Starting a few months prior to your upcoming cruise, expect to begin getting emails from your cruise line asking if you'd like to bid on cabin upgrades. Pretty exciting stuff, as bidding on a cabin upgrade for your cruise can definitely be a tempting opportunity!

However, it's not all sunshine and lollipops. Bidding for a cabin upgrade should involve a careful evaluation of several factors. This will help to ensure the upgrade is worth the potential risks and costs. Let's dig a little deeper into the pros and cons and help you make a more informed decision:

1. Amount of the Bid

  • Affordability: Before placing a bid, assess whether you can comfortably afford the additional expense. Bids can vary widely, and it's essential to set a budget limit that doesn't strain your finances. Also, take note that almost always, the amount you bid is per person and sometimes, per day. Be sure to do the total math.
  • Value for Money: Consider the cost of the bid in relation to the benefits you expect to gain from the upgrade. Sometimes, the upgrade might offer significant luxuries and amenities, while other times it may not justify the extra expense.

2. Cruise Line Policy

  • Upgrade Process: Different cruise lines have different upgrade policies. Some allow you to choose your upgraded cabin location, while others assign it to you without prior consultation.
  • Acceptance and Charges: Some cruise lines might allow you to decline the upgrade if you are not satisfied with the assigned cabin. However, most lines automatically charge you and do not offer the option to reject the upgrade. It's crucial to read the fine print and understand these policies before bidding.

3. Location of the Potential Upgraded Cabin

  • Proximity to Noisy Areas: An upgrade might place you near high-traffic or noisy areas, such as casinos, clubs, or maintenance zones. These locations might detract from your cruise experience.
  • Preferred Locations: Conversely, an upgrade could place you closer to desirable areas like dining venues, spas, or scenic decks. Assess how important cabin location is to your overall enjoyment and weigh this against the potential benefits of the upgrade.
  • Current Cabin Location: If you specifically picked the location of your existing cabin for special reasons, you may want to decline all upgrades, as you would lose your preferred location. For instance, I have 2 clients who chose aft-facing balcony cabins for their Alaska cruise. Primo location so I noted in their reservation specifically not to upgrade.

4. Cabin Type

  • Type of Upgrade: Determine what kind of upgrade you are bidding for. Moving from an inside cabin to an outside cabin with a view or from a balcony cabin to a suite can significantly enhance your cruise experience.
  • Usage of Cabin: Consider how much time you typically spend in your cabin. If you primarily use it for sleeping and freshening up, the upgrade might not be as impactful. However, if you enjoy relaxing in your room and taking in the views, an upgraded cabin could be well worth the bid.

5. Length of the Cruise

  • Short Cruises: For shorter cruises (3-6 nights), the cabin upgrade might offer a brief but luxurious enhancement to your trip. However, the cost-benefit ratio should be carefully evaluated as the shorter duration might not be worth the expense.
  • Long Cruises: For longer voyages (7+ nights), an upgraded cabin can significantly enhance your comfort and overall experience. The extended duration might justify the additional expense more than it would for a shorter cruise.


Whether to bid on a cruise cabin upgrade ultimately comes down to your personal preferences, financial considerations, as well as how much you value the potential enhancements. By carefully evaluating the factors mentioned above, you should be able to make a well-informed decision that aligns with your expectations and ensures you and your family a great cruise experience.