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Both travel advisors and cruise lines know it: Loyalty matters. Just as consumers will remain loyal to the professional who guided them to their preferred cruise brand, agents will continue to supply the cruise line that best rewards their clients in return.
There is always a push to attract new-to-cruising clients, but it’s crucial not to forget the loyal return passengers in the process. That’s why Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line are upping the ante on their loyalty programs to stand out from the competition.
Here’s the latest advisors need to know.
Princess CruisesAs a premium line, Princess is already highly regarded for Captain’s Circle, which is one of the best loyalty programs in the cruise industry. Tiers include Gold, Ruby, Platinum and Elite, which offer benefits such as priority check-in, complimentary Wi-Fi access, members-only onboard events, upgraded bathroom amenities, shop discounts and more.
Now, the brand is making Captain’s Circle even better.
As a top-tier Elite member, I can attest to the enormous benefit of complimentary laundry services alone. Packing light is key when adhering to strict luggage weight limits and avoiding outrageous airline fees. The ability to clean my clothes for free onboard any Princess sailing means I have the freedom to carry less, as well as the ability to keep laundry off my list of chores to do upon returning home.
Princess recently updated its loyalty program so that guests of any age can earn status (save for alcoholic drink perks, which will not apply for anyone under 21 years old). Even a teenager can earn Elite status and receive free Wi-Fi access.
What makes this move particularly smart is the focus on the future of the cruise industry. The potential for newcomers remains enormous, but younger generations of loyal guests will be the perfect stopgap between existing and new passengers. After all, children will eventually become adults who can, in turn, introduce their own kids to the joys of cruising and the invaluable service of travel agents.
Some young people taking advantage of their new Elite status include Princess’ most-cruised kids: 9-year-old Wyatt Wilkinson, who has sailed 46 cruises with the line; and 15-year-old Alexis Lavoie, who has clocked 538 total days at sea. Just like yours truly, whose very first cruise was on Princess, Wilkinson started sailing when he was just 1 year old. (Only a bit behind, Lavoie began cruising at 4 years old.)
Seabourn Cruise LineSeabourn, Princess’ corporate cousin, is enhancing its Seabourn Club loyalty program, as well. Tiers include Member, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Diamond Elite Members, and the program has benefits such as onboard events and Milestone Cruise Awards (each day sailed earns one Sailed Day, which count toward Milestone Awards; 140 Sailed Days equal a complimentary cruise of up to 7 days, and 250 Sailed Days amount to a complimentary cruise of up to 14 days).
New to the list of perks is the Seabourn Club Savings Program and Seabourn Club Referral Rewards. The first provides members with an additional 5% fare reduction beyond any other publicly available savings on select sailings and suite categories. The perk is available to club members with at least one sailed day and one Seabourn Club point linked to their member number.
Referral Rewards offer both the referring member and the first-time passenger shipboard credits of $250 per suite. It can be combined with other Seabourn onboard credit promotions. Further sweetening the incentive, all Seabourn Club members are eligible to redeem up to two referral rewards per booking, for a potential total of $500.
Like Princess’ offerings, the referral rewards encourage both loyalists and newcomers to sail.
The DetailsCaptain’s Circlebook.princess.com