Cruise Cabin Upgrades

The Secret Cruise Cabin Upgrade You Need to Know About

Have you ever heard of people winning a cruise cabin upgrade but wondered how exactly it works? The process can seem like a mystery, with some getting an email invite to participate in bidding for a cabin upgrade while others don’t. If you’re one of the lucky ones with an invitation, the question then becomes, should you bid for an upgrade and how much should you bid? In this article, we’ll demystify the cruise cabin upgrade process once and for all.

How Does It Work?

If you’re new to cruise upgrade bidding, let me give you a quick rundown. Once you’ve booked your cruise, you might receive an email from the cruise line inviting you to bid for an upgrade.

Not all cruise lines offer this program, but Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and MSC Cruise are among those that do. Keep in mind not everyone will receive an email invite to bid on a cruise upgrade, and each cruise line may have slightly different procedures.

Cruise Ship Suite Balcony

You do need to be opted in to receive the cruise line’s marketing email to receive the upgrade offer. So, make sure you have that turned on, so you’ll increase your chances of getting an invitation to bid on a cabin upgrade.

Cruise Cabin Upgrade Options

Let’s take my MSC cruise cabin upgrade as an example. I’ve booked a 7-day Caribbean cruise from New York in a deluxe balcony stateroom. MSC Cruises emailed me with two options for upgrading my cabin. 

I could either upgrade to the MSC Yacht Club Deluxe suite or the Suite Aurea cabin. The MSC Yacht Club Deluxe suite has a starting bid price of $1530 per person, and the maximum bid on the slider is $2315 per person. On the other hand, the Suite Aurea cabin with Terrace and Whirlpool upgrade starts at $625 per person, and the maximum bid on the slider is $950.  

Cruise Cabin Upgrades

Interestingly, I discovered that not everyone gets the same upgrade offer. My parents are also going on the same cruise, but they’re staying in a different cabin. They were offered three cabin options to upgrade, including the MSC Yacht Club deluxe suite and the Suite Aurea Cabin with the Whirlpool. They were also offered an upgrade to an MSC Yacht Club Interior Suite, starting at $495 per person, with the maximum bid on the slider being $745.

It’s also important to note that if I were to win the upgrade to the Yacht Club or Aurea, I’ll have access to their exclusive restaurant, private solarium, and lounge, along with other cabin benefits. This makes the upgrade more attractive.

3rd and 4th Guests Free

The cruise cabin upgrade price is per person and applies for the duration of the cruise. And only the first and second guests in your cabin will be charged for the upgrade. This means that if you have third and fourth guests, their upgrade will be free of charge. 

The upgrade process is similar to a silent auction. You submit your bid, and you have no idea what the competing offers are. 

Cruise Cabin Upgrades

Bid on Multiple Cabins

It’s worth noting that the MSC cruise upgrade offer I received allows me to bid on more than one cabin upgrade. By submitting my bids on multiple options, I can increase my chances of winning an upgrade.

Winning the Cruise Cabin Upgrade

MSC Cruise will send you an email to notify you if you won the bid for a cabin upgrade. If you’re the lucky winner, your credit card will be charged. On the other hand, if you don’t win, your credit card won’t be charged.  

It’s important to remember that once you bid on a cabin upgrade, it’s non-refundable. If you win and your credit card gets charged, you’ll be assigned to the upgraded cabin, and you won’t be able to switch back if you’re not satisfied with your new cabin location. So, you need to be flexible with having the cruise line assign your cabin location.

Should You Place a Bid?

It’s always a good idea to do some research before deciding whether to bid for a cabin upgrade. First, compare the price of the upgrade with the cost of booking a cabin outright. If booking outright works out cheaper, then it’s better to do that instead of bidding. One of the main advantages of booking a stateroom outright is that you get to choose your cabin location.

Another thing to consider when deciding whether to bid is if you’re okay with not being able to choose your cabin location. For example, if you’re fussy about where your cabin is and only want a mid-ship cabin, then it’s probably best not to participate in the upgrade offer because you can’t choose your cabin location. 

If you’re traveling with a group, you might not want to bid for an upgrade either since there is a chance you will be split up. If you want to stay close to each other, it’s better to stick to your original cabin.

You should also know that a cabin upgrade may incur additional charges. For example, your gratuity may be higher, and you may have to pay more for travel insurance if you have a more expensive cabin.

How Much Should You Bid?

I can’t say this enough, you need to do some research before placing a bid on your cabin upgrade. Check the price of booking a stateroom at a higher category level and compare it to the bid price. 

In some cases, booking a room outright might be cheaper. Only place a bid if the upgrade offer price is lower than the booking price.

Since it’s a silent auction, you should not go overboard with your offer because you don’t know if you have competition. There is a chance that you are the only bidder. Going up 20-30% higher than the lowest price could get you ahead of other bidders and make you the winner.

There’s no exact science to placing a bid, you just have to estimate what makes sense. The key is to know the maximum amount you want to spend by pricing out the cost of upgrading your cabin, so you don’t overbid. Check out: 7 Ways to Get a Cabin Upgrade on a Cruise for Free (or Cheap)

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