Movin’ on up!

Many people ask me how we decide who will get an upgrade. Well, the formula is pretty simple. If the ship has available cabins, which is actually pretty rare these days, it might look something like;

Available cabins - (passengers who will pay for the upgrade) - (upgrade list names x passenger need)

No, I am just kidding. It is not as simple as you might think. Just because we are sailing (so everyone assumes all passengers have embarked), and JUST because there might be a few cabins available, we CAN’T just dive in and start giving them out to those people who put themselves on the upgrade list. In general we will wait at least one night if not until the first port to see what is going to happen with those passengers who did not show up. We can’t just give a persons cabin away until it is confirmed by the head office that they are not going to show up. Of course urgent situations will be addressed urgently with what cabins we know we have (if any) but in general caution is the word of the day.

If you have an issue that is the ships responsibility such as a problem with excessive noise, or with a smell or with some other physical item we can correct with our carpenters, or with cleaning or even putting in new carpet or fixtures we will do that first. After that we will look at moving you. Keep in mind the available cabins we have might not be upgrades. We might only have five inside Plaza deck available or lower and your move might be to same category or under (sometimes it’s better to live with a little smoker smell).

There is no black and white formula or way to go about it, and each hotel Senior Manager (First Purser) has their own way of prioritizing upgrades and cabin moves but I would say it would probably be along the lines of;

1) Passengers with booking errors
2) Passengers with legitimate cabin deficiencies
3) Passengers with “other” issues
4) Passengers on the upgrade list ( ones who have no real need they were just interested if there was anything open)

Passengers with booking errors can be among the most vociferous passengers we see on embarkation day. We are actually quite sympathetic to that and understand it. I mean if it was me and I spent good money on a family vacation or reunion or what have you and learned that the suit I booked turned out to be an inside single, I might be angry as well. It doesn’t happen often but it DOES happen. All travel agents are not perfect and can make mistakes. We are lucky onboard because our information systems allow us to access the shore side head office booking system so we can see exactly what a passenger paid for and see any comments left by the booking agent. This is good when it comes to helping those passengers with legitimate errors in their booking, but bad for those passengers who were just having a try on us and actually got exactly what they paid for!

Passengers with legitimate cabin deficiencies are those unfortunate souls who get to their stateroom to find their lights do not work, or their toilet will not flush or they have a really irritating vibration or squeak or ... you know what I mean; those little gremlins that get into the machine. These passengers will be next being moved assuming the onboard facilities could not correct the problem. However these types of things do not call for an upgrade and we will always cabin change to the same category.

Passengers with “other issues” are my personal favorites. This is where some passenger’s creativity can really shine through. We do get many legitimate problems that come up and we will always try our best to accommodate those. Maybe a passenger has an illness or is violently sea sick and can not leave the stateroom and the room mate does not want to disturb the person while they are resting. These are issues that are reasonable and fair.

However, we also get many requests for cabin moves or upgrades that are not quite as reasonable as the rest.

I once had a passenger look me straight in the eye and tell me he required an outside window stateroom because his religion required him to see outside when he prayed. I am not saying it was not true, but when I suggested to him that we had many excellent areas on deck, and many very quiet public rooms inside the ship with wonderful views in which he could perform his prayer. He advised me I was a racist and was never heard from again.

Then there was the gentleman who came to complain to me about his room mate. He did not know the man, but he said he had a substantial body odor problem, and he was leaving his dirty socks lying on the floor. I was a bit skeptical, so I called for an accommodation supervisor to go and check the room for me. The supervisor reported back immediately that the smell in the stateroom was so bad it made him want to vomit. We moved the gentleman to another cabin, same category, immediately!

Another man once told me he had a serious medical condition and he was on a drug that made him have excessive gas causing him to burp through the night. He told me this was very embarrassing and that he did not want to disturb his room mates with this problem. I asked him how long he had been with this condition and he told me for over a year. Now he may well have had a problem caused by the drugs he was taking, but why book a room with three room mates KNOWING this was going to be a problem? Unfortunately this gentleman never got his own cabin. It was later speculated that the large amounts of beer charged daily onto his passenger account might have been contributing to his gas problem. ;0)

Then there was the woman who told me that she fully realized she had booked an inside cabin, but she didn’t realize how dark it gets inside when you tunr out the lights. I actually helped her because it IS true. If you have never had an inside cabin, and your used to the windows in your house and street lights at night and other sources of illumination you never really see total darkness until you switch out the lights in an inside cabin! Trust me, I live in one! It frightened her a little and made her feel claustrophobic I guess. She was so genuine we just moved her.

My all time favorite "other problem" is the two little old ladies who were room mates but did not know each other. They got along so badly that these women were on the verge of starting to punch one another. They despised each other so much that they were down at the desk complaining all day, and at night they would BOTH sit in the atrium through all hours. Each of them refusing to go back to the cabin and live with the other one… so no one was living in the cabin! Finally the First Purser gave one of them an equal category cabin and this solved the problem so completely that they were seen to be having tea together in the dining room for the rest of the cruise!! Glad we could help. ;0)

So after all that dust settles from all of these issues… usually about one or two days into the cruise, we start to seriously look at the upgrade list for those people who were just wondering about an upgrade. It’s a difficult thing to do but you can believe me when I tell you we really do try and get to everyone if we have the cabins available and we REALLY do put the highest priority people first. Unfortunately, sometimes we just don’t have ANY cabins! Sometimes, believe it or not, everyone shows up for their cruise. ;0)
3 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I do checkin for Princess in San Francisco and one of the most frequently asked questions is "Who do I see about an upgrade?" "My travel agent told me that we would get an upgrade." You get what you paid for and anything else is gravy.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I do want to know more about hook-ups between passengers and crew members, as I once hooked-up with a crew member and was wondering how often it really happened...

  3. anonymous Says:

    I am a platinum member. Most of the time I travel with my mother, but on a couple of occasions, I have traveled by myself and shared a cabin with a stranger. It actually cost a significant amount of money more ($900.00 on the Baltic cruise) to share a room with a stranger, because as was stated by a Princess Representative “there might be a possibility that I could get my own room”. Of course, this has never happened. On one cruise I was told at the purser’s desk that there were no extra cabins available, then on the last day of the cruise, I found out from my room steward that he had an empty cabin. So I would like to see situations like this being taken into consideration. I think $900 qualifies as paying for an upgrade.

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