Monday, August 15, 2011

Your No-Stress (Okay, Low-Stress) Guide to Booking a Cabin

It's official.

Even for a repeat cruiser, booking week can be rough. You're thrown from a state of anticipation to one of uncertainty and anxiety. Nothing can make it possible for 4,000 people to book 1,000 cabins, but I will do my best to prepare you for booking day.

What I can't do is tell you how much this year's cabins will cost. That info won't be released until Thursday. What we do know, from comcasttix.com, is that inside cabins start at $699, ocean view cabins start at $1099, balcony from $1299, and suites from $2399. This is consistent with 2011 pricing.

Via Rose Tours Terms and Conditions, a $300 per person deposit is payable with your reservation.  A second payment of $500 per person will be charged on November 29, 2011. The remaining balance will be charged the week of April 24, 2012. Payments must be made in the form of a credit card. Last year, there was also a $5 booking fee per passenger payable at time of booking.

If you cancel: the $300 deposit is non-refundable. Between November 29 and April 23, you will be charged a cancellation fee of 50% of the total cruise fare. After April 24, you won't get any refund and you'll be responsible for 100% of the fare and taxes.

Before On-Sale
  1. Choose your roommates. Keep in mind that two- and four-person rooms are easier to come by than three-person rooms.
  2. Decide on a budget. Don't forget port fees, taxes, and all the extras.
  3. Using last year's pricing and the Destiny deck plan, create a wish list of cabin types in the order you will try to book. For example, you will first try for an 8D, then 8E, 8M, 8N, 9B, and so forth. I recommend planning at least 10. The deck plan will help you figure out how many of each room type are available. Include cabin category (e.g., "ocean view") in your list.
  4. Decide who will try to book the cabin. BN members will book first, at noon Thursday, followed by past cruisers at 1 p.m. and general sale on Friday.
  5. Choose early or late dining.
  6. Decide if you will purchase travel insurance from Rose Tours. All passengers in the cabin must choose yes or no on travel insurance; you can't choose individually. (My advice is to shop around.) Remember, insurance will not help you if you decide later that you can't afford the trip.
  7. Make sure the person booking has full names, DOB, email addresses, billing addresses, and credit card information for each person in your cabin. If you put in only one credit card, that card will be charged the deposit for everyone in the cabin. Each street address has to match the billing address on the credit card or the system will not process the card or the reservation. (Be smart. Don't email or tweet this information.)
  8. Read the Rose Tours booking procedures and FAQs carefully.
  9. Block off time in your calendar to be near a computer come sale time!
On Sale Day
  1. Make sure the person(s) booking has all of your information plus the wish list of cabin categories and types. It helps to have these in a text file so you can copy and paste during booking. (If possible, have each roommate on the phone together during booking so you can have more than one person trying.)
  2. When you log on to the ComcastTix site, you will see four options. Click the red "Tix" button next to the category of the room you want to book.
  3. Past this screen will be a link to every possible room type and combination available in that category. That means there will be a separate link for 8D Double, 8D Triple, 8D Quad and so forth. The list can get very long. Be careful to click on both the cabin type AND the number of passengers you want to book.
  4. If your first choice is not available, go back to the list and find your second, third, or fourth choice until you find an available room.
  5. Using your text file of passenger info, copy and paste all the fields into the reservation form.
  6. At this point, if more than one of your roommates has made it to the reservation form, make sure only one of you clicks submit! Multiple reservations will cause all of your bookings to get thrown out.
  7. Cheer, dance, do a shot, whatever! You're on cruise 2012! Print your booking confirmation for safe keeping.
If You Don't Make It
First, don't stop trying to book until @NKOTB officially says all cabins are gone. Lots of people "play" with the system and "practice" booking without taking the cabin. They'll open up throughout the day.

Once all cabins are sold out, Rose Tours will open a wait list. Put your name down ASAP. Last year, the entire wait list was called and offered cabins before the cruise. If you are on the wait list, save your pennies! When Rose Tours calls, they'll want whatever payments have been received within a few days. That means if you get the call on December 5, you'll pay $800 at once, or if you get the call in May, you'll pay the full amount.


Do you feel prepared? What did I forget? Add your questions or tips to the comments!

70 comments:

  1. Really? The ENTIRE wait list was called last year? Because yeah, we weren't. Confused.

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  2. Woooo that's cool ^_^ thank you :)

    PS: I was on the wait list last year, they didn't contact me :L (just to let know)

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  3. Thank you so much katie!! This info is helpful even to past cruisers. I'm glad to have you back in the boat!!! :)

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  4. This thing is gonna sell out quicker this year.

