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The Best Loyalty Program at Sea
We are humbled by the loyalty of our guests. That's why we created the Princess Captain's Circle℠—as a special thanks for choosing us again and again. It's easy to join, too! You automatically become a Circle member once you complete your first Princess cruise. 1
View the full list of benefits our guests enjoy! (PDF)
Loyalty Tiers and Accessing Your Benefits
After your first cruise 1,2,3
After completing 3 cruises or 30 cruise days 1,2,3
After completing 5 cruises or 50 cruise days 1,2,3
After completing 15 cruises or 150 cruise days 1,2,3
Moving On Up
Each voyage moves you closer to the next loyalty level. 2 Book and sail in a full suite or pay the exclusive occupancy fare when traveling solo, and you'll receive two cruise credits instead of one. 3 And because we also track the number of days you spend with us, longer cruises can give you a boost too.
Unlocking Your Benefits
Include your Captain's Circle number each time you book to earn membership benefits. Register for a My Princess account to get special offers and the latest information. We can't wait to see you on your next sailing!
If you're already booked and your membership status isn't reflected, call us so we can help!
United States: 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237) Canada: 1-800-LOVEBOAT (1-800-568-3262) United Kingdom: 0344 3388 674 Australia: 13 24 88 New Zealand: 0800 780 717
United Kingdom calls are charged at local rates. Calls may be recorded for training purposes.
1 Residents of the EEA are required to enroll to be Captain’s Circle Members and receive their loyalty benefits by registering on princess.com and creating a My Princess account.
2 Members are eligible for a higher tier level on the next cruise following completion of necessary cruises and/or cruise days. Land portion of cruisetour does not apply. Only cruises taken on Princess® and P&O Australia count toward the Princess Captain’s Circle Program. P&O UK cruises are no longer eligible.
3 Princess Captain's Circle Double cruise credits for booking and sailing in a full suite (mini-suites excluded) or sailing at the exclusive occupancy fare are effective with sailings beginning on or after December 7, 2008. Cruises only, and not cruise days are doubled. The exclusive occupancy fare is for solo guests occupying a stateroom alone and who paid the single traveller supplement.
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Princess Cruise Line’s Elite Lounge: A Review
by Prof. Cruise · March 11, 2022
One of the loyalty benefits available to Platinum and Elite level Princess cruisers as well as suite and, as I discovered, “honored” guests is access to an exclusive onboard lounge.
This lounge goes by different nicknames and is open during different times and located in a different spot depending on the ship. I hope Princess is keeping an eye on the “Elite Lounge” AKA the “Platinum and Elite Lounge” AKA the “Platinum, Elite, and Suite Lounge” AKA the “EPS Lounge” AKA the “Captain’s Circle Lounge” AKA the “Loyalty Lounge” for early signs of an identity crisis. For simplicity sake, I’m going to refer to it as the “Elite Lounge.”
My Experience with Princess Cruise Line’s Elite Lounge
With only four prior Princess cruises under my buffet pants, my OceanMedallion was still a shameful shade of red, something akin to Dorothy’s slippers, on my recent sailing aboard the Majestic Princess . However, I received the following letter in my stateroom identifying me as an “honored guest” and inviting me to take advantage of the “Exclusive Elite Lounge” (another name variation to add to the list):
I thought there must’ve been a mistake as I’d never been invited to anything exclusive before, but it was on very official looking Princess letterhead and had my name on it twice, so I ultimately judged it as legit and made the decision to attend on an evening when I had a later dinner reservation.
Now, what to wear? I figured this would probably be on the same scale as the Met Gala, so I googled, “what do the elite wear to the Met Gala,” and upon realizing I hadn’t packed any Oscar de la Renta, a gown with a controversial political statement written on it, or gold armor, I settled on some black leggings paired with a polka dot blouse and my black dress Crocs.
Don’t look for me in next month’s issue of Vogue unless you want to waste $5.99 and an hour of precious life.
On the way to the lounge I started to panic that maybe I was supposed to have prepared a speech: “I’d like to start by thanking God, my family, and the Captain.” Here we go…
It turns out the “Elite Lounge” on the Majestic Princess only exists between the hours of 4:30pm-6:30pm on select nights. After that the ship magician transforms it back into the Hollywood Conservatory by removing two signs and a small buffet: “abracadabra…hey can someone grab the other end of this here table?”
Here’s a tour of the Hollywood Conservatory before the commoners are shooed away:
Anyway, before my big toe fully crossed the exclusive threshold as marked by the above sign placed at the entrance, I was stopped by a crew member and asked, “are you supposed to be here?” to which I responded, “clearly not, but I received an invitation in my cabin.” She looked skeptical, (commoner!) but let me proceed anyway.
I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, maybe some balloons or fireworks or a circus act, but if the “Elite Lounge” was Ashley Olsen, the Hollywood Conservatory was Mary-Kate (in other words, identical down to the scowls and prolific eye makeup, for those too young to know the best television show ever produced):
At least there was food though!
A small buffet was set up with smoothie shots, various appetizers and breads, and that night’s special: a shrimp fountain. I didn’t partake of the fountain because in my view those are only for chocolate and granting wishes. The crew member manning the buffet got kind of mad when I threw a penny in there.
I did, however, partake of a bowl of mac ‘n cheese so small it could have been served on a miniature table in Barbie’s Dream House. And delicious enough to have been worthy. Seriously, it was so good I went back for fifteen more servings before remembering I was supposed to be acting like I’d been there before. I delicately wiped the edges of my mouth with a napkin before hiding all the empty bowls in a plant.
Princess Cruise Line’s Elite Lounge Food Menu 2022
Here was the Elite Lounge menu for the full week:
- Day 1: Herb marinated goat’s cheese with crisp rosemary flatbread and tomato bruschetta.
- Day 2: Beef steak tartare with melba toast.
- Day 3: Assorted sushi with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.
- Day 4: Shrimp fountain with American cocktail sauce.
- Day 5: Smoked salmon with toast points, onion rings, capers, and lemons.
- Day 6: CLOSED
- Day 7: Herb marinated goat’s cheese with crisp rosemary flatbread and tomato bruschetta.
And here were the drink specials:
Princess Cruise Line’s Elite Lounge Drink Specials
No, your device isn’t slow to load. There’s no photo or list of the Elite Lounge drink specials, because there were no drink specials. At least as far as I could tell. A server came around to see if I wanted anything to drink, but I just ordered water because I thought it would blow my cover once and for all if I asked, “so are there cheap drinks at this thing or what?”
I’ve been told by some of my cruise friends that normally there’s a list of six or so drink specials priced at around $6.50 + 18% gratuity.
Final Thoughts on Princess’s Elite Lounge
I disembarked the Majestic Princess, my fifth Princess cruise, a legit Platinum member of the Captain’s Circle (Princess’s loyalty program) with future access to the “Elite Lounge,” no special invitation required. So will I visit it again in the future? While I found the whole experience a bit underwhelming and, honestly, a little awkward, on my next Princess cruise I plan to hold my Platinum Medallion up high and confidently spoil my dinner with ALL the Barbie bowls of mac ‘n cheese! And with that…
Homework (10 points): Share your experience with the Elite Lounge in the comments and review my most recent Princess-related lectures:
Majestic Princess Mini-Suite Review and Tour
Princess Cruise Line’s OceanNow Food And Beverage Delivery Menu 2022
Preparing For Your Princess Cruise in 2022
Princess Cruise Line’s 2022 Dinner Menus
And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog (scroll up to the top right if on a computer or keep scrolling down if on a mobile device) and follow Prof. Cruise on your favorite social social media sites:
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What night had this amazing Mac&Cheese you speak of!??
Day 4! Be sure to try one (or 20)!
Too cheap to order a drink??
[…] From 4:30pm-6:30pm most evenings, the Hollywood Conservatory transforms into the Elite Lounge for Platinum, Elite, and suite guests. You can read my review of the Elite Lounge (with the nightly appetizer menu included) HERE: […]
[…] Princess Cruise Line’s Elite Lounge: A Review […]
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About Prof. Cruise
Given name Sarah, but also answers to Prof. Cruise. Retired after 10 years as a college professor to focus full-time on her primary research interest: travel. With a concentration in cruising. Home port: Seattle. Mom of a shaggy-haired dog and a shaggy-haired human. Lover of books and dessert. Fancies herself a bit of a comedian – you’ve been warned.
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A beginners guide to cruise line loyalty programs
If you show loyalty to a specific cruise line, you can earn some wonderful rewards.
While entry-level tiers of cruise line loyalty programs usually don't offer much in terms of valuable perks, mid-level tiers can bring everything from spa discounts to free meals at extra-charge restaurants on the ship. The perks only get better from there.
At the very top tier of some cruise line loyalty programs — such as Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society and Norwegian Cruise Line's Latitudes Rewards — you can even get what we at TPG consider one of the truly great loyalty perks: a free cruise for two.
Perhaps the greatest thing about cruise line loyalty programs is that unlike most airline or hotel loyalty programs, they don't usually require customers to requalify for status every year.
