A cruise vacation is going to be one of the most memorable trips that you will ever take. It is probably why so many of your fellow cruise passengers are going to be sailing on their second, third, fourth and maybe even tenth cruise. For the trip you will be enjoying a cabin somewhere on the ship that you’ve selected. However, that cabin might not be have to be the one you’ll stay in. As with any kind of travel, there is always the opportunity for an upgrade. On a cruise ship a free upgrade might be the proverbial “white whale” that every passenger is looking for. But there are some upgrades known as “up sells” that could put you into a nicer cabin but at a reduced cost. Here is the best way to score a cruise cabin upgrade:

Book A Guarantee Cabin

A guarantee cabin means you will most definitely have a cabin but you just won’t be picking the specific location until a short time before departure. You’ll be the booking that cabin in a specific price category and that can be to your advantage if the cabins in that category fill up by other passengers. What that might mean is you will “bumped up.” You might have already experienced something like this when renting a car. You reserve a midsize but when they’re all taken out, then you are given a luxury car at no extra charge. There is no guarantee that this can happen on a cruise line and you should only go this route if you are okay with being put into any cabin in your price range category. Still, it might be worth the roll of the dice.

Become A Frequent Passenger

Just as with hotels, casinos, airlines and rental car companies cruise lines also have frequent passenger programs. If you like one cruise line, then you should return to the same cruise line for your next vacation. Your loyalty will certainly be noticed and after several trips it can definitely put you on the list for an upgrade.

Look for Upgrade Promotions

Cruise lines are always offering special promotions especially on particular dates where they need to fill up the ship. This means you might be able to score a cabin at a lower price but actually be getting the upgraded cabin. That is just like getting a free upgrade only you have it locked down at the lower price. A lot of travel agents get advance notice of these kinds of promotions so be sure to ask for them. If you’re flexible with your dates, then that might provide a greater chance of scoring an upgrade.

Sale Off-Peak

Cruise lines have seasons that are considered peak and off-peak. The the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as the months between May and September are considered peak. If you sail off-peak, then you stand a better chance of getting one of those upgrades. Again, being flexible with your dates will be a big boost for your upgrade chances.


There is nothing wrong with asking. It helps to pay attention to the fares for your cruise dates. If you notice a sudden drop in the fares just before your departure, then you are well within your rights to ask for an upgrade. After all, you are paying a higher price. You might also find that being a friendly passenger and courteous to the crew could provide you with a possible upgrade. Just ask. You never know what could happen!