Cruising: How to get Free Cabin Upgrades

This is a HOT topic in the cruise industry.  I’ve sold 1000s of cabins over the last two years and supervise 14 other agents who book just as many as I do.   I am an expert on getting the most for my clients out of the cruise line.  CNN TRAVEL has an article on 13 tips for saving money booking a cruise.   Tip #9 tells people booking a cruise to have their agent tell the cruise line that they are a VIP or their best client and that they will get an upgrade.   This is one of the biggest myths in  cruising.  If I call the cruise line and tell them my client is a VIP and that they would like an upgrade, they will laugh at me.   Myth # 2 on Upgrades: When you are checking in asking for a free upgrade might work.   Almost every passenger tries this because their travel agent tells them to to get them to quit asking the agent for an upgrade.

Truth about upgrades:  When you book a Guarantee, which means you pay for a category of cabin but you do not select cabin, you are putting yourself in position to be upgraded.   You are agreeing to go into which ever cabin the cruise line puts you in, in that category or higher.  So you are trying to upgraded, but worse case you will end up in the category of cabin you paid for.   90% of the time when people get free upgrades this is how they get it.  Misleading travel agents will tell the client that they worked hard to get them an upgrade after they see that the cruiseline upgraded, although the travel agent has nothing to do with the cabin selection.  It is all random and done by the Cruise lines computers.

Any questions/experiences you have about free cabin upgrades please add comments.

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About Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is the Social Media Manager for Travel Leader's Leisure Group and Founder/Editor of Rich has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Wired Magazine,, USA Today,, and several other major media outlets either as a cruise pricing expert or for his use of social media in the cruise industry.

3 Responses to “Cruising: How to get Free Cabin Upgrades”

  1. Since we have 4 people in our stateroom we weren’t allowed to book a Guarantee. Any other suggestions that you think may work for an upgrade. Sadly our travel agent is of no use. Sadly, it is agents like that give you guys a bad name. I am glad I came across your blog. I learned more from it than I have from my agent. Thank you.

    NCL Pearl – 9 night southern – April 4, 2008

  2. Steve,

    Thank you for the kind comments. I try to make the blog as useful as possible. How was your cruise? Did you do anything that you would recommend to others?

    Thanks – RT


  1. Cruising: How to get Free Cabin Upgrades - January 19, 2008

    [...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI am an expert on getting the most for my clients out of the cruise line. CNN TRAVEL has an article on 13 tips for saving money booking a cruise. Tip #9 tells people booking a cruise to have their agent tell the cruise line that they … [...]