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Best to stick with one Cruiseline or try some others?


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Was just wondering about some peoples feeling about whether or not it is better to stick with on cruise line for the reward points or to look around? I have always cruise NCL but have been tempted by Royal Caribbean/ Celebrity a time or two. I know that MSC cruise will match your rewards up to a point. Just hard to get to Platnium with NCL and then look else where. What are ya'lls thoughts on the matter. 

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Individual choice.  If you are happy with a given cruise line and decide to stay with them, then that's fine and will work for you.  If you have no particular loyalty to any one cruise line, then variety will offer different looks and you can settle on those that appeal most from those experiences.

 

In other words, there is no right or wrong answer - you just have to determine your priorities and level of satisfaction to date and go from there.

Edited by leaveitallbehind
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Although we've cruised Princess the most, followed by Celebrity, we have cruised maybe six lines, more if you count some old defunct lines.

 

Since we almost always cruise either to escape winter weather or to experience new places, ship or line is about in fourth place, if that.  Itinerary, price, weather(in winter) and then maybe cruise line or ship.

 

We like trying new cruise lines and ships just for the fun of new discoveries.  So far, have never had a 'bad' or even disappointing cruise.  Sure, we like some better than others, but none we won't cruise again.

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You have to decide what is most important for you. What are your loyalty points worth to you? Are NCLs top tier loyalty perks worth more than itineraries or ships that may be more interesting than what you currently get with NCL?

 

We don't have any particular loyalty to any one line. The itinerary is our number one determining factor. While we are closing in on an upper loyalty tier on a couple of lines, I'm willing to forgo a free bag of laundry and a couple of free cocktails per night to sail on a new exciting itinerary or ship.

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To be honest, we think that many of the loyalty perks are not that relevant.  Perhaps that is one reason why DW and I have cruised on 16 different lines.  We love the variety, different itineraries, and the freshness of cruising different lines and size ships.  I can honestly say that even though we are now in the upper echelons of many loyalty clubs we do not even give that a moment's consideration when choosing a cruise.

 

When it comes to loyalty perks we do not even bother going to various "events" like Captain's parties, loyalty club parties, etc.  DW and I just do not see the fun of standing in a queue for a lousy free drink and the usual speech (we could make those speeches in our sleep).  Some perks like free laundry are pretty valuable on long cruises and we do appreciate free Internet.  HAL also has a nice perk for 4-5 Star Mariners where we get 50% Off a couple of wine packages (the wines in the packages are not very good).  The MSC Status match is nice and essentially gives just about everyone a 5% discount.  The other perks are pretty much worthless for those of us who cruise in the Yacht Club since those in the YC get an amazing array of perks and services.

 

Hank

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24 minutes ago, leaveitallbehind said:

Individual choice.  If you are happy with a given cruise line and decide to stay with them, then that's fine and will work for you.  If you have no particular loyalty to any one cruise line, then variety will offer different looks and you can settle on those that appeal most from those experiences.

 

In other words, there is no right or wrong answer - you just have to determine your priorities and level of satisfaction to date and go from there.

Sound advice.

We tried various lines before taking the advice of a respected TA who, knowing our travel expectations/experiences/preferences/means, suggested that we try the relatively young Oceania. We did and we've been so pleased overall (more than 100 nights in just the past 12 months) that it makes little sense to change our current allegiance. 

We enjoy the small ships, excellent cuisine stellar service and amenities as well as numerous long/unique itineraries. Perhaps most importantly, it's the people - both the long-serving, attentive crew and the fellow passengers who are generally well traveled, cosmopolitan and professionally accomplished.

Unlike many other cruise lines, the loyalty perks are substantial (e.g., increasing SBC, complimentary cruises, etc).  

But that alone would not be enough to keep us loyal. Rather, a bigger consideration related to our repeat business is that we now know (and are known by) a broad variety of the ships' officers and crew as well as key personnel at the "home office" in Miami. And they take very good care of us.

Finally, I disagree with folks who say "the ship doesn't matter." It is your home away from home and the quality of that part of you experience, particularly on longer cruises of 3-4+\- weeks, is VERY important.

