We were given upgrades for various reasons. Since we are Elite members, we got a complimentary upgrade when we booked. You can also ask your TA if they have any upgrade specials when you are booking a cruise. We have been upgraded when the ship was not sold out. We were upgraded once when we were cruising a few weeks after 911 hit.
We are Elite members also and take advantage of the Captains Club upgrade as well. Celebrity has been generous enough to upgrad us on various occassions up until about 4 years ago when the upgrades seemed to have dried up.
I'm wondering whether writing to the Captains Club would do any good. Not that we have a bad cabin, as I truely believe steerage class on Celebrity ranks as outstanding. It doesn'y hurt to ask, now does it. I'm just wondering who to ask and what the most opportune time prior to sailing is.
Has anyone had any luck in requesting a complementary cabin upgrade prior to sailing date?
Yes, but your travel agent must make the request at the time of booking. Celebrity's onboard booking agents actually do this as a matter of their normal booking routine since everybody whom they book is automatically a member.
The way it's normally done might not be quite what you would expect. In reality, the agent books you in the cabin to which you will be upgraded, then calls Celebrity to request an adjustment of the fare to that of the next lower category, so it's functionally a discount (reduction of the original fare) rather than an upgrade (change to a better cabin after the booking is in the system). I'm not sure why, but the adjustment apparently has to be done by a representative at Celebrity's offices regardless of how you book.
Note that the upgrade must be to the same type of cabin as the category of cabin for which you pay (that is, inside to inside, outside to outside, or balcony to balcony). You cannot use the upgrade to pay for a Category 9 (best inside) cabin and get a Category 8 (lowest outside) cabin.
That said, the upgrade is not always advantageous. I booked on one cruise where it turned out that the fare for a Category 9 cabin in which I booked was less than the fare for a Category 10 cabin (the next lower category) due to some promotion that was in effect at the time. The upgrade obvioiusly was not beneficial on that booking, though my travel agent could request it later if the fare for the discounted category were to drop below the fare in the bboking.
My response from the Captains Club was a polite "no". Oh well, maybe they will surprise us at the check-in counter. Being blessed with upgrades several times in the past I guess the bottom line is , "you never know".....