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  5. Question about the wait list: Do you know if it's a per-person wait list? Or if I want to stay in a room with my friend and neither of us get to book a room, and we get on the wait list - are we still going to be able to room together? Thanks!

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  6. Katie you are simply AMAZING!! So impressed with this...can't wait to just get Thursday over and done with. LOL

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  7. Did you cruise last year?

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  8. @Lisa, sorry I don't know. Anyone else know?

    @Anon, not last year!

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  9. I was on waitlist #4,xxx and I got a call and got balcony room. So go on the waitlist. Shell call you and tell you what's available. I got the call in February for 2011 cruise. My first charge was $900, so save your pennies. It was a lot of fun, but very glad they will be making changes. The SAME people got vip over and over.

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  10. Thanks for the post, very helpful! Although I was on the wait list and I definitely did not get a call.

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  11. I was on the waitlist last year and got called twice because the first time I told them not at that time but to keep me on the list. Once they had made it through the list they called me again and it was cruise 2011 time for me! They had stated that they had gone through the whole list.

    Also, a friend of mine talked to Rose Tours two days before the cruise was to set sail and they still had rooms available. She had to make a decision by a certain time that day because it was final call.

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  12. Breakdown of payments is as follows:
    $300 initial deposit (Aug 18th or 19th)
    $500 payment on November 29th and the balance is due on April 24th.

    Please keep in mind that if you're not sure about going, the initial $300 deposit is non-refundable.

    Taken from the Rose Tours website Terms and Conditions.

    Hope that helps everyone!! See ya'll on the boat!!

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  13. P.S. Like last year the port fees, taxes, etc. etc. are $289/person. So factor that in when you're thinking about your budgets. ;)

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  14. are there specific rooms that need to be booked if we only have 3 people in our group!???

    ~Kristin

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  15. SOY DE PERU NO HABLO NADA DE INGLES QUISIERA SABER SI HAY CHICAS HISPANAS PARA NO SENTIRME PERDIDA Y APARTE DEL PAGO DE LA CABINA QUE GASTOS EXTRAS HAY RESPONDANME PORFAVOR.

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  16. Does anyone know if people are allowed to do the roommate match thing for the OS or GS suites? When do you indicate you want to do the roommate match thing during the booking? Looks like I am going to have a solo trip....

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  17. Yo soy Chilena Canadiense y voy de segura este ano - si quieres una compañera - Este es mi primera vez así que no se mucho de los gastos pero parece que ahí un impuesto de $289 por persona

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  18. I dont know who else to go with . Do you have to book with another cruise individual.

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  19. I was on last year's waitlist as well and was never called. Granted with my change of health, I wouldn't have been able to go, but still, if Rosetours had claimed they called everyone on the wl, that is not correct.

    One suggestion I have is to purchase refundable flights, in the event you have to cancel. Non-refundable flights usually require you to pay a cancellation fee and change fee if you want to use the ticket credit for another flight.

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  20. Can anyone help with a question regarding BN memberships? If you just recently joined BN, will you be included in the presale for this cruise? There seems to be a bit of confusion about that...with some saying membership doesn't start til Jan. 1, 2012...leaving us in the lurch for presale.

    Thanks for any insight!

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  21. I believe membership starts from the day of purchase. If you go to your account on BN, it will state the expiration date...

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  22. @NYCBlackStar no, there are only a few cabin types you can do with the roommate match. Check the 2011 price list to see which they are.

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  23. How many rooms does each presale release for sale? How many rooms will be available for the general sale?

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  24. Is there a cabin for (5) passengers?

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  25. I'm looking to book this for my wife (as a surprise). If she goes, she'll take a friend, but I don't know who's going with her. Can I just book the room for me and her, and then change mey information later?

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  26. @Anon1
    The most passengers in a cabin is 4. You'll have to split into 3 and 2.

    @Anon2
    You can change your name on the reservation to someone else's, but you'll pay a $100 name change fee.

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  27. Great article!! Thanks!
    As a first time cruiser this year, is there anything else important to know? Are there any cabins that you have restricted access to the ship, ie: the $699 ones? Also, someone above mentioned VIP. VIP for what? Just wanna make sure I get a decent cabin and don't miss out on anything! Thanks! Erin

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  28. Thanks Katie. I think I know who she will take, but in acase that person can't make it, it's good to know that it can be changed, albeit for $100.

