Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Island Princess Oceanview Stateroom - Booking a Guaranteed Stateroom

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For Christmas 2012, we sailed the Panama Canal on the Island Princess.  When booking this cruise, we chose to chance our luck and booked guarantee (GTY) staterooms.  This means that we booked a GTY stateroom for the lowest category cabin we wanted sail in - in our case, this was an ocean view cabin.  Because we booked guarantee, we didn't get to choose the location of our stateroom, but allowed the cruise line to assign our cabin for us.  By doing this, we saved a little bit of money on our stateroom and were guaranteed to be in at least the category that we booked, and we'd be upgraded if there was availability in a higher level.



Now, when booking a guaranteed stateroom, you need to make sure that you're okay with being in not only the stateroom category that you booked (because there is no guarantee that you'll be upgraded), but the categories above it, as well.  For example, you may book an unobstructed view ocean view stateroom which is classified as a lower category than an obstructed view balcony - so the cruise line may "upgrade" you to an obstructed view balcony (which you may not consider an upgrade, perhaps a downgrade).

If you want to have complete control over your cabin type and location, then you shouldn't book a guarantee cabin.  Guarantee cabins also aren't a good idea for families booking multiple staterooms because there is no guarantee that the staterooms will be located anywhere near one another.  However, if you really don't care about the location of your stateroom or specific category, then a guaranteed cabin can be a good way to save a little bit of money.

With our guaranteed stateroom, we got the exact stateroom category that we booked - ocean view.  We were pleased with our assigned location.  We were located conveniently on the starboard side mid-ship near the champagne bar and all of the action in the atrium.  Our parents were in a similarly convenient location, only on the port side of the ship.

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I had actually requested online that our bed be in queen configuration because in the floor plan online, the beds are oriented against a side wall, rather than a window wall. I figured that having our beds side by side would maximize our usable floor space. However, the floor plans online are incorrect (I'm sure this only baffles the architecture major here). And in this case, our usable floor space was better off in twin beds. Our cabin felt much bigger than our parents' which had the beds in queen configuration.

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I was glad that Princess had the bright idea to elevate the television. Royal Caribbean loves to waste valuable counter space on large box televisions (hey - keep in mind the newest RCI ship I've sailed is the Adventure... I'm sure the Allure and Oasis have flat screens, possibly mounted). As you can see, there is a random chair in the corner which already has Rachel's tote in it. This chair slowly accumulated more and more things throughout the cruise, and its sole purpose was to hold our random junk. There is also a small table on which we habitually stacked paper which we had to find a new home for (usually the trash bin) whenever room service came.

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The large mirror was very nice and useful. There was also a full-length mirror outside the dressing area.  The orientation of the counter space and vanity mirror was actually quite unfortunate because it was back lit by the window. So it was impossible to use natural light to apply make-up because it instead made it impossible for us to see our faces (think of when you're taking a photo of a person and the sun is behind that person... their face appears dark and shadowed because their own head is shadowing their face). It would've been nice if Princess had either provided adequate vanity lighting and perhaps an illuminated makeup mirror or had oriented the vanity along one of the side walls (which make the circulation of the room much more difficult, so I prefer the first idea).

Now meet the world's smallest shower:

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Seriously. It was the smallest shower I've ever seen on a cruise ship. And what made it worse is that the safety bar was in the way. I'm smaller than the average person, and I couldn't take a shower without knocking my shoulder against the safety bar. I can't imagine how it would be for a normal-sized person to shower. And on top of that, the shower leaked incredibly. There needed to be a taller barrier on the ground to separate the shower from the bathroom because the curtain wouldn't catch on the top of the barrier - it would blow over. It was nearly impossible to take a shower without flooding the entire (well... not much there) bathroom.

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Loved the closet space! I was glad to have many shelves and a lot of room for hanging clothes. It worked nicely for the two of us who brought a lot of clothes.

The ocean view stateroom is small, but it worked.  Besides my complaints about the shower and our ever-growing junk piles, we lived comfortably in the room for ten days.
Check out more staterooms - visit the Stateroom Gallery!