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  • 27
  • Feb
  • 2014

What are the benefits of joining a cruise line loyalty program? A review of Carnival, Celebrity and Holland America’s rewards (part 1 of 5)

Cruise lines want to reward their loyal customers for re-booking with them. As a loyal cruiser, you receive points (sometime called credits) every time you cruise. The more points, the higher your standing on their tiered system. As you incur points, you’ll begin to receive additional perks and freebies. These rewards can range from cocktail receptions, discounted or complimentary amenities on board, upgraded cabins, and, if you sail often enough, free cruises.

Once you sail the first time with any cruise line, you’re automatically enrolled in their past-passenger program. Each cruise line has their own system for promoting you to their next tier, which is determined by how many credits or points you earn. Point are earned by the number of days sailed, or number of cruises you’ve taken with that line. Hence, the more days you sail and the higher category of a room you book, the more points/credits you’ll earn.

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What are the loyalty programs offered by cruise lines?

Here’s a summary of three of the most  popular loyalty programs– the rewards you can earn and how to earn them. We’ll review more cruise lines’ programs in future articles. For now, let’s take a look at Carnival, Celebrity and Holland America.

carnival VIFPCarnival Cruise Lines—Very Important Fun Person (VIFP)

Earn a point for every day you cruise regardless of the category of room. 1 cruise day = 1 VIFP Point

Blue Level (first cruise)

  • Members-only offers

Red Level (up to 24 points)

  • Members-only offers
  • FREE alcoholic drink or specialty beverage

Gold Level (25-74 points)

All of the above +

  • Invitation to VIFP party (5+ day sailings)
  • Gold VIFP pin

Platinum Level (75-199 points)

All of the Above +

  • FREE chocolates delivered to stateroom
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Priority spa reservations
  • Priority tender boarding
  • Casino: Buy 1 tournament entry, get 1 FREE
  • FREE arcade credits ($5 value for under 18 only)
  • Carnival logo gift
  • Dedicated onboard guest service
  • Priority line at guest services
  • Priority debarkation
  • Priority dining reservations
  • FREE laundry

Diamond Level (200+ points)

All of the above +

  • Guaranteed dining reservations
  • Unlimited FREE laundry
  • Special invitation from the Captain
  • FREE cabin upgrade OR 3rd and 4th guests sail FREE
  • FREE meal at specialty restaurant
  • VIFP Club luggage tag set
  • Dedicated sales and service number

 

celebrityCelebrity Cruise Lines—Captain’s Club

Points are earned based on your stateroom category and length of cruise. You can earn up to 18 points per day.

Classic Tier (2-149 points)

  • Access to the loyalty desk and loyalty host
  • Eligible for Captain’s Club promotions when booking a future cruise onboard
  • Exclusive Captain’s Club Celebration
  • Premium offers including discount and complimentary services and amenities on each sailing
  • One-category upgrade applicable through AquaClass (if available)
  • FREE gelato from Gelateria
  • Pre-sailing specialty restaurant reservations available through the Captain’s Club Desk

Select Tier (150-299 points)

All of the above +

  • Priority embarkation
  • Senior Officers’ cocktail party
  • Discounted bag of laundry (cruise 12+ days with 2 pressed items)

Elite Tier (300-749 points)

All of the above +

  • Captain’s Club cocktail hour
  • FREE 90-minute internet service
  • Captain’s Club coffee break
  • One FREE bag of laundry

Elite Plus Tier (750-2,999 points)

All of the above +

  • FREE 200-minute (total) internet service
  • Two FREE bags (total) of laundry and one dry cleaning item
  • FREE cappuccino and latte
  • 10% off any beverage package
  • 15% off every specialty restaurant

Zenith Tier (3,000+ points)

All of the above +

  • FREE 1,600-minute (total) internet service
  • Access to Michael’s Club Concierge Lounge
  • FREE laundry
  • FREE beverage package
  • 25% off specialty dining
  • Priority seating in theater
  • Priority embarkation while the ship is in port
  • FREE extend your stay
  • FREE luggage valet service from ship to final destination airport
  • FREE 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise in a veranda stateroom

 

Holland America LogoHolland America Lines—Mariner Society

Earn 1 credit for each day you cruise. You can earn additional credits by dining at specialty restaurants, using the spa or booking shore excursions.

Star Mariner (up to 29 credits)

  • Welcome Back Embarkation Lunch in the dining room
  • FREE Mariner Champagne Brunch
  • Collectible gift presented to you on board
  • FREE subscription to the print or digital version of Mariner magazine
  • Offers to special sailings hosted by a representative of the Mariner Society
  • Special offers on select sailings
  • 50% cruise fare discount on the 3rd/4th guest staying in your stateroom on select sailings

Two-star mariner (30+ credits)

All of the above +

  • FREE photo of the ship
  • 10% discount on Holland America Line logo clothing sold in onboard shops (may exclude already discounted merchandise)
  • 15% discount on merchandise from www.shophollandamerica.com
  • An annual cruise planner
  • A special recognition lapel pin

Three-Star Mariner (75+ credits)

All of the above +

  • 25% discount on specialty restaurant surcharges, wine packages, beverages in the Explorations Café and all mini-bar purchases
  • Discounts on select treatments from the Greenhouse Spa & Salon
  • Advance information on new itineraries
  • A waiver of air deviation fees

Four-Star Mariner, (200+ credits)

All of the above +

  • 50% discount (total) on specialty restaurant surcharges, wine packages, beverages in the Explorations Café* and all mini-bar purchases
  • FREE laundry and pressing services
  • Priority disembarkation
  • Priority tender
  • Priority check-in
  • FREE wine tasting session
  • Early notification of shore excursions available for prebooking
  • FREE one-year subscription to Travel + Leisure or Food & Wine magazine (one per household)

Five-Star Mariner (500+ credits)

All of the above +

  • 50% discount on a 100-minute Internet package (one time only per cruise)
  • Two FREE dinners in the Pinnacle Grill (free surcharge only)
  • FREE Culinary Arts Center cooking class (1 per cruise)
  • FREE day pass to the Greenhouse Spa & Salon Thermal Suite (1 per cruise) Not available on ms Prinsendam, guest will receive additional Pinnacle Dinner

TIP: Make sure to check “past-passenger” loyalty member prices against the fares offered to the public—sometimes the public fares are actually less. Always check on the latest terms and conditions on the loyalty club benefits as they do change and have restrictions that apply.

Contact Us

If you want to know if you qualify for any past cruiser special offers, call a CruiseExperts.com agent today.  Contact us anytime by calling 1-888-804-CRUIse(2784) or visiting our website www.CruiseExperts.com.

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