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Upgrade at check in?


Eglesbrech
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I was watching a video review of Borealis and the person making it was upgraded at check in from a standard cabin to a suite. Now as he was an “influencer” I can see why that would happen, though I perhaps don’t fully agree with it as a normal paying customer. My question is does it happen to Joe Public?
 

On my second last Fred cruise a lady at check in did get an upgrade to a terrace gratis but I think it was a special wedding anniversary from the conversation and they were frequent cruisers.

 

I have never had the call to offer either a paid for (or complimentary) upgrade but I know it happens. From reading elsewhere some people do get a call offering reduced price  it paid for upgrade.

 

So what’s the general experience re upgrades, does the mythical upgrade fairy still work for Fred? I know she has been euthanised by most modern lines as they now have a bidding system for any spare capacity.

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18 minutes ago, Eglesbrech said:

I was watching a video review of Borealis and the person making it was upgraded at check in from a standard cabin to a suite. Now as he was an “influencer” I can see why that would happen, though I perhaps don’t fully agree with it as a normal paying customer. My question is does it happen to Joe Public?
 

On my second last Fred cruise a lady at check in did get an upgrade to a terrace gratis but I think it was a special wedding anniversary from the conversation and they were frequent cruisers.

 

I have never had the call to offer either a paid for (or complimentary) upgrade but I know it happens. From reading elsewhere some people do get a call offering reduced price  it paid for upgrade.

 

So what’s the general experience re upgrades, does the mythical upgrade fairy still work for Fred? I know she has been euthanised by most modern lines as they now have a bidding system for any spare capacity.

 

 

We had an upgrade from an ocean view to a junior suite on the Balmoral a few years ago and had Fred Jun as our next door neighbour as it was adjoining the owner's suite. We're certainly not influencers... the cabin that we had originally booked had been flooded out by water from the floor above.

 

And we had all of the perks... fizz.... fruit... canapés... a folding umbrella... atlas... and body lotion. So there was  a "Mythical Fairy God Mother" in the past. 

 

But after FOCLs lost the Norovirus Appeal Court case in about 2016 we did find a very different atmosphere at times.

 

We had booked a suite and were informed that work would be going on in the cabin above night and were given an alternative cabin... so we went from a suite to a standard Oceanview for the night! We expected a token compensation... a few chocs.... a bottle of FOCL's Cava) It's only a few quid at trade duty-free prices... but none was offered. No big deal... but a very different approach before and after 2016.

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2 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

I was watching a video review of Borealis and the person making it was upgraded at check in from a standard cabin to a suite. Now as he was an “influencer” I can see why that would happen, though I perhaps don’t fully agree with it as a normal paying customer. My question is does it happen to Joe Public?
 

On my second last Fred cruise a lady at check in did get an upgrade to a terrace gratis but I think it was a special wedding anniversary from the conversation and they were frequent cruisers.

 

I have never had the call to offer either a paid for (or complimentary) upgrade but I know it happens. From reading elsewhere some people do get a call offering reduced price  it paid for upgrade.

 

So what’s the general experience re upgrades, does the mythical upgrade fairy still work for Fred? I know she has been euthanised by most modern lines as they now have a bidding system for any spare capacity.

 

We had a number of upgrades over the 4-5 years before covid and those (and other) Fred cruises were really good. One or two upgrades were complementary and at least two were a paid for upgrades, but at a very good price, especially one for a terrace balcony on Boudicca for a longer cruise in warmer climes.  Loved that cabin - we booked it again for another cruise as it was sunny for part of the day and very well placed. If I remember correctly, we had rang them on that occasion a little while after final payment, the sort of timings when the upgrades are offered, rather than getting a call from them.  The person on the phone had talked his way through the calculation of what we needed to pay and it started with what we had paid initially and that was deducted from whatever they wanted to charge in total at that time, a big reduction on the full price.  We were booking a number of cruises as part of a longer cruise/stay/fly long haul holidays, so needed the cruises booked a good while in advance to be able to book the rest.  We are Platinum, so not top ranking Oceans.  

