Want a Royal Caribbean Suite Upgrade? Now, You Can Bid for It

Nov 27, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Upgrades on cruise ships have always worked very differently than upgrades on airplanes. In the case of Royal Caribbean, many of its ships go out at maximum capacity, which has led its most loyal cruisers to recognize the importance of paying up for the stateroom you wish to reside in. (The airline equivalent would be WFBF, or Want First, Buy First.)

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas - Night Central Park
Interior staterooms on Symphony of the Seas

Technically, it has been possible for RCI’s top-tier elites to receive upgrades. Per the legalese in the company’s Crown and Anchor Society loyalty program: “We may, in our sole discretion, offer complimentary upgrades to Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members if stateroom upgrades are available. Please provide the upgrade preference information requested below, which will be considered if a stateroom upgrade is offered to you. Neither upgrades nor upgrade preferences are guaranteed.”

Of course, you’ll need north of 175 nights on a Royal Caribbean cruise to achieve Diamond Plus, and a mind-boggling 700 nights to secure Pinnacle Club status. And, even then, an upgrade was never guaranteed.

RoyalUp emails are floating into inboxes now

Following in the footsteps of Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean is introducing a new bid-based upgrade program that will go into effect Nov. 28, 2018. RoyalUp, as it’s called, enables cruisers to place bids for upgrades into any higher level room. If eligible, guests will receive an email that allows them to browse what’s available for upgrade, creating a silent auction of sorts in the run-up to their departure.

Any submitted offer is for the entire stay and applies to the first two people on the reservation. In other words, a $500 stateroom upgrade bid (if accepted) would result in a $1,000 charge. Unfortunately, there’s no telling as to when your bid will be accepted or rejected — it could be done immediately, or it could be triggered 48 hours prior to sailing. That’s certainly not ideal for those who prefer to plan things out, and it’s also not ideal for those who are particular about not just room type, but room location.

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas - Ultimate Family Suite Adult Bedroom
Adults have a comparably calm bedroom in the Ultimate Family Suite

If you’re wondering, there’s no loyalty aspect to this at all. You can’t use points nor miles to upgrade, though we’d encourage you to use a credit card that maximizes returns on cruise spend. Furthermore, it doesn’t appear that bids placed by higher tier members are prioritized in any meaningful way. There’s also no real guidelines as to what bid makes sense, so you’ll likely feel as if you’re shooting in the dark a bit without realizing if your bids are in line with others.

For any cruisers who plan to submit bids for near-term voyages, let us know how the system treats you in comments below.

All photos by the author.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.