Getting a cruise cabin upgrade is every holidaygoer’s dream. After all, who doesn’t want to sail away in a luxury cabin all at a budget price? But it’s not as simple as just waiting by the phone to hear if you’re the lucky winner, as cruise cabin upgrades are rare and definitely not guaranteed. If you’re hoping to raise through the ranks and upgrade your cruise cabin there are a few handy tips that might just give you an edge. Have a read through our top tips for securing a cruise cabin upgrade and see if you can help sway the cruising fates.

Book a guarantee cabin

A guarantee cabin means you’ve booked a type of category for your accommodation, but not a specific cabin. You’ll choose your specific cabin right before departure. If you book a guarantee cabin and all the accommodation is full when it comes to choosing your room, you may be upgraded for free. Of course this could backfire and all the best cabins may be booked, meaning you’ll get the economy class room. Only book a guarantee cabin if you’re okay with either eventuality.

Book a free upgrade promotion

Sometimes a cruise line will run a speciality promotion, meaning two different cabins will be priced equally. If you book the more expensive cabin at the lower cost you are technically getting a free upgrade, though it won’t say that on your ticket. These promotions are either for cabins in the same category or from one category to the other, an example being a balcony cabin for an outside price. The problem with this form of upgrade is that you won’t know when these promotions are taking place, so it’s the luck of the draw for when you purchase tickets.

Sail during low-demand seasons

Sailing during a low-demand season is always the best way to go if you’re looking for a cruise cabin upgrade. Ships don’t tend to sell out of all their accommodation during those periods, meaning there may be some wiggle room with getting an upgrade. Open cabins onboard mean room for negotiation. If you book an off-peak season ticket and your cruise line decreases fare in effort to get bookings, you can ask your cruise line for a free upgrade. It could benefit them as well as some of their cheaper accommodation may be easier to sell. Low season is generally between November and Christmas and right after New Year’s Eve.

Cruise the same line often

Are you a part of a cruise line loyalty program? There are several mainstream cruise lines that offer them, including Carnival Cruise LinesMSC CruisesNorwegian Cruise LinesRoyal Caribbean and more. Cruise lines reward their returning customers with potential free upgrades – the more frequent the cruiser the more likely he or she would be offered the chance to make the switch. Reduced rate upgrades are usually reserved for those who have been in a loyalty program for a long time. Joining a loyalty program won’t automatically get you upgraded, but if you know you’re planning on using this same cruise line for all your holidays there’s no downside to applying.

Just ask

Overall getting a completely free room upgrade is a bit of a white elephant, extremely rare and out of the ordinary. More commonly upgrades will actually be upsells, where you’ll get a room upgrade but it will come at a slight cost. But since you have nothing else to lose, the best tip for getting an upgrade is to ask. Call the cruise line directly and the cruise director may be able to help you out if they have the open rooms available. Call without expectation, be very polite, and cross your fingers behind your back. Good luck!

* Terms & Conditions apply

We are acting as an agent on behalf of travel suppliers and your booking will be subject to the supplier’s terms and conditions. Prices may be subject to very limited availability and are correct as at the date and time of writing. Prices may go up or down from time to time. Prices quoted are for the dates, accommodation, board basis, departure points and number of persons sharing specified only and cannot be combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to amend any quotes given if there is a genuine error as soon as we become aware of it. We reserve the right to withdraw any offers without notice.