Just like with hotel and airline loyalty programs, the more you cruise with a specific line, the better perks you'll get when you sail with them.
While you won't get much when you first start cruising with a new-to-you line, as you climb the ranks, you will find that you can benefit from daily drink coupons, discounts on internet packages, and even a free cruise!
One major difference between cruise line loyalty programs and those of hotel chains and airlines is that you do not have to worry about requalifying each year. If, for instance, you earn Platinum status through Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor program in 2023, you will keep the same status even if you do not cruise with them for another five years!
Not all loyalty programs are created equally, and you may prefer the benefits of one over another. Here's a breakdown of all the mainstream cruise line loyalty programs, so you can decide which line is most worthy of your time!
Carnival Cruise Line's VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) Club
When you sail on any Carnival cruise, you will earn one point for each day of the sailing, no matter which cabin you are booked in. So, for instance, if you're going on a seven-night Caribbean cruise in a suite, you will get seven points. Likewise, if you are embarking on a three-night cruise to The Bahamas in an interior cabin, you will only earn three points.
There are VIFP tiers five tiers:
- Blue (your first sailing)
- Red (your second sailing until you earn 24 points)
- Gold (25 to 74 points)
- Platinum (75 to 199 points)
- Diamond (200 points or more)
While you technically have Blue status the moment you board your first cruise, so long as you sign up for the loyalty program in advance, the entry-level tier does not have any worthwhile perks. The only two benefits you get are members-only offers and a member e-newsletter.
The Red and Gold tiers do not come with any perks that you would want to write home about, either. On your second sailing, the only additional benefit that you will earn is a complimentary 1.5 liter bottle of water that can be redeemed at any bar, or restaurant, as well as within your cabin.
Once you earn 25 points, you will get a Gold VIFP pin on every sailing that's redeemable at the Photo Gallery no later than two days before the end of the cruise, as well as an appreciation drink on sailings that are five nights or longer. The only stipulation is that it's only redeemable on the last night of your cruise after 5pm.
At 75 nights, you will gain some more lucrative perks, such as priority check-in and boarding, a VIFP party with complimentary drinks on sailings that a five nights or longer, a complimentary beverage during Seaday Brunch in the Main Dining Room, priority reservations at the Main Dining Room and specialty restaurants, a unique pin available on every sailing, priority spa reservations, priority water shuttle boarding (ship-to-shore only), $25 in casino FunPlay, priority disembarkation, and more.
Once you reach Diamond, the highest tier, you will get the best benefits that the cruise line offers, including guaranteed seating time requested in the Main Dining Room for dinner only; unlimited complimentary Wash & Fold laundry service; a one-time free cabin upgrade OR third, fourth, and fifth guests sail free; one-time complimentary meal for two at your specialty restaurant of choice; and a VIFP Club luggage tag set.
Read more: Carnival Cruise VIFP Status and Benefits
Celebrity Cruises' Captain's Club
When it comes to earning points through Celebrity Cruises' Captain's Club, the total number for each sailing will vary based on the length and cabin category that you book:
- Inside and ocean view rooms earn two points per night
- Veranda (or balcony) rooms earn three points per night
- Concierge and Aqua Class rooms both early five points per night
- Sky and Aqua Sky Suites earn eight points per night
- Celebrity, Signature, Royal, and Sunset Suites earn 12 points per night
- Penthouse, Reflection, and Edge Villas earn 18 points per night
- The Iconic Suite onboard Edge Class vessels earn a whopping 24 points per night
Celebrity even allows you to earn points when you aren't sailing through their Power Up Points program. When you enroll, you will be sent emails asking if you'd like to participate in different activities, such as sharing your preferences and social media content.
Once complete, you'll earn Power Up Points that can be converted into Club points. For every 10 Power Up Points that you earn, you will get 1 Club point!
