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Cruise Line Letting Cruisers Bid on Upgrades

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Over the past few months, message boards have been buzzing with some Norwegian Cruise Line passengers saying they had been offered an opportunity to bid on an upgrade. Not all passengers received the email, and it was unclear exactly what was going on… until this week.

After several months of testing, Norwegian will roll out a program — known as Norwegian Upgrade Advantage — on February 8. Although initially available only to passengers aboard the Escape, Breakaway, Getaway, Epic, and Pride Of America, the bidding process will be offered fleet-wide by later this year.

How It Works

Once a passenger has made their final payment on a cruise, they will be given the opportunity to make an offer — called a “bid” — on an upgrade. (For the uninitiated, this means that if you booked and paid for an oceanview room, you can bid to be upgraded to a balcony, etc.) Senior Vice President of sales for Norwegian Camille Olivere told Travel Market Report that a “little dial” would show guests “the likelihood their bid is going to be accepted.”

If said bid is accepted, they — or their travel agent — would pay the agreed upon amount (and any corresponding fees, one assumes) and be given a new room assignment. Guests will not, however, be able to choose the exact stateroom into which they will ultimately be placed.

While the offer is emailed to guests, those booking through a travel agent will have their booking representative informed if the offer is accepted. The agent will then receive a commission based on the upgrade. “It offers the ability for guests to pay a reasonable price,” said Olivere, “and also gives the agent more commission on the additional revenue. It’s all done online and the agent automatically gets the additional commission.”

Would you consider bidding on an upgrade, or is it more important to you to know exactly what room you will have before you board the ship?

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