If someone told you that you could go on a cruise vacation with your family and friends and you did not have to pay for your cabin, would that interest you? And no, you do not have to sit through a timeshare presentation and be pressured by a pushy salesman. Thanks to tour conductor (TC) credits, there are thousands who cruise for free by simply getting friends, family, co-workers, class reunions to go on a cruise with them.
How does it work?
Cruise lines give out free cabins when a group takes a cruise. Most cruise lines consider 8 or more cabins a group. The more cabins that are booked, the more tour conductor (TC) credits are earned.
- 8 cabins earns 1 free berth (bed)
- 16 cabins earns 2 free berths (1 free cabin)
- 24 cabins earns 3 free berths (beds)
- 32 cabins earns 4 free berths (2 free cabins)
- 100 cabins earns 12 free berths (6 free cabins)
Are the cabins really free?
Yes, by being the leader of a group, you will not have to pay for your cabin fare. However, you will be responsible for any port taxes and fees. The type of cabin that you earn will also depend on the category of cabins that your group booked. If the majority of the cabins were balcony, then the TC would count towards a balcony. The same would hold true for ocean-view or inside staterooms. Some cruise lines such as Carnival will base your TC on the average cruise fare of all the cabins in the group.
Note: You have to pay for the stateroom up front and the cost of the berth is refunded to you after the cruise.
How much work is involved in being a tour conductor?
The leader of the group is responsible for picking out a date and promoting the cruise. After all, the more friends and family that you get to go on the cruise the more free berths you earn. You can either go through the cruise line or a travel agency to receive the TC credits. Going through a local travel agency can give you the personal touch as well as do a lot of the nitty gritty work for you. They can often provide you with flyers and brochures to help you promote the group cruise.
You will not have to collect any money, just send friendly reminders that deposits or final payments are due.
Going through a local travel agency can often negotiate special amenities for your group. Some of these amenities can include:
- Stateroom credit
- Group photoes
- Cocktail parties
- Bottles of wine
- Spa credits
- Lower cabin rates
In a previous post, we talked about how you can cruise for free with enrichment programs. However, that involves you working while on the cruise. With TC credits, once the last person in your group has made the final payment, all your work is done and you can sit back and enjoy your free cruise with your friends and family.
Examples of Groups
- Class Reunions
- Social Clubs
- Business Groups
- Girls Get-a-Way
The most budget friendly time to take a group cruise is normally anytime when children are in school and it is not a major holiday. Times to avoid would be June-August, spring break, and Christmas/New Years.