 

I saw lots of posts at that time on social media referring to upgrades, but it all stopped after covid, for the staycation cruises and a season or two after that, but like you I have seen mention of upgrades in recent weeks/months.  It may well be a case of if they have the staff to ring around, though we have also been contacted through an agent we used to book with.  If you are not at home to answer the phone, you seem to be bypassed, or they leave a message, which happened for us once, but when we rang back the next day there was only one cabin available to choose in the class they had offered.  Perhaps we are just sad people who spend a long time at home (if we are not away that is, which is quite a lot).  With wide use of mobile phones now though, that could change, but I would not be agreeing to an upgrade unless we knew where we were going and being happy with the location.

 

We have booked an arctic cruise with a very unusual itinerary, for a very big anniversary next year and are hoping we may be upgraded.  We are happy with the cabin we have booked, Midship outside bottom deck, but at the right price, would prefer a better one for that.  The thing we find with Fred cruises is that the ships seem to have quite a bit of space in the public areas, especially out on deck and the cabins are a good size, (even the low grade ones), compared to some pretty cramped cabins and public space on other lines, so we will use lower grade cabins, depending on the cruise destination.  Hence we have always thought it was worth booking an outside, or even inside with a view to perhaps getting an upgrade.  If cruising next year has as many really big reductions as seen on many cruises for numerous cruise lines this year though, perhaps that gamble was a bad one.  We will see next year.  We are also booked on a Christmas cruise but do not hold out much hope for an upgrade on that, it was though the same price as an Arcadia cruise, though of course P&O cruises are usually cheaper.

 

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We were phoned about two weeks before our cruise at the end of April and asked if we were interested in a paid upgrade.  We accepted and we were given a choice of cabins, we went from a sea view to a junior suite. We done it partly because we were on deck two so a late embarkation which my husband hates so upgrading gave us priority (noon) 

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I presume you are more likely to get phoned with the offer of a paid for upgrade if you have booked freedom rather than a saver fare but do they phone people on saver fares as well? Considering booking an outside cabin on a cruise and the price difference between freedom and saver fare is £300 but really want the chance to pay for an upgrade to a terrace cabin 

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1 hour ago, ann141 said:

I presume you are more likely to get phoned with the offer of a paid for upgrade if you have booked freedom rather than a saver fare but do they phone people on saver fares as well? Considering booking an outside cabin on a cruise and the price difference between freedom and saver fare is £300 but really want the chance to pay for an upgrade to a terrace cabin 

 

I should think it very unlikely they will offer an upgrade on a saver fare, though we have very rarely booked a saver fare.  We did ask the onboard rep on one cruise if we could upgrade and we were on a saver fare then.  She gave us an extremely high price to upgrade, saying that is how the pricing works, so probably not worth it anyway.

 

If you look at my post above, I explained what happened on one occasion when we rang Fred near to the cruise date to ask if we could upgrade.  The member of staff talked his way through the calculation of starting by looking up what we had paid for the cruise initially, then deducting that from a figure he obviously had regards what they would want us to pay in total for the upgrade.  It was a price we were happy with and was a good saving on the full price and we really did want that upgrade, so went with it.  I am not sure if there was a saver fare for that grade (poss not as often they just seemed to put on savers for the lower grades, whilst upgrading others) - no idea what they do now.  In fact I have no idea if they still do the same sort of calculations now and if not, how they make their decisions.  Some people have been offered reduced upgrade prices on recent weeks/months though, but it is not something that is always done.  I have no idea if ringing to ask about upgrading near to a cruise would still give a reduced offer either. 

 

Basically we would only book a cruise if we were happy with a cabin we have booked, though we may well keep an eye out for how the cruise is selling.  I have not been looking at Fred's cruises for a while as we have some others booked, but pre 2020 I had monitored some cruises and I had often noticed that certain grades which had been pretty much sold out became available, looking like people had been upgraded from them.  Those cabins would then fill and a lower grade would became available etc.  We have been offered upgrades both from Fred direct if we had booked direct and also through an agent we used to use to book cruises, but again all pre 2020, I have no experience of this since then at all.  It must take a fair bit of staff time to offer the upgrades, so they will need to both have a available staff and think it was worthwhile using them in that way, so who knows what may or may not happen now.

 

Barbara

 

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I had seen someone say recently that Fred told them they were offered an upgrade because they had booked early.  I am not sure if that was a free or reduced price upgrade, I have seen mention of both recently.  As we all know though prices are usually higher if you book early as well.

