One thing is for sure, when you take a cruise with any Cruise Line, they want you to keep taking cruises with them. Evidence of this comes in the form of their loyalty programs. Just about every cruise line has a loyalty program, which gives you certain rewards and advantages for being loyal to their “brand”.
You are usually automatically enrolled after your first cruise with them, and each program has different tiers of rewards based on how many times you’ve sailed with them. The number of tiers, how many cruises are required to get to the next tier, and what rewards you actually receive vary by cruise line.
If you take a cruise and find that you like that cruise line, it is definitely to your advantage to stick with that cruise line as much as possible, and that’s exactly why the cruise line offer these programs. They want you to keep coming back.
Let’s use Princess as an example. Princess has 4 levels (tiers) of rewards. Each level includes all the benefits of the previous levels plus additional rewards for that level.
At the Gold Level, the lowest level after completing your first cruise with them, you get rewards like reduced deposits and preferential pricing when booking, access to members-only onboard events, a subscription to their newsletter, and a few other benefits.
The next level is Ruby, starting after your 4th cruise (or 31 sailing days), you get an upgrade to Platinum Vacation Protection which will pay you double benefits in the event of accident or sickness, and increases the cancellation credit to 100% if you have to cancel your trip. Also, you get a 10% discount on the Reflections DVD at the end of the cruise, and access to the Help Desk phone line on shore.
At the Platinum Level, starting after your 6th cruise (or 51 sailing days), you get preferred check-in, some Internet credit onboard, access to the Platinum Disembarkation Lounge, and a free cruise atlas.
At the Elite Level, starting after your 16th cruise (or 151 sailing days), that’s when the rewards really kick in because if you’ve sailed on 16 cruises with them, you’re pretty darn loyal. Then you get free laundry, shoe polishing, and cleaning services onboard, priority ship to shore tendering, priority disembarkation, a 10% boutique discount, complimentary wine tasting and mini-bar, upgraded stateroom amenities (which I’m guessing is higher quality bathroom freebies like shampoo, etc), and more.
This is just one example. Each cruise line is different in what they offer so go to their websites for more information. My wife and I aren’t loyal to one cruise line because we tend to shop based on the itinerary, and some cruise lines just don’t offer the itineraries we’re looking for so we have sailed on several different cruise lines over the years.
And here’s a cruising tip. If you are loyal to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, or Azamara there is an added bonus. These three cruise lines share their loyalty programs and you can link them together and get the rewards when you sail on any of the three cruise lines. There are a few rules so check their website for the details.