Cruising guarantee may offer upgrade

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nikki from South Point asks: “Thanks for sharing your tips on cruising. They’ve come in handy as my fiancé and I search for our honeymoon cruise but we’ve encountered a term that we really don’t understand. Our travel agent offered us rates for a balcony, window and windowless room then also mentioned a category guarantee. We just didn’t follow what she was saying? Can you tell us what a guaranteed cabin is”?

In my opinion a guaranteed cabin is one of the best values in cruising if you’re willing to gamble on your cabin location. By booking into a category guarantee you could end up a big winner.

For example you pay for an inside windowless cabin the least expensive one on a specific sailing date. The cruise line guarantees that at a minimum you’ll get that cabin type but they may upgrade you to a better cabin location.

Email newsletter signup

This means you pay for the minimum cabin and at the very least you’ll receive that cabin type but I’ve seen passengers pay for a windowless room and get upgraded to outside staterooms, balcony cabins and even suites!

When you book a cruise you reserve a specific type of cabin let’s say that it is an inside windowless room and the cruise line assigns a specific cabin number to your reservation.

Unlike a hotel room where you don’t know your room number until you check in you’ll know in advance that you will be staying in Upper Deck stateroom 122 the least expensive available inside windowless room.

Opt for the guarantee and you may receive a better cabin type and location. Guaranteed upgrade policies varies among cruise companies but many will reward you (upgrades) by booking into this fare category. You normally will not know your specific cabin assignment until a week or so prior to sailing but I feel that rewards are worth the wait.

Personally I believe that you are sailing for activities that mainly occur outside of your cabin so location doesn’t matter that much. Save on your cabin fare and use that money for shore excursions, spa treatments and so forth.

If you believe this guaranteed program gives the cruise company the flexibility to sell more of their lower priced cabins and then fill the unsold inventory of higher priced cabins with those of you that booked into an upgradeable stateroom category.

If I haven’t cleared this up shoot me another e-mail at Please include a phone number and I’ll give you a call. Sometimes you just can’t beat talking about a topic.

Happy travels!