Sunday, February 1, 2009

Is The Free upgrade Worth It?

When my wife and I went on our first cruise we had an inside cabin on the lowest passenger deck on Carnival's Holiday. I distinctly remember other passengers at our dinner table telling us how they had a better cabin being on a different deck. Over the years we have had the opportunity to have a variety of cabins in different locations on different ships. One of the biggest up sales that cruise lines use is the "free upgrade" option. The question is whether is truly an upgrade. And based on personal experience the answer is maybe, but most times not. The only way that I would accept an upgrade as a benefit is if I was going from one type of cabin to another. So if you book at an inside cabin rate and get an outside cabin or a balcony then it is a good deal. But if you book a cabin on a lower deck and get upgraded deck wise to a similar cabin, you really are not getting any benefit, and could actually end up regretting the upgrade. On the first cruise that we booked a balcony cabin, we were upgraded by 4 decks and received a midship cabin. What did the upgrade get us? We were only 1 flight of stairs under the Lido deck, meaning we were very close to the pools and the buffet. Sounds ok right? Well for us it was not because while not earliest to bed, we went to bed before the parties that took place on the Lido deck took place. With a balcony, we had little that was buffering the noise from the deck above. For the party person who may spend the late hours up this would not be a big deal. For us it changed our vacation habits for that week. This was a case of me not being familiar with what I was getting. Now, when offered the "free upgrade" option, I make sure that I know where my cabin is going to be. What you have to do it know, or have a good idea, of what you plan on doing on the ship. Knowing that we are in bed before midnight on most nights, we try to get a cabin that is not near any nightlife area such as Lido Deck, or any of the nightclubs on board. A good rule of thumb is that if you are a light sleeper, is to stay away from rooms that are adjacent to any public areas. This even includes the dining rooms, because even tho they are closed during late hours, there is work going on and the movement can be felt in any cabins above or below. So when offered anything for free, be careful what you are getting and know what you want.

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