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I have no particular loyalty to any cruise line. I have my own matrix of tangible and intangible items that are important to me and I enjoy sifting through various offerings to figure out which particular cruise, at a given time, best meets my own criteria.

 

Right now I am looking at cruises to a particular destination and am considering offerings from lines ranging from MSC to Princess, HAL, Oceania and Seabourn.  The only one of those lines that I have any real "status" on is Princess, but that makes zero difference to me in this case -- it's more about the right combination of ports, length of cruise, timing, what's included vs. not included and so forth.

 

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Many years ago, we often wondered and asked the same question. Before our introduction to Cruise Critic, we simply chose what we can afford, then the best itinerary.  We sailed on a number of different cruise lines.

We made a few mistakes along the way but also learned a few things from very experienced cruisers...and from experienced posters here on Cruise Critic.

 

We don't regret sailing many cruise lines and ships...we can at least tell the difference and know what's a good fit for us.  Our decision to become "loyal" to Royal and Celebrity was based on a couple of (very nice and humble) top-tier friends we've met.  Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are both great fit for us...just enough activities, a variety of new ships, good itineraries, and one of the best loyalty perks...nice.  Happy Sailing! 😊

 

 

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OP,  as you can see in my signature, I have a favorite cruise line.  But, I like variety in my cruise experiences.  My friends, knowing my cruise history, thought I had lost my mind when I booked my first Carnival cruise during Spring Break.  I loved it and have since returned to Carnival.  I am stepping outside my comfort zone in January by booking Yacht Club on MSC Meraviglia.  Never have sailed on that large of a ship nor had a "ship within a ship" experience that their Yacht Club offers.  

 

Loyalty to one line with its associated benefits as one "climbs the ranks" is something that I value.  HAL's 5 Star Mariner and Princess' Captain Club Elite memberships that offer free laundry are very important to me.  The discounts on some ship services also encourage me to return as well.  But, they are not the deciding factor in choosing a cruise.  What is?  It depends on the time of year, the itineraries offered, and the pricing as well as to my desire to sail on a specific ship.

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2 hours ago, JBorowicz83 said:

Was just wondering about some peoples feeling about whether or not it is better to stick with on cruise line for the reward points or to look around? I have always cruise NCL but have been tempted by Royal Caribbean/ Celebrity a time or two. I know that MSC cruise will match your rewards up to a point. Just hard to get to Platnium with NCL and then look else where. What are ya'lls thoughts on the matter. 

Just because you cruise on another cruise line doesn't mean you have to abandon the one you've already built up loyalty on.

 

We cruise for the itinerary, so we look around to see who has the best one for us.

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We choose a cruise by itinerary and timing, price, and ship - not cruise line.   There are some ships in several cruise lines that we love, while we wouldn't set foot on other ships with the same cruise line (example:    Radiance of the Seas on RCI vs. any of their megaships).   We also have favorite and non-favorite ships on Celebrity, Princess, and Holland America.   We get significant perks on RCI, Celebrity, and Princess, but they are truly just "perks" and not the reason to choose a particular cruise.    

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2 hours ago, JBorowicz83 said:

Was just wondering about some peoples feeling about whether or not it is better to stick with on cruise line for the reward points or to look around? I have always cruise NCL but have been tempted by Royal Caribbean/ Celebrity a time or two. I know that MSC cruise will match your rewards up to a point. Just hard to get to Platnium with NCL and then look else where. What are ya'lls thoughts on the matter. 

 

I say go for it.  I love RCI and I'm Diamond Plus with them, but I haven't cruised them in years.  Why I book particular lines doesn't matter but relative to your question, I have found the variety of changing things up to be much better than the sameness of one line.  Nowadays, there's no way I can stay loyal to 1 line.  I don't care if it's the best cruise line in the universe; it would still be the same ole thing every time.  

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I don’t think any of the “perks” are really worth much to us. On long cruises (say four weeks) have a self serve laundry is nice, but that didn’t stop us booking 33 nights on RCCL

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45 minutes ago, Shmoo here said:

Just because you cruise on another cruise line doesn't mean you have to abandon the one you've already built up loyalty on.

