Many people actively book their cruise holidays with one cruise company in order to collect more loyalty points for the cruise company membership programmes. Is it worth sticking with one cruise company to gain loyalty points or is it better to pick your cruise holidays based on the cruise itinerary which suits your needs and attracts your interests?
Every cruise company has differences. There are differences in the levels of service offered, the levels of formality, different on board features and entertainment and, of course, different cruise companies will suit different types of people.
I have previously cruised many times with Royal Caribbean International. However, this was not in order to be loyal to one cruise company, (cleverly dubbed ‘loyal to royal’!) and accumulate loyalty points, but simply because the dates and itineraries suited my holiday needs more than what was offered by other companies at these times.
This has led to me reaching a reasonably good level on their loyalty programme, and subsequently offered benefits such as discounts in the on board bars and shops, upgrade opportunities, and invitations to membership parties with free food and drinks.
However, my favourite benefit is the dedicated area at check in for members of a high tier in their loyalty programme. This has meant being able to check in within five minutes and saving a huge amount of time waiting in what can often be a large queue at check in. When I’m on holiday my time is precious, and any time that I can save waiting in a queue is excellent!
Often, the rewards that come with reaching the highest possible level of a cruise companies loyalty programme can be profitable and tempting. On most cruise lines, the highest ranking members will have their laundry done for free, be invited to dine with the captain, receive free upgrades if available, be invited onto the ship’s bridge and receive complimentary food and drinks.
However, the number of points, or days or nights on board, that you need to accumulate in order to reach these are usually very high, and it would be extremely hard to do so without being exclusive to one cruise company.
Although the benefits that come with cruising with one company and reaching the top of their loyalty programme are nice (who doesn’t like complimentary upgrades and parties!), it isn’t enough to keep me cruising with one company exclusively.
The most important things to me continue to be the cruise itineraries, on board features and the level of service offered by the cruise company and its staff. However, if you find a cruise company that perfectly suits your needs and you find yourself delighted with the service offered then it’s probably worth it to remain loyal to them for that reason and not simply to gain loyalty points.