    I just signed up for Block Nation yesterday to participate in the Pre-sale. Did anybody get the pre-sale email yet? I haven't.

    Thanks again!

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  29. Las que no hablen ingles me pueden contactar a jposada75@yahoo.com. yo les puedo ayudar.

    Jennifer

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  30. I SIGNED UP FOR BLOCK NATION YESTERDAY AND I HAVE NOT GOTTEN A EMAIL YET. I DID IT FOR THE PRE-SALE AS WELL. I AM A FIRST TIME CRUSER. I AM SO EXCITED!!!

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  31. Anon @5:25,

    They said the email went out this morning. I didn't get one either; not in my Inbox or Spam. You may need to check your Block Nation notification settings.

    Contact support@groundcrtl, they'll send you a link for the pre-sale. That's what they did for me.

    Good luck!

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  32. Thanks for doing this Katie! Love reading your blogs! When we click on the "Tix" button next to the category we want and it brings us to the long list of possible rooms, in that list will it specify the price, and if it comes with reserved seating in the first 8 rows? Or will we just have to assume it's the same as last year with 8D and up having reserved seating? I'm just scared that I'll be shooting for 8D and then they'll go and change it or something.

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  33. Does anyone know how many of the $699 cabins there are on the ship? I'm very confused by the 1AB category b/c I don't see that anywhere on the deck plan. This would be my 1st cruise, thanks!

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  34. can you get a two person cabin and add the second person later?

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  35. Hi, I was just wondering to who and where do you pay the port fees? Also when you find a unit you want, does it put a hold on it for a certain amount of time so you can fill out the information? Also, can you bring your own alcohol? Or can you buy some at port and bring itback on the ship? Im not looking to be drunk the cruise, but it would be nice to have a few drinks on vacation and not pay 15 bucks a piece for them because I imagine they are quite pricey, And lastly, my sister is a smoker, so are there policies on that? like if you have a balcony room are you allowed to smoke on the balcony... or are there certain areas you can smoke? I appreciate your help and info!

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  36. @Ashley, the link is gone now, but on Monday the ComcastTix site was showing the same category types had preferred seating as last year. The difference is that 8D+ is now showing as first 10 rows and suites as first 5 rows.

    @Anon, check the deck plan listed above for the $699 room. I think there are only about 6.

    @Anon, you need info for both passengers to book a 2 person room. You can't leave one blank.

    @Anon, you pay port fees at the end with your final payment. Check the Carnival website for info on alcohol and smoking.

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  37. I would really like to go on the 2012 cruise but I would be traveling solo, I would take the room mate match thing if it`s available but if that isn't possible can an indivdual cabin be booked?

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  38. Katie u rock! You always share your words of wisdom. I need to write the ones i learned down from last year :)
    I am going alone as well and would like to know if someone can provide advice on the room matching. Is there a link for that? My friends are all gonna hop on the wait list :) I have their blessing to go ahead and book since i have the money for deposit ready to go! I am so excited! if its anything like last year ( my first year) I will be soo happy!

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  39. oh snap i misspelled i am so sorry room Matching.. :) And to the guy going with his wife as a surprise. You are so sweet! She will LOVE IT!

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  40. oh good goodie. DUH.. here is the roomate match info from rose tours http://nkotbcruise.rosetours.com/need-a-roommate

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  41. Can you book with a debit card? Or must it be a credit card?

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  42. i signed up for block nation tonight in order to receive the pre-sale. i haven't gotten any "code". so i'm very worried. i sent a support ticket, but is says they are open 9:30 PST....which as most of you know is AFTER the pre-sale already starts!!
    any suggestions gals? this will be my first cruise. i was so excited, and now i'm so bummed to think i won't be able to purchase!!!
    Kelly

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  43. @Kelly http://nkotb.com/news/43801

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  44. Well, I think I'm in! Got a confirmation number, so I'm assuming that I'm OK to go. Thank you so much for all your help with booking. Hope you all have a great time and get your rooms!

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  45. cant even get on the website
    no code
    what do we do

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  46. This blog is great! Lots of great information that came in handy come booking time! Luckily I was able to book a cabin without any problems :)

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  47. katie, do you happen to know what happens in this scenario?

    only quads were left in booking today (my friends and i needed a triple) so we went ahead and booked the quad for the 3 of us.

    can we just pay for the extra spot ourselves and keep it a triple instead of finding a roommate?

