Book a recent cruise on Norwegian? Then you might have received an email offering a chance to upgrade.
The email is for the cruise line’s “Upgrade Advantage” program. If you’ve never heard of the program, it’s actually fairly simple. Click the link in the email and you’re taken to a page where you select a bid that you’re willing to pay for an upgrade to a higher-grade room.
Once you make your bid, it will either be accepted or rejected. If accepted, then you’ll get your upgrade and be charged your bid amount. If rejected, you don’t pay anything.
For more on how it works, here are the details…
Bidding On an Upgrade
After you open the portal for the upgrade, you’ll find details on how the Upgrade Advantage works. Scroll down and you’ll see your details of your cruise and the stateroom you have booked already.
Below this are your options for upgrade. You’ll find a profile of each cabin type available, a sliding scale where you adjust your bid, as well as a meter for the offer strength that ranges from “Poor” to “Excellent.” As you bid more money, the meter increases, indicating a better likelihood of being accepted.
For our cruise, we booked an inside cabin originally. The offers for upgrade went up to $400 per person for a balcony cabin and up to $200 per person for a oceanview cabin. Note that prices are on a per-person basis for the first two passengers, and are for the entire cruise — not per day.
So a couple bidding $200 for an upgrade will actually pay $400 total if the offer is accepted. This amount is on top of what you’re already paying for the cruise.
Note that you can bid on more than one upgrade, but you’ll only ever be charged for a single upgrade.
Having an Upgrade Accepted
After you submit your offer, you then have to wait to see if the offer is accepted. According to Norwegian, the offer can be anytime after it is submitted, up until two days before departure. We would guess that the higher you bid, the more likely that it will be accepted early.
The good news is that your card is not charged until the offer is accepted. At the same time, if the offer isn’t yet accepted you can still modify or cancel it.
Once your offer is accepted, your card will be charged. According to the company, these upgrades are final and non-refundable, so make sure it’s something you really want before you submit a bid!
Is the Upgrade Advantage Worth It?
The big question is if it is worth it to upgrade. That depends on several factors, namely how much you are willing to bid. We found that the highest bid available can lead to a much higher price than you would pay if you just bought the upgraded cabin directly.
For example, our recent solo cruise on Norwegian had a cost of $658 for an interior cabin before any taxes and fees. At the time, balcony cabins cost $1,098 — or $440 more.
On the Upgrade Advantage offer we were sent, we could bid as little as $50 per person all the way to $400 per person for the balcony cabin. Keep in mind that these are per person rates, and despite cruising solo on this trip, the price is still doubled as we have to pay as if two passengers were sailing.
In other words, if we were to bid $400 for the balcony cabin, then the total cost would be $800. That’s $360 more than if we had just simply booked the balcony cabin to start with.
That said, we could bid as low as $50 per person, or $100 total. If we were to get the upgrade for that amount (although this was rated as a “poor” offer according to the website), it would be a deal considering the extra cost of purchasing the balcony cabin outright.
Bottom line: Before you bid, be sure to know how much more it would cost you to purchase the upgraded cabin from the start and compare it with the price of the room you’ve already purchased.