- A travel expert says you should turn down an upgrade offer on a cruise ship.
- Sam Katterfield, Senior Editor for travel search platform HolidayPirates, told Business Insider the outcome of a cruise ship upgrade is "not as obvious" as it is on a plane.
- "What you may think is a better cabin as opposed to what the cruise line views as an upgrade, is not always the same thing."
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Hotel regulars and frequent fliers consider upgrades to be one of the biggest perks and treats of travel.
Whether it’s a first class seat on a plane or a luxurious king suite, there’s certainly an appeal to being given a better product for a small fee — or for free.
However, the same apparently doesn’t apply on a cruise ship.
Sam Katterfield, Senior Editor for travel search platform HolidayPirates, told Business Insider that being offered an upgrade on a cruise ship is often not as appealing as it sounds — and you’d often be better off turning it down.
"The truth is that unlike on, for example, airplanes, where an upgrade could mean moving from an economy to business seat, the outcome of an upgrade on a cruise ship is not as obvious," he said. "What you may think is a better cabin as opposed to what the cruise line views as an upgrade, is not always the same thing."
Katterfield said there are a number of types of upgrades you can get on a cruise — a complimentary upgrade, upsell offers, and promotional or online biddings.
"These upgrades are not always as satisfactory as moving from an economy to a business seat on a flight, or, in cruise line lingo, from an inside cabin to a suite. Instead, you might get moved from a standard balcony cabin to a similar balcony cabin that has a better location, according to the cruise line."
He went on: "When offered an upgrade, and if it is not complimentary, it is important to consider if the price is worth it, and to be sure that you understand what the upgrade entails.
"For example, if you prefer to stay on a lower deck to ease seasickness, if you had booked your cabin in the middle of the ship to ensure easy access to all amenities, or you want to be in a specific location to help minimize noise, you should probably stick with the cabin you booked. Because most of the time, once you have agreed to the upgrade, you won’t be able to change your mind."
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Katterfield said there are three things to keep in mind when you’re offered a cruise ship upgrade:
"Cabins are divided up in categories, and while some cruise lines will present you with an overwhelming number of categories, the main things you need to consider are if you want an inside or outside cabin, a balcony cabin, or a suite," he said. "Normally, the inside cabin will be the smallest room without windows, the outside cabin will typically be somewhat bigger and will have windows, the balcony room will have a balcony, and a suite will often have more than one room and have a variety of extra amenities and benefits.
"When faced with an upgrade proposal, make sure to check if you will stay in the category you have already booked, or if you will need to move up a category. If there is a cost involved, is it worth it?"
"Perhaps most important is the location of your cabin, especially if you suffer from seasickness or have an infant that you need to rock to sleep," he said. "The lower deck is often best if you suffer from seasickness, and the middle of the ship is usually best if you need a quiet cabin. If you do not want to walk long distances, make sure you study the location of the amenities you plan to use (i.e. restaurants or the pool area) and position yourself closer to this."
He said that before you accept an upgrade, you should check the location of the new cabin.
"For example, if you have booked your cabin to ensure that you are close to the spa area, you will probably want to make sure that your upgraded cabin is not located on the other side of the ship."
"As with hotel rooms, all cabins come with basic amenities, such as turn down service, but as you move up to a higher category, additional amenities might be included, such as priority boarding or priority dinner reservations," he said. "In some occasions, an upgrade might even include access to a private butler or access to an exclusive lounge. When faced with an upgrade proposal, make sure you ensure that the amenities you have already paid for are still included in the new offer, and that the additional amenities offered are worth the price of the upgrade."
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