Celebrity's Captain's Club has six different levels that are all based on points:
- Preview (0 points)
- Classic (2 to 149 points)
- Select (150 to 299 points)
- Elite (300 to 749 points)
- Elite Plus (750 to 2,999 points)
- Zenith (3,000 points or more)
Like Carnival's VIFP Club, you'll be able to join Celebrity's Captain's Club before taking your first cruise with them. Simply head to their website and sign up! At this entry-level tier, you will gain access to the online newsletter, be eligible for special offers when booking a future cruise onboard, earn double Club Points when traveling solo, and use the Loyalty Desk service center between cruises.
After you've completed your first cruise, you'll reach the Classic tier, which comes benefits such as pre-sailing specialty restaurant reservations through the Loyalty Desk, exclusive Captain's Club offers, a one cabin category upgrade to AquaClass (prior to the cruise and based on availability), one complimentary specialty coffee when you dine at a specialty restaurant, a free scoop of gelato, 10% off a bottle of wine, 10% off a drink package or drink package upgrade when purchased pre-cruise, 10% off an internet package or internet package upgrade when purchased pre-cruise, and more.
Once you reach Elite status, you'll begin to get more complimentary perks that can be redeemed throughout your cruise vacation, like a free bag of laundry. Plus, the discount you get on things like drink and internet packages increases. You will also have 90 minutes of free wi-fi that you can use, as well as a complimentary cocktail hour from 5-7pm each day of your cruise, excluding embarkation day.
The best benefits, however, are available to those who reach Celebrity's highest status: Zenith. At this point, you'll get a complimentary Premium Beverage Package on every cruise, as well as free internet, unlimited laundry, priority boarding when returning to the ship via tender, and more.
The most enticing benefit is the complimentary seven-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise in a Verandah stateroom. At 6,000 points, and every 3,000 points thereafter, you'll get another complimentary seven-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise in an AquaClass stateroom.
One more important thing to note is that once you reach the Select tier, you are able to match your sister to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity's sister brand. When you are a Select Captain's Club member, you can automatically become a Platinum Crown & Anchor member, even if you've never stepped foot on a Royal Caribbean ship before. Once you reach the Elite tier, this can be transferred to Royal Caribbean's Diamond status.
Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Club
Unlike Carnival and Celebrity, you earn one cruise credit with Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Club for each sailing, no matter the length. Because of that, they do not operate on a point system. Your status depends on the total number of cruises that you've taken. It can be relatively easy to achieve Platinum status in a short amount of time by sailing on some of the three or four-night Bahamas cruises offered.
Within their loyalty program, there are four different tiers:
- Silver (after you've completed your first cruise)
- Gold (after you've completed five cruises)
- Platinum (after you've completed ten cruises)
- Pearl (after you've completed 25 cruises)
You will not get any perks until after you've been on your first Disney cruise. Afterwards, you can expect the following benefits:
- Ability to book cruise activities and excursions for a fully paid sailing 90 days in advance (15 days earlier than first-time guests)
- Ability to complete online check-in 33 days prior to sailing (the earlier the check-in, the better the odds are for getting your desired arrival time. Plus, you can register kids for youth clubs at this time. The general public can check in 30 days prior to sailing)
- A dedicated phone number only offered to Castaway Club members
- Option to book new Disney Cruise Line itineraries one day before the general public
- Cruise terminal check-in area dedicated to Castaway Club members (at ports where this is offered)
- A welcome gift in your stateroom upon arrival. In the past, this has included items such as tote bags, luggage tags, and whiteboards.
- Earlier access to port arrival times, after checking in
- A Castaway Club member lanyard to hold your Key to the World card
After five Disney cruises, you will become a Gold Castaway Club member. At this level, the most notable differences are that you can make reservations for cruise activities even earlier than Silver members, at 105 days in advance. Plus, online check-in will open 35 days before your sailing, and you'll get access to new Disney Cruise Line itineraries two days before the general public, compared to Silver's one day.
The two new benefits that you'll receive are an invitation to an onboard reception on cruises that are eight-nights or longer, as well as discounts in stores onboard the ships, including at the merchandise shops.
