Want A Shipboard Credit? Own A Cruise Line!

shipboard credit

The only thing better than going on a cruise would be to own a cruise line. When you can sell drinks for $11 and gold by the inch, you know that you could make some serious money. But if you don’t have enough money to own your own line, you could still benefit by owning a small piece of one. As a shareholder, you may be entitled to a shipboard credit.

Shareholder Benefits

shipboard credit
Buy! Sell! Get Freebies!                                                                           Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

The three major publicly traded cruise lines, Carnival Corp (CCL), Royal Caribbean (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH) will all give you a shipboard credit on each and every cruise you take, provided that you own at least 100 shares. It makes sense for everyone involved: A $100 shipboard credit doesn’t actually cost the cruise line $100, but they secure you as a customer. For you, it’s an opportunity to get something back on your cruise and contribute to your company’s earnings.

The cruise line shareholder benefits are all similar, giving you an onboard credit based on the length of your cruise. Just be careful to pay attention to the particulars, since they all have slightly different policies around what you will get. Your travel agent should be able to handle all the details for you and most cruise lines want to see a statement 60-90 days before the cruise.


Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.52.18 PMCarnival will give you a benefit of $50-250, or an equivalent (more or less) on its international brands. Note that it doesn’t have to be Carnival itself. Any of the lines under the parent (e.g., Princess, Holland America, etc.) will get you the shipboard credit. Head out for two weeks and get your massage paid for? Deal!

Royal Caribbean

shipboard credit
Shouldn’t that be “5 nights or fewer?”

Very similar to Carnival in the size of your shipboard credit, but note the difference in the number of nights required for your sailing. They’re a bit more generous, with the $50 level being five nights or fewer, not six, and a $200 level for 10-13 days. All brands receive the credit.


shipboard credit
Enjoy your benefit!

Norwegian is the most recent of the three to go public. Its brands offer a shipboard credit very similar to that of Carnival, with the only difference being the 15-day requirement for $250, not 14.

Don’t Forget: Stocks Can Lose Money

Remember, owning shares of stock comes with risk. Cruise line stocks can be volatile and you could end up losing money. The demographic trends for the industry may be favorable, but that doesn’t mean that your investment will be profitable. In other words, don’t take this post as a recommendation to go out and buy stock.

Technically, all of the shareholder benefits have an end date on them, but the cruise companies have been good about renewing them each year. It costs them little, so they’d be crazy not to.

The Bottom Line

How does this sound as a vacation pitch: “Let’s take a cruise. They’re paying me to do so!” If you’re a shareholder of one of the cruise lines, that could be you.

Cover Photo: Creative Commons


  1. Zomby Woof says

    I have Carnival shares and they let you have the shareholder credit even it you get other credit from the cruise line for the trip. Royal Caribbean does not allow the double dip. Not sure about NCL. Also, Carnival’s Cunard and Princess give additional shipboard credit for current and ex-military which can be combined with shareholder credit.

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