 

You're right, it doesn't.  But with MSC if you take advantage of their loyalty match, you need to cruise at least once every three years with them (and that may be changing to a shorter time span) to maintain your matched loyalty status or you loose it.  So in that case if you were to abandon them, it matters. 

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We see so little difference between Princess, HAL, and Celebrity that we usually end up at price.   Would we pay, say 25 percent more for an identical cruise on a ship that we viewed as equal on any of these cruise lines.  Absolutely not.  Not even ten percent, all things being equal.   We are just as happy to sail on some ships on some cruise lines as we are others.

 

I do not get this loyalty business.  Preference is one thing, loyalty to a cruise conglomerate, ie a travel vendor where customer loyalty does not exist, is hardly a worthwhile endeavor.

 

 For some people I think it has more to do with habit, fear of change, or knowing that others you have sailed with in the past will be on the ship than it has to do with actual loyalty.   When we try a new cruise line for the first time we do not look for faults.  We look at the positive differences and try to enjoy them.

 

We are loyal to getting the very best value we can, not necessarily price, on every cruise that we take.  Over time that value has not been delivered by one cruise line but rather at various times by multiple cruise lines.

Edited by iancal
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1 hour ago, GUT2407 said:

The cruise lines aren’t very loyal to passengers.

 

Lets be totally blunt about it.  Cruise lines don't care two hoots about how many cruises you have done w them.  In fact, I will bet that they probably prefer newbies since they are so excited about cruising that they spend more per day as compared to us old timers.  

 

DON

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24 minutes ago, iancal said:

We see so little difference between Princess, HAL, and Celebrity that we usually end up at price.   Would we pay, say 25 percent more for an identical cruise on a ship that we viewed as equal on any of these cruise lines.  Absolutely not.  Not even ten percent, all things being equal.   We are just as happy to sail on some ships on some cruise lines as we are others.

 

I do not get this loyalty business.  Preference is one thing, loyalty to a cruise conglomerate, ie a travel vendor where customer loyalty does not exist, is hardly a worthwhile endeavor.

 

 For some people I think it has more to do with habit, fear of change, or knowing that others you have sailed with in the past will be on the ship than it has to do with actual loyalty.   When we try a new cruise line for the first time we do not look for faults.  We look at the positive differences and try to enjoy them.

 

We are loyal to getting the very best value we can, not necessarily price, on every cruise that we take.  Over time that value has not been delivered by one cruise line but rather at various times by multiple cruise lines.

And herein lies a critical gray area about both the similarity of cruise lines as well as the relative value of loyalty perks.

 

Let's admit it that there really isn't much difference between lines in the upper end of the mass market (Princess, HAL, Celebrity and Viking). But there really is a very positive experiential difference when one moves up to the smaller ships and better crew ratios of premium/luxury lines (including higher quality food/service/amenities). Also, while I agree that a few free bag of laundry might be considered insignificant, something like a complimentary 14 day cruise anywhere the line goes (using your average cabin class) could mean $20-25k per cabin value for a balcony cabin (i.e., on Oceania where these "milestone" cruises at one each for 20 cruise credits is a substantial perk).

 

In addition (for example), Oceania's $500 SBC/segment for Platinum members plus significant discounts on a variety of onboard optional items are nothing to sneer at.

 

Don't me wrong. The loyalty program alone should not be the primary measure for a  "preferred" cruise line partnership. But, to suggest that all loyalty programs have limited value is an overgeneralization. 

 

That said, IMO, any loyalty relationship between a passenger and a preferred cruise line should be revisited by that passenger on a regular basis. 

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Agree on perks.  I mean really what is the big deal about free laundry or a half price meal in dining venue.  Or the old rube....priority boarding, a color coded sign and sail key,  or priority something else.

 

Our TA gives us better perks than any cruise line in the form of OBC;s.  Far better than a medallion, a pin, a whatever.   Just wish the cruise lines would ditch those so called  benefits and switch to discounts or real upgrades. The OBC or a REAL cash discount warms my tired old heart (and wallet) much more that any of the other token bits and bobs that are given to boost my ego.   I will take the cash or a truly cash equivalent over an inflated ego any day.

Edited by iancal
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