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I paid $300 to upgrade my inside cabin to a suite. Take a look at our entry-level suite

08 Sep 2023
Allie Hubers

I almost always book an inside cabin for my Royal Caribbean cruises. Because these staterooms are both affordable and functional, I can save so much money by staying in an inside stateroom. However, once in a while, I will make a splurge to stay in a more spacious and luxurious cabin. But, I still try not to break the bank when I upgrade to a higher-end stateroom. 

Odyssey of the Seas

Last October, I sailed on a bucket-list 12-night itinerary from Rome to Israel onboard Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas with my family. We originally booked our stateroom more than a year in advance, but opted to place a last minute bid to upgrade our room for this special cruise with our parents. Although I initially booked an inside cabin with my sister, I ended up placing a bid for a junior suite through the cruise line’s Royal Up program.

Much to our surprise, our minimum bid was accepted within a few weeks of our sailing! My parents also bid on a junior suite and their bid was accepted as well. For just $300 per person, my sister and I were able to upgrade from an inside cabin to a junior suite during our 12-night itinerary. The Royal Up program shows how competitive your bid is, and this $300 bid was considered very competitive. 

Since Odyssey of the Seas is part of the Quantum Ultra-class, suites onboard are considered part of the Royal Suite Class. Our entry-level junior suite was considered part of the Sea Class, which is the lowest tier; but, we still received upgraded amenities during our stay, such as luxury shower products, mattresses and bathrobes. We also had access each evening to enjoy dinner in Coastal Kitchen, which is only available to suite guests. 

Take a look inside our junior suite onboard one of Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ships - and why it was absolutely worth the $300 upgrade!

For this cruise, we were assigned a junior suite on Deck 10. We would be staying in 10638 during the cruise, which was conveniently located mid-ship.

Odyssey of the Seas

Being located on a higher deck, the suite also had quick, easy access to the pool deck and Windjammer buffet. Since we had many early morning excursions in Israel, being close to the buffet saved us time each morning. We appreciate the convenience of being located in a premium spot onboard. 

Since our parents were staying in a junior suite too, we were pleased to find that out that our rooms were literally right next to one another. This was presumably since we had our reservations linked, but it was a relief to know we would be next to one another. 

However, when you bid through the Royal Up program, you do not have the option to choose the specific stateroom. Instead, you are assigned a stateroom through the cruise line if your bid is accepted. This is a risk you take when you bid on a stateroom through the program, as you could get a less-than-ideal location onboard. Luckily, our gamble paid off, but we know this is not always the case. 

Once we boarded Odyssey of the Seas in Italy for our 12-night cruise, we were blown away by the junior suite!

To start, the cabin was extremely spacious and featured a beautiful, modern design. We found there to be a large bedroom area with two night stands, along with a small living room with a sectional. There was also a large bathroom with a separate space for the toilet, meaning we had dual sinks to use. The balcony was extra large as well, which gave us sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Our junior suite was 300 square feet - this is about double the size of a standard inside cabin on most cruise ships. The balcony was an additional 80 square feet, so we had plenty of space to enjoy the sea views. 

The sheer size of the cabin was very impressive and much bigger than we had expected. I am accustomed to the coziness of an inside cabin, so having this much space really did feel like a luxury. We really needed the extra space since we our suitcases were packed to the brim!

Also, because junior suites are classified as entry-level, these staterooms are not the largest or most luxurious suites onboard. These are more affordable suites that provide extra room and a few special amenities. For us, the extra space and amenities made this cruising experience extra memorable.

As you can imagine, we had generously packed our suitcases in anticipation of a 3-week trip to Europe with multiple climates. 

My sister and I independently visited Paris before the cruise, which was experiencing cool fall weather. But, we still had to pack for the hot, summer weather in Israel with highs in the 90s. As such, we had both filled up our suitcases to the brim with necessities for our European adventure.

Our stateroom had a large closet and vanity for storage. We quickly filled up the shelves, hangers and drawers with clothes for our 12-night adventure to Israel. After lugging around two suitcases to Paris and then Rome, we were both excited to get settled into our cabin for the entirety of the cruise. The junior suite really became our home away from home during this cruise. 

Our suitcases fit under the twin beds after we had unpacked all of our clothes. This kept the suite feeling roomy and less cluttered. I find this is always important regardless of which stateroom you stay in, as it really optimizes the space. 

Because I was sailing with my sister, we opted to have the room configured with two separate twin-sized beds instead of a king bed.  

The beds were located between a small sectional and the bathroom in our cabin. Directly across from the bed was the TV, vanity and closet. The room was so wide that we had more than enough space to navigate around the stateroom. 

When we arrived to our suite on the first day, the beds were configured into a king-size bed. Although I typically prefer to have the beds together in this manner, my sister was insistent that we separate them. We asked our stateroom attendant to separate the beds, and this was quickly done while we were at dinner on the first night. 

With a very port-intensive itinerary, it was vital that we had good rest each night so we could have energy for our 13-hour excursions! The mattresses in our junior suite were considered elevated from a standard mattress onboard. We both agreed the beds felt extra comfortable, but this could have been the result of long-days exploring in port and fighting off jet lag.

I find that separating the beds in a smaller cabin can make the space feel more open; however, in a larger cabin like this, it really does not make much of a difference. 

Because our stateroom was part of the Royal Suite Class, we received some extra perks, including access to Coastal Kitchen and an espresso machine in our stateroom.