For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .
Members of most cruise line loyalty programs keep their points at the end of each year and continue to accrue points indefinitely. That means that someone who hits the top tier in a cruise line loyalty program will remain there forever (or until the line makes a change to the program).
Still, not all cruise line loyalty programs are created equal. Some are very robust with lots of great perks even at low-tier levels. Others only are modest in what they get you.
Here is TPG's guide to the cruise line loyalty programs at 10 of the most popular cruise brands, with an overview of their main attributes. For more detailed information on each of the programs, click on the links in the text below that will take you to our main loyalty guide for each of the brands.
Related: The ultimate guide to picking a cruise line
Carnival Cruise Line: VIFP Club
Ways to earn points
The VIFP Club points-earning system is super simple. You earn one point for every day you cruise on a Carnival Cruise Line ship. If you take a three-night cruise, you'll get three points. If you take a seven-night cruise, you'll get seven points. You don't have to worry about different earning levels for different cabin categories or different types of bookings, as is the case with some lines.
Note that certain charter sailings and nonrevenue fares do not get you any points.
Insider tip: After sailing on one of Carnival's ships in Australia, you won't automatically get points for the trip deposited in your account. You'll need to log in to your account online, click on "Missing a Cruise?" and request the VIFP points be awarded for the days you earned on that voyage.
Program tiers and benefits
There are five tiers to the VIFP Club program:
- Blue (your first sailing)
- Red (second sailing to 24 points)
- Gold (25 to 74 points)
- Platinum (75 to 199 points)
- Diamond (200 or more points)
One of the nice little surprises of Carnival's loyalty program is that you hit the first tier level, Blue, the moment you board your first cruise with the brand. Unlike many lines, you don't have to complete a cruise to reach the first level. In fact, you can get to the Blue tier even before taking a cruise. All you have to do is sign up in advance.
Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival Cruise Line ships
That said, the Blue tier of the program brings almost no perks. There are only two: You are eligible for members-only cruise offers, and you'll receive a members-only electronic newsletter.
The next two tiers in the program are almost as stingy when it comes to perks. The second tier, Red, offers the same two perks as the Blue tier with just one additional perk: a complimentary, 1-liter bottle of water delivered to your cabin during sailings. (Don't go drinking it all at once.) Gold adds a complimentary appreciation drink, but only if your cruise is more than five days long.
The elite level that makes a difference
The Platinum level of the VIFP Club is where your loyalty to Carnival finally starts paying off.
Many of the perks that kick in at this level offer priority access of some kind, including:
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Priority spa reservations
- Priority water shuttle boarding (ship-to-shore only)
- Priority line at onboard Guest Services desk and priority assistance by phone
- Priority debarkation
- Priority reservations at the Main Dining Room and specialty restaurants
In short, once you're at the Platinum level, you'll suddenly find yourself bumped to the front of the line from the moment you arrive at a ship until the moment you leave. This is no small thing. Priority boarding means you'll get on the ship more quickly than other passengers, giving you more time on your first day to enjoy its offerings. Priority access to restaurant reservations means you'll get the best table times.
Best elite perk
Even at the highest Diamond level of its VIFP Club program, Carnival is still a little stingy with the perks. Unlike Royal Caribbean and some other lines, it doesn't give members a free cruise upon reaching this pinnacle of loyalty status. That said, Diamond status does bring a few nice privileges.
We definitely appreciate the free cabin upgrade (or third-and-fourth-passengers-sail-free offer) that comes when you first reach Diamond status; however, we're disappointed this is a one-time-only benefit. Another good but one-time-only perk of Diamond status is a complimentary meal for two at a specialty restaurant of your choice.
In our eyes, the best elite perk of the VIFP Club program is the unlimited wash-and-fold laundry service that comes with Diamond status. Unlike the above two perks, you'll get this every time you sail once you reach Diamond level.
For more details on Carnival's VIFP Club, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to the Carnival Cruise Line VIFP Club .
Celebrity Cruises: Captain's Club
The number of Captain's Club points you earn for Celebrity cruises will vary depending on both the length of the sailing and the type of cabin you book.
When staying in the most basic cabins, such as windowless "inside" cabins, you'll earn 2 points for each day you sail. When staying in a top suite, you can earn as many as 18 to 24 points per day.
Staying in balcony cabins, which the line calls Veranda cabins, will get you 3 points a day.
Here is a breakdown of the point structure:
As you can see, you'll earn far more points by staying in a suite than by staying in a less pricey regular cabin. The Captain's Club program is designed to reward Celebrity's biggest-spending customers the most.
There's one more way to earn Captain's Club points. In 2020, Celebrity launched a new program called Power Up Points that allows Captain's Club members to earn bonus points by filling out online surveys, participating on social media or booking specific promotions.
Related: The ultimate guide to Celebrity Cruises
Taking part in such activities will get you Power Up Points, which then can be converted into Captain's Club points at a ratio of 10 to 1. For every 10 Power Up Points you earn, you'll receive 1 additional Captain's Club point.
There are six tiers to the Captain's Club program:
- Preview (0 points)
- Classic (2 to 149 points)
- Select (150 to 299 points)
- Elite (300 to 749 points)
- Elite Plus (750 to 2,999 points)
- Zenith (3,000 points or more)
The good news here is that you'll qualify for the program's first tier (Preview) before you even take a single cruise. All you have to do is sign up for the program. At the Preview level, you can access the online Captain's Club newsletter and the Loyalty Desk. You also can book Captain's Club promotions once you're on board your first cruise.
The next level up, Classic, brings:
- Pre-sailing specialty restaurant reservations through the loyalty desk
- Exclusive captain's club offers
- One pre-cruise category upgrade to AquaClass (based on availability)
- Access to exclusive events on specialty sailings (like the President's Sailing)
- An invitation to a Captain's Club welcome party
- One complimentary specialty coffee when you dine at a specialty restaurant
- One free scoop of gelato
- 10% discount on any bottle of wine
- 10% discount on a Premium Drink Package upgrade when purchased pre-cruise only
- 10% discount on a Drink Package when purchased pre-cruise
- 10% discount on Wi-Fi packages and upgrades and complimentary premium minutes
- 25% discount on any digital or print photo package
- 10% discount on The Studio photo package
- 10% off one-time use laundry service
- 10% discount at the spa
- various casino perks
- 5% discount on small group discovery shore excursions
- 5% discount on Hollywood Hot Glass
The Select tier adds bigger discounts on internet and photo packages (25% and 30% off, respectively). You'll also get an invitation to a wine tasting and a backstage tour on the ship; a discounted price for one standard bag of laundry (wash, dry and fold) if your cruise is 12 nights or longer; and two complimentary pressed items.
Being loyal to Celebrity really starts paying off when you reach the Elite and Elite Plus levels.
One of the great perks of Elite status is gaining access to the Captain's Club Coffee Lounge, where you can enjoy a coffeehouse-style breakfast each morning. This is a particularly big deal on shore excursion days, as it means you have a relatively quiet and uncrowded place to grab a quick breakfast before heading out for a tour.
Related: The 4 types of Celebrity Cruises ships, explained
Elites also get unlimited free drinks from the Captain's Club menu each day except embarkation day between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at most bars and lounges on the ship. All you have to do is present your Sea Pass card. This isn't quite the perk it used to be, though, since a basic drinks package now comes with all bookings as part of the line's new Always Included fare structure.
If you're sailing on a Solstice-class or Millennium-class vessel, reaching the Elite tier will get you free access to the Persian Garden spa zones — home to steam rooms, saunas and heated loungers — on one port day of your choice.
Elite level also brings:
- Priority tender service, where available
- Access to a private lounge on departure day serving continental breakfast
- An invitation to a senior officer party
- An invitation to a Create & Pour event on Edge-class ships
- An invitation to a Music & Mixology event
- A higher 20% discount on a bottle of wine
- A higher 30% discount on Wi-Fi packages and upgrades, plus 90 complimentary stream minutes
- A higher 15% discount on drinks packages
- A higher 40% discount on a digital or print photo package
- A higher 20% discount on The Studio photo packages
- One complimentary dry clean item
- One bag of complimentary laundry
- A higher 15% discount at the ship's spa
Elite Plus kicks things up by offering many of these same benefits plus another free bag of laundry, additional discounts for onboard services (including a 15% discount on specialty dining cover charges) and free cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and teas throughout your sailing.
The ultimate perk for Captain's Club members comes when you reach the top Zenith tier. You'll get a free seven-night Bermuda or Caribbean cruise in a balcony cabin. Yep, that's right: a free cruise.
Of course, you'll need 3,000 points to reach the Zenith tier — a number so high it's out of reach for most cruisers. For someone who always stays in balcony cabins and prefers seven-night sailings, it would take an almost inconceivable 143 cruises to reach the Zenith tier. Put another way, you'd have to spend 1,000 days at sea with Celebrity to hit the Zenith mark.
