Cruising No Brainer – Join the Loyalty Program

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Nearly seventy percent of cruise line passengers are repeat cruisers so each major cruise line offers a loyalty program that includes a variety of incentives to entice passengers to remain loyal to the brand.

The benefits for repeat customers include reduced fares, priority check-ins, cabin upgrades and special amenities. The benefits can really add up since the programs offer accumulating incentives either by the number of sailing days or the number of cruises taken.

Membership in cruise line loyalty programs is free. So whether you intend to take one or a hundred cruises, it makes sense to join the loyalty programs on each of the cruise lines you book. Typically the perks add up the more often you cruise, but even one or two cruises on the same cruise line can lead to free perks. As well, some of the programs allow you to transfer your points between the brand’s sister cruise lines. For instance, if you sail on both Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, you could combine your points from the two loyal programs leading to a higher tiered status in your preferred program. If you build up enough credits in the one program, you could be eligible for a free cruise.

The benefits of loyalty programs vary by cruise line but membership in all the programs is guaranteed to have its privileges. Here is a snapshot of the loyalty programs offered by major cruise lines operating in North America.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Name of Program: VIFP Club

Enrolment:  Free to enrol.  Sign up online anytime before or after you cruise.

How it Works: Earn 1 point for every sailing day.

  1. Blue: First Cruise
  2. Red: 1 – 24 points
  3. Gold: 25 – 74 points
  4. Platinum: 75 – 199 points
  5. Diamond: 200+ points

Main Benefits:

  • Blue – special offers and newsletter
  • Red – Free 1 liter bottle of water in stateroom
  • Gold – Appreciation drink on last day of cruise and gold VIFP pin on each sailing
  • Platinum – Priority embarkation and debarkation, platinum and diamond VIFP party, complimentary drink at seaday brunch, chocolate strawberries plate, collectible pin for each sailing, and priority spa reservations and tender boarding, guest services assistance by phone, line at onboard guest services desk, and dining reservations, BOGO casino tournament entry, $5 in arcade credits, a Carnival logo gift and 2-5 bags of free laundry service (depending on length of cruise)
  • Diamond – Unlimited laundry service, guaranteed dining reservations, special event invite from the captain, one-time free cabin upgrade or 3rd and 4th guests sail free, one-time donation to St. Jude’s, one-time free meal for two at any specialty restaurant and a dedicated phone number for sales and service

Celebrity Cruises

Name of Program:  Captain’s Club

Enrolment:  Free to enrol.  Sign up online anytime before or after you cruise.

How it Works: Points ranging from 2-18 for every sailing day depending on the stateroom category

  1. Preview: First Cruise
  2. Classic: 2 – 149 points
  3. Select: 150 – 299 points
  4. Elite: 300-749 points
  5. Elite Plus: 750-2999 points
  6. Zenith: 3000+ points

Main Benefits:

  • Preview – newsletter, use of loyalty desk member service center, eligibility for promotions when booking a future cruise onboard and double points if traveling solo
  • Classic – exclusive celebration event, access to reunion cruise and president’s cruise, one category upgrade through AquaClass, a scoop of gelato from the Gelateria, 10% off one internet package, 10% off a photo package and access to the onboard loyalty host
  • Select – priority embarkation, 25% off one internet package, 15% off a photo package, free pressing of two garments, one standard bag of laundry at a discounted price, free wine seminar, priority status for shore excursions waitlist and an invite to the senior officer’s cocktail party
  • Elite – access to Captain’s Club lounge for breakfast, evening cocktail hour, 90-minute internet package, 20% off photo package, free dry cleaning of one item, one free day pass to Persian Garden, free bag of laundry, private departure lounge with breakfast, priority tendering and priority dining room wait list
  • Elite Plus – 240-minute internet package, free tea and coffee-based drinks, 10% off a drink package, 15% off any specialty restaurant, invitation to the elegant tea event and two free bags of laundry
  • Zenith – access to Michael’s Club Lounge, unlimited internet, free laundry, free beverage package, 25% off specialty dining, priority seating in the theater, upgraded bath amenities, complimentary Extend Your Stay (where you can stay onboard longer on disembarkation day when available), a free 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise in a balcony cabin, at 6,000 points and every 3,000 points after, receive a free 7-night Bermuda or Caribbean cruise in an AquaClass cabin, and upon reaching Zenith, the Captain’s Club will make a charitable donation in the member’s behalf

Disney Cruise Line

Name of Program: Castaway Club

Enrolment: Automatic enrolment after your first cruise

How it Works: Benefits increase based on the number of cruises you complete.

