarantees - in fact I have one booked right now for the Harmony Group Cruise!

If you're not picky about the exact stateroom you get, then I see no reason not to.  If you think "as long as I don't get a cabin that..." - don't finish that sentence, a guarantee isn't for you.  Further, while sometimes guests get a pleasant surprise, don't book a guarantee counting on that.  More often than not you're assigned a stateroom of the same type (inside/OV/verandah) which you booked.

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  • 2 weeks later...
3 minutes ago, MKSglitz said:

Just how much of a discount do you really get when you book a guarantee cabin?  Is it substantial?  Will these guarantee cabins be a thing of the past with RCCL no longer offering last minute discounts to fill empty cabins just before sailing?

It can vary. Often, it's not substantial, maybe $150, but otherwise it can be more. I was pricing a cruise yesterday on Harmony and an inside cabin guarantee was about $660 per person whereas the non guarantee was $300 per person more. 

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33 minutes ago, whitsmom said:

I am too OCD to book a guarantee!! Just like traveling and not having a hotel already booked (did that once when traveling with others and that will NEVER happen again) :3_grin: My hubby just shakes his head ;0)

My mom refuses to book a GTY because she wants to be absolutely certain of where the room is

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9 hours ago, Matt said:

My mom refuses to book a GTY because she wants to be absolutely certain of where the room is

My wife is the same as she needs a midship cabin. Even in rough seas, she's been able to tolerate them done if we've been midship, but not when we've been elsewhere. 

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That would be my question. I think I paid somewhere around $1K pp for our balcony on the Harmony GC. How much less would a room in the same category be ?  $800 pp ?  I think I agree with Billy, I see no reason not to take that savings, though I've never done it. But I am intrigued. Not sure my wife would agree with my intrigue though. Takes us 3 tries before she accepts a table at restaurants ?

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13 hours ago, DocLC said:

My wife is the same as she needs a midship cabin. Even in rough seas, she's been able to tolerate them done if we've been midship, but not when we've been elsewhere. 

Now, to a degree, my wife is just the opposite, she considers a cabin to be just a place to lay her head (although I do wonder if rough seas would affect her if she wasn't mid-ship - is it worth the gamble)..... Now granted, she loves the cabin we get on Grandeur so there's no deviating from that, but I think when we try a different ship, she may be open to the idea.  I know I'd like to, but that's mostly because I'm cheap and will try to save a penny wherever I can.

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51 minutes ago, coneyraven said:

Now, to a degree, my wife is just the opposite, she considers a cabin to be just a place to lay her head (although I do wonder if rough seas would affect her if she wasn't mid-ship - is it worth the gamble)..... Now granted, she loves the cabin we get on Grandeur so there's no deviating from that, but I think when we try a different ship, she may be open to the idea.  I know I'd like to, but that's mostly because I'm cheap and will try to save a penny wherever I can.

My wife is somewhat prone to motion sickness. When we got rough seas in Alaska in an aft corner cabin, she was miserable. When we hit similarly rough seas in the North Sea where was were crashing over our midship window, she was fine. So for piece of mind, that's where we book and even turned down a very nice upgrade because of it. 

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I've booked guarantee cabins several times. Saved over $1000 on a junior suite on anthem once and over $600 on an upcoming Harmony ocean view balcony. Very happy not only with the savings every time but also the cabin location. Would not hesitate booking these cabins. Our room was assigned within a couple days of booking.

Good luck! 

Mel

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On 8/1/2017 at 1:52 PM, DocLC said:

Princess is doing some weird stuff. Because there was a demand for balcony cabins on our cruise close to sailing (or they simply oversold them, perhaps), they were offering people a full refund if they voluntarily downgraded from a balcony to an obstructed ocean view. For a free cruise, I'd do that in a heartbeat! Given that they can't manage their My Time Dining situation, I'm inclined to believe it's bad inventory management. ;)

I'd downgrade as well for a free cruise!

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  • 4 weeks later...

We booked a standard oceanview balcony on Oasis 7 day cruise and got a normal balcony room on deck 6.  Then called in and asked what upgrades were available.  Options were: bigger balcony for $1000 more, JS for $2500 more, or guaranteed suite for $1700 more. I think the suggestion that you *might* get upgraded to a grand suite is a hoax, has ANYONE actually gotten a GS with a suite guarantee?  I would never pay more for a guaranteed suite, because you're going to get a JS, but I was happy to save $700 to let them pick the suite. There are no bad JS rooms.

