Cruise expert shares how to get a ‘free room upgrade’

Yasmin Pekel, CEO of Blue Cruise, shared her exclusive tips to get a free cruise upgrade with Whether guests are looking for a suite or a room with a balcony, there are a couple of ways passengers can improve their chances of getting a better room.

Avoid peak times

“Travelling in highly busy times, such as during the warmer summer months or during the school holidays, can help you get a free room upgrade.

“This is because there is less demand for upgrades, and in some cases, some rooms will remain empty. To offer visitors a better experience, cruises are more likely to provide upgrades.”

Travelling outside of the school holidays could help tourists score an upgrade as some of the more expensive rooms may be empty.

However, this won’t always be the case as a Royal Caribbean spokesperson told the line’s most luxurious suites are often the most popular type of room.

Travel agents

“Using a travel agent will almost always get you the best deal possible. Agents usually have partnerships or strong relationships with various cruise lines, meaning they can leverage their connections and special offers available exclusively to them.

“They are also highly knowledgeable about any special ways to negotiate upgrades, making them a valuable asset.”

Travel agents will know all the ins and outs of the cruise industry. They may be able to get better deals for their customers.

An agent may also contact a customer after they’ve booked, if a more desirable room becomes available.

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Be kind

“One of the best ways to get upgrades, discounts and freebies on a cruise is by being kind to the staff wherever possible.

“On some cruise lines, staff will have the ability to provide a finite number of these things at their disposal, but being rude or unkind will almost immediately ruin your chance of benefitting.

“Instead, being nice and potentially bringing a small gift to thank an individual, such as a porter carrying your luggage, can greatly benefit you.”

Cruise staff work extremely long hours and it’s important to always show appreciation for their work. Guests who are polite and pleasant are more likely to be chosen for any possible upgrade.

Special occasions

“When booking your cruise, there is often the option to add any notes or additional information about your booking. If it is a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon, you are more likely to be upgraded.

“This is because doing so is mutually beneficial to both the line and yourself, as an upgrade can make your adventure more memorable and usually leads to a great review. Just make sure to give the line plenty of notice in advance, as telling them a few days before will not give them enough time to make accommodations.”

Cruise lines always like to reward their customers and a special occasion is the perfect time to offer an upgrade.

Even if guests don’t get a free upgrade, they might get a special treat such as an extra cake or a bottle of fizz.

Loyalty programmes

“Whether you’ve used the same cruise line for years or you are trying a new one for the first time, you should always sign up for the loyalty programme.

“Earning points will allow you to get a multitude of rewards that could enhance your cruise experience, from priority check-in to free room upgrades, invitations to special events and onboard discounts.”

Regular cruises could benefit from being part of a line’s loyalty programme as they could earn special rewards.

From discounts on another cruise to free room upgrades or special treats, it’s worth signing up for free.

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