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Cruise loyalty programs...what could make them better?

Cruise loyalty programs...what could make them better?

Old Jun 27, 13, 9:39 pm
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Question Cruise loyalty programs...what could make them better?

I've noticed that cruise lines are basically the only travel providers who don't have interesting or engaging loyalty programs...airlines, hotels, rental cars, even Amtrak does a better job at rewarding loyalty and frequency.

Realizing cruises aren't something (most) people take with great frequency, what are some ways that cruise lines could make their brands and programs more engaging and rewarding to encourage higher loyalty?

Co-branded credit cards with ability to earn free cruises? Better status recognition onboard?

Other ideas?
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Old Jun 28, 13, 7:24 am
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Originally Posted by wlciii View Post
I've noticed that cruise lines are basically the only travel providers who don't have interesting or engaging loyalty programs...airlines, hotels, rental cars, even Amtrak does a better job at rewarding loyalty and frequency.

Realizing cruises aren't something (most) people take with great frequency, what are some ways that cruise lines could make their brands and programs more engaging and rewarding to encourage higher loyalty?

Co-branded credit cards with ability to earn free cruises? Better status recognition onboard?

Other ideas?
Seabourn Cruise Line has an excellent loyalty program, including being eligible for the Carnival Cruise Line stockholder (100 shares) OBC on each cruise. I am off on Monday to take advantage of my 'free' weeks cruise, which is my second. I am combining it into a 21 day cruise to the Polar Ice Cap. However the program is dependent on days sailed. No co-shared opportunities.

Additionally, I would cruise with them without a loyalty program. That's the icing on the delicious cake.However, there is no advantage to booking one of the larger suites. Everyone is treated the same. No need for a 'butler' or 'special concierge' to book dinners and events.
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Old Jun 28, 13, 9:39 am
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Question for the OP. Have you ever been on a cruise? I have never sailed with a company that does not have an attractive loyalty program.

And any CCL stockholder with a minimum 100 shares qualifies for OBC. It has nothing to do with a loyalty program.
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Old Jun 28, 13, 10:27 am
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Royal Caribbean has a good loyalty program. After your first cruise, you get coupons for use onboard (value increases the more you sail). You also become eligible for discounts for certain sailings (again value increases the more you sail). At the next level, you start getting discounts on all balcony staterooms. Then at a certain level you get free drinks in the evening. There's more than that, but that seems to be the ones that people seem to find most valuable. And the benefits do increase with each level you reach.

That being said, I cruise them because I enjoy their ships, not because of the loyalty program. The benefits are just extras that make it more special.

Also Royal Caribbean does have a cobranded credit card (so does Carnival).
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Old Jun 28, 13, 11:28 am
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MSC has a much better loyalty program than what I've seen from any airline. After our first cruise we already got a five percent discount on our next one, a reception with free booze, priority check in, a priority line at security, a host of small perks on board.

After our third, we already get an 8% discount and even more perks including a free casino chip, and perks keep getting better with every couple cruises. Points never expire.
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Old Jun 28, 13, 12:24 pm
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Does anyone know a fastrack or back door way of getting status with Princess Cruise lines?
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Old Jun 28, 13, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Youpaiyou View Post
Does anyone know a fastrack or back door way of getting status with Princess Cruise lines?
Take short 1 or 2 day cruises as a single in a room. For the average person, that's probably about the only way, and only really practical if you live on the west coast. Travel agents I think can gain the status through certain programs.

Love the free laundry on Princess as elite .
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Old Jun 29, 13, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by piper28 View Post
Take short 1 or 2 day cruises as a single in a room. For the average person, that's probably about the only way, and only really practical if you live on the west coast. Travel agents I think can gain the status through certain programs.

Love the free laundry on Princess as elite .
Yep, that's about it. Princess usually has a bunch of 1 or 2 night repositioning cruises to/from Vancouver in the spring and fall. I haven't checked the schedule for this year or next, but I remember a couple years ago that if you wanted to do the back and forth travel up and down the west coast, you could get Princess Platinum over the course of 2 weeks. Princess still counts cruises as well as days towards their higher status, so an overnight cruise still counts as a cruise.
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Old Jun 29, 13, 6:09 pm
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After 132 cruises, most of these cruise-loyalty programs mean nothing to me excepting on Princess, love that free laundry and dry cleaning! Use it daily no doubt!

Worldspan
Naples, Florida
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Old Jul 1, 13, 5:03 am
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Princess has the best loyalty program! As elite after15 cruises, can't beat the perks. Free laundry and dry cleaning. Complimentary bar setup in cabin. Free Internet minutes. Unbelievable afternoon tea service in your cabin. If one spouse owns CCL stock, 100 shares that pay 3percent dividend and the other has military benefit, the on board credits are generous.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by IncredibleDeals View Post
If one spouse owns CCL stock, 100 shares that pay 3percent dividend and the other has military benefit, the on board credits are generous.
Would appreciate a link to the "fine print" rather than top-line teaser.

Edit: Found the link on cruisecritic. Exclusions kill it for us.

Last edited by sonofzeus; Jul 1, 13 at 7:57 am
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Old Jul 1, 13, 9:10 am
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What exclusions? Royal Caribbean has serious restrictions on their onboard credit programs, Carnival Corp does not. You can get both shareholder and military credits on the same booking, and you can use them to cover tips, excursions and all other onboard expenses except casino.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by mung View Post
except casino.
We have a winner.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by mung View Post
except casino.
Originally Posted by sonofzeus View Post
We have a winner.
I think a couple of the cruiselines offer casino programs. I don't gamble so can't be sure but believe I've seen reference to some. Perhaps you are looking for something like that?
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Old Jul 1, 13, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by sonofzeus View Post
We have a winner.
FWIW, while there's a long list of supposedly excluded items on what the shareholder credit is valid for, in practice, the list isn't enforced. At least on Princess the shareholder credit just goes into the system as a credit, and can be used for whatever. On a 1 night cruise, I've pulled money out in the casino, and then was denied leaving the ship the next morning because I still had a negative balance on the account. They made me go to the desk to get a refund on the account (and keep in mind, theoretically the shareholder credit is non-refundable, and that was the only source of onboard credit I had on that trip). Worked out pretty well though, I turned $20 into $40 in the casino, then got another $20 or so back from the ship on my "non-refundable" credit. (Then on the 2 night cruise after that, added another $20-$30 in gains in the casino, and had about $4 left that they refunded me from shareholder credit.)

Cunard may be an exception to this. I've read some stuff that indicates that they really do keep things like the shareholder credit listed separately, and on the bills it'll show what gets taken off which credits. No personal experience though, so I'm just going by what I'm reading on that one.
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