Ex-cruise worker shares ‘the only way’ to get a free cabin upgrade onboard

The Cruise: Passengers compare cabins

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Cruise holidays can be expensive, especially if you’re hoping to stay in an elevated cabin during your time. Though free upgrades aren’t always easy for guests to get their hands on, a former Carnival Cruise crew member revealed there is one way holidaymakers might be given one.

In his 2011 book The Truth About Cruise Ships, Jay Herring, a former cruise ship officer explained that free upgrades can be offered in the event of a “no show”.

He said: “Any time the ship was fully booked, the only way to get an upgrade was if there were no shows.

“As in passengers that paid for the cruise but didn’t show up to take it, and the pursers didn’t know if there were any no-shows until the ship sailed.”

Though crew might not necessarily approach guests to say there are empty rooms onboard, experts from Cruise Critic say there’s no harm in enquiring.

They explained: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get, right? You really have nothing to lose by calling your cruise line and asking the question: ‘Is there a possibility of a cruise cabin upgrade?’

“If you’re willing to pay for a cruise cabin upgrade, call your agent or cruise line about two weeks before departure.

“But recognise that these kinds of offers are on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Although a free upgrade isn’t always within reach, there are ways to save money when booking a holiday at sea.

Cruise suites which are on the interior of the ship are often far cheaper than those with a balcony.

Though having a glorious view of the ocean might be central to some people’s trips, if you’re looking to holiday on a budget, you may want to reconsider a balcony room.

Speaking previously to Express.co.uk, ex-cruise worker Paul went so far as to say a balcony is one of the biggest “wastes of money” passengers shell out for.

He said: “[I wish I could tell passengers] not to get a balcony cabin, waste of money for such a small area and if you want to enjoy yourself, you don’t want to be in your cabin too much anyways.”

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Experts from Life Well Cruised explained: “While cruise ship balcony cabins are generally more expensive than inside and ocean view cabins, they may be more affordable than you think.

“Years ago, there were fewer balcony rooms per cruise ship, and the cost difference may have been huge.

“However, on some cruise ships, you’ll find that the price of a balcony cabin may only be a couple of hundred dollars more than an ocean view or outside stateroom.

“It’s always worth checking to see if there are any promotions or past passenger rates that can make a balcony room more affordable on a cruise.”

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