If you book a guarantee in a category that doesn't have many cabins in it, you have a decent chance of an upgrade. For example, on many Princess ships, they will have only 4 cabins of a particular category. If you book a guarantee, you might just get lucky enough to get upgraded. Not a guarantee of an upgrade, but your chances are better than if you book a guarantee in a category that has 100 of that particular category. We booked a BF and were upgraded to a BB. Same applies to other types of cabins, not just balconies. As long as you don't mind where you end up, it's a great way to get more for your money.
Some people say they've gotten an upgrade even when they've booked a particular room. We haven't, but my in-laws got bumped up from an inside to a balcony.
Best advice is to book the lowest category you'd be happy with, because you may end up with it.
We were upgraded from a mini-suite to a Penthouse suite on our Alaska cruise on the Diamond. It was wonderful. It seems you stand a better chance for an upgrade if you have booked through a good travel agent. We have received upgrades on every cruise, though not quite to the Penthouse level before.
A burnt sacrifice to the fickle upgrade gods is a good move.
Explorer of the Seas October 2013
Caribbean Princess July 2006, May 2010 & November 2012
Monarch of the Seas November 2008
Crown Princess November 2007
Celebrity Zenith November 2005
Enchantment of the Seas August 2004
No, checking in early won't help. Lots of people are in line by 11ish - some are Platinum and get priority boarding - even so you probably won't be on board before 11:30 to noon. BA is quite a good category as t is - you'll be happy with it.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
How do the differnet categories compare? We are first timers booked in a category AA. Baja deck 219. We booked our cruise/tour through a ta that I don't know....found the information through Travel Zoo. Hope we didn't make a mistake. Could someone please explain the different categories....I have searched and posted questions but haven't received an explanation yet. Thanks!
From my experience there is very little difference with a cabin catagory. A inside is all the same, just depends on location for the catagory. Such as near a service door or laundry. Same applies to outside balconies. There almost all the same with the only difference being location. Now there are the "special" rooms that due to ship design may have a extra large balcony. But every ship is different and you got to know the actual cabin number to ask for. All I make sure of is that my room is not over or under a public space such as bar or lounge. Then you get the noise in your room.