  1. Silver: 1-4 cruises
  2. Gold: 5 -9 cruises
  3. Platinum: 10+ cruises

Main Benefits: 

  • Silver – newsletter, dedicated phone number for questions or bookings, 90-day advanced booking for excursions, the spa, and Palo, priority check-in, onboard booking bonus and welcome back gift
  • Gold – 105-day advanced booking for excursions, the spa, and Palo, early booking for new itineraries, onboard reception and discounts on onboard shopping
  • Platinum – 120-day advanced booking for excursions, the spa, and Palo, priority boarding, one dinner for two at Palo and special platinum-only surprises

Holland America Line

Name of Program: Mariner Society

Enrolment: Automatic enrolment after your first cruise

How it Works: Earn 1 credit for every sailing day plus extra credits for booking suites and onboard purchases.

  1. Star Mariner: 1st cruise
  2. 2-Star Mariner: 30 credits
  3. 3-Star Mariner: 75 credits
  4. 4-Star Mariner: 200 credits
  5. 5-Star Mariner: 500+ credits

Main Benefits: 

  • Star Mariner – embarkation lunch and Champagne brunch, gift, subscription to Mariner magazine, discounts on sailings and 50% off for 3rd or 4th guest in stateroom on select sailings
  • 2-Star Mariner – free ship photo, 10% discount on logo clothing, 15% discount at online store, annual cruise planner and recognition pin
  • 3-Star Mariner – 25% discount on specialty restaurants, wine packages, beverages in Explorations Café, minibar purchases, discounts on select spa treatments, advance info on new itineraries and a welcome reception
  • 4-Star Mariner – free laundry and pressing; priority disembarkation, tender, and check-in; 50% discount on specialty restaurants, wine packages, beverages in Explorations Café, and minibar purchases; a wine tasting; 15% discount on logo clothing; subscription to Travel + Leisure or Food & Wine magazine; and, complimentary cruise fare on 3rd or 4th guest in stateroom on select sailings
  • 5-Star Mariner – 50% discount on 100 minutes of Internet, 2 dinners in Pinnacle Grill, 1 cooking class in the Culinary Arts Center and a spa day pass

Norwegian Cruise Line

Name of Program: Latitudes Rewards

Enrolment: Free to enrol.  Sign up online anytime after your first cruise.

How it Works: Earn 1 point per sailing day, 1 extra point per day for booking a suite or Haven and 1 extra point per day for booking with a Latitudes Insider Offer.

  1. Bronze: 1-29 points
  2. Silver: 30-54 points
  3. Gold: 55-79 points
  4. Platinum: 80-174 points
  5. Platinum Plus: 175-699 points
  6. Ambassador: 700+ points

Main Benefits: 

  • Bronze – priority check-in, keycard recognition, a bottle of sparkling wine, 10% discount at onboard shops, additional internet minutes if you purchase a package, free piece of artwork if you attend an auction, onboard representative, monthly offers on select sailings and access to the online magazine
  • Silver – 15% discount at onboard shops, invite to cocktail party, 10% onboard discount for shore excursions, 20% discount on photos and a 15% discount on spa treatments while the ship is in port
  • Gold – 25% discount on photos, 20% discount on spa treatments while the ship is in port, 1 bottle of water, 50% off one bag of laundry, priority tendering and priority disembarkation
  • Platinum – 30% discount on photos, 25% discount on spa treatments while the ship is in port, 1 free bag of laundry, priority embarkation, dinner for two at Cagney’s or Le Bistro, dinner for two at Moderno or La Cucina, 30 free internet minutes, chocolate covered strawberries, behind-the-scenes ship tour and a dedicated concierge
  • Platinum Plus – 15% onboard discount for shore excursions, 2 bottles of water, 60 free internet minutes, a dinner with ship officers and priority dining and entertainment seating
  • Ambassador – 20% onboard discount for shore excursions, 100 free internet minutes and a complimentary 7-day cruise

Princes Cruises

Name of Program: Captain’s Circle

Enrolment: Free to enrol.  Sign up online anytime after your first cruise.

