No matter how new you are to cruising, you’ve probably heard about the loyalty programs that various cruise lines offer. In fact, many cruisers stay with one cruise line throughout the entirety of their travels to rack up days, hoping to earn discounts, rewards, and let’s face it – free laundry.
There’s more to these loyalty programs than free laundry, of course. Depending on the cruise line, benefits can include early booking opportunities, discounted bookings, free excursions and transfers, and so much more. In this article we will be looking at the loyalty programs offered by Silversea, Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, and Seabourn.
Before we look at the various benefits that each individual loyalty program offers, let’s look at how they work. Guests will earn rewards based on the amount of time they have sailed with a certain line. This is done by looking at the total number of days that a guest has sailed, not at the number of voyages – with the exception of Crystal, where guests gain “levels” based on the duration of their cruise.
Passengers will generally be added to the program automatically when they have completed their first sailings, although some cruise lines have minimums. However, these minimums are usually the length of an average sailing.
These programs work similarly in the way that points are acquired and redeemed. The programs vary, however, in the benefits that they offer. So let’s take a look at each individual program to see exactly what each program has to offer.
We will start with Crystal because, in my opinion, Crystal’s membership program is the hardest to understand. From free cruises to Membership pins, Crystal offers many benefits to its returning guests.
Obviously there is a difference between getting a pin and receiving a free cruise. Crystal varies from the other cruise that we will look at in the numbers of tiers that they have, which they call Milestone Levels. As I mentioned earlier, Milestone Levels are gained based on the amount of credits a guest has, which they acquire based on the duration of their trip.
Guests will acquire one cruise credit for each voyage between five and 15 days, and two credits for voyages longer than 16 days. For every five credits a guest earns, they go up one Milestone Level. Confused yet? Me too.
Essentially, for every voyage you complete you get between one and two credits, which are then added to your membership. For every five credits, you gain a Milestone Level or, in layman’s terms, you go up one tier.
Crystal offers discounts to all Crystal Society Members, not just those who are in the upper tiers. Other benefits included at the lowest level are a Crystal tote bag, Crystal luggage tag, subscription to Passport magazine, early access to new itineraries and programs, and a dedicated Crystal Society Host.
From there on, Milestones Levels go up to 100 in increments of five. Because there are so many Milestone Levels, we will simply go over the highlights as the levels progress.
At Milestone Level 5, guests start earning shipboard credits. The amount of these shipboard credits range from US$100 to US$600 based on Milestone Level. At Milestone Level 10, guests receive access to a Crystal Society cocktail party. At level 15, passengers will be able to take private transfers from the airport to the ship if booking a Penthouse cabin.
Once a guest reaches Milestone Level 25, they are eligible for a free cruise. The cruise will be free for up to seven nights, but if guests wish to use their free cruise toward a longer sailing they can do so and Crystal will give a discounted rate with the credit applied. At the base level, guests will sail in a balcony cabin however those who have previously stayed in Penthouses for the minimum number of required days can use their free cruise to book a Penthouse.
At Milestone Level 50, guests will receive a free cruise of up to 12 nights with the same requirements and exceptions mentioned previously. These guests will also be able to dine at specialty restaurants for no extra charge.
Throughout these different levels, guests will also receive lapel pins and other perks not mentioned. Although no complimentary laundry service is offered, guests are able to use laundry facilities free of charge. But come on, who wants to do laundry on vacation?
Though gained automatically, Milestone awards are not automatically applied to cruises, so you will need to make sure you request a Milestone application before the cruise departs.
If you were confused during the explanation of Crystal’s loyalty program, that’s okay. This one will be easier.
Regent Seven Seas has seven different tiers of memberships to Seven Seas Society. These are all based on the number of days that a passenger sails. There is no conversion from credits to levels, simply just the tier and the number of nights corresponding to that tier.
Regent Seven Seas’ first tier is the Bronze tier. This tier is comprised of guests who have sailed with Regent between seven and 20 nights. The sole perk in this tier is savings on select voyages.
Before looking at the next tiers, it is important to note that each tier builds off of each other, so I will only present what each upper level tier offers in addition to the lower level tiers.
Next, we have the Silver tier – made up of guests who have sailed between 21 and 74 nights with Regent. Benefits include:
What comes after Silver? Gold. See, I told you this one was easy. Guests who have sailed with Regent from 75 to 199 nights are eligible for the following benefits:
After Gold we have Platinum. Consisting of guests who have sailed between 200-399 nights with Regent, the Platinum tier grants guests:
While the Platinum seems to provide everything that most cruisers would want, we still have three more tiers left. The Titanium tier is for guests who have sailed between 400 and 999 nights with Regent and offers the following benefits:
Second to last, guests who have sailed between 1,000 and 1,900 nights will gain the Diamond tier status, providing them with the following:
Lastly, the Commodore tier. Guests who have sailed with Regent for 2,000 nights or more will receive the following perks:
Like Regent, Seabourn breaks its membership into various tiers. However, Seabourn uses Club Points and Milestone Awards to provide guests with various benefits.
Let’s look at Milestone Awards first. There are two types of awards, one being a gift, and one being a complimentary cruise. After 140 sailed days, guests are eligible for a complimentary cruise of up to seven days, and after 250 sailed days guests are eligible for a complimentary cruise of up to 14 days.
As mentioned, Milestone Awards also come in the form of gifts. Guests will receive a free gift from Tiffany & Co. after:
Apart from Milestone Awards, guests will gain Club Points. Each day you sail with Seabourn, you are awarded one Club Point, which will place you in various tiers. Club Points can also be gained in the following ways:
Simple enough? Good. Now we will look at the different tiers of membership and the benefits included with each. As we go up, each level includes all the benefits of the previous tiers. However, in the Silver, Gold, and Platinum tier, guests must make a choice as to which benefits they wish to receive.
Choice of one of the following:
Choice of two of the following:
Choice of three of the following:
The most simple loyalty program of our list is Silversea. Silversea does not offer any tiers or levels of membership. Once you have sailed with Silversea, you are a member of the Venetian Society. Membership may include invitations to events, discounts on sailings, and more. However, the main perks of the Venetian Society are free cruises and discounted fares.
Complimentary voyages and discounted fares are as followed:
Oh, and did I mention laundry? After guests sail 100 days on Silversea, guests receive free complimentary laundry service.
Venetian Society members can also take advantage of the Friend of The Society program. If a Venetian Society member sails with a first-time Silversea guest, the Venetian Society member will receive:
The guest will also receive the 5% savings offered to Venetian Society members when booking.
Every loyalty program works differently, and some are obviously more beneficial than others. However, it takes a lot of sailing days to reap some of the rewards that make it worth it. My advice? If you like a cruise line, stick with it so that you can end up using some of the benefits that were mentioned above. However, if you do a long sailing and are not crazy about a specific cruise line, don’t stick with them for the sole purpose of getting your socks washed for free. Just pack an extra bag and save yourself some money.