Related: Everything to know about Celebrity cabins and suites
Still, for those who always stay in top suites, getting to Zenith after just a few years of heavy cruising is not out of the question. For those travelers in Penthouse and Reflection suites, it would require 167 days at sea. Take a few long sailings of 20 or 30 days, and you'll be well on your way.
Once you hit the Zenith level, you'll get another free Bermuda or Caribbean cruise after every 3,000 points you accumulate. Plus, there's an added twist for your second free cruise and any others you accrue after that: The additional free sailings will be in an upgraded AquaClass cabin.
For more details on Celebrity's Captain's Club, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to the Celebrity Cruises Captain's Club .
Disney Cruise Line: Castaway Club
Earning status in Disney Cruise Line 's Castaway Club loyalty program is about as simple as can be — even after a recent upgrade that brought an all-new tier . You get a credit for every cruise you take, whether it's three nights long or 10 nights long. That's it. No muss, no fuss. Your status, as we'll explain below, depends entirely on how many cruises you take.
There are four tiers to the Castaway Club program:
- Silver (after one cruise)
- Gold (after five cruises)
- Platinum (after 10 cruises)
- Pearl (after 25 cruises)
Once you reach the first tier of the program (Silver), you will be entitled to exactly six perks. Perhaps the most notable is the ability to make advance bookings for onboard cruise activities such as ticket-only character greetings and specialty restaurant dinners up to 90 days before sailings. This is a big deal in the world of Disney cruises, where some of the hottest activities on ships sell out quickly.
Related: The ultimate guide to Disney Cruise Line
Silver members can also book new Disney cruise itineraries one day ahead of the general public. That may not seem like much of a head start, but it can be a real advantage when trying to snag the perfect cabin on a hot new itinerary. Disney fans are known to snap up the best cabins — if not all the cabins — on unique new sailings very quickly.
Additionally, Silver members get:
- Select port arrival time and complete online check-in 33 days in advance of departure
- Exclusive cruise terminal check-in where available
- A members-only direct phone line to call for information and assistance
- A welcome-back-aboard gift
Upon reaching the Gold level, members get all the above perks with three notable upgrades. For starters, they can make advance bookings for onboard cruise activities up to 105 days before sailings. That's 15 days earlier than Silver members. They can also book new Disney cruise itineraries two days before the general public.
Plus, they can complete check-in 35 days in advance.
The third tier of the program, the Platinum level, extends the pre-booking windows even further. Platinum members can make advance bookings for onboard cruise activities up to 120 days before sailings. That's 15 days earlier than Gold members and 30 days earlier than Silver members. They can also book new Disney cruise itineraries three days before the general public.
For Platinum members, check-in opens 38 days in advance of departures.
Platinum-level members are also entitled to a free dinner at Palo , the upscale, adults-only Italian eatery on Disney ships.
The perks really get interesting once you hit the new Pearl level of the Castaway Club. The big perk at this level is booking new itineraries earlier than everyone else. You also have the earliest possible access to reserve onboard activities.
Specifically, you can make reservations for newly announced itineraries four days before the general public. You can also book activities up to 123 days in advance of sailing.
In the world of Disney, this is a very big deal. As mentioned above, Disney fans are known to snag all the good cabins for a popular sailing the moment a trip goes on sale. Ditto for onboard activities.
Additionally, Pearl status also lets you check in for your cruise 40 days in advance of sailing.
Unlike some lines, Disney offers no truly over-the-top elite perks, such as the free cruise that top-tier members of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society get. It's also skimpy on handing out big discounts on shore excursions, spa treatments and other cruise line-sold services to elite members — something some other lines do. However, a few perks get us at least modestly excited.
The most enticing offering, in our view, is the free dinner at Palo that comes with Platinum status.
The invitation extends to the elite member and any other adult passenger staying in the same cabin. Assuming there are two of you, that's a $100 value. Palo normally costs $50 per person.
You can use the perk at either the Palo eateries on Disney's four older ships or the Palo Steakhouse eatery on the line's new Disney Wish .
For more details on Disney's Castaway Club, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Club .
Holland America Line: Mariner Society
Holland America 's Mariner Society points-earning system is also a relatively simple one. In most cases, you will earn one "cruise day" credit for every night you're on a ship.
The only exception is for passengers staying in top accommodations. Customers staying in a suite or penthouse on a Holland America ship will get double cruise day credits. One caveat here is that you must have paid the normal fare for the suite or penthouse to get the double credits.
You won't get double credit if you're staying in a suite or penthouse due to a complimentary cabin upgrade.
Note that you will also get cruise day credits for the days you spend touring on land with Holland America cruisetours in Alaska. Holland America cruisetours in Alaska typically combine a seven-night Alaska cruise with a few days touring the state in motorcoaches or by train.
Related: The 4 classes of Holland America ships, explained
Additionally, there is an unusual bonus way to earn Mariner Society cruise day credits. You can earn one additional cruise day credit for every $300 you spend on board a ship — for things such as shore excursions and shop purchases (with a limit of one extra cruise day credit for every day you sail).
The extra credit is calculated based on the combined folio charges for all passengers on a single booking, regardless of who signs each charge and who pays the bill. Only the first two passengers on a booking will receive the bonus credit.
Some purchases — future cruise deposits, cash advances and casino charges — are excluded from the onboard purchase bonus. All other onboard purchases count — even the hotel service charges, beverage service charges and taxes that show up on final bills.
There are five tiers to the Mariner Society loyalty program:
- Star Mariner (after one cruise)
- 2-Star Mariner (30 to 74 cruise day credits)
- 3-Star Mariner (75 to 199 cruise day credits)
- 4-Star Mariner (200 to 499 cruise day credits)
- 5-Star Mariner (500-plus cruise day credits)
As with several other cruise line loyalty programs mentioned above, the first tier of the Mariner Society loyalty program (Star Mariner) doesn't come with too many valuable perks.
Star Mariners receive:
- Up to $400 per cabin onboard spending credit when booking a cruise within 90 days of a new season launch
- 15% discount at shophollandamerica.com
- A special welcome lunch
- An onboard gift
- A voucher for an onboard cocktail
- 50% off cruise fares for kids and extra guests in your cabin on select sailings
In addition to all the above, the big add-on for 2-Star Mariners is discounts on Holland America-branded items. Loyal Holland America cruisers at the 2-Star level will get a 10% discount on select Holland America clothing sold on ships. They also receive a complimentary photo of their ship.
The sweet spot in Holland America's program is the 4-Star Mariner status level. This is where you really start to see some great perks, including:
- Complimentary cruise fare for kids and extra guests staying in your cabin on select sailings
- A 50% discount on specialty restaurant surcharges and specialty coffees in dining venues, Sommelier Suites packages and all minibar purchases
- Complimentary laundry and pressing services
- Priority access to ship-to-shore tenders
- Priority check-in
- A complimentary James Suckling regional wine tasting
- A 15% discount on select Holland America Line logo clothing sold in onboard shops (may exclude already discounted merchandise)
- A 25% discount off the $49-per-person surcharge in Rudi's Sel De Mer eatery
We love that Holland America will let kids sail free on select journeys at this tier. The line isn't necessarily known as a family line, but if you have kids (or grandkids) and are a Holland America fan, this could save you a lot of money.
You'll also save a lot of money with the 50% off specialty restaurant perk at this level and the other 50% off discount options.
If you cruise with family or friends, we think the best perk in Holland America's program is the complimentary cruise fare for kids and extra guests staying in your cabin on select sailings. As noted above, this is a 4-Star Mariner perk that also carries over to 5-Star Mariners.
We should note that all Mariner Society members get discounts of some sort for the third and fourth passengers staying in their cabins. During the booking process, type in your Mariner ID to view your discount for this.
For more details on Holland America's Mariner Society, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to Holland America's Mariner Society .
MSC Cruises: MSC Voyagers Club
The points-earning system for MSC Voyagers Club is a bit convoluted, as the number of points you earn on any given cruise depends on various factors.
For starters, you earn points based on the length of the cruise you take and which MSC Cruises "experience" you book for the cruise. As regular MSC Cruises customers know, there are five experiences available when cruising with the line, each with different inclusions and at different price points. Bella is the most basic and least expensive experience available. MSC Yacht Club is the top experience available. Experiences called Fantastica, Wellness and Aurea fall in between.
The chart below lays out your points earnings depending on cruise length and experience type:
Note that every person in your cabin will earn points for the cruise based on the chart above.
In addition to the above, you can earn points when spending money on MSC Cruises ships for extras or when booking extras before sailing. You'll earn 100 points for every $150 spent on prepaid and onboard expenses.
One caveat: Only the MSC Voyagers Club member who makes the final payment for onboard expenses will receive those points. Regarding expenses for prepaid services that apply to all cabin occupants (and not single occupants), points will be equally distributed among the cabin occupants.
For example, say the total amount of prepaid onboard services that apply to all cabin occupants before the cruise is $600. If there are four cabin occupants, the spending for the points calculation of each member will be $150, which is equal to 100 points.
Related: The ultimate guide to MSC Cruises
The final way to earn points is by updating your contact details up to 72 hours before departure on your next cruise. This will earn you 100 points.