Platinum members can book cruise activities and excursions 120 days in advance, with online check-in opening 38 days prior to the sail date. They also get a complimentary dinner at Palo, the adults-only Italian restaurant onboard. Even if only one guest in your cabin is a Platinum member, all passengers within the same cabin will be eligible to take advantage of this perk.
The highest tier, Pearl, was added in mid-2023, and you have to complete a whopping 25 Disney cruises in order to reach it! These members get a free Unlimited Digital Photo Package, in addition to earlier access to online check-in (40 days prior to sailing), new itineraries (four days before the general public), and cruise activities (123 prior to sailing). This level does not come with any onboard discounts for things like spa treatments, internet, etc.
Read more: Disney Castaway Club loyalty program guide
Holland America Line's Mariner Society
When you cruise onboard a Holland America Line ship, you earn a Cruise Day credit for each day of your cruise, as well as for each purchase that you make onboard.
For every $300 that you spend on the ship, you'll earn one additional credit. This means that common cruise add-ons, like shore excursions, can actually help you move up the ranks of the Mariner Society faster! Note that the extra credit only applied to the first two passengers on a booking, even if you have four people within your stateroom who all made eligible purchases.
You'll earn bonus credits when you book a suite or penthouse, too. If you accept an upgrade, you won't be eligible for the extra credits; you must pay the published rate.
The Mariner Society loyalty program has five different levels:
- 1-Star Mariner (after you've completed one cruise with Holland America Line)
- 2-Star Mariner (30 to 74 cruise day credits)
- 3-Star Mariner (75 to 199 cruise day credits)
- 4-Star Mariner (200 to 499 cruise day credits)
- 5-Star Mariner (500-plus cruise day credits)
Once you become a 1-Star Mariner member, you will get up to $400 per stateroom onboard spending money for cruises booked within 90 days of a new season launch, a 15% discount at shophollandamerica.com, a 50% discount on cruise fares for 3rd/4th guests (on select sailings), and a welcome lunch and collective gift, as well as a "Mariner Cocktail" voucher that can be used at any point during your cruise.
2-Star Mariner members don't get many more perks. In addition to 1-Star benefits, 2-Star Mariners get a 10% discount on select Holland America clothing onboard, plus a complimentary photo of the ship.
3-Star Mariners get a discount on select spa treatments; a 25% discount on select Sommelier Suite packages; a 25% discount on mini-bar purchases; and a 25% discount on specialty restaurant surcharges at Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind and Canaletto, as well as on specialty coffees in all venues including Explorations Café, Crow’s Nest and Grand Dutch Café on Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam, and Rotterdam.
It is when guests reach the 4-Star level that they begin to get more lucrative perks, such as...
- Free cruise fare for the third and fourth passenger(s) in your cabin on select sailings
- A 50% discount on select cruise add-ons including Sommelier Suites packages, specialty restaurants, specialty coffees, and mini-bar purchases
- Complimentary laundry and pressing services
- Priority access to ship-to-shore tenders
- Priority check-in, tendering, and disembarkation
- Complimentary James Suckling regional wine tasting
- A 15% discount on select Holland America Line logo clothing sold in onboard shops (may exclude already discounted merchandise)
- A 25% discount off the $49 surcharge at Rudi's Sel De Mer
When you reach the final tier, you'll get two complimentary specialty dinners, a free day pass to the Greenhouse Thermal Suite, and a $30 credit that can be applied towards any wi-fi package.
MSC Cruises' Voyager's Club
Earning points on MSC Cruises depends on what experience you book, as well as the length of the cruise.
If, for instance, you book a Bella rate, the cheapest offered by the cruise line, for a sailing that's seven-nights, you will earn a total of 500 points. It increases to 1,500 if you were to stay in the MSC Yacht Club.
You can also earn points for onboard services that are prepaid for the cruise. For every €150 spent, you'll earn an additional 100 points. Once you are on the ship, you'll earn 100 points for every €150 that you spend onboard, too, excluding casino expenses. Only the MSC Voyagers Club cardholder who made the final payment will get these points, though.
