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Priority access used to be rewarded to the cruise lines’ most loyal cruisers, but now many of them are extending the perk to all cruisers at a fee. How much will you pay to beat the queues?

Norwegian Cruise Line is the latest line to join the ranks with a trial of their ‘Priority Access’ program where guests can enhance their cruise with VIP perks at a fee.

Just this month, Holland America Line extended their ‘Club Orange’ program fleetwide, while other lines like Carnival has ‘Faster to the fun’ and Royal Caribbean has ‘The Key’.

These programs are built around being able to beat the queues during boarding, tendering and disembarkation but different lines also throw in different additional perks like complimentary breakfast room service, spa credits, internet, private hours at the ship’s attractions and more.

These programs have quite different fee structures as well. Both Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line prices it per cabin and depending on the number sailing days. While Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line prices it per person per day.

Currently, Carnival Cruise Line offers this perk at the lowest price, starting from $50 per stateroom for a three to four-night sailing which works out to about $17 a day. But prices can go up to $72 per stateroom per day assuming double occupancy on Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line

Read below to find out what each line offers.

Norwegian Cruise Line – ‘Priority Access’

The program is still in trial and currently tested on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Sky. The cost varies from $69 per stateroom to $199 per stateroom.

Perks:

  1. Priority Security, Check-in and Boarding
  2. Priority tendering (Off the ship)
  3. Priority Debarkation in Home Port
  4. Access to a Daily, Complimentary Standard Room Service Breakfast Menu
  5. A $50 Spa Credit (for services on port days only)
  6. Canapes (delivered on Day 2 of the cruise)

Prices:

$69 per stateroom for sailings lasting 3-5 days

$99 per stateroom for sailings lasting 6-9 days

$149 per stateroom for sailings lasting 10-15 days

$199 per stateroom for sailings of 16 or more days.

Carnival Cruise Line – ‘Faster to the fun’

The program is offered in Sydney and Melbourne. Prices are per stateroom so only one guest needs to purchase ‘Faster to the Fun’ and all occupants in the stateroom receive the benefits.

Perks:

  1. Priority security, check in and boarding
  2. First access to stateroom
  3. Priority water shuttle (be the first to get to shore)
  4. Guest services
  5. Debarkation time of choice

Prices (starting from):

$50 AUD 3-night Weekend Sampler & 4-nights to Tasmania
$75 AUD 4-nights to Moreton Island or Airlie Beach & 5-nights to Tasmania
$100 AUD 6 and 7-night cruises
$125 AUD 8, 9 and 10-night cruises
$175 AUD 11 and 12-night cruises
$200 AUD 13+ night cruises

Holland America Line – Club Orange

The line started trialing Club Orange on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam last year and is making it available on all ships by October 2019. The final program features new amenities and lower prices.

The first and second guest in the same stateroom are both required to purchase the program. There is no additional charge for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom.

Perks:

New Amenities for Club Orange
Receive an upgrade within the booked category to the best available stateroom. The upgrade will be based on availability at the time of Club Orange purchase.

Join the “Captain’s Choice” event that takes place during the cruise, as well as other planned special experiences that may include a behind the scenes hotel department tour, exclusive pre-opening shopping access, private coffee chat with Music Walk musicians and cast members and more.

Priority Access
Amenities that come with the exclusive Club Orange program include priority check-in and disembarkation, priority tender service and priority alternative restaurant reservations made on board. Club Orange guests also have a dedicated line at Guest Services and the shore excursion desk, as well as a dedicated concierge hotline on board for dining reservations, tour assistance, general questions and support.

Priority Dining
For most of the fleet, a dedicated host will assist Club Orange guests for priority seating at breakfast and dinner. On Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, a separate Club Orange restaurant is open every day for breakfast and dinner. The venue serves the same menu featured in Pinnacle Grill for breakfast and the dining room for dinner. Menus on all ships will feature additional daily dishes exclusive to Club Orange.

Additional benefits

Access an enhanced in-stateroom à la carte breakfast dining menu with complimentary premium selections such as steak and eggs or smoked salmon Benedict, a welcome glass of sparkling wine at dinner on embarkation day, premium bathrobe for use in stateroom (and available for purchase and monogramming), and an exclusive Club Orange tote bag.

Prices:

$50.75 (US$35) per person per day on Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam and $36 (US$25) per person per day on all other ships.

Royal Caribbean – The Key

The Key experience is available on all ships and in all regions except for China. Australian guests can enjoy the benefits on local and international sailings, except priority check-in and boarding in Australia is not available because the terminals are too small to accommodate for this service. It must be purchased prior to sailing by each guest age 6 or older assigned to the same stateroom.

Perks:

  1. Priority check-in and boarding on Day 1*.
  2. Carry-on bag drop off in the Main Dining Room with stateroom delivery**
  3. Exclusive welcome lunch in the Main Dining Room with a delicious menu featuring Chops Grille on embarkation day
  4. Private hours at onboard activities*** including Rock Climbing, FlowRider and more
  5. Priority departure at ports of call from ship-to-shore
  6. Seats in the exclusive VIP seating section at shows in the Main theatre, Aqua Theatre, Studio B, and Two70
  7. VOOM® Surf & Stream 1 Device high speed internet – 1 package per paying guest
  8. On debarkation day, an exclusive a la carte breakfast and choice departure

When you receive your SeaPass card, it will have an icon confirming your purchase of The Key. If you don’t see it, ask your Stateroom Attendant or go to Guest Services to apply the icon.

* Priority check-in and boarding will not be offered in Vancouver, Canada or at any ports in Australia.

** Carry-on luggage drop-off service is limited to two pieces per guest and can weigh no more than 25 pounds per carry-on.

*** Onboard activities included in private hours vary by ship and sailing. Private hour schedule will be delivered onboard with welcome letter on Day 1.

Prices:

The Key price will vary depending on your sailing, but prices start at $36 (US$24.99) per guest, per day.

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