There are four tiers to the MSC Voyagers Club program:
- Classic (1 to 2,199 points)
- Silver (2,200 to 4,299 points)
- Gold (4,300 to 9,999 points)
- Diamond (10,000 or more points)
Again, the entry-level tier (Classic) doesn't bring many truly valuable rewards. By far, the most alluring benefit at this level is the 5% discount that members get when booking future sailings (but this discount is not valid on Tandem and MSC Grand Tours). That's real savings every time you book a cruise.
Classic members also recieve:
- An additional 5% discount on Voyagers Exclusives sailings made six to nine months before departure
- An MSC Voyagers Club e-newsletter
- MSC Voyagers Club personalized luggage tags for embarkation in the e-ticket
- An MSC Voyagers Club card
- An invitation to a "welcome back" cocktail party
- A dedicated number to call on board
- Discounts on many packages and amenities, including onboard pictures, digital accessories, Wi-Fi and spa and fitness offerings
- MSC Shops discount (for each $50 spent in any onboard shops, you will receive a $10 discount)
Note that the MSC Shops discount has a lot of fine print. You cannot combine this discount with promotions available on board, and it is not available for spending on tobacco products and electronics. It's also only valid on the first day of a cruise. That prompts us to downgrade the value of this perk considerably.
Upon reaching the second tier of the program, Silver, you get a couple more perks. The most notable to us is a $50 onboard credit per person, plus double MSC Voyagers Club points, for all bookings made more than 12 months before departure. (If you book nine to 12 months in advance, you get the $50 credit but not the double points.)
Being loyal to MSC Cruises starts paying off in a noticeable way once you reach the Gold level of the MSC Voyagers Club program. Even here, though, the rewards are still relatively modest.
The Gold level comes with one solid perk: priority disembarkation in ports where a tender boat is required. This can make a real difference in your cruising experience, as it means you can get off the ship much faster in some cases than the majority of other passengers. That will allow you to maximize your time in tender ports.
Gold status also brings:
- A complimentary one-hour thermal-area session once per cruise
- A complimentary gift
- A complimentary photo during the "welcome back" cocktail party
- A complimentary birthday cake when it's your birthday
Alas, there isn't one "wow" perk in the MSC Voyagers Club menu. As noted above, unlike some lines, MSC Cruises doesn't award top-tier members truly high-value perks such as a free cruise. Still, the MSC Voyagers Club's top Diamond status tier does come with a few enticing benefits.
Our favorite perk in the entire MSC Voyagers Club program is the complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant that comes with Diamond-level status. That said, be warned that it's a complimentary dinner with a lot of fine print (so much fine print, in fact, that to us it verges on the ridiculous).
For more details on MSC Cruises' MSC Voyagers Club, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to MSC Cruises' MSC Voyagers Club .
Norwegian Cruise Line: Latitudes Rewards
Earning points in Norwegian Cruise Line 's Latitudes Rewards program is relatively straightforward. You will get:
- One point for every night you spend on a ship
- An additional one point per night when staying in a Concierge-level cabin, full-fare suite (not minisuites or Club Balcony suites) or The Haven rooms
- An additional one point per night when on a cruise booked via a Latitudes Rewards Insider Offer. These are special offers for Latitudes Rewards members
Note that the extra point per night for suites only applies to stays in suites booked when a reservation is originally made. It doesn't apply to stays in suites that result from an upgrade.
Related: The ultimate guide to Norwegian Cruise Line
There are seven tiers to the Latitudes Rewards program:
- Bronze (1 to 19 points)
- Silver (20 to 44 points)
- Gold (45 to 74 points)
- Platinum (75 to 149 points)
- Sapphire (150 to 349 points)
- Diamond (350 to 699 points)
- Ambassador (700 or more points)
The Latitudes Rewards program is one of the more robust cruise line loyalty programs, with some decent perks available to almost all members.
After just one cruise, as a newly minted Bronze member, you will receive a 30% discount on an unlimited open bar package — a perk that could save you a significant amount of money when cruising if you're a drinker. You'll also get early access to new product information and exclusive offers, a signature pin and a few other minor things.
Moving up to the Silver level of the Latitudes Rewards program will bring all the above plus:
- An invitation to a complimentary onboard cocktail party
- A 10% discount on shore excursions
- A 20% discount on photos
- A 15% discount on spa treatments performed when the ship is in port
- A higher 15% discount at onboard duty-free shops
The Gold level bumps up the discounts on photos and spa treatments to 25% and 20%, respectively. It also brings valuable perks such as a 50% discount on a bag of laundry, priority tender tickets (for applicable ports) and priority disembarkation (for U.S. citizens only).
Once you reach Platinum, you'll get everything in earlier tiers plus a 15% discount on internet packages, which is a great perk. Internet packages on Norwegian can be pricey.
Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Norwegian cruise
Another great perk at the Platinum level is free dinners at some of the top restaurants on Norwegian ships on every voyage of five nights or longer. Platinum members get a free dinner for two at either Cagney's, the line's signature steakhouse, or Le Bistro, its signature French restaurant — which includes a bottle of wine. They also get a free dinner for two at either churrascaria restaurant Moderno or Italian eatery La Cucina (on some ships, the restaurant offerings differ).
Platinum members also get:
- Priority check-in and embarkation
- Access to a concierge to help with dining, entertainment and shore excursion reservations
- Chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to their room
- A Wines Around the World tasting
- A behind-the-scenes ship tour
- A higher 30% discount on photos
- A higher 25% discount on spa treatments
- A dedicated pre-cruise service desk
The ultimate perk for Latitudes Rewards members comes upon reaching the top Ambassador tier. You'll get a one-time, complimentary seven-night cruise in a balcony cabin. You can pick any destination, but you can't select a holiday sailing (Christmas and New Year's).
The free cruise is for two people. You can bring a third and fourth guest, but you'll pay for their fares. You'll also pay for all taxes, fees and service charges (including gratuities). You have one year to take advantage of your free cruise after becoming an Ambassador elite member.
For more details on Norwegian's Latitudes Rewards program, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to Norwegian Cruise Line's Latitudes Rewards program .
Princess Cruises: Captain's Circle
The points-earning system for the Captain's Circle program is a bit convoluted, as it involves two separate tracks — either of which will allow you to rise through its tiers.
For starters, members earn one "cruise credit" for each cruise. Also, members earn one "cruise day" for every night spent on a ship. So, on a typical seven-night cruise, you would earn seven cruise days and one cruise credit.
Related: The ultimate guide to Princess Cruises ships and itineraries
Just to make things a little bit more complicated, Princess Cruises also doubles your cruise credit earnings if you sail in a full suite (minisuites, Club-class suites and upgrades to suites are excluded) or if you sail solo. However, it doesn't double your cruise day count.
So, if you sail in a suite on a seven-night cruise, you will earn two cruise credits and seven cruise days.
While convoluted, this system actually works to your advantage, as you have two ways to reach higher tier levels. As we'll explain below, you can qualify for elite status either through your cruise credit count or your cruise day count, whichever number gets you to your goal first.
There are four tiers to the Captain's Circle program:
- Gold (after your first completed cruise)
- Ruby (from your fourth cruise credit, or 31 to 50 cruise days)
- Platinum (from your sixth to 15th cruise credit, or 51 to 150 cruise days)
- Elite (from your 16th cruise credit on, or 151-plus cruise days)
The entry-level tier (Gold) is very limited in what it brings. One of the most alluring benefits at this level is the Preferential Pricing Offer for select sailings that the line extends to Captain's Circle members. The early booking discounts, known as Captain's Circle Launch Savings, are also a plus.
In addition, Gold members get:
- Invitations to members-only onboard events
- Access to a Captain's Circle onboard host
- A members-only magazine
- A recognition pin
Upon reaching the second tier of the program, Ruby, you get a few more perks. However, this tier is a bit ho-hum, too. In addition to the Gold-level rewards, you get a new recognition pin, access to a shoreside Captain's Circle Help Desk phone line, and an upgrade to Princess' Platinum Vacation Protection plan when you purchase a Princess travel insurance plan at the standard rate.
Being loyal to Princess finally starts paying off in a bigger way once you reach the Platinum level of the Captain's Circle program. Even here, though, the rewards are still relatively modest.
The Platinum level comes with five solid perks:
- Priority boarding
- 50% off MedallionNet internet packages
- 10% off spa treatments
- 10% off photo packages
- Early access to Dine My Way reservations
Priority boarding is a great perk as it means you don't have to wait with the hordes upon arriving at a ship and, in theory, can board more quickly — increasing the amount of time you have to enjoy the vessel's offerings on the first day. We're just a little surprised that Princess doesn't offer this perk until the third tier of its loyalty program.
Alas, there isn't a truly spectacular perk in the entire Captain's Circle menu. Still, the Captain's Circle's top Elite status tier does come with a few enticing benefits. Our favorite, by a hair, is the complimentary laundry service that comes with Elite-level status. This can come in handy (and save you a lot of money) on longer voyages.
