Attention cruisers: that luxurious Royal Suite Class stateroom could be within your grasp after all. Royal Caribbean has announced it is pioneering a new scheme which will allow passengers to bid for upgraded accommodation.
On select sailings, cruisers will have the opportunity to bid for an upgrade to a higher cabin category using a system called “Royal Up”.
The program has newly rolled out in the US and Royal Caribbean is working to launch it in Australia soon.
Bidding for a seat upgrade is common among airlines, meaning instead of flying empty, a seat can be sold for the best price the market will pay.
The cruise industry is taking a cue from this system. And if Royal Caribbean make it a success, expect to see it spreading.
Whenever Royal Up is available, guests will be notified via email to browse through a list of staterooms on offer for an upgrade and submit their bid if anything catches their fancy.
Each cabin category has its own minimum price and bidders must put a credit card number on file when using “Royal Up” so that it can be charged right away if the bid is accepted.
Guests can even make bids across multiple categories in order to increase their chances of success.
If their bid is accepted, they will be notified by email at least two days before sailing.
Bids are priced per person and based on two people per stateroom, but only the first two guests in the room will be charged even if more are sailing.
While Royal Caribbean works out details of the program for its Australian launch, you can find similar deals with Norwegian Cruise Line’s ‘Upgrade Advantage’ which is available for Australian bookings right now.
Upgrade Advantage has been running since 2017 on Norwegian ships. It is already garnering praise from some passengers.
Mum Chris writes on TopDogTips.com that she saved over $5,000 on a Haven suite that should have cost $15,000. She upgraded from a cabin and a junior suite for her two children.
“We were excited that we got the upgrade and we were questioning whether the upgrade was worth the extra $3,500. We would find out a few days later it was a little more than the $3,500 because our travel insurance price went up a couple hundred dollars because of the upgrade but $9,200 for a suite that regularly goes for $15,000 is a steal!
“And for those that are wondering if it was worth it? YES, it was definitely worth the upgrade. Two bedrooms and two bathrooms with a family of four is worth the money. Plus, some of the perks that came with the upgrade made the trip that much more enjoyable and easy.
- Priority boarding on our embarkation day in Copenhagen.
- We were able to skip the lines and were personally escorted on and off the ship at the pier and at the ports-of-call. If you’ve ever cruised before, the port days are very busy getting on and off the ship and the escort helped us skip most of the waiting!
- We also had a 24-hour butler! We didn’t know what to expect with this perk, but the staff in The Haven definitely made the experience that much better. Tim loved it that they all remembered his name!
- We had a concierge service specifically for Haven guests that helped us book dining, entertainment, and shore excursions.
- There were Haven courtyard attendants to take care of all your towels, provided fresh fruit, snacks, and light meals.
- Priority when reserving restaurants and entertainment (this was awesome for the shows and especially the Cirque Dreams & Dinner experience).
- Exclusive access to The Haven Courtyard area with private pool, sundeck, hot tub, and fitness area.
- A mobile phone that can be used throughout the ship. We didn’t use this much, but just know that there are phones all over the ship in case you need to get a hold of someone back in your room and those phones are FREE! So save on your cell expenses while on the cruise and put it in airplane mode.
- We received a sparkling wine, bottled water, and fruit on embarkation day.
- We had a mini-bar (that we didn’t use because of the prices) and a deluxe Nescafé coffee/espresso/cappuccino machine that we did use a lot!
- We used The Haven restaurant for most of our breakfasts as well as several lunches and a couple dinners as well.
- There were grab and go breakfast items including parfaits, diced fruit in a martini glass, fresh pastries and gourmet meats in The Haven restaurant as well that provided a few extra pounds during the cruise.
- And treats were delivered each evening to our suite!
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.