Dave: I will have to go and find where I read this, but I read that the end run that the cruise lines and TA's make around the policy you mentioned is in the massive gray area of "upgrades." I guess the money is to be made in selling the lowest price cabins, and they are also the most in demand. So they keep selling the same lower category cabins over and over, kicking people up as embarkation time draws near... I can't remember the punch line here, but I will wait for one of you all to explain it, and if you haven't in a while I will look it up and make sense of what I just wrote.
I also read that people were getting angry on board re: prices. The pax would talk amongst themselves and the price variation was so wide that people would get angry and demand refunds, etc. By ensuring that nobody REALLY knows what they paid they created a smoke screen that prevents "us" from knowing where the deals are cut.
Example: I am about to sail away in a nice BD balcony. I might be chatting with someone next door- another BD balcony. She might have paid 929 bucks ppdo- the going rate. I paid 775 ppdo for the same cabin- a BF guarantee with a 50.00 shipboard credit. God only knows how many people who paid even less are going to get booted up. I can only imagine what the spread is for the high priced cruises.
I must have read all this in Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, a really great book on the cruising industry. At least I think it's great! The cruise lines probably hate it...
The question here is why I am pretending to know anything or even offer an opinion when you all know what time it is far better than I do.