For more details on Princess's Captain's Circle, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to Princess Cruises' Captain's Circle program .
Royal Caribbean: Crown & Anchor Society
Earning points in Royal Caribbean 's Crown & Anchor Society program isn't too complicated. You will get:
- One additional point for every night you spend in a suite
- One additional point when cruising solo in a cabin meant for two
There are six tiers to the Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society program:
- Gold (3-29 points)
- Platinum ( 30-54 points)
- Emerald (55-79 points)
- Diamond (80-174 points)
- Diamond Plus (175-699 points)
- Pinnacle Club (700 or more points)
The most alluring benefit at the entry-level Gold tier is the exclusive rates available to members for specific sailings of specific ships.
Additionally, Gold members get:
- Crown & Anchor Society onboard offers
- SeaPass card recognition
- Private departure lounge with continental breakfast
- Priority notice of special offers, new ships and itineraries
- Exclusive email offers
- Access to a Crown & Anchor phone line for membership inquiries
- A member newsletter
Upon reaching the second tier of the program, Platinum, you get a few more perks. The most notable, to us, is access to special member discounts on balcony cabins and suites. That can bring real savings. The Platinum tier also brings matching status in the loyalty program of Royal Caribbean's sister line, Celebrity Cruises.
Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean cruise ships and itineraries
In our view, the Diamond Plus level is where the Royal Caribbean loyalty program hits its stride.
Once you reach Diamond Plus, you'll get all the aforementioned benefits plus priority access and seating at main theater shows, ice shows and AquaTheater events, which is a great perk.
Diamond Plus status also brings a 50% reduction in the single-supplement charge for solo travelers — albeit only after your points total in the program hits 340 points. If you're a solo traveler, this is a big deal, as it will save you considerable money when sailing Royal Caribbean.
Diamond Plus members also get:
- Access to exclusive top-tier events
- A personalized gift/amenity (one per household)
- Exclusive access to Diamond Plus call center staff
Related: The 6 classes of Royal Caribbean cruise ships, explained
The ultimate perk for Crown & Anchor Society members comes upon reaching the top Pinnacle Club tier. You'll get a complimentary seven-night cruise to the Caribbean in a balcony cabin.
The free cruise is for two people. You can bring a third and fourth guest, but you'll pay for their fares. You'll also pay all taxes, fees and service charges (including gratuities). Look out for other restrictions as well.
After hitting the Pinnacle Club level, you'll get an additional free cruise every time you accumulate another 350 points. In other words, you'll get an initial free cruise after hitting 700 points and then additional cruises at 1,050 points, 1,400 points, 1,750 points, and so on.
The first two cruises are in a balcony cabin. After that, you qualify for a junior suite.
If you don't want to sail the Caribbean, you can request a cruise credit toward an itinerary elsewhere. Royal Caribbean will give you $2,400 toward the purchase of a cruise at 700 and 1,050 points; you'll get $3,200 toward the purchase of a cruise at 1,400 points and above.
For more details on Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society, including a full list of benefits at every tier, see TPG's ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society .
Viking: Viking Explorer Society
While Viking has a cruise loyalty program, the Viking Explorer Society, it isn't a loyalty program in the traditional sense. Passengers don't earn points every time they travel with the brand and progress through multiple tiers that bring an ever-expanding array of perks.
Instead, the Viking loyalty program offers just a few basic perks available to anyone who has taken at least one voyage with the line.
The Viking Explorer Society loyalty program's main perk is a travel credit of up to $200 that you can get every time you book a new Viking ocean, river or expedition cruise within two years of sailing with the line. Note that travel credits are different from onboard credits. You can only use a Viking Explorer Society credit to pay for a cruise, not for onboard spending.
Viking also offers a referral program that can get you additional travel credits.
For more details on the Viking Explorer Society loyalty program, see TPG's ultimate guide to the Viking Explorer Society loyalty program .
Windstar: Yacht Club
The Yacht Club point-earning system is relatively straightforward. In most cases, members earn 1 point for every day they sail on a Windstar Cruises vessel.
The only exception is for passengers staying in top suites. Customers staying in Wind Class suites or Deluxe suites on Star Plus Class ships will get 1.5 points for every day they sail. Those staying in Owner's suites and Classic suites on Star Plus Class vessels will get 2 points for every day they sail, as will passengers staying in the Bridge Suite on the Wind Surf.
There are four tiers to the Yacht Club program:
- One Star (1 to 19 points)
- Two Star (20 to 39 points)
- Three Star (40 to 89 points)
- Four Sta r (90 or more points)
Even at the lowest One Star level, the perks are fairly robust, at least as compared to loyalty programs of many of Windstar's small-ship cruise line competitors.
Yacht Club members at all four tiers get a 5% discount on fares when booking a cruise. That's a great perk, as it amounts to real money in your pocket. But it gets even better if you book a cruise while on board a Windstar ship or within 60 days of departing one. In such cases, Yacht Club members will get an additional 5% discount on fares — bringing the total savings to 10%.
In select cases, Yacht Club members will be rewarded for their loyalty with even bigger discounts. As part of the program, members can snag an even heftier 20% discount on select Yacht Club member sailings. One caveat: You cannot combine the 20% discount with other offers.
Additionally, all Yacht Club members get:
- Advanced notification of new deployments
- Advanced notification of sales events
- Members-only private sales
- A $100 shipboard credit when referring a new customer to Windstar. The customer also will receive a $100 onboard credit
- Exclusive members-only cocktail party with ship officers
- Exclusive onboard tote
- Additional discounts at sister Xanterra Travel Collection brands
Plus, starting at the One Star level, customers get a 5% discount on laundry service, Wi-Fi and Windstar merchandise whenever they sail with the line. Note that the Wi-Fi discount only applies to Wi-Fi purchased individually and not as part of the line's All-Inclusive Fares.
At the Two Star level, customers get all the above plus a 5% discount on shore excursions and beverage packages (again, the latter discount does not apply to the line's All-Inclusive Fares). They also get a $50 per person onboard credit for every cruise they take.
Related: The 2 classes of Windstar ships, explained
We start to get excited with the Three Star tier. It bumps the discounts for laundry service, Wi-Fi, shore excursions and Windstar merchandise to 10%. If you're the kind of cruiser who does a shore excursion in every port and regularly uses onboard services, such as laundry and Wi-Fi, this could save you $100 or more on a typical seven-night cruise.
The Three Star tier also comes with an onboard credit of $75 per person for every cruise you take. That's more real money in your pocket.
At the top Four Star tier level of the Yacht Club program, passengers get free laundry service and free Wi-Fi on every sailing, both valuable perks. But the most generous perk may be the 15% discount on shore excursions. That's assuming you are a cruiser who signs up for many cruise line-organized shore excursions. If you spend $1,000 a week on excursions, that perk alone is worth $150 per seven-night cruise.
At the Four Star level, members also get a 15% credit on Windstar merchandise and a 10% discount on beverage packages. The onboard credit increases to $100 per person for every cruise you take.
For more details on Windstar's Yacht Club loyalty program, see TPG's ultimate guide to the Windstar Yacht Club loyalty program .
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
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- A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
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- Princess Cruises
Ultimate VIP Princess Cruise
By canuckgrl82 , June 16 in Princess Cruises
Hello! asking for a friend!
I haven't been on too many cruises but I received an offer for an Ultimate VIP cruise on princess for an inside cabin, and it's suppose to come with many perks. Like priority boarding, welcome aboard party, stateroom gifts, etc.. So I booked the offer online through the website.
My question is to those who have received the offer. How do the perks come to be? When I get there will their be more information? Because on my cruise planner it just looks like a regular booking. I also tried calling the casino department and they seem confused.
Just looking for some insight since the reason I booked it was for the perks.
Thank you for any and all responses 🙂
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Was this through the Princess website?
Yes! I recieved an email and booked it through their website.
an ultimate vip cruise in an inside cabin seems like an oxymoron
20 minutes ago, tcdcruiser said: With apologies…. an ultimate vip cruise in an inside cabin seems like an oxymoron
I agree, kinda lame. I did however upgrade to a balcony.
Do you have any information that would help me though?
This is, more than anything, just a marketing tag for persons PCL has identified as casino patrons. Like elite benefits consider having low expectations.
1 hour ago, canuckgrl82 said: I agree, kinda lame. I did however upgrade to a balcony. Do you have any information that would help me though?
May I suggest your friend calls and emails the casino department (again) to get clarification that they are booked as an Ultimate VIP.
There will be documents sent to cabin with promotional listings and gifts over the course of cruise. Good Luck to your friend
You (or your friend) probably have the Plus package included in the perks -- free Plus drinks, prepaid gratuities, WiFi included, some free play and maybe a slot or BJ tournament. These were the meaningful perks I got.
(Priority boarding is worthless unless you are an early arriver. I am not. I think there was a bottle of wine in the cabin, something not of value to me. And during the cruise, a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries, and another time a plate of canapes. I do enjoy the strawberries!)
I would not expect very much. On the Princess website, log in and you can check your travel summary and under the payment tab any credits. This should provide you with some information.
