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BermudaBound2014

My upgrade offer just came in...

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Here is our upgrade offer for Easter week. There are  literally gobs and gobs of cabins available in all categories (I suspect due to corona). 

 

Background: We paid $529 pp for fantastica balcony (plus $188 taxes/fees with $100 OBC). We passed on the Drinks package @$400ish.

 

Option 1: Upgrade to YC Interior for $220 pp. This puts us in YC (with a drinks package) for $749pp. That is about what we paid for a YC Balcony a few years ago, but YC prices have risen since then.  VERY VERY tempting, except I don't think I can do an inside cabin anymore. And the thought of an inside cabin in quarantine gives me hives.

 

Option 2: Upgrade to YC balcony for $980 pp. This puts us in YC balcony for $1,509 pp. (there are currently 9 balconies available for our sailing.).  Not bad pricing, but not exceptional.

 

Option 3: Upgrade to Suite for $110. Gives us a suite experience for $639.00 pp.  I'm not sure about this one because we wouldn't get the drink package, BUT we 'may' get access to the Aurora sun deck and I really like the idea of not having to fight for a lounger.   My question here is a suite automatically an Aurora exp? Does Aurora only have balconies? I would not consider this if there was a chance of an inside.  

 

Our other issue is that there are 8 of us, so we would all try for the upgrade. Lots of unknowns with that, BUT I suspect some of our 8 are going to cancel and I also suspect that more YC cabins will open up given all then new travel restrictions. We wouldn't make our bid for a few weeks yet.

 

Interested in your thoughts with this upgrade offer.......

 

 

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we accepted an offer to upgrade from bella balcony (on the seaside later in march) to a whirlpool suite . . . the suite is an aurea-branded cabin but our boarding passes still clearly say "bella experience" . . . HOWEVER the boarding pass ALSO says "anytime dining" . . . so unsure of what to expect when we board

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9 minutes ago, scorpioalon said:

we accepted an offer to upgrade from bella balcony (on the seaside later in march) to a whirlpool suite . . . the suite is an aurea-branded cabin but our boarding passes still clearly say "bella experience" . . . HOWEVER the boarding pass ALSO says "anytime dining" . . . so unsure of what to expect when we board

 

I'm curious about pricing. March is pricing significantly cheaper than Easter week. You don't have to say the exact pricing if you are uncomfortable, but for us to to upgrade to an suite they want $110. Was your upgrade offer similar to mine? More? less? substantially less? What about your offers in the other categories? I'm trying to figure out if availability is an variable in upgrade offers. As mentioned, currently there are substantially more cabins available for all March sailings when compared to Easter week, so in theory, the upgrade offers should also be less (but I'm not convinced that is the algorithm used). 

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How does the upgrade system work on MSC? Do you have to opt in or anything? Or do you just get an email at some point if it is an option for your cabin/cruise choice?

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3 minutes ago, JP82 said:

How does the upgrade system work on MSC? Do you have to opt in or anything? Or do you just get an email at some point if it is an option for your cabin/cruise choice?

 

I didn't opt in. I booked with one of the major US TA's that automatically give 10% in OBC. I received my offer 5 weeks prior to sailing.

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41 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

I'm curious about pricing. March is pricing significantly cheaper than Easter week. You don't have to say the exact pricing if you are uncomfortable, but for us to to upgrade to an suite they want $110. Was your upgrade offer similar to mine? More? less? substantially less? What about your offers in the other categories? I'm trying to figure out if availability is an variable in upgrade offers. As mentioned, currently there are substantially more cabins available for all March sailings when compared to Easter week, so in theory, the upgrade offers should also be less (but I'm not convinced that is the algorithm used). 

our offer for a regular suite was ~$125 minimum and for a whirlpool was ~$500 minimum

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1 minute ago, scorpioalon said:

our offer for a regular suite was ~$125 minimum and for a whirlpool was ~$500 minimum

 

Thank you for sharing. It appears that the algorithm used to offer upgrades may very well include availability as a variable. Our offer was less for regular suite ($110), but more for a whirlpool suite ($650).  Thanks again, this is good information to have.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, JP82 said:

How does the upgrade system work on MSC? Do you have to opt in or anything? Or do you just get an email at some point if it is an option for your cabin/cruise choice?

