Celebrity Cruises MoveUp – Our First Experience Bidding on Upgrades

As an Amazon Affiliate, we may earn a commission on eligible purchases made through our referrals. Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. All information related to any credit cards below was collected independently by Frequent Floaters and was neither provided nor reviewed by the respective card issuers.

Our experience with Celebrity Cruises MoveUp upgrade bidding program is unlike anything we’ve experienced before.  Before we dive in, I need to start by saying that we are Celebrity Cruises novices.  We have not sailed on them previously, and quite honestly, we hadn’t really looked at them much as an alternative to Oceania Cruises, our preferred cruise line.  We’d heard largely good things about Celebrity Cruises from our fellow Oceania passengers, particularly about Suite Class, when we asked about other cruise lines people have sailed.  However, nearly every Celebrity Cruises “review” ended with something to the effect of “but the food is better on Oceania and we like being on smaller ships even though Oceania’s entertainment is lacking.” (apologies to all the Celebrity Cruises devotees; feel free to tell me why they were wrong)

On an Oceania Cruises sailing in 2021, just coming back from the pandemic (we were masked, there were no seats at the bars, and our 1,200 passenger ship had less than 400 passengers) we defied the odds and actually managed to make some new friends during this period of anti-social-distancing.  Like us, they were devoted Oceania Cruises passengers, but were telling us that they had just booked a Galapagos cruise on Celebrity based on the strong endorsement of their travel agent.  They suggested we look into the ship – Celebrity Flora, the itinerary, and if we liked what we saw, that we consider joining them onboard in late 2023.  We did our research and saw that Flora is a beautiful ship with great reviews, that unlike most Celebrity Cruises ships, this one is all-inclusive like a lot of expedition ships including transfers, adult beverages, tips, etc. all included in the fare as well as the steep fees charged by Ecuador that fund the protection of the national park that encompasses much of the Galapagos Islands.  It looked great to us and hey, we’re not getting any younger, so we went for it.  Several cruises later, we’re now approximately 30 days out from our cruise.

Given my passion (obsession???) for all things cruising, I’ve been researching as much as I can about Celebrity Cruises, their Captain’s Club loyalty program, the fleet, and in particular Celebrity Flora, a one-of-a-kind vessel designed to transport no more than 100 passengers around the Galapagos Islands.  In addition to studying the amazing destination itself.  This research resulted in two posts covering possible concerns – Is Ecuador Safe? If Not, What Does This Mean for Galapagos Cruises? and Bird Flu – A Threat to Expedition Cruises???

All this research led me to something that doesn’t have a parallel with our familiar Oceania Cruises – the opportunity to bid on an upgraded cabin.  The program called MoveUp allows just that, for you to bid to upgrade on one or more cabin types for your cruise.  Celebrity Cruises says that “In just a few clicks, you can submit an offer to upgrade your stateroom on your upcoming cruise.”

Celebrity Cruises MoveUp
Celebrity Cruises Flora MoveUp Home Screen

Celebrity Cruises’ MoveUp was as advertised, because in just a few clicks, I had placed bids on two possible upgrades including inputting my payment information.  To be honest with you, I did it more as a trial to see how it would work rather than as a way to actually move up the property ladder aboard Celebrity Flora.

Celebrity Cruises MoveUp
Three Easy Steps for Celebrity Cruises MoveUp Bidding

I made, what the “Offer Strength” meters were telling me were “Weak” offers to move up from our 237 square foot Sky Suite w/ Infinite Verandah, the lowest-grade of cabin offered on board, to the top two categories: the 559 square foot Royal Suite including a 129 square foot veranda and the 1,253 square foot Penthouse Suite including the massive 271 square foot aft-facing full-berth veranda.  The latter being the second largest cabin sailing in the Galapagos. The largest cabin is currently the massive Owner’s Suite on Silversea’s Silver Origin coming in at a whopping 1,722 square feet of interior and exterior space.  I checked availability on Celebrity Flora and saw that only one of each of these cabins was available (for context, there are only two Penthouse suites on board).  I placed my bids approximately 70 days prior to embarkation and thinking that my odds were incredibly low, pushed it to the back of my mind.

Celebrity Cruises MoveUp
The Two MoveUp Options Offered on Our Celebrity Flora Galapagos Cruise

Then 39 days out from our cruise and a day before online check-in opened, I received an email with the exciting subject: “Your Stateroom Has Been Upgraded!”  I opened the email with some trepidation (remember I didn’t think there was any chance that I would actually “win”).  Well, it was my “lucky” day.  I scrolled down to see that “Your offer to upgrade your stateroom on your upcoming cruise has been successful.”  Scrolling a bit further I saw that we were now booked in the top Penthouse suite.  And the best part…my credit card would be charged in the next 24-hours for the amount of my bid. 😊  It was equal parts “this is awesome!!!” and “what have I done???”

