Cruise FactsHow Much it Takes to Get a Free Cruise Through Loyalty Points

How Much it Takes to Get a Free Cruise Through Loyalty Points

Which cruise lines actually offer a free cruise for being loyal?

Cruise lines reward loyal cruisers with all kinds of perks and benefits.  When just starting out it can be a free beverage, discounts at the spa, or even priority boarding privileges.

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But the cherry on top for cruise loyalty programs is an actual cruise itself.  Some cruise lines will give you a free 7-night cruise after building up a certain number of loyalty points.

Cruise ships docked in Nassau, Bahamas
Which cruise lines offer a free cruise for being loyal? (Photo Credit: Cruise Fever)

In this article we will highlight some of the cruise lines that offer a free cruise to loyal passengers and see how much it takes to reach that status.

Most cruise line loyalty programs use a point system where each night on a cruise is equivalent to one point, but suite cabins and other booking types can equal double the points.

Remember that these free cruises do not include taxes, fees, and other service charges, including the cost of getting to and from the cruise port.

Related: 8 cruise loyalty programs compared


Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean has 6 tiers of loyalty status as part of its Crown and Anchor Society.  Starting with Gold and ending with Pinnacle Club each level is achieved by attaining points.  Each day of a cruise is worth one point, and when booking a suite it is worth double the points.

At the Pinnacle Club tier is where cruisers can get a free cruise as a reward.  This takes getting 700 points (700 nights at sea or 350 nights with a suite booking).  This is the equivalent of taking 100 7-night cruises or 50 7-night cruises with a suite.

So, what kind of free cruise do loyal cruisers get?  Once 700 points is reached you can select a 7N Balcony stateroom based on double-occupancy.   This cruise is for Caribbean sailings or for $2,400 towards the purchase of a cruise.

Some small print: You cannot use your free cruise on newer ships within their first year of sailings and you cannot use your free cruise on most major holidays.

After 700 points is reached you can earn a new cruise every 350 points thereafter.  After 1,400 points is reached you can score a Junior Suite for free instead of the 7N balcony stateroom.


Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian has 7 tiers of loyalty benefits with its Latitudes Rewards Loyalty Program, starting with Bronze and topping off with Ambassador level.    You earn one point for every cruise night and those points are doubled if booking a suite or The Haven.

You can also earn an extra point per night if you book a Latitudes Rewards Insider Offer with Norwegian.

The Ambassador level takes 700 points to reach and is where the free cruise kicks in.

This entitles you to one 7-day cruise in a balcony stateroom.  You can choose any destination but holidays are restricted.  This free cruise if for two people and additional guests will have to pay the current rates.


Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival does not offer a free cruise to its members of the VIFP Club.    Diamond is the top tier of the loyalty program and requires at least 200 points.

While there is no free cruise here, you can at least get a one-time free cabin upgrade or a 3rd guest sailing free once the Diamond level is reached.  Some other perks for this top tier include a complimentary meal for two at a specialty restaurant and unlimited wash and fold laundry service.


MSC Cruises

The MSC Voyagers Club program has 5 membership levels, starting with Classic and ending maxing out at Diamond level.  You are automatically enrolled into the program when you book your first MSC cruise.

With MSC the points system is a little different than other cruise lines.    You get 500 points for a 7-night Bella experience level cruise and 1,500 points for a 7-night Yacht Club experience cruise with different point levels in between.

But even at the Diamond level, which takes 10,000 points to achieve, there is no free cruise with this program.    You do, however, get a complimentary specialty dining experience, priority boarding, and priority disembarkation.


Princess Cruises

There are four levels to the Princess loyalty program called the Princess Captain’s Circle.  Gold is reached after your first cruise and Elite level is achieved after attaining 15 cruises or 150 cruise days.

There is no free cruise option in this loyalty program, but once Elite level is reached you can get priority disembarkation and free laundry.


Celebrity Cruises

With 5 levels of loyalty status with Captain’s Club, cruisers with Celebrity start out in Classic and top out at Zenith, which requires 3,000 club points.

Points are based on the number of nights you sail with Celebrity but also depend on the cabin category you select.  For instance, you earn 2 club points per night with an inside cabin, 3 points for a veranda, and 24 points per night for an Iconic suite, with many other cabin categories in between.

A free cruise is earned by members once Zenith level is reached.  This complimentary cruise is for a 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise in a Veranda stateroom.

If booking a Veranda stateroom for each cruise, earning 3 points per night, it would take about 143 7-night cruises to reach this level.

If booking an Edge Villa for each cruise, it would take about 24 7-night cruises to achieve this level.

After every additional 3,000 points you will receive another 7-night cruise in an AquaClass stateroom will be awarded.

Keep in mind that you can use your Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Society points on Celebrity Cruises as well.

See all the benefits with Captain’s Club here.


Holland America Line

The Mariner Society is the name of Holland America’s loyalty program.   Cruisers are automatically enrolled when they take their first cruise with the company.

The tiers start at 1-Star Mariner and top out at 5-Star Mariner.  Each cruise day earns credits towards your loyalty level.   It takes 500 cruise day credits to reach the 5-Star Mariner level.

There is no free cruise reward as part of this program.  Once the top tier is reached you can expect two complimentary specialty dining meals and a free day pass for the thermal suite.


Disney Cruise Line

The Disney Cruise Line Castaway Club is the cruise line’s 4-tier loyalty program.  Silver is achieved after the first sailing and Pearl is achieved after 25 sailings.

Many perks are offered with this program, including discounts, a complimentary dinner at Palo Steakhouse, and an unlimited digital photo package.

But there is no free cruise offered to loyal members of the program.


Bottom Line

In this above list there are only 3 cruise lines that offer a free cruise for being loyal to their brand: Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line.    This list did not include some of the more luxury cruise brands and all-inclusive cruise lines.

To even reach these membership tiers and get a free cruise it will take anywhere from 100-150 cruises in most cases, so it’s not an easy achievement.    It requires not only being loyal to that brand but also taking a lot of cruises, meaning a lot of time and money.

But still, we can all dream a little and wish to reach that top level.  For now, I will settle for a free beverage or dessert, and priority embarkation for some of the lower status levels.

Read more: The reality of cruise cabin upgrades: 7 things to consider first

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise FactsHow Much it Takes to Get a Free Cruise Through Loyalty Points

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