Cruise Lover here… and I can tell you that the Upgrade Fairy indeed is fairly invisible !!
And her “gifts” are few and far between…
They say your chances are better…
IF you book far in advance…
AND IF you indicate that there is a Special Occasion on your Reservation.
Upgrades are typically given out on two occasions…
One round after Final Payment Date (so like the OP in the weeks just prior to Embarkation / Sailing)
And a second round in the last week / Days just prior to Sailing…
This last set is an attempt for the Cruise Ship not to sail with any empty cabins whatsoever.
They try to move folks up… so that they can sell out the lower costing cabins.
Many times if there are Upgrades at this round, you won’t hear about it until you arrive for Check In. And then they’ll tell you that you got a Complimentary Upgrade. The most often seen Upgrades are from Interior to Outside, or Outside to Balcony.
Upgrades to TRUE Suites are rare… but they do happen on occasion… interestingly Suites tend to sell out early. As they are a specific level of cabin that someone wants to ensure they get on a particular sailing (ie a Honeymoon)
So @LaTortuga: if you snagged a TRUE Suite on a ship you truly have been lucky !!
Lol, more so if it a Cruise Line that has a bunch of extra perks that comes with their Suites (ie on Celebrity they all have a Butler, FREE Meal in Specialty Restaurant, etc). Check Carnival’s Website to see exactly what Suite Guests get that other Cruisers don’t.
Hope this helps,
PS… Agree that EVERYONE Booking a Cruise should always self-identify if you are celebrating a special occasion. Cruises are awesome when it comes to great service & pampering… but they can be even more special if you qualify for recognition. Special Drinks & Desserts are not unheard of. And on some sailings they have Cocktail Parties for those celebrating special occasions… ie Weddings, Honeymoons, Anniversaries, etc.
BOOKING TIP – Anyone who picks a particular cabin for a reason on a cruise… such as centre due to issues with sea-sickness, and might not welcome the Upgrade to a cabin / suite at the front or back of the ship (where there is a lot more movement) should always indicate on their Reservation… PLEASE NO UPGRADE. Because once they move you, you’ll lose your original reservation permanently !!
Mr TTR and I buy our Cruises with a long lead time… because we tend to get the best deals in general, and a full choice of cabins. We choose a cabin that we know we’ll be truly in LOVE with (for our Honeymoon Cruise we had a Concierge Sunset Balcony on Celebrity)… so we’ve always marked our Reservations… PLEASE NO UPGRADE. As much I’d love a Royal or Penthouse Suite (some of Celebrity’s Best)… I wouldn’t be very happy giving up my well chosen cabin for a relatively small Suite at the front of the ship, far from the action, and full of movement and docking sounds (dropping anchor). Just not the type of cruise accommodations I’d enjoy