Selecting a cabin category is one of the most significant decisions when booking a cruise. Do you want to save money by booking an interior cabin or upgrading your accommodations to a balcony stateroom or suite?
If you’re willing to take some risk, the Royal Caribbean RoyalUp Bid program allows guests to bid on unsold cabins. By placing a bid on a higher cabin category, you can upgrade your accommodations at a significant discount.
And you only pay your bid if you win the stateroom upgrade.
To get the best bang for your buck, you’ll need to understand how the bidding system works and what you should expect, and that’s what we’ll show you today.
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What is Royal Caribbean RoyalUp?
Royal Caribbean’s RoyalUp Bid is a bidding program that allows you to upgrade your cabin to a higher cabin category at a lower cost than a traditional cabin upgrade. The Royal Caribbean RoyalUp program acts as an auction for unsold cabins.
If your bid is successful, you’ll win better accommodations at a lower price than direct booking.
The bidding process is blind, meaning you won’t know how much other passengers are bidding or how many passengers are bidding for upgrades.
Additionally, the number of available cabins varies by sailing. If you’re sailing during peak season, you can expect fewer cabins to be available for the Royal Caribbean RoyalUp program.
Winning a RoyalUp bid is a great feeling.
When we sailed to Alaska on Serenade of the Seas, we won an upgrade from an interior to an ocean-view cabin with a bid of only $200. The same stateroom would’ve cost us nearly $500 more than the interior stateroom if we had booked it directly.
That said, luck has a considerable role in winning your bid. And there’s no guarantee you’ll win an upgrade, even with a high bid.
If you have your heart set on a specific stateroom category, it’s best to book it directly to avoid disappointment.
But if you are willing to take a chance, the RoyalUp upgrade is an excellent opportunity to win a higher-tier cabin at a lower cost.
How Does The RoyalUp Bid Work?
When you purchase a cabin, you must provide your personal information, like your email and credit card number. Once the RoyalUp bidding starts, you’ll receive an email inviting you to participate in the program.
There will be various stateroom options for you to choose from. So, go ahead and browse through the available options.
Once you find one or rooms that you like, you may place a bid.
You don’t need to bid on every cabin category. Just the ones you’re interested in winning.
The minimum bidding price starts at $30 and may go up to $200+ per person.
Bidding on all the rooms won’t increase your chances of landing a particular room. So, bid only on the rooms that you like.
You’ll have to enter your credit card information when you bid. If you win the RoyalUp bid, you’ll receive an email notification, and the cruise line will charge your credit card for the amount you bid.
Your credit card won’t be charged unless you win the bid, so don’t be afraid to bid on all the rooms you like. You’ll only pay for one room if you win.
Remember that your money is not refundable once you win a bid. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you’ve bid on the rooms that suit your needs.
And only bid what you can afford to spend.
You can modify and cancel your bid until it has been accepted or up to two days before the sail date.
Ensure you make any modifications or cancellations right away. You never know if or when you will receive confirmation of a Royal Caribbean RoyalUp win. Once you win the bid, you can’t make any changes or cancellations.
How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Bed
Honestly, there’s no guaranteed way to win the Royal Caribbean RoyalUp upgrade. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances:
1. Bid High From the Get-Go
As we mentioned earlier, bids start from $30. Many people start with the minimum bid and hope they are the only bidder. We recommend against this strategy.
We’re not saying drop a $200 bidding bomb right away.
While this may dramatically increase your chances of winning, you may spend too much. This negates the “pay less to upgrade” advantage you initially wanted from bidding.
No amount guarantees a win, but we recommend bidding more than the minimum to raise your chances of winning the RoyalUp cabin upgrade.
2. Sail in the Less Busy Times of the Year
Sailing has seasons; you’ll have a much better chance of winning a bid if your cruise isn’t fully booked.
The most popular sailing times of the year are the summer, spring break, Christmas, and New Year’s.
As a general rule, you’ll find fewer people sailing when school is in session. That’s because most families aren’t able to travel, and many adults aren’t able to get vacation time off.
These are the best times to place a Royal Caribbean RoyalUp bid. If the cruise ship has many unsold cabins, more upgrade wins are available, increasing your chances of winning the bid.
If you want to know how full your cruise ship is sailing, there are some tricks to find out if your cruise ship is full.
Setting the Correct Expectations
RoyalUp bidding is a great option, but it’s not best for everyone.
Here are some things to keep in mind before bidding.
1. Is the Original Upgrading Cost Cheaper?
Always make a habit of checking the original upgrading price before bidding. If the bidding goes too high, you may get too close or even exceed the regular upgrading cost.
2. Is the New Room Worth the Bidding Cost?
Getting close to the original cost while bidding might still seem better than normal upgrading, but it can sometimes be a bad idea.
Bidding for a better room doesn’t provide the flexibility you’d get from regular upgrading. RoyalUp often doesn’t guarantee a specific location of the cabin. Many of the unsold cabins available through the Royal Caribbean RoyalUp program are the types of cabins you want to avoid on a cruise.
Think about cabins near the loud engines or by the busy elevators.
By bidding for an upgrade, you’re sacrificing your choice of cabin location.
You may find yourself in a cabin at the ship’s bow. If you suffer from seasickness on cruise ships, this is one of the worst cabin locations because it’s where you’ll really feel the ship’s movement.
Also, if your bidding took you from an ocean-view cabin to a balcony, you’d have no control over the location of that balcony. It could have an obstructed view, meaning you won’t get the full view of the horizon.
3. You Won’t Receive Extra Crown & Anchor Points
The more points you accumulate, the higher your status level and the more perks you receive.
You earn one cruise point for every night spent on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and two points per night when booked in a suite. However, if you win that suite through the RoyalUp bidding program, you’ll only get a single point per night.
4. RoyalUp Charges on a Double Capacity Basis
RoyalUp bidding charges per person, but the minimum charge is two people. For example, if your new upgraded stateroom category costs an extra $200, you’ll still have to pay $400 if you’re a solo traveler.
It’s often confusing for new cruisers, but your bid is the amount you pay per person at double occupancy.
This problem is automatically eliminated if you cruise in a group of 2 or more.
Let’s return to our example that says your upgrade costs $200 per person. If the stateroom has more than two people, you’d still pay only the same $400, making the RoyalUp bid an even better bargain.
5. The Gratuity Payment May Increase
Royal Caribbean charges guests an automatic daily gratuity. The cruise line sets a higher gratuity for guests booked in a grand suite or above.
The standard gratuity is $16 per person per day for guests booked in a Junior Suite or below. But it’s raised to $18.50 for Grand Suites and above guests.
The increased gratuity charge applies even if those upgrades were acquired through bidding. So keep that in mind when budgeting for your cruise.
6. Your Cabins Can Move Apart
If your original booking involved two or more cabins that were close together, the winning bids will most likely spread the rooms apart.
Remember, if you win a Royal Caribbean RoyalUp bid, your cabin is assigned to you. And you won’t be able to choose the cabin location.
If you prefer to have your cabins close together, then bidding may not be for you.
7. You’ll Lose Your Connecting Room
If you’ve booked connecting staterooms, you won’t have a connected room when you win a Royal Caribbean RoyalUp bid.
This is an important consideration for families who need cabins close together or connected cabins to keep the family in one location.