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Get a free upgrade on your next cruise

Amid fears of a double dip recession, many people are looking for ways to cut back on their spending, particularly on foreign holidays. However, if you are smart about it, you can get a luxury cabin for the same price as you would pay for more basic accommodation. Here’s how to do it:

With a normal cruise ship reservation, you will usually have a cabin assigned to you when you purchase the ticket. This guarantees that you will receive exactly the cabin that you booked, and will know its location and number in advance. However, if you are prepared to take a chance, you might be able to get a better cabin than you originally paid for by signing up for what is known as a ‘category guarantee’.

With this type of arrangement, you leave it up to the cruise line to assign you a cabin just prior to sailing. This means that, at the very least, you will receive the type of cabin that you paid for, but if the more expensive cabins are not fully booked when you board, you may be upgraded at no extra cost. The only downside to this is that if you suffer from motion sickness, and want to avoid cabins at the front or rear of the ship for this reason, you may be assigned to one of these anyway.

Category guarantees come in various forms. The cheapest is known as Run Of Ship, or ROS for short. This means that you could potentially be assigned to any cabin inside the ship, but the advantage of this is that you will get the cheapest available fare, and you could well end up with a much more expensive cabin than you paid for.

There are two different types of ROS fare, known as Inside ROS and Outside ROS. An Inside ROS, also known as a Category Z guarantee, restricts you to interior cabins without any windows, whereas an Outside ROS restricts you to outside cabins with windows. Usually, Outside ROS fares, also known as Category Y guarantees, tend to be a little more expensive than their Category Z counterparts.

The next step up from ROS fares is the Specific Category Guarantee, which guarantees that you will receive a cabin within a certain portion of the ship. This means that you will be guaranteed a cabin in the area of the ship that you desire, but you will not know the exact room number. These are more expensive, but if you do not want to risk being put in one of the less luxurious cabins, it could well be worth the risk.

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