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  48. @Anon, I'm just guessing here, but I'd imagine you have two choices.

    1. "Jane A. Cruiser" cancels and pays the $300 cancellation. I'm not sure if Rose Tours would then shove someone from the wait list in with you. My guess would be no and you'd get a triple. However, you may want to call and anonymously ask what happens before you try this.

    2. You find someone who wants to get on the boat and let them pay you the deposit and do a name change.

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  49. When and where will the wait list be posted? I'm a first time cruiser and need help!

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  50. I am #4897 on the wait list; is there any chance I will be called? Doe anyone know how many people were on the wait list last year?

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  51. If you are on the wait list can you still do a roommate match?

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  52. Honestly, I think the non-cruisers should have first priority. I don't know about anyone else but it's frustrating when you take a day off from work every year and all your friends are trying to purchase tickets and you can't even get through. Yes, I understand that a full service membership can give you that opportunity but seriously - who can afford another dime?? We've been put on the waitlist every year and no phone call. Very disappointing. We've definitely given up because my vacation time and my job is more valuable than this cruise. Congrats to the ones who are going for the first time and for the ones who've gone more than once - give others a chance. I thought being a BH family was all about love, caring and sharing.

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  53. Anybody able to tell me where the wait list is located. I've been waiting for it to be added on the site since they sold out hours ago but can't find it. Obviously I'm missing someting...HELP!

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  54. Anonymous at 12:20:
    Go here http://nkotbcruise.rosetours.com/
    and you should see that the most recent post ohn the front page has a link that says "click here to join the waitlist."
    Good luck!

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  55. Hey fellow fans! So I'm on the wait list at number 4702. My 3 other cruisers are also on the list. Does anyone have an idea as to when they start calling the wait list? I'd like to have my finances in order. Also, when they call,if the other friends are paying for their own, do you need to have their credit card info on hand and ready to go? I appreciate all the info you can share! NKOTB fans rock!!!

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  56. Thanks. Apparently I had to close the page and re-open it instead of just refreshing it like I had been doing all evening. Sooo, i'm number 5152. I've still got a shot, right? Haha. Oh well. :)

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  57. I too am on the wait list 4742. Now the RUMOR I heard is they started the numbers at 4700 this year...basically picked up where last years wait list stopped. Again this is just a rumore. Though I hope it is true cause that way I have faith I will be on teh boat. I am going to be planning like I am on the boat regardless. And if I don't get on....I will have plenty of money to take a sweet trip. :)

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  58. I hope the rumor is true...I'm number 5197. Hubby seems to think they would start from number 1...I sure hope not!! Good luck to all on the wait list...as a potential first time cruiser, I REALLY hope I get a call!!

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  59. @ Kathi, How did you find out this rumor about starting with 4700? Do you really think there is substance to it? I am praying it's true! My cruisin buddy is 4700 and I'm 4702! That would be great news for you too! Keep the rumors coming! Keep my hope alive! :)
    Amie

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  60. My friends and I are first time cruisers. We had a very hard time getting a triple cabin. Ultimately we settled for one we had originally said we weren't even going to think about. Reguardless, now we're on there. See you on the boat!

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  61. Since I wrote that I have realized that that rumor was not true for I have found numbers that have 46 in front of them. There are a couple of places online that are keeping track of numbers there is a FB page http://www.facebook.com/groups/261805927182220/ And then there is a twitter account: @waitlistNK2012 and they are keeping track of numbers as well. :)

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  62. I realize this is WAY overdue, but I wanted to post and say thanks to Katie for this info. THANK YOU!!! I'm a first-time cruiser and a notorious pre-planning freak, so it was incredibly helpful to have the breakdown of what to do and how to prepare for the booking. My roomie and I were on conference call together while simultaneously trying to book and it paid off in spades... we ended up with the room we wanted and a confirmation time of 1 minute after the on-sale. Woohooo! Katie, if I see you on the boat, I owe you a drink :)
    ~Tanya

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  63. i would like to book for the cruise, who would be the best flight and hotels be with? from the UK. and do we need visa's. I have never travelled out of the UK before.

    crouchlouise@hotmail.com

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  64. So I'm thinking of going on a NKOTB cruise and taking my daughter(13) with me so how much would the cheapest cabin for 2-3 persons be, and I live in the UK so does anyone know roughly how much that would be all together...?

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