A reader asks, “Is it worth joining a cruise line’s loyalty programme?” gives a resounding “yes” to that question.

Often meeting the Captain and officers are among the perks offered to loyal passengers on cruise ships.Cruise lines call their loyalty schemes by different names, but they all offer some benefit to repeat cruisers, and those benefits keep increasing depending on the number of cruises taken.

It is a smart move as there is no disputing everyone wants to feel special and stand out from the crowd.

Major hotel groups stroke the egos of loyal travellers by offering room upgrades, as well as access to exclusive lounges where there are free drinks, canapés, and computer access for starters.

In the same way, frequent flyers are given access to airline lounges, upgrades and free flights as their points add with frequency of flights.

In many ways the loyalty schemes of some cruise lines are far greater than on many airlines, and not as hard to redeem.

With increasing competition, cruise lines are upping the ante to entice passengers to stick with their fleet and gather points for every day they spent onboard.

As points accrue so do the benefits, that may range from access to exclusive onboard lounges, free laundry, free internet, and reduced fares on future cruises are all part of this clever ploy that instils continued loyalty. and ensures guests take the next, and every other cruise, with the same cruise line.

And as cruises with the same line accrue so do the benefits that may include invitations to special events such as dining with the Captain and crew, as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation, and airport transfers.

Such loyalty programmes – they usually rate a catchy name such as Celebrity Cruises’ Captain’s Club, Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society, and Holland America’s Mariners Society – also extend to river cruise lines.

Cruise lines list details of their loyalty programmes on their websites.

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