In this article, we're going to cover everything you need to know about cruise line shareholder benefit programs. We'll start by discussing how these programs work and what kinds of discounts they offer. We'll then provide a list of some of the most popular cruise lines that offer shareholder benefits.
If you're a shareholder in a cruise line, you may be eligible for special benefits and discounts. These programs vary from cruise line to cruise line, but they typically offer things like reduced prices on cruises, onboard credit, and other perks.
The three largest public cruise companies in the world are Carnival Corporation (which owns Carnival, Holland America, Princess, and Costa), Royal Caribbean Cruises (which owns Royal Caribbean and Celebrity), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (which owns Norwegian, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas). All of these companies offer shareholder benefit programs.
The only other major cruise line that's operated by a public company is Disney Cruise Line. They do not have a shareholder benefit (more info here).
The big three cruise lines all offer onboard credit to shareholders who own over 100 shares of stock and meet a couple of other conditions. Let's take a look at each company, what they offer, and how to qualify.
Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise company in the world, with a market capitalization of $35.5 billion. It owns Carnival, Holland America, Princess, and Costa cruise lines.
Here's what you need to know about the CCL benefit.
If you sail for 6 days of less, you can get a $50 onboard credit. If you sail for 7-13 days, you can get a $100 credit, and if you sail for 14+ days, you can get a $250 credit.
You can redeem this credit on all of the CCL-owned and operated brands. This includes Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Cunard, Costa, Aida and P & O.
You can't redeem this credit if you're already cruising on a reduced-rate or complimentary basis. You also can't use it for casino credits/charges and gratuities charged to your onboard account.
To redeem, you'll need to send your complete legal name, reservation/booking number, ship and sailing date, along with proof of ownership of Carnival Corporation or Carnival plc shares 4 weeks before you depart. This information is sent to the specific brand that you're sailing with, and contact info can be found by clicking the link below.
Royal Caribbean Cruises is the second-largest cruise company in the world, with a market capitalization of $28.8 billion. It owns Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines.
Here's what you need to know about the RCL benefit.
If you sail for 5 nights of less, you can get a $50 onboard credit. If you sail for 6-13 nights, you can get a $100 credit, and if you sail for 14+ nights, you can get a $200 credit.
You can redeem this credit on all of the RCL-owned and operated brands; Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
The company states: "To redeem this special offer, simply provide your name, address, confirmation number, ship and sailing date along with proof of share ownership at least 2-3 weeks prior to sailing"
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is the third-largest cruise company in the world, with a market capitalization of $13.3 billion. It owns Norwegian, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines.
Here's what you need to know about the NCLH benefit.
If you sail for 6 days of less, you can get a $50 onboard credit. If you sail for 7-14 days, you can get a $100 credit, and if you sail for 15+ days, you can get a $250 credit.
You can redeem this credit on all of the NCLH-owned and operated brands; Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
To redeem, the company states: "To redeem this exclusive offer, simply complete the Shareholder Benefit Request Form which is available on the Investor Relations website at www.nclhltdinvestor.com and mail or email with accompanying documentation. You will be asked to provide your name, address, email address, telephone number, ship and sailing date along with a photocopy of your shareholder proxy card or photocopy of a current brokerage statement (brokerage account number must be blacked out before submitting) showing proof of ownership of at least 100 shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH). All shareholder benefit requests must be received at least fifteen days prior to sailing date."
Which Cruise Line Shareholder Benefit Is Best?
This is not financial advice. Also, benefits alone are not a reason to invest in a stock.
Currently, the Carnival Cruise Line shareholder benefit is the best. They have the largest portfolio of cruise lines, serve many more locations, and the lowest dollar value of the three for 100 shares.
Proof Of Ownership
For each of these programs, proof of ownership is required. The way you go about getting and sending this is the same for each of the Cruise Line shareholder rewards.
The most popular way to do this is to log into your online broker account and take a screenshot of your holdings. If you don't have an online broker, you can request a statement from your broker that lists your holdings as of a certain date.
Carnival's application explicitly lists some examples that you can use for proof: "[a] photocopy of shareholder proxy card, a dividend tax voucher or a current brokerage or nominee statement with your current mailing address and your brokerage account number blacked out...".
The safest bet is to send a current screenshot, coupled with a shareholder proxy card, and a brokerage statement.
The Redemption Process
With your proof and a filled-out application, you should then email, fax, or mail this proof and application to the customer service department of the cruise line you wish to redeem your benefits.
Each company specifies how far in advance this should be sent, but keep in mind, their staff needs to receive, review, and confirm your eligibility. Then, they have to create the onboard credit and add it to your reservation. So don't wait until the last minute!
Quick note: many people have their travel agent take care of redeeming the shareholder benefit. Ask yours if they have any experience with this, as it may be more efficient this way. They can also stack credit on top of other offers and pricing. For example, Amex Platinum and Amex's Cruise Privileges Program also offers credit and exclusive access. There are several reports that the shareholder benefit and Amex credit can be stacked.
How Does On Board Credit (OBC) for Shareholders Actually Work?
After redeeming, the credit will be applied to your account. When making in-person purchases on the ship, you can simply use your onboard account and the credit will be applied to your charge, as it's in the system.
Many ships now allow you to buy online / ahead. In these instances, you'll be able to see how much credit you have available and apply accordingly.
The credit itself is standard. It can be applied to many of the events, food, and drink that are offered on the cruise. There are some exclusions, but these vary by company, as we noted in previous sections.
If you're a shareholder in a major cruise line, it's definitely worth your time to research and see if you can redeem any benefits. These programs are always changing, so make sure you stay up to date on the latest offers. And finally, remember to give yourself enough time when going through the process.