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TrvlPro 06-21-2008 11:02 AM

There are so many stories that have floated around this industry for so long about how your wifes, brothers, cousins, friend booked the cheapest inside guarantee and got the Royal/Penthouse/Owners Suite or Garden Villa as a free upgrade! All he had to do was ask the travel agent/check-in person at the pier/Pursers Desk or someone else depending on who's telling this story. Some are not stories that have been passed around so long they've become urban legend, sometimes, on very rare occasion, there is a nugget of truth to a few of the stories. Something similar may have happened to you. If it did, you had to tell everyone you know and post it online every time the topic of upgrades come up. It's human nature, we all tell the stories of amazing things that have happened in our lives. This post is to clarify that it was indeed, an amazing thing when it does happen. It had nothing to do with the agent asking for it for free at the time of the booking. For every story of such things happening at the pier or the Pursers Desk, there are 100,000 other people who have insisted that the poor check in person at the pier check the computer to see if they too can draw this lottery ticket. They have spent so much time dealing with such questions at the pier and Pursers Desk that you'll now see big signs at the pier, at the entry to the ship, at the Pursers Desk and ogten elsewhere. The sign reads, "This cruise is SOLD OUT! There are no cabins available, so please dont ask if there are upgrades available for this sailing!" Each time the question is posed, there is someone trying to get you checked in in a timely manner so the others in line can get on the ship quickly too. It slows the check-in process, it makes lines at the Pursers Desk long when you board. Just take a look at the line next time you board a ship, at least 1/3 of those folks in that line are there to ask the same question.

"Will it help if I arrive early to the pier and am one of the first to check in?"

Nope, they haven't been notified of most no-shows by that point.

"Will it help my odds if I show up late?"

Nope, the manifest won't be finalized until the last passenger is checked in and they close boarding.

All the things you're trying to do to increase your odds of getting an upgrade have been tried. At least a couple hundred other people on your sailing have also gone to extrodinary lengths to get the answer they wanted to the same questions you're asking.

This post is a feeble attempt to get this practice to at least become less common. To save hundreds of hours of wasted time for you, your agent, the staff at the pier and on the ship. Believe me, it's an epidemic! When a single client calls weekly or sometime daily to ask the same question a different way, it's a small time loss and understandable. When 1/3 of bookings are all trying the same thing, with the same stories and same requests, it can chew up the day of the folks you're calling. When it become over half of the people booking cruises, its time to make a long post as a plea to please believe they don't just give free upgrades out. They want revenue, they intend to sell higher categories for higher rates for a reason. Yes, upgrades can happen. Yes, they are rare when they happen beyond getting a higher deck in the same type of cabin but it can happen. It won't be more likely by asking everyone you come in contact with from the booking forward for one. If/when it happens to you, be greatful for being lucky to have recieved it. Please don't, for every booking there-after feel you are now entitled to a similar upgrade and all you need to do is ask.

Cheers, Neil

f-mattox 06-21-2008 11:32 AM

So Neil, what is the best way to go about getting an upgrade?


TrvlPro 06-21-2008 12:24 PM

For you Rick, I'd actually make the call and have them tell me no, just to be sure.

Cheers, Neil

f-mattox 06-21-2008 02:00 PM

Careful! I may hold you to that someday.

danielle.75 07-04-2008 01:03 PM

As a guest relations employee we have heard all the stories. The only thing that can be done is to have you put on a list for an upgrade and if anything becomes avaliable you will be changed. The time that the guest relations desk knows of any avaliable rooms is up to 2 hours after sailing when all the new sailing paper work is complete. If you have been nasty to staff on previous cruises and have made complaints to the office over matters that happened on board, the guest relations desk and other departments on board know of this and believe me you will not recieve an upgrade under any circumstances. If you are nice to the staff and crew and you have your name on the upgrade list your chances are greater. But still no guarantees. When the guest relations desk says that the ship is fully booked. The ship is fully booked.

f-mattox 07-04-2008 03:11 PM


you don't mention which cruise line you are employed by, but you give the impression that if I was a previous passenger on one of your ships, encoded somewhere with my personal information is a record of my previous behavior on your ships, and if I had made any complaints, justified or not, to the home office. And you imply that this infomation would be known not only to "guest services", but to other departments on board. You further imply that this information could have a bearing on the level of service I receive on the present cruise. You further imply that if I have been "nice to staff" I will receive preferential treatment, meaning that somewhere you have a "naughty and nice" list.

I can't begin to tell you on how many levels I find this disturbing. Not the least of which is that if in fact such a list exists, you would have the nerve to come here and tell us about it. You can be thankful you don't work for me and that I don't know who you are.

Dave 07-04-2008 03:18 PM

Hi Rick,

Given the threatening messages posted by that user - several of which we had to move from public view (they were more ominous, if you can believe it) - we have banned that account.

I also find it outrageous that someone who contends they are a member of the purser's staff on some cruise line would come here and essentially tell everyone we had best kiss their behinds or they will get even with us and add our names to a black list.

Frankly if I knew the ship or line this person works for, I'd report them to their management. They have no business working on a ship or dealing with the public.

f-mattox 07-04-2008 03:26 PM

Thank you for your support, Dave. I know my reply was a bit strong, but I've seldom had a post anger me quite the way that one did.


Dave 07-04-2008 03:29 PM


I know my reply was a bit strong, but I've seldom had a post anger me quite the way that one did.
Trust me, your reply was restrained in my view and you are not alone in your anger.

TrvlPro 07-04-2008 03:32 PM

Although I find it a little disturbing as well, I'm willing to bet there is such a "naughty and nice" list on most lines, although I doubt it's available info for the majority of ship staff.

Anytime you are booking with a past passenger #, your file will have entries on all communication recorded in the notes section for each booking and sailing. You know how they say, "One moment please I have to note your file and you hear all the keystrokes over the phone that you're changing you dining or have a special request? Some notes have red flags attached with some lines systems for major issues. This goes not only for the passengers but for the booking agents as well. I discovered very early on, how I speak with the folks on the phone when calling the cruiselines has an impact on what I'm able to get done to resolve issues. Not just how I speak to them on the present call but how I've related to them in the past.

Remember when you were in elementary school and the teacher would tell you to behave, you didn't want your actions to be in your "permanent file"? It may have been a ploy to get good behavior from youngsters but it's real in the computer age where everyone is identified by a number they freely give each time they book a cruise or flight or anything else where you have to be identified to book. The advice from teachers and parents to be on your best behavior rings true. You really do have a permanent file with the lines you sail. How they choose to use that information is pretty much up to the people who have access to it and who will make the decisions on how to handle your issue.

Cheers, Neil

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