 

Almost ten years ago, they used to do a lot of free upgrading for top level (then gold) Oceans members.  I had at that time asked an onboard rep how they decided who to upgrade and was told, how long ago you booked, what you had paid and if you were gold (then top level).  Having said that, new customers have at times reported upgrades recently, so that may not apply at all now.

 

We did a lot of Fred cruises last year and the year before, but upgrades of any kind did not seem to figure then from what I had seen, though someone I know who is Diamond Elite, said that upgrades were being done at that time, so possibly Diamond Elite was a criteria then, who knows.

 

One other thing is that Fred have been giving an extra 5% discount  on Freedom fares if you belong to certain groups.  Things like Blue light card, U3A, WI and I think NT and military for instance, possibly along with other groups like Orca, but you have to ask if it applies by ringing or look at any membership details you have regards any group you belong to.  You will need to use that when you book, not applicable after that retrospectively.  I have a Blue Light card and that website does mention Fred's reduction with other offers given.  I am assuming that still applies, but it did when we booked a cruise for summer 2024 soon after launch.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, tring said:

I had seen someone say recently that Fred told them they were offered an upgrade because they had booked early.  I am not sure if that was a free or reduced price upgrade, I have seen mention of both recently.  As we all know though prices are usually higher if you book early as well.

 

Almost ten years ago, they used to do a lot of free upgrading for top level (then gold) Oceans members.  I had at that time asked an onboard rep how they decided who to upgrade and was told, how long ago you booked, what you had paid and if you were gold (then top level).  Having said that, new customers have at times reported upgrades recently, so that may not apply at all now.

 

We did a lot of Fred cruises last year and the year before, but upgrades of any kind did not seem to figure then from what I had seen, though someone I know who is Diamond Elite, said that upgrades were being done at that time, so possibly Diamond Elite was a criteria then, who knows.

 

One other thing is that Fred have been giving an extra 5% discount  on Freedom fares if you belong to certain groups.  Things like Blue light card, U3A, WI and I think NT and military for instance, possibly along with other groups like Orca, but you have to ask if it applies by ringing or look at any membership details you have regards any group you belong to.  You will need to use that when you book, not applicable after that retrospectively.  I have a Blue Light card and that website does mention Fred's reduction with other offers given.  I am assuming that still applies, but it did when we booked a cruise for summer 2024 soon after launch.

 

 

Thank you. We are both members of U3A and another organisation so we do get the 5%discount which helps.Im not sure why the terrace cabins for the particular cruise we want are priced so highly as I think there are 7 left.As much as we like the itinerary we can't bring ourselves to pay such a high price when there is a Saga cruise which we are also considering with not quite as good itinerary but which is cheaper than Fred and comes with a balcony, free drinks,tips, excursions etc on a newer ship! Will continue to watch and wait and decide whether itinerary takes preference over ship and we are prepared to have an outside cabin. Normally itinerary would win and we would be happy with an inside or outside cabin on a shorter cruise but not so sure about 26 nights

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9 hours ago, ann141 said:

Thank you. We are both members of U3A and another organisation so we do get the 5%discount which helps.Im not sure why the terrace cabins for the particular cruise we want are priced so highly as I think there are 7 left.As much as we like the itinerary we can't bring ourselves to pay such a high price when there is a Saga cruise which we are also considering with not quite as good itinerary but which is cheaper than Fred and comes with a balcony, free drinks,tips, excursions etc on a newer ship! Will continue to watch and wait and decide whether itinerary takes preference over ship and we are prepared to have an outside cabin. Normally itinerary would win and we would be happy with an inside or outside cabin on a shorter cruise but not so sure about 26 nights

 

Saga is of no interest to us at all as the perks like transfers and excursions are not what we would want, nor are the itineraries tbh, so would be a very expensive option for us. We have used Azamara who have great itineraries, though a lot of Med stuff with other locations we are not wanting at present.  We would do our own flights and hotels to go with shorter cruises on them though and not happy to arrange that now, even with a bespoke package booked via an agent for financial protection, as so much chance of travel disruption.  We won an upgrade bid to a balcony on Azamara in the past and not badly placed either, but always a risk of getting a bad location with the upgrade bids that are commonly done with the larger companies now and we would not take that risk for more than a week.  I know you do not fly though, so Azamara a non starter for you.  We have done some P&O as cheap and cheerful cruises and works well as long as we book a balcony and do not stress to use the MDR much.  Good for warmth as the world was first waking up and their Baltic itineraries are good.  We are doing Canada/US soon with them, which we had originally booked for 2020 and did not want to re schedule before now in case of continued problems.  Canada were particularly slow to re start cruising and I am always a little wary of the US, but Halifax and to south of there will all be new ports for us.  

