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Do you own cruise line stocks? You could get onboard perks

Aug. 10, 2022
7 min read
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Many cruise fans choose to invest in cruise line stocks, either because they want to support their favorite brand or because they view it as a financially savvy investment. But did you know that owning shares in a cruise company could give you onboard perks each time you cruise?

The major U.S. publicly traded cruise companies, Carnival Corporation (which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CCL), Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) all offer onboard credits ranging from $50 to $250 for those who own 100 shares or more of their stock.

Stock prices and any money you may or may not make from the investment are unpredictable. What is predictable are the perks. A small investment in a cruise company may pay off in more ways than you think, especially if you are a frequent cruiser.

This is not advice about making a financial investment. Before buying any cruise stocks, you should talk to your own adviser or broker, and do your own research. Any financial investment is at your own risk.

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Each cruise company has its own rules and nuances regarding the benefits of owning cruise line stocks. Here’s how shareholder perks play out at the top three publicly traded cruise companies.

Carnival Corporation

Carnival Corporation is the parent company of cruise brands including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Cunard and luxury line Seabourn. If you hold a minimum of 100 shares of Carnival Corporation stock, you’ll receive an onboard credit of $250 per cabin for cruises of 14 days or longer, $100 for cruises of seven to 13 days and $50 for cruises of six days or fewer. (Note that by "days," Carnival means nights on board.)

The current benefit is available on sailings through July 31, 2023; reservations must be made by Feb. 28, 2023.

You can use the credit for drinks, gift shop purchases, spa treatments or other onboard expenditures. You can’t use the credit in the casino, for gratuities or to get cash. The credit applies only to the shareholder-occupied stateroom; you won’t get additional credits if you book multiple cabins.

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Related: Cruise onboard credit: What it is, where to get it and how best to use it

To receive the credit, first book your cruise vacation, then send the specific cruise line an email, fax or mailed letter with your legal name, reservation/booking number, ship and sailing date. You’ll also need to provide proof — such as a copy of your proxy card or a dividend tax voucher — that you own 100 or more shares of stock.

The request needs to be made no later than four weeks before your sail date.

You’ll find emails and addresses for each Carnival Corporation brand and specific rules on the company’s website. For Carnival Cruise Line, the email is shareholders@carnival.com, the fax number is 305-406-6102, and the address is Guest Administration, 3655 N.W. 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33178.

Royal Caribbean Group

Royal Caribbean’s shareholder perk applies to cruises on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, with the exclusion of any charter cruises (such as full-ship theme cruises) and Celebrity’s Galapagos sailings.

Any shareholder with a minimum of 100 shares at the time of sailing is eligible for an onboard credit of $250 per stateroom for sailings of 14 or more nights, $100 on sailings of six to 13 nights and $50 on sailings of five or fewer nights.

You may request the nontransferable credit each time you cruise. The credit applies only to the stateroom where the shareholder is staying and is based on double occupancy. If shares are held jointly and you are booking more than one stateroom, 100 shares are required for each stateroom (based on one credit per shareholder per sailing and double occupancy). Single guests would have to pay 200% of the fare to receive the offer.

The credit can’t be used for gratuities (service charges). It also doesn’t apply to any activities you pay for prior to setting sail (such as prebooked shore excursions or spa treatments). It’s credited to your shipboard account at the time of sailing.

Related: 7 extra-charge items on cruise ships that are worth the cost (and 7 that aren’t)

Royal Caribbean suggests you request onboard credit two to three weeks prior to your sail date. The response from the cruise company should come within seven days.

You may make the request using the company’s online form. For FAQs about the program, visit Royal Caribbean’s investor website.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Norwegian offers holders of 100 or more shares of its stock an onboard credit of $250 per stateroom on sailings of 15 days or more, $100 on sailings of seven to 14 days and $50 on sailings of six days or less. (Note that by "days," Norwegian means nights on board.) As with the other cruise companies, you may request the onboard credit each time you cruise.

The offer applies to cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Charter sailings are excluded.

To redeem the credit offer you may fill out a shareholder benefit request form online or you can mail or email the company with your name, address, email address, telephone number, ship and sailing date, plus proof you hold the shares.

The onboard credit request must be submitted at least 15 days prior to your sailing date.

The benefit is only available for the stateroom in which the shareholder is staying and is based on your paying for two people in the cabin. Solo travelers must pay the full double occupancy fare to receive the credit. If shares are held jointly and you are requesting two or more cabins, a minimum holding of 100 shares per room is required.

Norwegian does not allow the benefit to be combined with any other offer; shareholders have the option to choose between the shareholder benefit and another offer. The credit appears on your onboard account at the time of sailing and is nontransferable. It can’t be used for any activities purchased prior to sailing, nor for service charges/gratuities on board.

The email for Norwegian Cruise Line requests is shareholderbenefit@ncl.com. The address to mail in a request is Norwegian Cruise Line Shareholder Benefit Department, 7665 Corporate Center Drive, Miami, FL 33126. Find addresses for the other brands and facts about the program on the company’s investor website.

Bottom line

You can receive onboard credit each time you cruise by purchasing 100 or more shares of stock from a major publicly traded cruise company. This is a perk for shareholders, not a reason to invest. Before agreeing to buy cruise line stock, you should read the rules carefully and weigh the price of the stock versus any savings you will receive, as well as understand the potential risks of your investment. Your financial adviser or broker may offer further advice.

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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