72 hours before your cruise, you should also plan on updating your contact information, as this is an easy way to earn 100 more points.
MSC Voyagers Club has five different levels:
- Welcome (your first cruise with MSC Cruises, so long as you sign-up before your sailing)
- Classic (1 to 2,199 points)
- Silver (2,200 to 4,299 points)
- Gold (4,300 to 9,999 points)
- Diamond (10,000 points or more)
Like other mainstream cruise lines, the two entry-level tiers don’t get you much. However, once you have sailed with MSC Cruises once, you will be eligible for a 5% cruise fare discount that’s extendable to all cabin occupant, plus a 5% discount on internet packages. You'll also be able to attend the Welcome Back Cocktail Party that features light bites and complimentary drinks.
When you get to 2,200 points, you'll get some more perks of substantial value, such as a $50 onboard credit per person for all bookings made nine months prior to the departure date, as well as a 5% discount on laundry and 20% discount on onboard pictures.
Gold Members are able to get a complimentary hour in the thermal spa, priority disembarkation in tender ports, a complimentary MSC Voyagers Club photo, 10% discount on internet packages, and more.
While Diamond, the highest tier, does not come with a complimentary cruise or internet package like some other cruise lines, you will get the following perks, as well as the privileges of the previous tiers:
- Priority boarding and disembarkation
- Late cabin check-out on disembarkation day
- Dinner for two at a specialty restaurant
- Sparkling wines and macaroons delivered to your cabin
- Bathrobe and slippers available during the cruise
- Complimentary dancing classes
- Exclusive Diamond Party
- Chocolate gift
- 40% off of onboard pictures
- 20% off of digital accessories
- 15% off of laundry
One thing that sets MSC's Voyagers Club apart from other loyalty programs is their status matching. If you hold status with one of 65 different brands, including other major cruise lines and other hotels, they'll match it with a respective tier in the Voyagers Club. All you have to do is fill out the online form.
Note, though, that they don't status match with any airlines, such as United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, or American Airlines. Plus, all applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
The loyalty program is further set apart in that Voyagers Club status is subject to expiration. If your cruise's last disembarkation date is over three years (36 months) old, your status will expire.
Similarly, if you status match and don't complete a cruise in three years after the enrollment date, you will lose your MSC Voyagers Club status.
Norwegian Cruise Line's Latitude Rewards
After you complete your first Norwegian cruise, you'll be automatically enrolled in their Latitude Rewards program. Points are earned on a per-night-basis, meaning that if you book a seven-night cruise, you'll earn seven points. You can earn one additional point per night by booking a suite or staying within The Haven.
If you later accept a suite upgrade after booking, you will not get the extra point. Sometimes, Latitudes Rewards members are emailed special insider offers that allow them to earn one additional point per night, too.
The program is pretty big, with seven different tiers to ascend:
- Bronze (1 to 19 points)
- Silver (20 to 44 points)
- Gold (45 to 74 points)
- Platinum (75 to 149 points)
- Sapphire (150 to 349 points)
- Diamond (350 to 699 points)
- Ambassador (700 points or more)
As soon as you finish your first sailing, you'll become a Bronze member, which gets you perks like 30% off an Unlimited Open Bar Package, a 10% discount in the duty-free shops onboard, keycard recognition, and signature tier pins.
When you earn 20 points, you'll move up a tier and become a Silver member. At this stage, your discount on an Unlimited Open Bar Package increases to 40%. You'll also be eligible for a 10% discount on shore excursions, 20% discount on photos, and gain access to an exclusive cocktail party. Gold members don't get too much else; however, they do receive 50% off a single bag of laundry, as well as priority disembarkation and tender tickets and one liter of water.
At 75 points, you become a Platinum member. Not only does your Unlimited Open Bar Package increase to 45%, but you get one free bag of laundry; priority check-in and embarkation; a 15% discount on internet packages, dinner for two with a bottle of wine on sailings that are five-nights or longer; a wine tasting; behind-the-scenes ship tour; and pre-booking access for entertainment, dining, and onboard activities.
