Hi... I just called 800-Princess and asked them how upgrades at Princess works. Please ignore this message if you already know their process.
This posting does not answer the question of how "complimentary upgrades" are chosen or how the "upgrade fairy" chooses cruisers for this blessing -- it just answers some questions I had.
1) If you have been upgraded, and want to upgrade even higher the price you are charged is the difference between your original booking cost and the new room (they do not use the difference between the upgraded cabin to the even higher category cabin).
2) Princess does not do "pier side" paid upgrades (although, you may find yourself with a complimentary one)
3) If you do want to further research upgrading your room, see the pursers desk on the first day and ask "are there any available cabins"? If there are, you will be quoted a rate and then you can make the decision if it's worth it for you to upgrade right on the ship and pay for it. The rates can vary depending on the sailing.
Hope this clears some questions up (if you had them).
Well... for the "unofficial" line, contact your t/a. There's much more to it than the "Official" line. One thing for sure... the ONLY way to be assured of the cabin category and location you are comfortable with is to pay for it! Otherwise, it is a gamble, of sorts. If you start at a level you are comfortable with... then you cannot lose, unless you have very specific requirements as to cabin location... such as being near an elevator and so forth.
Ernie, i agree... one should always book the lowest category cabin that they would be happy with. I always do. This upcoming trip I was fortunate enough to be upgraded to a minisuite AA, from a balcony BD in the original booking. I would have been very happy with my BD if there were no upgrades to it... but this AA upgrade has made me ecstatic. I'm going to look into another upgrade, just because a full suite would be a wonderful thing to try out,especially if the price is right.
No matter what, though, I am already highly pleased with where I am now.