How it Works: Benefits increase based on the number of cruises you complete. Booking a suite or sailing solo counts as 2 cruises.

  1. Gold: First Cruise
  2. Ruby: 4th-5th cruise or 31-50 cruise days
  3. Platinum: 6th-15th cruise or 51-150 cruise days
  4. Elite: 16+ cruises or 151+ cruise days

Main Benefits: 

  • Gold – reduced deposit, preferential pricing offers, onboard events, a Princess Passport with destination stamps, access to a Circle host onboard, quarterly magazine, newsletter, recognition pin and access to the Circle Center online
  • Ruby – a vacation protection upgrade (if you purchased vacation protection), dedicated phone number for a Circle help desk and 10% off the DVD filmed during your cruise to showcase the voyage
  • Platinum – free cruise atlas, preferred check-in, platinum disembarkation lounge and free internet credit based on the length of the cruise
  • Elite – priority tendering, priority disembarkation, free shoe polishing service, free laundry service, free mini-bar setup, deluxe canapes delivered to the room on formal nights, afternoon tea, upgraded bathroom amenities, wine tasting and 10% discount at the onboard shops

Royal Caribbean International

Name of Program: Crown and Anchor Society

Enrolment: Free to enrol.  Sign up online anytime after your first cruise.

How it Works: Earn 1 point for every sailing day, 1 extra point per day for booking a suite.

  1. Gold: 3-29 points
  2. Platinum: 30-54 points
  3. Emerald: 55-79 points
  4. Diamond: 80-174 points
  5. Diamond Plus: 175-699 points
  6. Pinnacle Club: 700+ points

Main Benefits: 

  • Gold – exclusive rates, reduced rate upgrades, priority check-in, private departure lounge, exclusive trivia, priority notice on special offers and new ships and itineraries, membership decks for questions, members-only section of website and member cruises and newsletters
  • Platinum – discounts on balconies and suites, robes for use onboard, lapel pin, exclusive top-tier event and priority access on stateroom upgrades
  • Emerald – welcome gift including choice of beverage and members-only onboard offers
  • Diamond – milestone recognition, Chef’s Choice gift, priority waitlist for spa services, seating in the main dining room and shore excursions, access to the Diamond lounge, priority departure, nightly Diamond event, daily breakfast with specialty coffee, entertainment tour and kids will also receive a commemorative gift
  • Diamond Plus – behind the scenes tours, personalized gift, concierge lounge access, choice of more pre-cruise gifts to order online, dedicated call center staff and priority seating in entertainment venues. Those with 340+ points will also receive a meal with an officer, upgraded bathroom amenities, single supplement fare of 150% instead of 200% and a bonus gift.  Those with 525+ points will also receive another gift
  • Pinnacle Club – personalized Pinnacle Club pin, club gold card with exclusive privileges and a milestone cruise certificate at the rate of a 7-night balcony cruise at 700 and again at 1,050 cruise points. Guests also receive a milestone cruise certificate at the rate of a Junior Suite room at 1,400 and every 350 points thereafter

It may be your personal preference which program offers the most rewards but the bottom line is that all offer perks and services which are free to everyone that enrols.

Sign up for loyalty program on each of the cruise lines you book. Once you have a program membership, remember to use your program number each time you book to ensure you receive credit for your cruise.  Check your tier level in the program and reward offerings each time you cruise to ensure you take advantage of all the great benefits.  The rewards accumulate at every level so once you earn enough status to move to the next level of the program, you receive all the perks in the new level plus those in prior levels.

If you are planning a cruise, take a look at what you should be doing 30 days before your sail date.

Download my ebook, How to Get the Most Out of your Next Cruise and read all my top recommendations for planning and enhancing your next cruise experience.

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