Also, they didn't offer the guaranteed suite right away, and I'm not sure if it was available online or not.  I think it wasn't, so one trick to getting offered it is to call in and ask for it.  I didn't ask specifically for it, just asked about upgrades and it started with the bigger balcony and I said "Anything else?  I really want a bigger room, not a bigger balcony."  Then she offered the JS for $2500 more and when I was hesitating on deciding, she said there is also a suite guaranteed option.

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10 hours ago, azfish said:

We booked a standard oceanview balcony on Oasis 7 day cruise and got a normal balcony room on deck 6.  Then called in and asked what upgrades were available.  Options were: bigger balcony for $1000 more, JS for $2500 more, or guaranteed suite for $1700 more. I think the suggestion that you *might* get upgraded to a grand suite is a hoax, has ANYONE actually gotten a GS with a suite guarantee?  I would never pay more for a guaranteed suite, because you're going to get a JS, but I was happy to save $700 to let them pick the suite. There are no bad JS rooms.

Also, they didn't offer the guaranteed suite right away, and I'm not sure if it was available online or not.  I think it wasn't, so one trick to getting offered it is to call in and ask for it.  I didn't ask specifically for it, just asked about upgrades and it started with the bigger balcony and I said "Anything else?  I really want a bigger room, not a bigger balcony."  Then she offered the JS for $2500 more and when I was hesitating on deciding, she said there is also a suite guaranteed option.

When did you call and check for upgrades?  Was is before or after final payment?  Just read @Matt's pre group cruise blog and he was able to upgrade as well.  Just curious, when is the best time to check?

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2 hours ago, RestingBirds said:

When did you call and check for upgrades?  Was is before or after final payment?  Just read @Matt's pre group cruise blog and he was able to upgrade as well.  Just curious, when is the best time to check?

I don't think there's a best time or not.  You just have to vigilantly check.  My wife was checking every day or two randomly and happened to stumble upon it.

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Does Royal Caribbean assign "placeholder" room numbers for guaranteed rooms that are yet unassigned?  The reason I ask is that our room is 6666 on deck 6.  At first, I thought it was a joke, but so many people above said their rooms were assigned weeks/months out.  And, there is a room 6666 on the deck plan.  

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In all honesty I think I would run with it.  I would not be concerned about the numbers.  In fact it is really kind of awesome in a sense that you cant"  forget your deck or room number this cruise.  I would be even willing to go out on a limb  and state that your main dining room table number will have a 6 in it.  If it does I would surely hit the casino at some point on the cruise as well as play bingo at least once.  Most importantly enjoy the cruise.   

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Just now, fonemanbob said:

In all honesty I think I would run with it.  I would not be concerned about the numbers.  In fact it is really kind of awesome in a sense that you cant"  forget your deck or room number this cruise.  I would be even willing to go out on a limb  and state that your main dining room table number will have a 6 in it.  If it does I would surely hit the casino at some point on the cruise as well as play bingo at least once.  Most importantly enjoy the cruise.   

Now wouldn't that be something if her husband/partner/significant other is 6' tall. Definitely casino time!:27_sunglasses: 

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16 hours ago, RestingBirds said:

When did you call and check for upgrades?  Was is before or after final payment?  Just read @Matt's pre group cruise blog and he was able to upgrade as well.  Just curious, when is the best time to check?

I called in after final payment, about 1 mo before departure date. I have no idea what's the best time, only did this once and it worked out.

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  • 4 months later...

I have never seen the option to book a guarantee cabin on the RC website.  Can you only get one via calling RC?

 

I'm looking at Adventure from Bayonne to NE/CAN in July of next year.  Of course, if it were up to me, I'd never sail

anywhere not named Caribbean, but this one's for my wife.  She's been a good trooper on our 3 trips to the islands,

despite her disdain of the sun and hot weather.

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8 minutes ago, Floski said:

I have never seen the option to book a guarantee cabin on the RC website.  Can you only get one via calling RC?

 

I'm looking at Adventure from Bayonne to NE/CAN in July of next year.  Of course, if it were up to me, I'd never sail

anywhere not named Caribbean, but this one's for my wife.  She's been a good trooper on our 3 trips to the islands,

despite her disdain of the sun and hot weather.

