Carnival is making cruisers work a little harder to enjoy its loyalty perks

Jul 16, 2021

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If you’re a member of Carnival’s VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) cruise loyalty program, you’ll no longer find welcome amenities in your cabin when you board, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get them.

As part of a new “Have Fun. Be Safe.” program to combat COVID-19 on board its ships, Carnival Cruise Line has changed the way it doles out loyalty amenities like bottles of water, chocolate-covered strawberries and logo wear, which are perks that can be earned as passengers reach different tiers.

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(Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Now, instead of placing the items in cruisers’ staterooms at the start of each voyage, the line will load credits for those items onto passengers’ Sail & Sign accounts, allowing them to be claimed at certain venues onboard. Although it’s not the reason for the move, it could result in reduced waste in the event that passengers don’t actually want their welcome gifts.

In a series of loyalty-tier-specific letters emailed to people who are currently booked, Christine Duffy — the line’s president, who recently chatted with TPG‘s Brian Kelly about the restart of cruising — said the goal of the tweak is to “minimize the number of stateroom deliveries.”

“Moving forward, VIFP amenities will be linked to your Sail & Sign folio for electronic redemption,” the letter reads. “Simply claim your benefit using your Sail & Sign card, and a one-time credit for that item will be posted on your folio and will be visible on your statement.”

(Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Travelers have noted similar trends recently during land-based trips, with many hotels and resorts limiting access to amenities like on-site spas and fitness centers. They have also decreased person-to-person contact by cutting back on daily room cleaning, turndown and other services that were routinely provided pre-pandemic.

In addition to the loyalty perk delivery tweaks, Have Fun. Be Safe. also outlines the rules for passenger vaccination and testing, travel insurance requirements for unvaccinated passengers, health screenings, mask wearing, social distancing, shore excursions, online check-in and more.

Carnival will be operating its sailings on several ships from the U.S. as “vaccinated,” meaning that 95% or more of passengers and crew will have received all doses of the shot at least 14 days prior to sailing. Vaccinated passengers will not be required to wear masks onboard; unvaccinated cruisers will be required to do so. The latter will also be required to submit negative PCR test results no more than 72 hours old, undergo mandatory testing onboard (at their own expense) and carry travel insurance that covers them in the event they test positive.

Featured photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

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