To keep their customers coming back, the majority of cruise lines now offer some kind of customer loyalty scheme. These vary from each cruise operator and can include future booking discounts, invites to VIP parties, and onboard privileges such as priority embarkation. But is this enough to keep your loyalty? Or are you really looking for cabin upgrades and onboard credit?
Here is a summary of each cruise lines membership club and benefits to tempt you to come back time and time again …
Royal Caribbean International – Crown and Anchor Society
Membership to the Crown and Anchor Society is automatically granted after your first sailing. The club offers discounts and benefits according to the number of "cruise credits" obtained. These are calculated by the number of days at sea and the cabin grade you sail in. As their sister company, you will also receive equivalent recognition in Celebrities membership club. There are 4 tiers within the club escalating from gold to platinum, diamond and diamond plus. As a gold member, you can expect onboard bonuses such as complimentary wine tasting and a small commemorative gift, as well as online booking discounts. As your membership level increases you can look forward to priorities over other customers with check in, and waitlisted services such as spa treatments or shore excursions.
Celebrity Cruises – Captains Club
Celebrity's 3 tier Captains Club offers a slightly more generous loyalty scheme which involves a one category upgrade at the most basic membership level, which is also applicable when booking your cruise through a travel agent.
The tiers range from Classic, Select and Elite, and loyal customers can expect invitations to onboard parties, behind the scenes tours and at the highest level, guests can take advantage of the Thalassotherapy Pool, where available, and also a private departure lounge .
Norwegian Cruise Lines – Latitudes Program
As a past guest, NCL do offer some pretty good reductions when rebooking with them, aside from this, many of the benefits of their club, which ranges from bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels, are nothing to get too excited about! Whilst they offer the standard past guest party, plus priorities over other guests with check in, disembarkation, and reservation only restaurants, having completed 14 cruises, and earned your platinum status, all you really get is complimentary dining inthe "Le Bistro" restaurant, which would usually incur an additional charge. Oh and you get a patents ship pin …
Princess Cruises – Captains Circle
The Captains Circle club features gold, platinum and elite levels of membership with all levels receiving preferential pricing offers on selected itineraries throughout the year. Further standard membership benefits include, "exclusive events", no doubt that will be another captain's party then, and also a Princess Passport, a scheme wherey guests receive stamps, depicting the cruise destination which are then signed by the captain and displayed in a Princess Passport.
As membership increases to platinum status, guests are entitled to priority boarding, free internet minutes and upgraded travel insurance. (If the basic level is purchased) Guests that reach their 16th cruise, or their 150th cruise day with Princess will be members of the elite club, where extras such as a complimentary mini bar, upgraded bathroom amenities and a 10% discount in certain onboard shops will be applicable.
Costa Cruises – Costa Club
Loyal customers will be pleased to hear that Costa offer one of the most rewarding loyalty schemes at sea. Whether you are a basic aquamarine member, coral member or their highest pearl member, you can receive a 5% discount on any of their cruises. In addition, guests at aquamarine level will receive a generous 20% discount on wine packages, mini bar drinks and laundry service, 10% off Costa merchandise, and a cocktail with the captain complete with a souvenir photo.
Membership to the club is achieved through earning points; these are accumulated through cruise days with Costa as well as onboard spending. At higher levels of membership, guests will qualify for priority boarding and disembarkation, a complimentary meal in the a la carte restaurant, a bottle of wine and welcome gift.
P & O Cruises – Portunus Club
Membership to the Portunus club is automatic after completing your very first sailing with P & O Cruises. Throughout the year, there will be selected Portunus sailings, which give members reductions on standard cruise prices.
At a basic level, ruby members are entitled to a 5% discount on onboard spend, this increases to 7.5% when you reach sapphire level of membership, and gold members can take off an extra 10%. At the highest level, gold members will also get a dedicated check in service and priority disembarkation.
Members of the Portunus club can also gain points from sailing on Ocean Village, Princess Cruises or Swan Hellenic.
Cunard – World Club
World Club has 4 levels of membership; silver, gold, platinum and diamond. Automatic membership is granted after your first sailing with Cunard. After this, members are entitled to a 5% discount of further sailings.
Further benefits for guests who have completed 20 days onboard include; a souvenir gold membership Cunarder pin, complimentary internet minutes, and cocktail party invitation. As guests reach platinum level, they can expect, in addition to lower level benefits, a 20% discount on dry cleaning and laundry service, 10% off White Star Luggage Delivery service, additional internet minutes and a platinum member Cunarder pin. Diamond members will also receive priority luggage delivery.
MSC Cruises – MSC Club
MSC's loyalty club members of 3 tiers; classic, silver and gold. Membership is awarded by a points system which accumulates with the number of cruise days taken with MSC.
At each level, members will receive a welcome cocktail, a 5% discount on excursions and 5% discount in onboard boutiques. As a classic member, you are owed to a 5% discount on most cruises, silver members will receive 8% and gold can take off an additional 10% off their cruise cost.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines – Oceans
Each night spent onboard a Fred Olsen cruise will earn you 1 point. Once you reach 30 points, you will qualify for their first level of membership. At this "blue" level, guests will receive 5% off both onboard spending and shore excursions booked prior to departure. As you reach 31 points you enter the silver level where members will receive a 2% cruise discount, Oceans cocktail party and usually priority embarkation. Once you have exceeded 100 days onboard a Fred Olsen cruise, you will be rewarded with a 4% cruise cost discount, personalized luggage labels, a welcome aboard gift plus a complimentary shuttle bus pass.
Carnival – Concierge Club
After your 10th cruise with Carnival, you will enter their membership club at the platinum level, then, those members who complete their 25th, 50th and 75th sailings will receive a shipboard credit representing 25, 50 or 75% of their cruise fare. Those who reach an impressive 100th sailing will earn a complimentary cruise of up to 8 days.
In addition, all platinum members are eligible for priority check in, disembarkation and dining waitlists.