When you’re on a cruise ship, the cruise ship – whether it’s Royal Caribbean International (RCL) – Get the Royal Caribbean Group reportCarnival Cruise Line (CCL) – Get Carnival Corporation ReportNorwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd report, or other – wants to lock you in as a returning customer. To keep you coming back, every major cruise line has a loyalty program.
For example, Royal Caribbean has its Crown & Anchor Society, where passengers earn one point per night sailed (or two if they sail alone or in a suite).
Even sailing once will give you a little status (though no meaningful benefit). However, when you reach Diamond status (80 points), you get access to a special in-flight lounge, four free drinks per day, and many other perks.
Diamond members (and the higher Diamond Plus and Pinnacle categories) also get access to onboard special events, pre-cruise discounts and other really meaningful benefits. It doesn’t do this because Royal Caribbean wants to be nice. These benefits are offered to get customers to stick with the brand and not want to try a cruise at Carnival, Norwegian, or one of the smaller brands.
Loyalty programs reward loyalty, but they also create loyalty because many people don’t want to try another cruise line for which they don’t have an identity.
Royal Caribbean also keeps customers loyal by rewarding them for booking their next voyage during the current voyage. Every ship has a “Next Cruise” office where you can lock in your next cruise at a better price, with some incentives like onboard credits.
If you want these benefits, you need to book with Next Cruise before the end of your current cruise. Now, cruise lines have decided to give passengers more leeway when applying for those benefits.
The Royal Caribbean Blog’s Matt Hochberg reports that Royal Caribbean has offered its Next Cruise benefits to passengers even after they disembarked.
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Judging by the company’s emails, the new “Welcome Home” promotion appears to extend the benefits of online bookings to passengers who recently booked at home during the promotion.
The Welcome Home promotion is valid for new non-refundable bookings made within 30 days of the previous sailing between 1 July and 31 August 2022.
Welcome Home offers up to $600 in Ocean On Board Credit (OBC) per cabin for departures between July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2024.
Promo code “SAILAGAIN” must be entered at the time of booking to receive OBC.
Onboard credit limits vary widely depending on the type of room someone has booked and the length of the cruise.
Why is Royal Caribbean offering this deal?
Royal Caribbean has made a trade-off between using lower prices to attract more passengers and not undercutting the price of its cruises.
Promotions like these extend existing benefits to passengers for longer and should lead to more bookings without giving the company a sense that its cruises aren’t worth paying full price.
Cruise lines must also take into account that fare and onboard credit deals are often worth it to the company, as people spend more money after boarding and before sailing.
“Strong demand for the cruise experience continues to translate into our strong onboard revenue performance across everything from casinos, beverages and shore excursions to internet, retail and spas,” CEO Jason Liberty said in the chain’s first said on the quarterly earnings call.
“As a result, we continue to see increasing penetration of pre-cruise purchases, which has resulted in a significant increase in total spend per guest,” he added.
Basically, if you get people to buy a ticket, they’ll spend more on all the potential extras the cruise line offers, which makes up for the difference in any discounts the company offers.