It sounds like a lot of posters are assuming this is just some one off marketing promo, and I’m sure they haven’t been on a VIP cruise. The VIP offers come in all flavors - although we haven’t received an inside cabin offer, I’m assuming it’s like most other casino offers where they have multiple cabin classes available depending on your status with them. Also, I’m assuming that they are sometimes including Princess Plus, and sometimes they aren’t. If it wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the promotional info, it’s not included.
We have to spend a lot of time sorting through the various offers we get to figure out which one we should use. Plus, cabin category, slot tournaments, VIP perks, casino credit, and lately even VIP optional selections (hearts, clubs, Diamond options - but no spades IIRC) - each has some value, and there’s always trade offs in the offers - they never give away the farm.
the VIP cruises are only available on a limited number of sailings - so they can effectively provide some of the perks, like the welcome aboard party.
we’ve never been able to go on a VIP sailing because the sailings are always within 6 months (or so) of the sailing, and we are always booked at least 9 months out. hope someone who has been on one will be able to provide more info. But from the cruise offer you should have a promo code, so I’d call the casino support number (not general support) on the brochure and make sure the promo code is applied to your booking.
You can also check in the cruise planner, go to Manage Booking, and then look at the onboard services tab. At the very bottom of that page you’ll see credits and perks which have been applied to the booking. There should be some indication of VIP benefits there.
We were on an Ultimate VIP cruise last year. When you get to your stateroom there should be an envelope with the schedule of special events along with badges for you and your roommate. Wearing those in the casino should enable you to get free drinks while gambling in the casino. I'm guessing that since you were offered a free inside that you didn't get a free Princess Plus package but that you can be added for the usual cost if you wish. You can also upgrade the room for (usually) a significantly reduced fee.
The biggest different between the regular and Ultimate VIP cruises is that everyone participating gets a gift. There will be an event at a specified time where you will pick an envelope that includes your gift choices. I got the lowest one last year (the "Y" gifts) and selected $500 in free play (there were two other options). The highest value gifts included a choice of $1500 in free play, a Macbook Pro, etc. There will also be gifts left in your room throughout the cruise. Pictures of some of the gifts below.
I'm assuming that you got free play as part of your offer. I would check your Travel Summary PDF that you can get on the Princess website to ensure it shows something like this:
If you don't see "VIP" definitely call casino reservations, otherwise it is possible that you won't be able to participate in the event. These casino bookings are very glitchy and it's not unusual that they need to be "escalated" in order to ensure that guests get everything that was promised.
We are on a vip cruise now. Free inside $200 pp OBC, $600 pp free play. They send strawberries, chocolates and some Prosecco to the cabin. Drinks while playing are free but if you have a plus plan that means nothing. There are several drawings for free play each night. I got $200 free play and my wife 2 different ones for a total of $750. Oh I also hit a $1,300 jackpot playing $2,74 per spin on a penny machine. Damn taxes
4 hours ago, azbirdmom said: We were on an Ultimate VIP cruise last year. When you get to your stateroom there should be an envelope with the schedule of special events along with badges for you and your roommate. Wearing those in the casino should enable you to get free drinks while gambling in the casino. I'm guessing that since you were offered a free inside that you didn't get a free Princess Plus package but that you can be added for the usual cost if you wish. You can also upgrade the room for (usually) a significantly reduced fee. The biggest different between the regular and Ultimate VIP cruises is that everyone participating gets a gift. There will be an event at a specified time where you will pick an envelope that includes your gift choices. I got the lowest one last year (the "Y" gifts) and selected $500 in free play (there were two other options). The highest value gifts included a choice of $1500 in free play, a Macbook Pro, etc. There will also be gifts left in your room throughout the cruise. Pictures of some of the gifts below. I'm assuming that you got free play as part of your offer. I would check your Travel Summary PDF that you can get on the Princess website to ensure it shows something like this: If you don't see "VIP" definitely call casino reservations, otherwise it is possible that you won't be able to participate in the event. These casino bookings are very glitchy and it's not unusual that they need to be "escalated" in order to ensure that guests get everything that was promised.
This is exactly what every ultimate vip cruise is. Although lately the minimum prize dropped down to $300. I believe you can only qualify for Ultimate vip if you previously booked a regular vip cruise. They have events lined up for you every night, along with constant gifts they send to your cabin. Btw always take the free play. Otherwise, you will be taxed. The prizes are worth less than the free play anyways.
9 hours ago, WAvoyager said: It sounds like a lot of posters are assuming this is just some one off marketing promo, and I’m sure they haven’t been on a VIP cruise. The VIP offers come in all flavors - although we haven’t received an inside cabin offer, I’m assuming it’s like most other casino offers where they have multiple cabin classes available depending on your status with them. Also, I’m assuming that they are sometimes including Princess Plus, and sometimes they aren’t. If it wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the promotional info, it’s not included. We have to spend a lot of time sorting through the various offers we get to figure out which one we should use. Plus, cabin category, slot tournaments, VIP perks, casino credit, and lately even VIP optional selections (hearts, clubs, Diamond options - but no spades IIRC) - each has some value, and there’s always trade offs in the offers - they never give away the farm. the VIP cruises are only available on a limited number of sailings - so they can effectively provide some of the perks, like the welcome aboard party. we’ve never been able to go on a VIP sailing because the sailings are always within 6 months (or so) of the sailing, and we are always booked at least 9 months out. hope someone who has been on one will be able to provide more info. But from the cruise offer you should have a promo code, so I’d call the casino support number (not general support) on the brochure and make sure the promo code is applied to your booking. You can also check in the cruise planner, go to Manage Booking, and then look at the onboard services tab. At the very bottom of that page you’ll see credits and perks which have been applied to the booking. There should be some indication of VIP benefits there.
Thank you for taking the time to respond! your answer was very helpful 🙂
7 hours ago, azbirdmom said: We were on an Ultimate VIP cruise last year. When you get to your stateroom there should be an envelope with the schedule of special events along with badges for you and your roommate. Wearing those in the casino should enable you to get free drinks while gambling in the casino. I'm guessing that since you were offered a free inside that you didn't get a free Princess Plus package but that you can be added for the usual cost if you wish. You can also upgrade the room for (usually) a significantly reduced fee. The biggest different between the regular and Ultimate VIP cruises is that everyone participating gets a gift. There will be an event at a specified time where you will pick an envelope that includes your gift choices. I got the lowest one last year (the "Y" gifts) and selected $500 in free play (there were two other options). The highest value gifts included a choice of $1500 in free play, a Macbook Pro, etc. There will also be gifts left in your room throughout the cruise. Pictures of some of the gifts below. I'm assuming that you got free play as part of your offer. I would check your Travel Summary PDF that you can get on the Princess website to ensure it shows something like this: If you don't see "VIP" definitely call casino reservations, otherwise it is possible that you won't be able to participate in the event. These casino bookings are very glitchy and it's not unusual that they need to be "escalated" in order to ensure that guests get everything that was promised.
Thank you so much for your detailed response! This answers my questions perfectly. Love the pictures - I hope you had a wonderful time on the cruise. I'm very excited now!
7 hours ago, memoak said: We are on a vip cruise now. Free inside $200 pp OBC, $600 pp free play. They send strawberries, chocolates and some Prosecco to the cabin. Drinks while playing are free but if you have a plus plan that means nothing. There are several drawings for free play each night. I got $200 free play and my wife 2 different ones for a total of $750. Oh I also hit a $1,300 jackpot playing $2,74 per spin on a penny machine. Damn taxes
That's amazing! it sounds like you're having a good time! I am on an upcoming cruise on July 1st. I'm very excited! Good luck you!!
3 hours ago, gamja said: This is exactly what every ultimate vip cruise is. Although lately the minimum prize dropped down to $300. I believe you can only qualify for Ultimate vip if you previously booked a regular vip cruise. They have events lined up for you every night, along with constant gifts they send to your cabin. Btw always take the free play. Otherwise, you will be taxed. The prizes are worth less than the free play anyways.
Great, thank you for confirming! My offer said Ultimate VIP and it was for very specific sailings (never been on a VIP cruise before) so hopefully it is...fingers crossed 🤞
I received strawberries (weren't that great), some chocolates (not that great), a bottle of champagne (not that great) and at the end of the cruise I received a JENGA game (pretty cool), a sipper cup (nice).
Tip: Ask your host after you've gambled a bit if you qualify for a free dinner and/or massage. I usually ask when I reach around 5,000 pts.
I didn't go to the party (wasn't interested), and I never saw anything at the pier to indicate Priority Boarding (San Francisco).
The drawings in the casino are like winning the lotto (slim). Most of the drawings are $50-$200, they did have a drawing a couple times for a better prize (see post above) but even that was rigged against you.
Bottom line, if the cruise works for you time wise do it. Just don't expect too much.
