Nice to be welcomed back!
"Passengers would now outbid each other to receive what used to be given out FOC."
That's a hypothetical "would" ... if the cruise lines could figure out a way to do it, they would, given how eager many of their customers are now to pay for what used to be free.
P.S. I managed to score the brand new Hilton Garden Inn in Venice for 45 euros per night on lastminute.com as a "Top Secret" hotel, so I am well taken care of pre-cruise.