Sometimes it’s a coloured card hanging from your lanyard. Sometimes, it’s the invitation to the exclusive captain’s cocktail. Cruise lines are always looking for ways to reward their most loyal cruisers.  But how do they match up?

Cruise Passenger has been immersed in the perks and privileges offered by loyalty programs. We found similar perks like priority boarding and debarkation, dining and spa reservations, complimentary laundry, onboard discounts, collectable gifts as well as exclusive access to clubs and services.

Cruise loyalty program perks
Cruise loyalty programs offer passengers perks and privileges like priority boarding and debarkation

The lines also like to treat members who ascend the ranks to complimentary dinners at specialty restaurants.

However, these perks may only be available to members at different membership tiers.

And there are standout perks, which sets one line apart from one another.

The loyalty programs have their own levels to climb, and it’s judged on how many days a passenger has sailed with the company.

Welcome to the rarified world of the super-cruiser and the rewards they get…

The highlights

Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line offer priority boarding and debarkation as a perk at similar membership tiers, where cruisers have clocked an average of 75 sea days. Meanwhile, Holland America Line only offers it to cruisers who have sailed with them for at least 200 days.

Lines like Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line shine with complimentary Internet minutes, while Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line offer perks like priority spa reservations.

For guests who like to travel light, Norwegian Cruise Line has the most laundry service perks while other lines offer it complimentary only to their elite members.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line also run the most number of discounts for their members. On Norwegian, discounts are to be had on shore excursions, spa treatments and in the duty free shops. While on Holland America Line, wine packages, the mini-bar, specialty restaurant surcharges, spa treatments and more are discounted for their loyal cruisers.

Read on to find out more about the loyalty program from your favourite line:

Royal Caribbean Cruises – Crown & Anchor Society

The Crown & Anchor Society has six tiers:

Gold – 3 points

Platinum – 30 points

Emerald – 55 points

Diamond – 80 points

Diamond Plus – 175 points

Pinnacle Club – 700 points

Guests will be automatically enrolled into the program after you finish your first sailing. And each night that you sail, you will earn one point. Guests who booked suites will earn double the points.

Royal Caribbean Cruises loyalty program: Crown & Anchor Society
Guests are automatically enrolled into Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program after they finish their first sailing

The more exclusive perks start kicking in at the Diamond tier, which is achieved with 80 points.

As a Diamond member, you will get priority reservation at the main dining room, spa and shore excursions and access to exclusive nightly events and the Diamond Club on select ships.

Diamond Plus members with 340 or more cruise points are eligible to upgraded bathroom amenities as well as a meal with an Officer.

An interesting perk of the Crown & Anchor Society is that a Platinum membership (2nd tier – 30 points) will also reward you with matching Celebrity Cruises® Captain’s Club & Azamara Club Cruises® Le Club Voyage tier status.

Click here for full perks list.

Carnival Cruise Line – VIFP Club

The VIFP club has five tiers:

Blue – first sailing

Red – 2nd sailing

Gold – 25+ points

Platinum – 75+ points

Diamond – 200+ points

Carnival Cruise Line's loyalty program
Carnival Cruise Line’s “VIFP Club” loyalty program

In the VIFP Club, the Gold membership onwards gets you an invite to a party if you are sailing for five or more days. Complimentary drinks and appetisers are served, so let your hair loose and party the night away!

The more juicy perks can be found in the Platinum and Diamond tiers, giving members priority access to check-in, boarding and debarkation, dining and spa reservations, laundry services and collectible gifts.

Carnival also gifts their most loyal Diamond members with a one-time complimentary meal for two at Specialty Restaurant of choice. Guest can also choose between a one-time free cabin upgrade or have their 3rd and 4th guests sail free.

Click here for full perks list.

Princess Cruises – Captain’s Circle

The Captain’s Circle has four tiers:

Gold – after your 1st completed cruise

Ruby – from your 4th-5th cruise credit, or 31-50 cruise days

Platinum – from your 6th-15th cruise credit, or 51-150 cruise days

Elite – from your 16th cruise credit on, or 151+ cruise days

The Elite Princess cruiser gets the full royal treatment indeed. The line rewards their Elite members with luxurious touches to their holiday such as complimentary mini bar and wine tasting, afternoon tea in your room, canapés delivered to your stateroom on formal nights, upgraded bathroom amenities.

Princess Cruises' Captain's Circle loyalty program
Princess Cruises’ Captain’s Circle loyalty program rewards Elite members with complimentary mini bar and wine tasting

Members can also enjoy complimentary laundry and shoe polishing services.

The Elite members are also able to skip the lines with priority ship to shore tender embarkation, disembarkation and be the very first to view and book new itineraries.

The Captain’s Circle is also one of few which offers free internet minutes, to be used either on the computers in our Internet Cafés or wireless Internet on the guest’s personal wireless device.

The length of the sailing determines the amount of complimentary Internet you get. For voyages 7 days or less, Platinum members get 150 minutes. Members can get up to 500 minutes on voyages that are 21 plus days.

Click here for full perks list.

Norwegian Cruise Line – Latitudes Loyalty Programme

The Latitudes Loyalty Program has six tiers:

Bronze – 1+ points

Silver – 30+ points

Gold – 55+ points

Platinum – 80+ points

Platinum Plus – 175+ points

Ambassador – 700+ points

Norwegian Cruise Line's loyalty program
NCL’s Latitudes Loyalty Programme includes discounts on shore excursions

The highlights of the Latitudes Loyalty Programme include their discounts on shore excursions, spa treatments while the ship is in port. Platinum members onwards also get free Internet minutes and other fun perks like a behind-the-scenes ship tour.

Platinum members get 30 minutes, and the top tier Ambassadors get up to 100 free minutes.

Members can also look forward to gastronomic treats like dinner for two at Cagney’s Or Le Bistro as well as Moderno or La Cucina.

And even dine with the Officers as they rise through the ranks to reach the Platinum Plus and Ambassador tiers.

The line also rewards their most loyal cruisers, the Ambassadors, with a complimentary 7-day cruise.

Click here for full perks list.

Holland America Line – Mariner’s Society

The Mariner’s Society has five tiers:

Star Mariner – one cruise completed

2-Star Mariner – 30 cruise day credits

3-Star Mariner – 75 cruise day credits

4-Star Mariner – 200 cruise day credits

5-Star Mariner – 500 cruise day credits

The Mariner’s Society is for the wine lovers. Beginning with a Mariner Champagne Brunch for all, to complimentary wine tasting at discounts of up to 50 per cent on their wine packages for 3-Star Mariners and up.

Holland America Line loyalty program
Holland America Line’s loyalty program, the Mariner Society, is for wine lovers

The line also entices members to get fellow cruisers on board with discounts on cruise fares for 3rd/4th guests on select sailings. 4-Star Mariners and up even get to bring them on board for free.

The 5-Star Mariners are rewarded with opportunities to create memories on board with a complimentary Culinary Arts Centre cooking class and day pass to the Greenhouse Spa & Salon Thermal Suite.

Click here for full perks list.