 

itineraries are the big thing for us, or we have gone on hotel package hols and have enjoyed that this year too, car hire gives lots of independence.  We were not impressed with Princess, so have not used them since the cruise when we  met you and Mark.  More my choice there, DH liked the cheap drink package which he felt made up for the disadvantages like the crowding, chaotic mealtimes and lack of a quiet bar - perhaps more a big ship thing as much as the specific cruise line perhaps, but we do not do big ships either, thoguh that one was worth it as a cheap option to travel somewhere warm while the world was initially waking up.

 

Enjoy whatever you decide,

 

Barbara

 

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3 hours ago, tring said:

 

Saga is of no interest to us at all as the perks like transfers and excursions are not what we would want, nor are the itineraries tbh, so would be a very expensive option for us. We have used Azamara who have great itineraries, though a lot of Med stuff with other locations we are not wanting at present.  We would do our own flights and hotels to go with shorter cruises on them though and not happy to arrange that now, even with a bespoke package booked via an agent for financial protection, as so much chance of travel disruption.  We won an upgrade bid to a balcony on Azamara in the past and not badly placed either, but always a risk of getting a bad location with the upgrade bids that are commonly done with the larger companies now and we would not take that risk for more than a week.  I know you do not fly though, so Azamara a non starter for you.  We have done some P&O as cheap and cheerful cruises and works well as long as we book a balcony and do not stress to use the MDR much.  Good for warmth as the world was first waking up and their Baltic itineraries are good.  We are doing Canada/US soon with them, which we had originally booked for 2020 and did not want to re schedule before now in case of continued problems.  Canada were particularly slow to re start cruising and I am always a little wary of the US, but Halifax and to south of there will all be new ports for us.  

 

itineraries are the big thing for us, or we have gone on hotel package hols and have enjoyed that this year too, car hire gives lots of independence.  We were not impressed with Princess, so have not used them since the cruise when we  met you and Mark.  More my choice there, DH liked the cheap drink package which he felt made up for the disadvantages like the crowding, chaotic mealtimes and lack of a quiet bar - perhaps more a big ship thing as much as the specific cruise line perhaps, but we do not do big ships either, thoguh that one was worth it as a cheap option to travel somewhere warm while the world was initially waking up.

 

Enjoy whatever you decide,

 

Barbara

 

Thank you.We has been thinking of booking an inside cabin on the Fred Balkans cruise but, like you, we tend to book for the itinerary so went on a 10 night cruise with NCL round Ireland in May. The itinerary was great but after having an inside cabin on that cruise we decided we wouldn't want an inside cabin on a very long cruise. Fred and NCL are very different and Fred has far more places to find a quiet spot but with covid still about and the recent norovirus on Balmoral it has really made us decide not to book an inside. Saying that we had an inside cabin for 26 nights on Aurora doing a similar itinerary to the cruise you have booked and it was fine.I hope you enjoy the cruise. We have a 35 night cruise on Ventura booked for next February to explore the Caribbean and USA but as I would rather not fly our choices are limited.

Ann

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3 hours ago, tring said:

the upgrade bids that are commonly done with the larger companies

It’s a pity Fred didn’t follow this process as it would make them more money, save staff time making phone calls and in some ways it might be fairer. I have never had “the call” regardless of how early we booked or how much we paid above the rate towards the sail date.

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1 hour ago, Eglesbrech said:

It’s a pity Fred didn’t follow this process as it would make them more money, save staff time making phone calls and in some ways it might be fairer. I have never had “the call” regardless of how early we booked or how much we paid above the rate towards the sail date.