Celebrity Cruises MoveUp
Celebrity Cruises MoveUp Congratulations! Email

My logic, back when I was making the offers was that I would be ok paying more on top of one of the most expensive cruises we had ever taken, if we were able to get into one of the top suites for approximately half of the standard fare.  Yes, it would make an already expensive cruise even more expensive, but this is a bucket-list trip to celebrate not one but two special occasions and we really wouldn’t be “upgrading” anything else on the trip as flights within Ecuador, pre and post hotel stays, transfers, beverages, gratuities, etc. were all included in the one (high) price already.

So now it’s done and paid for.  I’ll of course let you know if we thought the upgrade was worth it (I sure hope it will be).  Our friends are in our original cabin class so I’m hoping I can capture a few images for comparison purposes.

I’ll leave you with this – bidder beware! (you might just win) – Michael

Follow Frequent Floaters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our magazine on Flipboard. You can subscribe to our once-a-day e-mail blast here! <-LINK 

Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I love Celebrity but I am not a big fan of the move up thing. I find that the minimum bid amount is really high especially since you have to double the amount for the actual charge.

    In some cases it can make sense though such as if you are in an inside cabin or have an obstructed view balcony, you can often find a low minimum bid option to go to concierge class which generally isn’t directly booked into, so the odds of getting a low bid accepted are higher in that case.

    I generally bid just above the minimum if I am bidding. The next click up. But you really have to look at the price to see if it makes sense.

    I noticed you didn’t list the bidding amounts in your article. What was the exact amount you bided? it is helpful to share this information so others have an idea about what they are getting into. From the picture I can’t imagine anyone would actually bid $20,000 for that room which was the top of the scale (yes I know it says $10,000 but it is really $20k).

    Another word of advise is to very that the all in cost you are paying including the bid is still lower than just asking your travel agent to change you to the higher category. I have seen many instances where the costs would be higher using the move up rather than just changing your cabin category.

    • @Johnthewanderer – We had booked the entry-level cabin as soon as the calendar opened locking in the lowest possible rate on board. When we add that fare to the MoveUp amount we came out ~10% under half price for this suite. A quick search on Celebrity’s site you should be able to back into the approximate bid amount. I did check with my travel agent (TA) and he said that Celebrity typically offers better deals on MoveUp bids than through last-minute booking discounts through TAs because the TA is NOT commissioned on the upgrade amount saving Celebrity a meaningful amount. I’m new to Celebrity Cruises so if others have different experiences or data points they’d be much appreciated.

    • Right? This post would be MUCH more relevant with actual costs involved (the price you were paying for the original room but more importantly what the bid amount was).

    • Hi dee, it was a 27% increase in the cost of our cruise, which considering the additional space (the balcony in the Penthouse Suite alone larger than the cabin and balcony combined of our original cabin) seemed like a good (enough) deal to us. Galapagos cruises are expensive to begin with because of the logistics of getting people from Quito to Baltra (Celebrity charters flights and have to provide six transfers over the course of your trip), the high crew to passenger ratio (Flora has just 1.23 passengers for every crew member), the fees paid to Ecuador to support the national park and the local community, and the capacity limitations of 100 passengers per ship.

  2. Big Celebrity fan here, 20+ cruises. I’d be curious to hear your opinion on their main stream ships. Guessing they don’t compare to Oceania. The Expedition Class are ships are completely different from the other 3 classes and not really apples to apples. I don’t do MoveUp – I book where I want and watch for deals to upgrade on my own, but I have heard that when doing MoveUp you don’t always get all the perks or Captain’s Club points affiliated with the higher level room. Is this true?

    • @MamaAI77 – You are correct, you don’t get the increased Captain’s Club points for the upgraded cabin. In this case we earn 8 Club Points per night for the original Sky Suite we booked instead of the 18 Club Points per night than if we had booked directly into the Penthouse. This is a disappointing thing about the program, but I understand that they’re trying to incentivize you to book the highest level at which you’re comfortable not book at the base and then bid for upgrades. The MoveUp program is a lot like selling last-minute upgrades on the airlines to eek out that last bit of possible revenue by filling all the highest grade cabins.

        • @MamaAl77 Stay tuned on the Captains Club points for booked cabin level vs. MoveUp cabin level. The published terms and conditions say that you do NOT get the credits for the higher level cabin; however, I just logged into my Celebrity Cruises account and it’s showing that we are set to earn 180 points for the cruise which is based on the higher earning level of 18pts/nt for the 7 nights on board as well as credit for the 3 pre and post extension nights booked through Celebrity. This might work out like René says NCL handles bid for upgrade credits.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Discover more from Frequent Floaters

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading