Just wanted to let you guys know how I got my Cat A cabin on Explorer this past week.
I had booked an aft cabin - Category DB. We were probably one of the first 100 to the pier. My travel agent (NancyB) had told me that she knew of some of her coworkers who asked for an upgrade at the pier and received the Owners Suite for $200/cabin. This friend had a D8 to begin with. I assumed they got it because they were travel agents, etc. .
I didn't expect anything and was very happy with my cabin. Upgrading a couple of categories would not have done much for me.
Right after I checked in and received my cruise card - I went directly to the left of the check-in counters and went to the "Pier Coordinator". I asked about upgrades and they indicated no complimentary upgrades are given at the pier. I then asked about a "paid upgrade" to a suite. They told me I could go from a balcony to a Cat A Suite for $200/per cabin.
If the Royal Suite had been open - I could have had that for $350/cabin (it wasn't open). There were plenty of cabins that I could choose from - I just let them choose and was very excited. At first I thought it was a lot of money but it was worth every penny! After all, this cabin can go fo $6,000.
A friend of mine had booked an inside cabin and was offered a balcony cabin for $300 (he went to a D9 cabin). He could have received the suite for $500. He was content with the balcony.
I loved my suite. My room steward - Julius - was wonderful! He kept calling me "Teresa girl".
My only complaint was the large 45" flat screen tv that was located between the living room and the bedroom. I would often sit in my living room and it was swilved to the bedroom. Then I would have to get up and reswival it. As you can see - Life was really tough.
My concerige arranged for my ice skating tickets and offered to do more but I didn't taken him up on it. I received daily "snacks" at 5 pm or so. One day it was chocolate covered strawberries, another day cheese and crackers, etc. . .
If you have any questions - let me know. I hope this helps some of you! It was a once in a lifetime "paid upgrade" and I would do it again in a heart beat. I doubt it will ever happen again to me.
Will write some brief comments tomorrow about the ship and the trip. I really enjoyed it.