In addition with 1hour left before casino closed my wife hit $3,000 on a video poker machine. So all told we got a good price, OBC, $600 free play each and got free play of $950 in raffles and walked off with around $3K
3 minutes ago, memoak said: In addition with 1hour left before casino closed my wife hit $3,000 on a video poker machine. So all told we got a good price, OBC, $600 free play each and got free play of $950 in raffles and walked off with around $3K
Very nice! 👍🏻
The downside of these cruises if you are NOT booked with the group is that the casino is so packed you can't get a machine.
30 minutes ago, LeeW said: The downside of these cruises if you are NOT booked with the group is that the casino is so packed you can't get a machine.
There were always machines available on our vip cruise. The only really crowded area was the craps table. The biggest downside was that the smoking slot area was. 3 times bigger than the non smoking. They should reverse the sides
Has anyone been on a Prestige Casino Cruise through Princess? Is it similar to the Ultimate VIP Cruise?
4 hours ago, Crystal04 said: Has anyone been on a Prestige Casino Cruise through Princess? Is it similar to the Ultimate VIP Cruise?
Is so much better with perks. If you get an invite the perks will be listed. My favorite was private car service to and from the ship.
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Princess ® Hearts
Making you feel special is our specialty.
Embark on one of these cruises and enjoy exclusive perks and events that only our casino Hearts members have access to.
Hearts Benefits Just for You
Qualify For A Complimentary Stateroom
Casino Free Play
Drinks On Us
Hearts welcome aboard party.
A great way to meet other Hearts passengers, we will be hosting a welcome party at the start of your voyage. Enjoy a glass of champagne and mingle with crew and new friends.
Dedicated Hearts host
The hosts on board are your first stop for any accommodations or to learn about what’s happening in the casino.
Enjoy priority embarkation with your Hearts group
Be one of the first to arrive onboard as a casino VIP and get your vacation off to a relaxing start.
Special Hearts stateroom amenities
To add some luxury to your casino Hearts cruise, you will be delighted by special amenities added to your stateroom.
Commemorative Hearts cruise gift
Celebrate your casino Hearts loyalty with an exclusive gift from Princess. It is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for sailing and playing with us.
Ultimate Hearts cruises
Take your experience to the next level where you’ll have a chance to win exciting gifts and participate in raffles & drawings. After you sail on a Hearts cruise, you gain access to one of these special voyages.
How do I become a Hearts guest?
Your play from previous Princess Cruises can qualify you for special Hearts voyages. Offers will be sent to your inbox and mailbox once you qualify.
Ready to Book?
Log in to book your cruise online! If your offer includes the Princes Plus℠ package ^ , it will be visible on your booking confirmation. If it's not included, you can upgrade to the Princess Plus package through the Princess MedallionClass app or Cruise Personalizer after you book. Your casino free play for this offer will be applied to one cruise only. If your offer doesn’t appear on the booking confirmation, it has already been claimed for another Hearts cruise.
Canada & new england, panama canal, transatlantic, australia & south pacific, players club hearts terms and conditions, you may also like.
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Princess cruises unveils new club class mini-suite stateroom category.
Princess Cruises is set to offer guests a new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining with the introduction of its Club Class Mini-Suite in December. The elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining , a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options, as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation. Club Class guests will also be among the first to sleep on the new Princess Luxury Bed . Club Class will debut in Australia in December 2016 on Emerald Princess and roll out across the rest of the Australian-based fleet during 2017. Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the new staterooms would provide Princess guests with an enhanced accommodation experience during their cruise. "The VIP perks, including the new Club Class Dining, offers a premium and memorable onboard experience so our guests can completely relax, unwind and immerse themselves in worldwide destinations and ultimately ‘come back new'," Mr Allison said. Offering guests more convenience, Club Class Dining will be open every evening for dinner, as well as for breakfast and lunch on sea days. Featuring exclusive menu options with daily chef's special and table-side preparations, the dedicated seating area also includes dedicated wait staff and uniquely-styled table décor. Club Class Mini-Suite guests will also enjoy the following additional VIP perks: · The Princess Luxury Bed – Club Class guests will be among the first to experience the "Ultimate Sleep at Sea," in the new bed designed in collaboration with board certified sleep expert Dr Michael Breus and renowned HGTV Designer Candice Olson · Priority check-in and boarding at the beginning of the cruise and priority disembarkation at the end of the cruise · One-time complimentary wine set-up on embarkation day (1/2 bottle of red and white) · Evening canapés (upon request) · Luxurious terry shawl bathrobes In addition to Club Class Dining and upgraded amenities and services, Club Class Mini-Suites include all of the standard mini-suite benefits, such as spacious staterooms of up to 30 square metres with balcony, separate seating area with sofa bed and coffee table, bathroom with combination tub and shower and a welcome glass of champagne. Full Suite guests will also enjoy all the benefits of Club Class Mini-Suites including Club Class Dining – and be among the first to experience the new Princess Luxury Bed – in addition to the many other amenities offered with a Full Suite. The new Club Class Mini-Suites add to the cruise line's previously announced " Come Back New Promise ," a multi-year, multi-million-dollar program introducing new product innovations that offer guests enriching holiday experiences. The "Come Back New Promise" includes a partnership with award-winning chef and restaurateur Curtis Stone, bringing guests fresh culinary creations, which debuted in Australian waters on Sun Princess in April this year. Club Class Mini-Suites are available for booking now. More information, including the ship rollout schedule, is available at princess.com/clubclass . For information about Princess Cruises visit www.princess.com , call 13 24 88 or visit a licensed travel agent.
AIDA Cruises is the market leader in the German-speaking cruise market. Home of the smile, AIDA Cruises is the epitome of a premium-quality, relaxing cruise and operates one of the world’s most state-of-the-art fleets. Visit: www.aida.de
Carnival Cruise Line, also known as America’s Cruise Line, is a leader in contemporary cruising and operates a fleet of ships designed to provide fun and memorable vacation experiences at a great value. Visit: www.carnival.com
Costa Cruises delivers Italy’s finest at sea, bringing modern Italian lifestyle to its ships to provide guests with a true European experience that embodies a unique passion for life through warm hospitality, entertainment and gastronomy. Visit: www.costacruise.com
Cunard is the epitome of British refinement for travelers who relish the line’s impeccable White Star Service, gourmet dining, world-class entertainment, and the legacy of historic voyages and transatlantic travel. Visit: www.cunard.com
Holland America Line's premium fleet of spacious, elegant mid-sized ships feature sophisticated five-star dining, extensive entertainment and activities, innovative culinary enrichment programs and compelling worldwide itineraries. Visit: www.hollandamerica.com
P&O Cruises (UK) is Britain’s favorite cruise line with a fleet of ships combining genuine service and a sense of occasion and attention to detail, ensuring passengers have the holiday of a lifetime, every time. Visit: www.pocruises.co.uk
P&O Cruises (Australia) provides a quintessential holiday experience for Australians and New Zealanders, taking them to some of the world's most idyllic and hard-to-reach places across Asia and the South Pacific. Visit: www.pocruises.co.au
Princess is the world’s leading international cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of modern cruise ships, renowned for the innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities. Visit: www.princess.com
Seabourn provides ultraluxury cruising vacations in a unique, small-ship style that focuses on genuine, intuitive service, all-suite accommodations, superb cuisine and unique experiences in destinations worldwide. Visit: www.seabourn.com
Princess Plus on Princess Cruises: Can it Save You Money?
By: Author Carrie Ann
Posted on Published: April 20, 2022 - Last updated: May 29, 2022
If you’re planning a Princess cruise, you’ve probably noticed the option of booking a Princess Plus fare. But is Princess Plus worth it? Here’s everything you need to know about this fare type on Princess Cruises .
Traditionally, only select luxury cruise lines were all-inclusive , not charging passengers for alcoholic drinks, crew tips, and (more recently) unlimited WiFi.
But now several premium cruise lines have developed more inclusive fares, including Princess Cruises with Princess Plus.
Let’s go over everything that Princess Plus includes—which perks you get with this fare, what it costs per cruiser, and whether or not it’s a good value for you.
What is Princess Plus?
Princess Plus is a fare type that includes a variety of amenities that cruisers used to have to pay for separately.
When you book Princess Plus, you’ll get the Plus Beverage Package, unlimited WiFi, and crew gratuities, all included in your fare.
This isn’t a limited-time-only sale. Instead, the cruise line is now offering passengers the option to pay a slightly higher fare in exchange for a variety of perks that usually come with a daily charge.
Princess Plus vs. Princess Standard or Princess Premier
Although Princess used to offer just one fare type, they now have three: Princess Standard (formerly Princess Savers), Princess Plus, and Princess Premier .
Princess Standard is the cruise line’s fare-only product with just the basic inclusions: lodging, meals, and a (very) limited selection of drinks.
Princess Premier is the newest fare type, launched in May 2022. This even more inclusive fare has all the features of Princess Plus with some extras like top-shelf drinks and free specialty dining.
You can choose Princess Standard, Plus, or Premier for any stateroom category, from a basic inside cabin to a luxurious full suite.
It’s similar to how many low-cost airlines offer a base fare without any extras, but for a slightly higher price you’ll have free checked bags, priority boarding, and seat selection.
