While I’m out of pocket this week, I’ll be posting some “best of” content to fill in the blanks during a time of limited posting ability. One of my most often asked questions revolves around cruise line elite status. Here’s a quick primer, and links to the scoop on several cruise line loyalty programs.
There’s more to elite status than meets the eye. Most readers will be intimately familiar with the benefits of holding elite status with airlines, hotels, and even rental car companies. But did you know cruise lines offer elite programs as well? Not unlike the programs you are more familiar with, the more you sail, the more elite you can become. You’ll recognize a lot of elite benefits with cruise lines, especially the level names like Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. No, they don’t call their levels helmsman, second mate, chief mate, and Captain! The benefits are even similar like priority check in and boarding, upgrade opportunities, and even lounge access. That’s where the similarities end. I’ve toured the bridge of the largest cruise ship in the world thanks to my elite status. Can’t think of any cockpit tours I’ve received thanks to my elite status with airlines. Other elite benefits run that gamut from complimentary shoe shines to free laundry. We’ll cover them all here.
With cruise lines, your progress towards elite status is cumulative for life. OK, sure, they can change the benefits, but you need not requalify each year. In other words, once you hit a certain elite level, you’re there. You only need to worry about getting to your next level, and once you hit that mark, it’s yours from then on no matter how often you cruise.
In this series, I’ll cover the elite programs of the big cruise lines, and wrap things up with a summary of elite reciprocity amongst brands. In other words, Royal Caribbean owns Celebrity and they offer elite reciprocity between the two lines which we’ll talk about here. Much like air travel, I find that I’d rather cruise with elite status than without it. Feel free to ask questions along the way.
-MJ, July 23, 2014
Introduction — Status Matters – A New Cruising with MJ Series