The cruise lines are very focussed on how to make their loyalty programmes work at bringing guests back on board, tiering them to add benefits for their most regular guests. They even have parties on board where all the returning guests cheer and clap their fellow passengers for reaching new milestones. This level of recognition is important for some, and not for others. We take a look at how the cruise loyalty programmes compare.
Upon completing your first voyage, you are automatically welcomed into the Regent family as a member of the Seven Seas Society, and then you begin to collect rewards and benefits relating to the amount of time you have spent on board.
Rewards include special savings, the Ambassador programme (which rewards you for introducing a friend), party invitations, and priority reservations opportunities. As you progress, various amenities are added: free phone time, Wi-Fi, discounts on shore excursions, private transfers, unlimited dry cleaning, early embarkation and more. The ultimate 'commodore' level brings you a commemorative jacket and plaque - motivating for some…
When you complete your first Silversea voyage, you become part of the Venetian Society. Benefits include such things as parties on board, the opportunity to visit the ships even when not sailing, and special private events.
Significantly, there are also some very tangible benefits: Venetian Society reductions on certain sailings, and once you are above 100 days travel, on all sailings; free cruises at 350 days and more - all of which are very specific incentives to stick with Silversea wherever possible. We hear most, though, about the wonderful free laundry offer for all Society members with more than 100 days under their belts.
After your first cruise, you are recruited into the Seabourn Club, with appealing benefits of which the highlight is the Milestone Award of a complimentary cruise after sailing 140 days. In addition, you can collect Seabourn Club Points, which enable you to choose the rewards you prefer from a generous menu of onboard amenities.
You collect sailed days to achieve your free cruises, and in addition, each milestone reached is celebrated on board at a special event. The number of points you earn is boosted according to the type of accommodation you choose, so you get double points for penthouses and premium suites.
It has been interesting to see a hotel group enter the cruise market and incorporate the Marriott Bonvoy programme into the Yacht Collection loyalty programme, with lots of opportunities for both earning and redemption. Elite Marriott Bonvoy members also get enhanced benefits on board.
Unlike other cruise lines which reward sailed days, the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection offers 5 points for each $1 spent on your cruise fare. Points can be redeemed to gain savings on your cruise fare, and there is even a Marriott Bonvoy credit card which allows you to accelerate your earnings.
Whilst formalising the recognition due to regular customers is clearly important, most cruisers loyal to a specific cruise line tell you that they return for the amazing experience of finding their preferences are recognised and anticipated at every turn, and for the heartfelt emotion expressed in the beaming smiles of officers and crew welcoming them home.