Cruising with Celebrity Cruises is not cheap.
Known for their luxury cruising, this subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Group, which of course also operates Royal Caribbean International, will set you back several more dollars than some of the other cruise lines. However, if you know how to do it, you can get a very good deal on some of the best rooms on their ships. I just saved almost $2,000 on my upcoming cruise on Celebrity’s brand new ship, Celebrity Beyond, and now I’m going to tell you exactly how to do the same.
I typically cruise solo. The majority of my cruises have been solo, and all of the future cruises I have booked are also solo. I mention this because Celebrity does offer some solo cabins on their E-class, or Edge-class, ships. These rooms, known as the Edge Single Stateroom with Infinite Veranda, feature a queen bed and desk, 184 square feet of living space, and a 42 square foot Veranda. I typically book them because, as a solo cruiser, they are the cheapest rooms I can book on an Edge-class ship, always cheaper than even interior staterooms!
However, despite booking this room a few times, I have yet to stay in one.
Celebrity, like several of the other cruise lines, offers a bidding program for upgrades on their ships. Called MoveUp, the offer to bid for an upgrade will typically be delivered to your inbox roughly a month before sailing. You will be presented with several options of staterooms that are all higher categories than the stateroom in which you are currently booked.
In my case, I was presented with the option of bidding on a Concierge Class stateroom with a minimum bid of $100 per person (you have to pay for double occupancy, even for solo travelers – so double the bid amount), an Aqua Class stateroom with a minimum bid of $200 per person, a Sky Suite for a minimum of $800 per person, and options up to an Edge Villa for well over $5,000 per person. These are all minimum bids, so of course, you want to up your bid a bit from the minimum to increase your odds of “winning” an upgrade. You do have to provide a credit card at the time you place your bid, as you will be charged immediately once your bid is accepted. You have no right of refusal once your bid is accepted – you will be on the hook for the total amount.
Ultimately I bid $125 ($250 total) for the Concierge Class and $225 ($450 total) for the Aqua Class stateroom. You can revisit the MoveUp page and modify, cancel, or add to your bids as much as you’d like before the bid is accepted. About 10 days before my sailing I checked and the Concierge bid had been marked as “expired”, while the Aqua bid was still “pending”, and I had no option to modify or cancel anything. From previous experiences with MoveUp, I knew that this meant it was only a matter of time before I’d receive the official email stating my stateroom had been upgraded.
Exactly one week from my sail date I received the email confirming my bid was accepted! I had been upgraded from my Deck 6 solo veranda to an Aqua Class veranda on Deck 10. I wouldn’t say I liked the initial Aqua Class room assignment that Celebrity gave me, so I gave them a call and they were happy to change my stateroom, so long as it was in the same category.
Once I had been officially upgraded I checked the current prices of the two categories, and realized there was about a $2,000 difference in the price of the two rooms! Taking off the $450 I paid for the upgrade, my MoveUp experience saved me about $1500!
The bottom line is this…
Using MoveUp, or RoyalUp if you’re sailing on Royal Caribbean, can save you thousands of dollars and get you into a much nicer room than the one you initially booked. While it’s not always guaranteed to happen, since the ship could sell out leaving no rooms to be bid on, you could technically book the cheapest room available on the ship with your original booking, and use MoveUp to get into the room you want closer to sailing date.