Princess Plus isn’t like upgrading to business or first class on a plane—you’re still in the same cabin class on the ship, but with some extra amenities thrown in.
You may also like: The 10 Worst Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid
How much does Princess Plus cost?
Princess Plus costs an additional $40 per person, per day, on top of the base cruise fare.
As an example, let’s say you’ve booked a seven-day cruise in an oceanview cabin that costs $1200 per person including taxes and port fees.
With Princess Standard, your cruise will cost $1200 + $14.50 per day for automatic gratuities. Your total cost would be $1301.50.
With Princess Plus, your cruise will cost $1200 + $280 for the upgrade (equal to $40 per day). Your total cost would be $1480.
For less than $180 total, you’ll have a drink package and unlimited WiFi for the entire seven-day sailing.
Which drink package is included with Princess Plus?
Princess Plus includes the Plus Beverage Package for guests age 21 and over, or the Coffee & Soda Package (formerly the Premier Coffee & Soda Package) for guests under 21.
The Plus Beverage Package includes:
- Wine by the glass*
- Fountain soda
- Specialty coffees
- Fresh juices
- Bottled water (500ml only)
- Frappés at Coffee & Cones
- Hot chocolate
- Red Bull energy drinks
- “Zero-proof” mocktails
*with a menu price of $12 or less
Princess does limit alcoholic drinks to 15 per day, per person. Non-alcoholic drinks are unlimited with this package.
The Plus Beverage Package normally costs $59.99 USD per person, per day. A service charge of 18% is included when booking, bringing the cost to $70.79 per day.
The Coffee & Soda Package includes:
- Premium and specialty coffees and teas
- Fountain sodas
- Fresh fruit juices
- Frappes at Coffee & Cones
The Coffee & Soda Package is usually $19.99 USD per person, per day. An 18% service charge is included when booking, bringing the daily cost to $23.59.
For more info on Princess beverage packages, be sure to read my Princess Cruises Drink Packages: The Ultimate Guide for all the details.
What is the WiFi package with Princess Plus?
With Princess Plus, unlimited MedallionNet WiFi is included in the fare. You’ll get their unlimited internet package for one device per person, which is fast enough to let you video chat and stream programs.
All Princess ships now have the MedallionNet technology, which they claim is the best WiFi at sea!
MedallionNet WiFi is normally priced at $9.99 per person per day when you purchase before your cruise. (Platinum and Elite guests receive a 50% discount on individually-purchased WiFi packages, reimbursed as onboard credit.)
With the included WiFi package, you can use messaging apps like WeChat, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family back home. However, the WiFi won’t work to send or receive SMS text messages.
Learn more about this in my post How to Text on a Cruise Ship for Free
Which gratuities are included with Princess Plus?
On Princess cruises, a daily gratuity is charged to your onboard account. Daily gratuities go to housekeeping staff as well as to other behind-the-scenes workers.
The charge varies, based on the category of stateroom you’re sailing in:
- $14.50 per person, per day for inside, oceanview, and balcony staterooms
- $15.50 per person, per day for mini-suite or club class staterooms
- $16.50 per person, per day for full suites
On a seven-day cruise, you’d pay $101.50 per person in gratuities for inside, oceanview, and balcony staterooms, $108.50 per person for mini-suites, and $115.50 per person for suites.
But with Princess Plus, these daily charges are included in the package.
Learn more: Tipping on a Cruise Ship: What You Need to Know About Cruise Gratuities
What’s the total value of Princess Plus?
The Princess Plus package is valued at $95.28 per person, per day. For those sailing in a mini-suite or suite, you can add an extra dollar or two per day to the value. The higher-priced daily gratuities for these stateroom types are included in the fare.
Do you have to buy the Princess Plus package when you cruise on Princess?
Princess Plus is completely optional. Guests on Princess still have the option to buy a basic fare that doesn’t include a drink package, WiFi, or crew gratuities.
Is Princess Plus worth the money?
For many cruisers, upgrading to a Princess Plus fare is a no-brainer. If you’re planning on buying the Plus Beverage Package anyway, you’ll save more than $30 per person per day by upgrading. Plus you’ll have the free WiFi and gratuities included as an added bonus!
If you wouldn’t normally buy a drink package because you wouldn’t drink enough to justify the expense, you still might want to consider this upgrade. If you bought the Plus Beverage Package on its own, you’d need to drink between 6-10 drinks per day (depending on the menu price of the beverages) just to break even.
But with Princess Plus, you could break even with 4-6 alcoholic drinks per day. Or even fewer if you also take advantage of the included specialty coffees and bottled water!
Of course, if you’re looking to cut costs and don’t need a drinks package or WiFi on your cruise, you have the option to book the lowest fare with Princess Standard.
Princess Plus FAQ
Guests can book through a travel agent or directly through the cruise line. The Princess Plus fare is available to residents of the 50 United States and DC, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
As Princess Plus is a fare type and not an add-on, you can re-fare your cruise at the current Princess Plus rate before final payment. However, you may lose any promos or perks from your original booking.
When booking Princess Plus, the fare defaults to everyone in the stateroom. However, third and fourth guests in the same cabin can opt out by calling Princess or their travel agent.
Yes, you can use an FCC or FCD as payment toward a Princess Plus fare.
Guests under 21 on a Princess Plus fare will receive the Coffee & Soda Package instead of the Plus Beverage Package.
If a guest age 21 or over doesn’t drink alcohol, Princess doesn’t offer substitutions. However, the drink package does include a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks.
Princess Plus fares are available for all stateroom types.
Resources for your Princess cruise
Book your cruise:
Want to check the current lowest fares for your next Princess cruise? I recommend CruiseDirect . They guarantee the lowest prices and don’t charge a booking fee.
Book your airfare:
If you’re flying to your cruise port, you’ll want to save money on your airline tickets, right? I use both Skyscanner and the Hopper app (mobile only) to find the best deals on airfare.
Book your shore excursions:
To save money on shore excursions, I like booking tours and experiences in port through GetYourGuide or Viator .
Don’t forget travel insurance!
World Nomads is my go-to travel insurance provider for all my travel adventures. Not sure you need travel insurance for your cruise? Read my post Do You Really Need Cruise Travel Insurance to decide for yourself.
More Princess cruise posts you’ll love
Want to learn more about Princess cruises? Here are my top Princess cruise posts you’ll want to read:
- Princess Premier Cruise Package on Princess Cruises
- 21 Princess Cruise Tips You Need to Know
- Princess Cruises Drink Packages: The Ultimate Guide
- Ultimate Guide to Princess Cays
- Ultimate Balcony Dining on Princess Cruises
Have you purchased Princess Plus before? Or are you thinking about buying it for your next Princess cruise? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
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Cruise News Update: November 7, 2023 [VIDEO]
- Doug Parker
- November 7, 2023
- Cruise News
Here are the top cruise industry news stories for Tuesday, November 7, 2023, and the stock report for Carnival Corporation (CCL), Royal Caribbean Group (RCL), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH).
In this article:
Carnival Panorama Experiences Propulsion Issues
Celebrity cruises introduces celebrity pass, princess cruises returns to texas, cruise line stock report, watch cruise news today [video], cruise news updates for today.
The slow boat to Mexico.
Carnival Panorama is experiencing issues with its cruising speed and will only make one port of its current sailing.
A letter from the captain to guests onboard read, “Regrettably, due to the reduced speed, we will not be able to visit Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.”
It read, “However, we will be able to call on Cabo San Lucas Wednesday before returning to Long Beach Saturday.”
The journey from Cabo to Southern California is approximately 1,000 miles.
Guests are receiving $400 per stateroom as an onboard credit.
Carnival Panorama sails out of Long Beach, California, on seven-night Mexican Rivera sailings.
The ship entered service in late 2019 and will enter its first dry dock next summer.
Celebrity Cruises has introduced the “Celebrity Pass,” an optional VIP upgrade for guests offering enhanced benefits such as priority boarding, a special welcome lunch, upgraded Wi-Fi for two devices, waived room service fees, priority tender port access, and reserved theater seating.
This will set you back $32.99 per day.
The availability of the pass across the fleet or on select ships is yet to be clarified, though, by the emails on our tip line, it has popped up on quite a few reservations.
Princess Cruises is back in Texas for the season.
Regal Princess started voyages from Galveston, Texas, as the largest Princess ship to be based there.
Celebrations included a plaque exchange and local performances, with remarks on the 20-year history of Princess Cruises in Galveston.
The Regal Princess will sail 21 voyages to the Caribbean through next March and expects to bring 75,000 passengers during the winter season.
- CCL 12.26, down 2.3%
- RCL 9044, down 2%
- NCL 13.11, down 5%
- Cruise News Update: November 8, 2023 [VIDEO]
- Carnival Honors Veterans at PortMiami, Donates Van to Veterans Affairs
- Celebrity Pass: VIP Boarding, Speedy Wi-Fi, and More for a Daily Fee
- Storm Injures 100 on Adults-Only Cruise Line
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