Despite all these privileges, there are still three more tiers in the Latitude Rewards program! Sapphire members get priority restaurant and entertainment seating (subject to availability), a 20% discount on wi-fi packages, rather than 15%, and even a dinner with cruise ship officers!
When you become a Diamond loyalty member, you'll be able to purchase an Unlimited Open Bar Package with a 50% discount. Diamond members also get an exclusive sail and sustain mixology experience and one-time free cabin upgrade.
The more lucrative reward is for Latitude Reward Ambassadors, who get a complimentary seven-day cruise in a balcony stateroom. You can pick any destination, from the Caribbean to Alaska, Europe, or Canada & New England; however, it is important to keep in mind that you'll have to pay all taxes, port fees, and gratuities. If you are looking for a "free" cruise, you'll want to choose a destination with cheaper port fees, like the Caribbean instead of Alaska.
Princess Cruises' Captain's Circle
There are two ways to move up the Captain's Circle ladder: cruise days and number of cruises completed.
Cruise days are earned by the total number of days you've sailed onboard a Princess ship, while cruise credits refer to the total number of cruises you have been on. The latter doubles if you book a suite.
Let's say, for instance, that you book a ten-night European voyage in a standard cabin. You'll earn ten cruise days and one cruise point. If you were to stay in a suite, you'd still only get ten cruise days, but you'd have two cruise credits.
Princess Cruises' Captain's Circle has four different levels:
- Gold (after you've completed your first cruise)
- Ruby (after getting three cruise credits or 30 cruise days)
Platinum (after getting five cruise credits or 50 cruise days)
Elite (after getting fifteen cruise credits or 150 cruise days)
After your very first Princess cruise, you'll get access to Captain Circle launch savings, preferential pricing offers, and even members-only events onboard future ships. Ruby members have the same benefits, as well as exclusive shoreside access to a help desk phone line and a Princess Platinum Vacation Protection upgrade that includes a 100% cancellation benefit, double accident and sickness benefits, and expanded medical expenses and evacuation coverage.
It is when you board your sixth cruise or after reaching 50 cruise days that you'll receive benefits that could save you some money:
- 50% off a MedallionNet package
- Early access to Dine My Way reservations
- Priority boarding
- 10% off Lotus Spa treatments and photos in the ship's photo gallery
- Access to the Platinum and Elite Lounge
- Complimentary Destination Collection brochure via email
If you become a loyal fan of the Princess Cruises brand, you'll appreciate some of the privileges of being an Elite member. While you should not expect a free cruise or discount on drink packages, members of the highest tier get early access to brand-new itineraries, 10% discount for both shore excursions and within The Shops of Princess, priority ship-to-shore water shuttle (tender) access, complimentary Grapevine wine tasting event, complimentary mini-bar, deluxe canapé selection on formal night, complimentary afternoon tea in your cabin, priority disembarkation, and complimentary laundry services and shoe polishing.
Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society
When sailing onboard a Royal Caribbean ship, you will usually earn one point per night. Unless, however, you are sailing solo and/or in a suite. In both cases, you'll earn one additional point per night. If you travel alone in a suite, you will earn a total of four points per night of your cruise.
Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society is a rather large loyalty program, with a total of six different tiers:
- Gold (3-29 points)
- Platinum (30-54 points)
- Emerald (55-79 points)
- Diamond (80-174 points)
- Diamond Plus (175-699 points)
- Pinnacle Club (700 points or more)
You have to complete your first cruise before you're able to officially join the loyalty program. Once you do, however, you'll get access to exclusive pricing that the general public cannot access. You'll also get 50% off any two glasses of wine, beer, or soda; 50% off two Johnny Rockets milkshakes, a private departure lounge with continental breakfast; $2 in Casino Royale FreePlay, buy-one-get-one-half-off professional photographs, and more.
In addition to all the Gold perks, Platinum members are able to get 15% off an internet package onboard, $4 in Casino Royale FreePlay, robes for use onboard upon request, 15% off any spa service, a discount on balcony and suites, and have their status matched with Celebrity Cruises' Captain's Club, among other benefits.
