If you’ve consistently cruised with only one cruise line, then you are likely enrolled in a loyalty program and have been accruing points that can get you some benefits. Depending on your cruise line of preference, you may not be getting much in return for sticking with with just one. In fact, the level of cruise line loyalty program benefits vary greatly as do the required number of cruises or days cruised to achieve higher levels in the program.
Comparison of Cruise Line Loyalty Programs
Let’s compare the loyalty program levels from the three largest cruise lines.
Carnival Cruise Line – VIFP Club
With Carnival Cruise Line’s VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) loyalty program, you will earn points based on the length of your cruise (1 Day = 1 Point) Example: 5-Day cruise will earn you 5 VIFP Points.
|Level||Points Required||Major Benefits|
|Blue||First Cruise||Member offers|
|Red||Second Cruise||1 Liter bottled water|
|Gold||25-74 Points||Free drink, Gold pin|
|Platinum||75-199 Points||Priority boarding, Logo gift, VIFP Party|
|Diamond||200+ Points||Free cabin upgrade, Captain event, Specialty dinner for two|
- Carnival Cruise Line will usually move you up to the next tier before or during the cruise where you actually reach the required points instead of waiting for your next cruise.
For a full list of VIFP benefits, please visit carnival.com
Royal Caribbean – Crown & Anchor Society
Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor loyalty program rewards points based on the length of the cruise (1 Night = 1 Point).
|Level||Points Required||Major Benefits|
|Gold||3 Points||Priority check-in
||Exclusive event, Signature lapel pin
||Welcome gift, Balcony discount
|Diamond||80 Points||Diamond lounge access, 3 nightly drink vouchers, Entertainment tour
||175 Points||Behind the scenes tour, Personalized gift, Concierge lounge access, Priority show seating
|Club Pinnacle||700 Points||Pinnacle club gold card, Cruise certificate for 7 night cruise, Personalized lapel pin|
- Members will earn double the points if they book a suite
- Membership levels extend to spouse and children living in the same household
- Reciprocal membership benefits on sister cruise lines, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line – Latitudes Rewards
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Latitudes Rewards loyalty program rewards points based on the length of the cruise (1 Night = 1 Point).
|Level||Points Required||Main Benefits|
|Bronze||1-29 Points||Priority check-in, Bottle of sparkling wine
|Silver||30-54 Points||Exclusive cocktail party, Onboard discounts
|Gold||55-79 Points||1 Bottle of water, Priority tender tickets, Priority departure
|Platinum||80-174 Points||Priority embarkation, Specialty dinner for two, 30 Free internet minutes
|Platinum Plus||175-699 Points||Concierge service, Dinner with officers, Priority restaurant & entertainment seating
|Ambassador||700+ Points||Complimentary 7 night cruise, 100 Free internet minutes, Free bag of laundry
- Members will earn one additional point per night if they book a suite or The Haven
- Members will earn one additional point per night if they book an Latitudes Insider offer
For a full list of Latitudes Rewards benefits, please visit ncl.com
When is it time to move on?
Most cruise line loyalty programs make it quite easy to move up 2 or 3 levels after just a few cruises. There will come a point however, where the next level seems unattainable and it may very well be. So what do you do at this point? There are really only three choices. Increase your frequency of cruises to try to get to the next level quicker. Find opportunities to get additional or bonus points. Start cruising on a new cruise line where you can earn a higher return on every cruise. Now, we are not suggesting to cruise with a particular cruise line or switch from your favorite just to get better benefits. By alternating between a few different cruise lines, you can expose yourself to other cruise brands you may actually like and build up your loyalty program status on each to a point where the rewards are more rewarding.
A revolutionary program from MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises has a program called Status Match. The free program allows anyone, even if they’ve never cruised with MSC before, to receive a matched level of benefits based on other cruise line or hotel loyalty programs they belong to. The process is initiated by completing a simple form on MSC Cruises Website where you would register for their MSC Voyagers Club by providing your pertinent contact information and proof of other loyalty program membership. It is important to note that this matching process can only be done once per account, so make sure you match to the loyalty program where you have the highest status. Varying cruise line and hotel loyalty programs will be weighted differently and your starting level in MSC Voyagers Club will be based on your other program’s current level.
Maximize the Benefits you Earn & Receive on Every Cruise
If you really want to get to the top tiers of cruise line loyalty programs, you need to find ways to get the most from every day you spend on a cruise ship. Firstly, make sure all of your past cruises are being recognized under the cruise line program. If you find any missing cruises, most cruise lines will allow you to submit proof (old cruise cards, boarding pass etc.) and they will update your profile accordingly. Depending on the cruise line, they may even count cruises from years earlier. In fact Carnival Cruise Line lets you go all the way back to their beginning in 1972. Inquire if your cruise line is offering ways to earn bonus points, such as upgrading to a suite. Princess Cruises will earn double points per day if they book a single occupancy fare and triple points if they book a single occupancy fares in a suite. Occasionally, cruise lines may offer bonus days where you can earn extra points on select sailings.
Deciding to stay loyal to one cruise line is an individual choice and in many circumstances, especially after just a couple of cruises, has nothing to do with the member benefits. After a few cruises, when the “real” benefits kick in, it becomes harder to stray away and the cruise lines are counting on that. Keeping an open mind to new cruise lines and possibly totally new experiences, will allow you to have flexibility in your cruise choices and at the same time build up loyalty status with many programs.