Royal Caribbean requires bid for close-in upgrade

The Central Park area on Symphony of the Seas.
The Central Park area on Symphony of the Seas.

Say goodbye to the "upgrade fairy" at Royal Caribbean.

As of Nov. 28, the cruise line has adopted a new system for distributing upgrades on cabins that become open as assignments are shuffled close to sailing.

Upgrade opportunities will now be auctioned rather than given out randomly or to Crown & Anchor Society members.

Guests on eligible sailings will get an e-mail describing the cabins available in the RoyalUp program and bid minimums. To bid, guests must have a credit card on file.

Bids can be made and accepted up to two days before sailing. Royal Caribbean will notify winners by e-mail and charge their credit cards.

Travel agents can earn commission on the bid amount. An online flyer describing RoyalUp notes that "your travel advisor can handle the entire bidding process for you."

Bidding is by cabin category and guests can't choose cabin location or other more specific features.

Norwegian Cruise Line launched a similar system called Upgrade Advantage in 2017.

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