How do people get these upgrades to balcony from inside? Do I just pick popular sailings? Actually they have the insides on my sailing discounted big time. I'm happy though on an outside guarantee I got a 1 cat upgrade but mid ship cabin which I like a lot. I was really afraid I'd get the front of the ship and I really did not want that so I'm happy - just curious - I hear a lot of first timers getting the upgrades but I've been on RCL 6 times now. Debbie
An upgrade from an Inside to a Balcony, while a statistical possibility, is not very likely. Generally, upgrades are from Inside to Inside, OceanView to OceanView, Balcony to Balcony, MiniSuite to Minisuite, and so forth. On occasion, an OceanView may be upgraded to a Balcony and occasionaly a Balcony will go to a MiniSuite... but Inside to Balcony is a rarity. I wouldn't hold my breath for it. There are lots of factors that affect the liklihood of an upgrade and there is no hard and fast rule.
One way to ALWAYS get the accommodation you want is to pay for it. That way, you'll be sure. Or, if location is not an issue and you have no special needs, book a guarantee (if it is available) in a category in which you'll be happy if no upgrade comes along. With a guarantee you have a fair shot at an upgrade from the original category... but the hurdles I mentioned at the start still apply.
I've been upgraded twice from outside to inside, and I've counted myself VERY LUCKY. In both cases, I travelled off season and booked early (6 months or so). As should always be mentioned, don't count on an upgrade or let the absense of an upgrade make you feel like you've been slighted. It is strictly a bonus/gravy. Always book for at least the category you want to travel in.
There is also another way to get an upgrade with RCCL...to pay for it.
I mean, at the pier, of course. If the ship is not sold out, they will be offering the higher category cabins, for a price. For instance, my husband and I recently sailed the Grandeur and we paid for Category I, outside, deck 2. The ship was not full and the agents checking everyone in had lists with the prices for the upgrades. To go from oceanview to a balcony was $300 per cabin. To go to a suite from an oceanview was $700. It may seem like a lot, but you cannot get close to those prices if you had a really good deal in the first place. Which we did, so we went for the suite! It was awesome! Loved every second of it. The prices varied depending on which category you were already in, so to upgrade from an inside to the suite would have been more, but I don't remember exactly how much. (I think it was $100 to go from inside to outside.) Get to the pier early (very early) and ask for the "pier coordinator" and they will show you what is available, if anything.
Don't bank on any upgrades at the pier. As everyone has said, if you really want a suite, book it. We really wanted a suite and decided to gamble on our 9/14/02 Explorer Cruise. I had watched the availability all week and there were plenty of suites available before we left. By the time we got to the pier coordinator, there was NOTHING left. Keep in mind, a lot of people read these boards and cruise often and they know the tricks. We were there early enough and everything was GONE! No matter, we still had a fantastic time!