 

I believe it is only available in North America right now, certainly on my booking last year it was not available in the UK.

But... I actually got a free inside to balcony upgrade.

Edited by ziggyuk

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$980 In a YC balcony is a no-brainer compared to your original Fantastica deal.  

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2 minutes ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

$980 In a YC balcony is a no-brainer compared to your original Fantastica deal.  

 

 $980 in addition to the $529 we have also paid, making the total around $1,500. It's a decent deal given today's YC prices, but we sailed in a YC balcony for half that a few years ago and I've seen YC balconies on sail in this price range multiple times in the last year. So 'decent' deal, but not exceptional.

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I'd snag the YC Balcony in a NY minute

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20 minutes ago, dgparent said:

I'd snag the YC Balcony in a NY minute

Same!

 

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1 hour ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

 $980 in addition to the $529 we have also paid, making the total around $1,500. It's a decent deal given today's YC prices, but we sailed in a YC balcony for half that a few years ago and I've seen YC balconies on sail in this price range multiple times in the last year. So 'decent' deal, but not exceptional.


Still a great deal!  Those discounted YC cabins are a thing of the past.  You would still be saving $2,000 per couple!  I’d do it in a heartbeat.

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3 minutes ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:


Still a great deal!  Those discounted YC cabins are a thing of the past.  You would still be saving $2,000 per couple!  I’d do it in a heartbeat.

 

I do hear what you are saying and we are totally considering bidding, BUT.... the discounted YC cabins are not entirely a thing of the past. Sure, the days of snagging YC for less than $1,000 per day may be over (although I do expect some serious price drops with NCoV), But I have seen YC in the neighborhood of $1,500 pp several times throughout both 2018-2019. Granted, it has never been in this range on an Easter cruise!! Certainly first world decisions.

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With a generic "suite" bid you also have the possibility to get one of the hard to sell Fantastica suites, and I'm not really impressed with the larger balconies on the Aurea suites.  I've not seen any reports saying bids to "suites", even in the case of the hot tub or Duplex ones known to be Aurea, get the associated Aurea benefits including Top 19 access.  Your hot tub bid amount is a joke given these unknowns.  To me the YC minimum bids you posted are by far the best I've heard of lately.  At their cheapest, in off season, YC interiors typically now go for $2500 to $2800 per week and Deluxe go for $3600 to $3800 per week (for two, including taxes).  I don't cruise during Ēostre so don't know the season's typical pricing and with biding upon you it's too late now to trust where MSC currently has the YC pricing as anything realistic.  Being part of a larger, possibly non-YC group will obviously make taking full advantage of the YC facilities more difficult.

 

For me there are too many questionable locations and insignificant benefits with the suite bids while most of the YC cabins are a pretty safe bet.  If you like your cabin location I'd say stay put before bidding on a generic suite, otherwise the YC bids look much better as long as the group situation can still work out.

 

What I find interesting regarding the YC bid amounts is there seems to be no consideration regarding whether you already had a drinks package or not.  I'd also suspect it wouldn't matter whether you were Bella or Fantastica.  There seems to be many top level cabins available last minute on lots of sailings.  Buy the cheapest cabin possible and bid up to the YC later seems to be MSC's new model.

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@Até Thank you for such a well thought out reply. I agree with everything you have typed. I told the girls not to even consider the suite and to only concentrate on both YC offers.

 

I do think it's interesting to discuss the various upgrade offers as they pertain to YC. I have successfully played the upgrade bid game on both NCL and RCL. I am confident that their upgrade offers pay zero attention to the price originally paid. In other words, if an original interior bids $200 for a balcony, while an original ocean view bids $190... regardless that the original oceanview person likely paid much more initially, the 'system' will accept the highest bid (from the interior). Of course, in the above situations, drink packages don't come into play.

