Getting a balcony room on a cool-weather cruise

I have to say – I am a huge fan of a balcony cabin on a cruise. I love sitting on the balcony, especially when the ship is moving, and watching the world go by. Balconies are also a great place to park yourself when you’re pulling into or out of port.

But balconies can also be expensive. So for our Pacific Coastal cruise, I initially planned to pinch a few pennies and get us an oceanview room instead. It would probably be too cold to sit on the balcony, I rationalized, even though our cruise left in the middle of September. If I was wrong, we could always make use of the public space outside.

When it came time to make our final payment, I decided that just for fun I would take a look at the going rates for the various categories of cabin. I was shocked to find a rate on a balcony room that was cheaper than the ocean view I’d booked a few months earlier! Cruise ship cabins are very much priced on supply and demand (as well as the amount of time left until the cruise departs), so it’s not uncommon to see this kind of price drop (although usually it happens after the final payment date).

So I switched us to the balcony room, which also was conveniently located near the elevators on the aft end of the ship. Was it worth it? Well, I was actually paying less than I’d planned to pay for the ocean view room, so in that way it was certainly a deal. I will say, though, that we didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the balcony – early mornings (when I like to sit out on the balcony and drink my coffee) were too chilly, even with a jacket, and we preferred to be up on deck for most of the sail aways, such as our trip under the Golden Gate bridge as we left San Francisco.