Setting Sail with Cruise Line Loyalty Programs

There’s more to elite status than meets the eye. Many readers will be intimately familiar with the benefits of holding elite status with airlines, hotels, and even rental car companies. But what about a “frequent cruiser” program? Yes, nearly all cruise lines offer loyalty programs. Not unlike the airline and hotel programs you may be familiar with, the more you sail, the more elite you can become. (Featured image credit:

The Benefits

You’ll recognize a lot of elite benefits with cruise lines, and even the names of status levels like Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. No, they don’t call their levels helmsman, second mate, chief mate, and Captain! The list of benefits varies by program, but most include familiar perks like priority check in and boarding, upgrade opportunities, and even lounge access. However, that is where the similarities end. Behind the scenes tours, including the navigational bridge and even dinner with the Captain or other officers can come with the highest levels of cruise line elite status.

Other elite benefits run that gamut from complimentary shoe shines to free laundry. InsideFlyer will cover all of the benefits of cruise line loyalty programs in our ongoing series on cruise line loyalty programs. With nearly all cruise lines, your progress towards elite status is cumulative for life. Certainly, benefits can change over time, but you do not need requalify for status each year. Your only real worry? Getting to the next elite status level.

The Loyalty Programs

In this series, InsideFlyer will cover the loyalty programs of the major cruise lines as well as small ship, premium and river lines. We will also broach elite status matching and reciprocity among the cruise lines. Here’s a look at just a few of the programs we will cover.

  • The Carnival VIFP Club – Known for its “Fun Ships,” Carnival and its Very Important Fun Person Club reward loyalty with perks like priority check-in and boarding for Platinum and Diamond members and guaranteed reservations for specialty and main dining along with unlimited complimentary laundry service for its highest elite status members.
  • The Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society – Perfect for families and active adults, Royal Caribbean delivers the WOW with a solid loyalty program that includes staples like priority check-in and boarding, but takes it to the next level with premium concierge services and lounge access with complimentary snacks and libations for its most frequent guests.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Latitudes Rewards Program – Looking to cruise your own way, Norwegian’s Freestyle concept features no set dining times and multiple restaurants and its loyalty program, Latitudes Rewards, honors loyalty in multiple ways. There are standard benefits like priority check-in and members only cocktail parties onboard some ships. If you achieve Latitudes Rewards highest Platinum tier, you’ll also receive a complimentary dinner in NCL’s elite Le Bistro, concierge services and more!
  • Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Club – Disney does so much so well, and Captain Mickey gets it right with Castaway Club. Member benefits range from early check-in and boarding to privileges to opportunities to reserve onboard and shore activities at 90, 105, and 120 days out depending on your status level. Elite Platinum members receive priority check-in and priority boarding as well as complimentary dinner at Disney’s fabulous Palo Restaurant.

Loyalty goes beyond the big ships, and in this series, InsideFlyer will also cover small- and mid-size ship brands along with  premium and river cruise lines like Crystal, Oceania, Regent, and Seabourn just name a few. Finally, we will learn the best ways to leverage the cruise line elite status you have elite status reciprocity and the elite status match program of MSC Cruises.

Now, it’s time to set sail! Join InsideFlyer for a journey into cruise line loyalty programs!

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