If you choose to stay in a suite on your cruise vacation, you will typically receive extra perks and amenities. Top-tier suites will come with a laundry list of amenities and perks. Because a junior suite is considered entry-level, you will only receive a full suite benefits compared to higher-end suites. 

As you know, we received upgraded shower products, a more luxurious bed and also softer bathrobes. In addition, our junior suite also featured an espresso machine on the vanity to use throughout the week. This was perfect for our busy mornings getting ready for the day. 

For junior suite guests, Royal Caribbean provides evening access to Coastal Kitchen, but access is a little restricted. Junior suite guests can dine here as long as there is room onboard for all suite guests and Pinnacle loyalty members to dine as well. This exclusive dining venue is only for suite guests and it is supposed to provide higher-quality service and meals. 

We had to make an individual reservation each evening, as we could not be guaranteed a dining slot for the entire cruise. We were excited to try out this venue for the first time, but we found the ambiance to be a little too snooty and uptight for our liking. We also did not find the service or menu to be worth the nightly reservation debacle or unwelcoming vibe. 

This could have been a one-off bad experience for us, but we opted to go to the main dining room for the rest of the cruise. We ended up meeting nice table mates next to us, who we enjoyed chatting with each evening. This was a much more welcoming experience and we throughly enjoyed the food and service in the main dining room.

Finally, we also received priority embarkation and disembarkation as additional perks of staying in a junior suite. In our experience, it was a breeze getting on and off Odyssey of the Seas at the port of Civitavecchia so the priority embarkation and disembarkation was not as lucrative as a more congested port could be.  

The junior suite featured an oversized balcony, which is nearly double the size of a standard Royal Caribbean balcony. 

One of the biggest perks of a junior suite is having an oversized balcony. Since I am used to not even having a window, let alone a balcony, having this private veranda was a huge luxury. We were able to watch the ship pull into port each morning from the balcony, which was very nice.

Having a private balcony meant we could take advantage of the views right from the comfort of our suite. In an inside cabin, you have to venture to an outer deck to see any sort of views from our cabin. If you’re sailing somewhere scenic, this means you spend more time outside of your stateroom than inside. 

In addition, the balcony featured upgraded furniture with padded chairs. We had two plushy loungers to enjoy on our cruise, along with a small table. This was the perfect space to relax during sea days or in the evenings while the ships sailed away from each port into the Mediterranean. The sunsets were unbelievable each evening and we could watch them from the comfort of our own suite. 

Our favorite feature of the junior suite was the upgraded, large bathroom with a separate space for the toilet. 

The best feature of our junior suite was the amplified bathroom with a bathtub, walk-in shower, marble-designed flooring, and an entirely separate area for the toilet. This separate space had an additional vanity, mirror, sink and shelving, which was a huge time saver in the morning when my sister and I were both getting ready. 

The bathroom was beautifully designed with modern finishings, such as the marble-designed flooring. This made the bathroom feel bright and more spacious than any bathroom I've had in a cruise ship cabin.

Our bathroom also featured a full-sized bathtub. I am not one to take baths frequently at home, but this tub was nicer than the one in my own home. So, you can bet that I took a few relaxing baths here during the cruise!

I had never experienced a split-bathroom in a cruise ship cabin before; however, I hope this is a trend that sticks around! Having the separate space felt like another luxury, as my sister and I could each get ready at the same time without having to take turns using the sink and vanity. 

Additionally, the walk-in shower was by far the nicest and most modern shower I’ve ever used on a cruise ship. The floor had a marble design and featured a ledge for sitting and tons of space. An inside cabin, especially on an older ship, normally has a shower capsule that is barely big enough for one person. This shower was truly one of the best features of the junior suite!

I found myself spending more time in the suite than I normally do when sailing in a lower-end cabin.

Inside cabins are very cozy, so I tend to not spend as much time in my stateroom when cruising. Instead, I will spend more time exploring the ship and enjoying views from places like the Solarium.

On this cruise, I ended spending more time in the junior suite because it felt so much more luxurious than a typical cruise cabin. I enjoyed spending my time there and wanted to retreat to this quiet space where I could take in the sweeping balcony views to myself.

The suite was so warm and welcoming that it felt like a comfortable place to relax each day - and I did not have to worry about missing out on any of the ocean views. 

Spending $300 each to upgrade to a junior suite was absolutely worth it for this 12-night itinerary. 

Staying in a junior suite truly amplified our cruising experience onboard Odyssey of the Seas. Being in an entry-level suite on a newer ship was quite the luxurious experience, especially since my sister and I tend to sail on older ships in an inside cabin.

At the end of the day, it felt like a steal snagging this junior suite for just $300 each. Having the extra space was more than worth this upgrade cost. We felt lucky that our bid was accepted for this price, especially considering we received a suite located mid-ship. Having our parents right next to us with their accepted bid as well.

We appreciated having access to Coastal Kitchen, although the reservation system felt cumbersome, especially when Odyssey of the Seas has so many dining options. Having the upgraded amenities, such as the plush loungers on the balcony, soft bathrobes and higher-end shower products, were all nice touches to elevate the experience even more. 

My sister and I both agreed that having the extra space alone made this junior suite worthwhile, especially for a longer itinerary where we had packed much more than we normally do. I would not hesitate to book, or bid on, another junior suite in the future.

Allie Hubers has been cruising since she was a tiny toddler. What started as a yearly vacation with family quickly turned into a passion for travel, cruising and adventure. Allie's been on nearly 30 cruises all over the world. She even studied abroad on Semester at Sea, sailing the world on a ship while taking courses for college and visiting 4 continents.

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