Should You Be Loyal to Only One Cruise Line or Be a Free Agent?

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Having recently become a “free agent” when it comes to airlines, I have questioned whether loyalty is still rewarded with cruise lines or not so much. I have just recently achieved next to top status with NCL’s Latitudes Loyalty program and I do see some of the old standards of valuing those of us who have achieved the higher levels of status.

a pink sign in a airport

If you are just getting started with cruising there are advantages of sticking with one cruise line to pile up your loyalty rewards in one place. Than again, if the cruise line you started with wasn’t up to your expectations it can be good to try another to see if you prefer the unique aspects of how their cruises are organized. We will have a post soon to show how to take advantage of additional night credit deals, which is a great way to zoom up the loyalty status levels without having to live on ships to do it.

Another advantage of sticking with one cruise line is the familiarity you develop with how things are done on the ships, what to expect as far as food and accommodations, and you might even get to know some of the crew and see them again and again on the same ship or other ships in the fleet. It goes without saying that achieving the various levels of status comes with benefits like free specialty restaurant coupons, a free bag of laundry, priority embarkation/disembarkation and access to the concierge who can often do lots of special things for you.

I have shared how I have matched status with various cruise lines to book “free” cruises and will be eager to share my experiences and impressions with different cruise lines with those sailings. I have enjoyed being loyal to NCL since I began cruising over a decade ago for a lot of the same reasons I selected NCL for my first cruise. I like the way the ships are organized, the atmosphere on the ships and feeling like I’m back in familiar territory once I am onboard. While there is still a different feel on bigger ships than on smaller ships, overall there is a consistent NCL vibe that I enjoy. I look forward to seeing if I enjoy the other cruise lines I have booked as much! – René

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In talking with some extremely well travelled cruisers with over 1,000 nights at sea, most of them seem to have settled on a particular line and have achieved high level status but they have also hit most of the itineraries and ports offered by their preferred line meaning new voyages don’t have the same appeal they did earlier in their cruising careers. More than one have told me that they have actually branched out more once they’ve achieved top status and accompanying perks in order to experience different ports, itineraries, and style of ship including some of the small expedition ships.

  2. The benefits that matter really don’t come until you cruise a lot with one particular line, and for that unless you find a line fits you like a glove makes it hard to recommend someone plan loyalty to a cruise line from the start. Lines are adjusting their offerings and make it hard to really say that what you like about the line will still be there by the time you reach the elite status levels that really provide you substantial benefits.

    With that said, having elite status with one cruise line definitely plays into which itineraries i may book with another cruise line. Tender ports are probably the biggest point where cruise status will impact your experience as even with priority tendering I barely had enough time for zip lining and cave tubing with an external provider in Belize. But otherwise the benefits are things that make your cruise better, not things that really transform your cruise experience.

    Now with the structure of MSC’s program, I find their benefits to be enough to cruise with them to maintain the benefits. But I think that question really goes by an individual’s preferences. But fortunately MSC offers a private island that I find special enough to make even the 3 day cruises pleasant.

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