You can certainly ask for an upgrade at the pier, but I've heard from many experienced cruisers that it's a little pricey. There's no real "negotiating" - the price of an upgrade (at the pier at least) is the price they set forth - no bargaining.
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Upgrades are either offered through the reservations department prior to departure,
(the upgrade fairy) or paid in full at a set price at the pier. The emploee's do not have the authority to offer discretionary upgrades or complimentary upgrades. You cannot talk or tip your way into an upgrade, as is common in the hotel industry.
Is there a special reason you're going on this cruise? When we went on our Alaska cruise in 1998, I had just finished 5 mos. of chemo. I had booked an inside guar. cabin. I wrote RCI & told them I what I had just gone through, & we received an upgrade to an outside cabin (mid-ship). We were happy & wrote them back to thank them. Have your ta request an upgrade, especially if you have a good reason. Never hurts to ask!!
We have upgraded at the pier (or I should say ship) numerous times. As long as there are cabins available. The rate depends on your category and how many categories you wish to jump up to.
The staff (guest relations or concierge) has the rate sheet and said earlier there is no negotiation. So far we always been told it is done on the ship. Tried with the pier personnel and they do not have the power.
Sometimes there is the pier coordinator (this person actually works for the cruise-line) you have to ask for the upgrade and rates. The pier check in people are contracted and do not work for the cruise-line directly.
We have gone from the highest balcony category to a low level suite and found the rate very good. To give an example two days before the cost to the suite upgrade was $1900 for the cabin and on the ship $400. The concierge was very kind and each time allowed us to see the cabin before purchase. We did this with Celebrity.
Now one item to factor in if you did like my wife and I when moving to the suite we now had a butler and another tip added to our expense with this upgrade.
Constellation Sept 7, 2004
Post Edited (08-07-04 15:06)
__________________ Ready to Steer towards another cruise
RCCL sells reasonable upgrades after embarkation check-in is complete at the "pier coordinator's" desk. NCL will sell upgrades from 60 days in to sailing by calling in to NCL and asking for your ship's reaccomodation person. These are negotiable. The price gets better the closer you are to sailing. I bought an upgrade from a balcony to the penthouse suite for $200 per person a week before sailing. They started out wanting $500 apiece.