Loyalty is an attractive quality, and loyalty to a cruise line can bring you some attractive rewards. Cruise line loyalty programs – much like airline frequent flier programs – shower returning customers with special perks.
But, is joining a cruise loyalty program – and choosing that line often enough to earn member benefits – really worth it? We think so.
Rewards can include:
- Discounts on cruise fares, up to and including free cruises. You may also receive discounts on specialty dining, beverage packages, spa treatments and other onboard extras.
- Cabin upgrades, which are possible for non-loyalty program members, too, but they tend to be better for loyal passengers.
- Priority boarding will get you on board and in your stateroom faster, and help you avoid long lines when it’s time to disembark, too.
- VIP lounge admission, which often comes along with nice extras such as complimentary beverages and appetizers, concierge services or even a meet-and-greet with the ship’s captain.
- Cruise-line or ship-branded swag can such as pins, lanyards, t-shirts and other keepsakes.
- Optional services – such as laundry, photos, internet access, casino games – may be discounted or free for loyalty program members.
Loyalty programs vary between cruise lines, so be sure to do your homework before you commit. To give you an idea of how they work, here are some examples:
Crystal Cruises has the Crystal Society, which awards “cruise credits” for each Crystal cruise you take: one credit for each cruise of 5 to 15 days, and two credits for each cruise of 16 days or more. When you accumulate five cruise credits, you’ll also receive “As You Wish” shipboard credits that can be applied toward most things available for purchase on Crystal’s ships. The rewards grow with additional cruise credit “milestones:” at milestone 25, you’ll receive your first free Crystal Cruise.
A nice touch is that each Crystal cruise includes a host or hostess who’s on board just to help you and other Crystal Society members with anything you may need.
Holland America Line’s Mariner Society gives you credits for each day that you cruise on a Holland America ship, meaning you’ll accumulate credits quickly. You can also earn credits when you make a purchase on board, such as specialty dining or a spa treatment. And, suite guests earn double Cruise Day credits.
The Mariner Society is a multi-tiered program: you’ll be in the One Star tier as soon as you complete a Holland America cruise; at 500 Cruise Day credits, you’ll reach the Five Star level and maximum rewards. At the Four Star level, you’ll qualify for priority boarding and tender service, complimentary laundry and pressing service, 50% off specialty dining fees and wine packages, and much more.
Oceania Cruises also has a multi-tiered program, called the Oceania Club: the Blue, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond tiers offer increasing rewards. Oceania Club rewards are generous all the way up the scale: for example, Bronze members receive $200 in shipboard credit on every Oceania cruise (Diamond members receive $1,000).
Oceania offers some imaginative and attractive rewards, such as complimentary, pre-paid gratuities (Silver tier and above); and air deviation fee waivers, which enable you to travel on airlines or flights other than those the cruise line has contracted with (Gold tier and above).
Of course, as a Cruise Specialists client, you can receive special perks over and above what the cruise line loyalty programs offer.
We offer exclusive shore excursions that provide memorable cultural experiences, the services of our experienced cruise hosts, and much more. Plus, we can help you make sure you receive the maximum benefit from any cruise line loyalty program you choose to join.