They are not always available and I'm not sure what the criteria is for them to show up.  Possibly they oversell a certain cabin type long before final payment date knowing some people will cancel.  

They are also not always the best deal, it all depends on sales trends and inventory available. Here is an example for the Symphony TA for balconies:

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The GTY or "We choose the room" is more than picking a cabin yourself.  I've been watching this nearly daily to see if I can score a better cabin.  Options come and go.  Somedays only GTY are available, other times you can't choose a GTY booking.

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Adding to the mystery, if you pick the middle option above to pick your own cabin, 3/4 choices are GTY but cheaper than the GTY rate shown above.

5a83168051d6a_gty2.jpeg.7acbe3c619f1bfcbc57e58f2a916a0a5.jpeg

Somedays there are actual cabins to look out and to choose from.  Other days it is these GTY offers.  Some threshold kicks in within their reservation system and makes GTY an option to select.

Closer to sail dates like less than 120 days they seem to be more common offerings.

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I think when you see situations like this, where a GTY is more costly, the general cause is simply that rates have been adjusted, and no one changed the GTY rate b/c well, it just wasn't important.  If someone wants to pay a higher rate for a GTY they can, but few will - especially if the GTY is priced higher than the highest category within that stateroom type (meaning that even someone magically knew they'd get assigned the highest cat, they'd still be spending more).

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I also find it helpful to look at some agency websites even if you don't plan to use them.  Some inventory is allocated to agencies or group cruises but then the group doesn't sell out so inventory is returned to RC.  Sometimes certain cabins are only available through an agency. 

I've seen it where RC direct only offers GTY but agencies are offering the same rate but you can pick a room.

It's very fluid and dynamic.  

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5 minutes ago, twangster said:

I've seen it where RC direct only offers GTY but agencies are offering the same rate but you can pick a room.

It's very fluid and dynamic.  

I have seen it the other way too. Where to get the cheaper GTY you had to find it elsewhere. RCL is only consistent on one thing and that's being inconsistent lol

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/12/2017 at 9:43 PM, azfish said:

We booked a standard oceanview balcony on Oasis 7 day cruise and got a normal balcony room on deck 6.  Then called in and asked what upgrades were available.  Options were: bigger balcony for $1000 more, JS for $2500 more, or guaranteed suite for $1700 more. I think the suggestion that you *might* get upgraded to a grand suite is a hoax, has ANYONE actually gotten a GS with a suite guarantee?  I would never pay more for a guaranteed suite, because you're going to get a JS, but I was happy to save $700 to let them pick the suite. There are no bad JS rooms.

Also, they didn't offer the guaranteed suite right away, and I'm not sure if it was available online or not.  I think it wasn't, so one trick to getting offered it is to call in and ask for it.  I didn't ask specifically for it, just asked about upgrades and it started with the bigger balcony and I said "Anything else?  I really want a bigger room, not a bigger balcony."  Then she offered the JS for $2500 more and when I was hesitating on deciding, she said there is also a suite guaranteed option.

I upgraded to Suite Guarantee about two weeks before my sailing.  At the time, the suite inventory was high.  But there was only 2 junior suites left.  I was assigned a Grand Suite on the Oasis of the Seas from my guarantee.  I would do this again in a heartbeat, but only for a suite guarantee.

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On 2/13/2018 at 12:18 PM, LetsTryThisTech said:

I have seen it the other way too. Where to get the cheaper GTY you had to find it elsewhere. RCL is only consistent on one thing and that's being inconsistent lol

This is most likely because an agency is holding a block of rooms.  As such, RCI (nor anyone but that agency) doesn't have access to those exact rooms. If they have all remaining rooms in a given cat, or at least enough of them at RCI doesn't want to sell individually those which remain (a calculated business decision often based on lowest advertised price), then this would be the result.

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I've never sailed with a Guarantee cabin and have a question...am considering booking on an upcoming HOTS cruise that is less than a month away, April 14 sailing.  There is an option to book a cat W, Suite Guarantee.  Jr Suites appear sold out for this sailing, what do you think they could assign us?  I'd really prefer a GS or above for the perks that come with the Sky suite class.  If Jr suites are sold out is there a good chance that we will get assigned a GS or better?  Anyone with thoughts on this or experience like this?  We are a family of 4 if that matters.  Thanks, Matt.

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