There isn;t much to look forward to when you become an Emerald Crown & Anchor member. While your FreePlay amount increases to $6, the only other notable gain are the two complimentary welcome waters left in your cabin.
Diamond is the tier in which passengers are able to start getting free daily drinks. At this level, you'll be able to get four complimentary drinks daily that are valued up to $14. Note, however, that Starbucks and the Bionic Bar are not included. For many, this means that they don't need to consider factoring in the price of a Royal Caribbean drink package to their total vacation cost. Even if you were to have six drinks per day, you'd only be paying for two!
Diamond Plus requires almost another 100 cruise points after reaching Diamond status and is the final tier before the illusive Pinnacle Club:
- All Gold, Platinum, Emerald, and Diamond-level perks
- A one-time discount of 25% on any glass of wine, beer, or soda
- Five complimentary daily drinks up to $14 (excludes Starbucks and the Bionic Bar)
- Buy any specialty restaurant dinner on the first or second night of your cruise and get complimentary dining for second guest (BOGO) (excludes Izumi Hibachi, Teppanyaki, Chef’s Table & Hooked Seafood)
- 30% discount on the Deluxe Beverage Package
- Two free days of Surf + Stream internet
- Up close and personal with Royal Caribbean's Family Entertainment Event, which is a masterclass-style event available on sailings 5+ nights
- Priority access and seating at the main theatre, ice show, and AquaTheatre
- Cheers with an officer (only available to those with 340+ cruise points)
- Upgraded bathroom amenities (only available to those with 340+ cruise points)
- Single supplement cruise fare reduced to 150% from 200% (only available to those with 340+ cruise points)
- Three complimentary welcome waters in your stateroom per person
- Personalized gift/amenity on a per household basis
- One free $34.99 wash and fold bag of laundry on cruises 5+ nights. Only available on the night of the wash and fold event.
- Complimentary add-on spa treatment (excludes medi-spa services)
- Exclusive access to Diamond Plus & Pinnacle Club Call Center staff members
For Royal Caribbean's most loyal fans who have accumulated 700 cruise points, there's the Pinnacle Club:
- Six complimentary daily drinks up to $14 (excludes Starbucks and the Bionic Bar)
- 40% discount on the Deluxe Beverage Package
- Coastal Kitchen access on Oasis and Quantum Class ships (excluding Spectrum of the Seas)
- Daily breakfast at a specialty restaurant. Location varies by ship and is subject to change.
- Free unlimited Surf + Stream internet for the entire duration of your cruise
- Pinnacle Club guests may enjoy flexible arrival, meaning that they can arrive at the terminal up to one hour before or after their scheduled check-in time
- Suite and Concierge Lounge access
- Personalized lapel pin for Pinnacle Club
- Milestone Cruise Certificate valued at the prevailing rate of a seven-night balcony cabin at 700 and 1050 cruise points
- Milestone Cruise Certificate valued at the prevailing rate of a Junior Suite at 1400 cruise points and every 350 points thereafter
Virgin Voyages' Sailing Club
Virgin Voyages' Sailing Club is probably the most unique loyalty program on the list. There aren't different levels, and there are only three ways that you can join.
The first is if you took a cruise during their maiden year, or 2021. These members are called "Sea Blazers." The second way to become part of their rewards program is by taking two cruises with them in 2022 and 2023. Upon their third sailing, "Sea Rovers," will gain access to their perks, which Virgin Voyages calls "Deep Blue Extras."
Finally, just like MSC Cruises, Virgin Voyages has a status match program. Through December 31, 2023, passengers enrolled in other select reward programs are able to match their current status. This will unlock Deep Blue Extras through December 31, 2024.
Deep Blue Extras include a VIP embarkation process, $100 Bar Tab credit, unlimited premium wi-fi, an exclusive cocktail event, $10 daily specialty coffee credit per cabin, dedicated guest services support onboard, and free laundry services.