Is it Worth It to Pay For Norwegian Cruise Lines Priority Access Program or Are Other Options Better?

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As I blogged about on EyeOfTheFlyer a while back, this year I will be going for lifetime Diamond status, not with Delta Air Lines, but with Norwegian Cruise Lines. That means I have accumulated 350+ points or nights credits (you can get big bonus points / nights for booking suites and insiders deals). My only remaining goal is the top Ambassador spot with NCL but I will not push for this and if I ever make it many years from now I will enjoy the very limited extra perks that elite level provides.

Reaching 75 nights is a key status level for NCL frequent floaters. Booking Haven and insiders deals yielding 3x credits thus you could reach this level in as little as 25 nights onboard. Once reaching Platinum you unlock, no matter what cabin you book, the nice perk of “Priority Check-in / Embarkation” (in addition to a bunch of other perks). With so many folks showing up all at the same time to board being one of the first in line (and a shorter line) as well as first onboard is a really nice perk.

 

But what if you don’t have Platinum status or any status for that matter with NCL. They have an up-sell for you called the “Priority Access Program”. It is not cheap. Notice the current cost (as of today’s post date), depending on the length of your cruise, for this program:

  • 3 to 5 Days – $129 per cabin
  • 6 to 9 Days – $199 per cabin
  • 10 to 15 Days – $279 per cabin
  • 16+ Days – $329 per cabin

Yowzers! The only saving grace of this offer is it is per cabin not per person like most other things onboard. What else do you get for this offer? Per NCL.com

  • Streamlined Embarkation
  • Faster Tendering
  • Quicker Debarkation
  • Breakfast in Bed
  • Rest & Relax at Mandara Spa
  • Complimentary Canapés

Well that sounds great but are they worth the price upfront. As I blogged about the other day, if you are quick on the draw at the 21 day mark you can schedule early check-in and still be one of the first to board. So quicker embarkation is maybe not worth the upcharge.

We all hate tendering. It is a big perk of both status and suite cabins to be escorted quickly to a tender and not have to wait in line on mega ships. Honestly I like this perk the most from the list but if you are up early and work to get on the first tenders of the day this may be pointless.

Waiting in line to disembark is a real drag to an already sad day. I just don’t know if the fee paid is real value to what may save you some minimum time getting off the ship.

I am not a breakfast in bed fan. In fact I hardly ever order room service, even when in a suite, as the food is never ever as fresh or warm as in a restaurant. If you like this every day this could be for you but keep in mind the fee for room service for anyone is just $5.00 so add up the cost / value benefit.

$50 Spa credit. I have never been impressed with the Mandera Spa services. I have had a number of massages onboard and none have motivated me to return again.

Finally we have complimentary canapés. If you are in a suite you get these each day in the afternoon. They are, most times, dried out and uninspiring. This is not worth 2 cents IMO.

So there you are. As a Frequent Floater I just don’t see the real value proposition for this program. Granted I get most of these perks free at my elite status but even if I were not a top elite I have a better idea for this kind of cash outlay.

What I would do instead is try to spend this cash for a discounted cabin upgrade that may on it’s own include so many of the things listed. I have a number of times been successful bidding for and upgrade to the Haven and really enjoyed the value for the upgrade cost per day.

Bottom line I would pass if I were you on the “Priority Access Program” unless you will really use everything the program provides. – René

 

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René de Lambert
René de Lamberthttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
René de Lambert has been a travel blogger for over 10 years covering the travel industry - including cruising.

1 COMMENT

  1. I understand the perks and signed up for it…the boarding was key to us as we are sailing out of Seattle and a relative who works there said it could be a bit hectic…Priority should relieve that a bit…we planned on an early morning Spa visit on one of our port days, and we are very early risers, so the breakfast (just coffee and lite stuff) should hold us over until real breakfast. We are in ports, so no tendering for us on this trip, but the other amenities coupled with an 80 dollar credit due to the cruise price change made it worth it for us.

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