 

Where this gets interesting is with MSC because the YC automatically comes with a very inclusive drink package. I simply don't believe the MSC system is accounting for drink packages (yet). We were given the offer and we didn't have any drink package at all. I suspect that those in interior bella cabins received the exact same offer and the highest bidder will 'win'. 

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What does the upgrade mean? Do you get also the yacht club experience, for example the Yacht Club restaurant or it is just a change in cabin category maintaining the Fantastica experience (dining in the main restaurant).

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, travelberlin said:

What does the upgrade mean? Do you get also the yacht club experience, for example the Yacht Club restaurant or it is just a change in cabin category maintaining the Fantastica experience (dining in the main restaurant).

 

This exact question has been up for discussion. I believe that any upgrade offer to a YC cabin will include all YC amenities. I've sailed in YC, and once you get through the doors of the general YC area it's game on.,I can't see MSC withholding amenities.  This has been confirmed by several passengers.

 

It has also been reported that upgrades outside of YC (bella to fantastica, or bella to aurora, etc..) do NOT come with the amenities. I can believe this because it would be much easier to monitor, but there have been people reporting that even in this case, the amenities came with the upgrade. 

 

It is clear from MSC's written policy that the experience is not upgrades even though the cabin might be. I think this is an area where policy doesn't match what happens on the ship.

Edited by BermudaBound2014

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35 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

This exact question has been up for discussion. I believe that any upgrade offer to a YC cabin will include all YC amenities. I've sailed in YC, and once you get through the doors of the general YC area it's game on.,I can't see MSC withholding amenities.  This has been confirmed by several passengers.

 

It has also been reported that upgrades outside of YC (bella to fantastica, or bella to aurora, etc..) do NOT come with the amenities. I can believe this because it would be much easier to monitor, but there have been people reporting that even in this case, the amenities came with the upgrade. 

 

It is clear from MSC's written policy that the experience is not upgrades even though the cabin might be. I think this is an area where policy doesn't match what happens on the ship.

I guess you are clarifying this with the travel agent. Let us know what the answer is please.

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8 minutes ago, travelberlin said:

I guess you are clarifying this with the travel agent. Let us know what the answer is please.

 

Not a chance. Travel agents will only quote MSC policy, which is very likely wrong. That's like saying call MSC online and ask. It's not a good strategy. It's much better to do the research yourself. Let's put it this way, I am confident enough to bid on the YC, and advise 7 others to bid on the YC, with the belief that it will come with all amenities. I am convinced of this based on 1) my personal experience in YC and 2) enough reports online.

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Posted (edited)

we are sailing on Mera on Apr 5-12 and I paid $1,600 for an inside cabin for 3 of us. The upgrade bid offer we received (addressed to my minor child, by the way) was $220 pp for balcony and $55 pp for OV. Which I don't think is all that reasonable. If I went for a $220 pp upgrade now, it would cost us MORE than if I were to simply book balcony right now.

Everything but balconies and OV is apparently sold out for 3 people.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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BermudaBound2014, I know that you're not allowed to post TA names on here, but could you steer me in the right direction? All of my local TAs don't do MSC

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Received my upgrade offer five weeks prior to sailing (depart Mar 15). Booked in a Fantastica balcony, and offered a "Suite" (the description says private balcony w/ whirlpool tub) for $440 pp or MSC Yacht Club Deluxe Suite for $550. We bid on the YC cabin, but have yet to hear anything.

 

Anyone know timing for when we will know if our bid was accepted?

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Anywhere between two to five days before sailing is normal.  Minimum to weak bids are usually just below what the average going rate for the cabin has been.  Don't trust the published Yacht Club cabin prices once bidding has opened, by this time they are usually inflated from what they were initially.  If you get an immediate acceptance it means you overpaid the going rate for the cabin you bid on, strong bids are more than what you can upgrade yourself by calling in.

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2 hours ago, Reds4life said:

BermudaBound2014, I know that you're not allowed to post TA names on here, but could you steer me in the right direction? All of my local TAs don't do MSC

 

I hear you about the TA's not selling MSC. My top two preferred agencies absolutely, positively refuse.  There is a site that allows agencies to compete for your cruise business. See if that helps.

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