 

Some people like the bidding system, but we would not risk getting a cabin somewhere that we would not want to be normally, so would only consider an upgrade if we could choose our cabin.  The Renaissance ships are are different matter though, if not likely to get rough seas.   We may well ring Fred nearer to our booked cruise dates, about a month before or likely nearer, especially if we see something happening with cabin availability, but for the cruises we have booked, our current cabins will do as they are not hot weather cruises and a local embarkation is a big advantage, especially at Christmas time.  We would never consider a balcony with Fred while he still allows smoking on balconies as I am asthmatic and hate smoke - any hint of it even wakes me up at night.  The terrace balconies on Borealis/Bolette, although smoke free, do not appeal either unless we got one free, as those steamer chairs are not comfortable and no sun at all on the prom deck of those lines.  The main time we use balconies is for a restful room service breakfast or a drink before dinner and prom deck on a steamer chair is not suitable for that IMO.   We did like the terrace balconies on Boudicca, especially in the tropics though.  I have always thought Fred basically has a USP on balconies for people who smoke, as I do not know any other cruise line where that is allowed, but not sure how much that matters now.  All a matter of itinerary for us, regards whatever what we book though.

 

I do think an upgrade bid system may well be put in place in the future, because as you say the current system must be so time consuming, but is a useful money making trick which is becoming quite widespread now.  Also, as I said in another post, if they ring you need to be available to take the call at that time and be able to decide if a cabin number is OK,

 

Barbara

 

 

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1 hour ago, ann141 said:

Thank you.We has been thinking of booking an inside cabin on the Fred Balkans cruise but, like you, we tend to book for the itinerary so went on a 10 night cruise with NCL round Ireland in May. The itinerary was great but after having an inside cabin on that cruise we decided we wouldn't want an inside cabin on a very long cruise. Fred and NCL are very different and Fred has far more places to find a quiet spot but with covid still about and the recent norovirus on Balmoral it has really made us decide not to book an inside. Saying that we had an inside cabin for 26 nights on Aurora doing a similar itinerary to the cruise you have booked and it was fine.I hope you enjoy the cruise. We have a 35 night cruise on Ventura booked for next February to explore the Caribbean and USA but as I would rather not fly our choices are limited.

Ann

 

We have booked your February itinerary for Jan 2025 and may consider changing it for next Feb, nearer to the time, if the right cabin is available - (we only want a midship deck C on those ships), so may see you there.  It is one of the few P&O Itineraries still worth doing.  Did you hear about how bad the US clearance was a New Orleans last March?  A lot of people missed most of the first day, but seems the thing to do is book a morning excursion,

 

Enjoy,

 

Barbara

 

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57 minutes ago, tring said:

 

We have booked your February itinerary for Jan 2025 and may consider changing it for next Feb, nearer to the time, if the right cabin is available - (we only want a midship deck C on those ships), so may see you there.  It is one of the few P&O Itineraries still worth doing.  Did you hear about how bad the US clearance was a New Orleans last March?  A lot of people missed most of the first day, but seems the thing to do is book a morning excursion,

 

Enjoy,

 

Barbara

 

Yes, I think we will plan on booking a morning excursion in New Orleans. We haven't really started looking at excursions yet but are disappointed that some have already sold out so it is on our to do list! Let us know if you change to Feb 2024 and may see you onboard

Ann

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When we first started cruising we often had quite good upgrades, particularly on the Black Watch.  When we celebrated our 40th Anniversary they upgraded us from a deck 9 cabin on the Balmoral to a suite on deck 10.  But it took another 12 years before we had another (small) upgrade on the Bollette.  Since they had been holding our money for two years and had completely changed the itinerary it was a bit of an insult.  

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  • 2 months later...

We are on the 29 night Borealis Caribbean, starting 15th November and rang a couple of days ago to ask what the price would be to upgrade to a midship outside from a midship inside and seems they had rang us whilst we were away, about four weeks ago to offer a reduced price upgrade, (we unplug the answerphone in case of a lightning strike whilst away as we have been hit previously). 

 

Anyway, they were going to offer an outside at the rear quite cheaply, though we were not interested in that.  We did get a midship outside for an extra £470 total though with a choice of the individual cabin, which we accepted.  We are quite pleased with that as we also keep the half price drinks pack, which was an offer when we booked in August.  The difference in freedom fare between those two grades at present would be a tad over £1,400 for the two of us and the cabins are still priced as they were when we booked, though they have brought out saver fares since then for people not bothered about cabin location.

 

Interesting reduced price upgrades are still being offered with a choice of cabin taken, so we are glad we booked an inside initially this time.  We will miss a balcony which we have had for recent cruises on Aurora and Arcadia, but it will be interesting to see what we think of Fred now compared to those P&O ships, which we have travelled on quite recently as I am sure changes will have taken place.

 

 

 

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