[Source: USA Today]
Like the airlines’ frequent flier programs, cruise lines reward loyal customers to encourage repeat business. It’s not likely to influence your choice of cruise your first time out, but on most lines, after you complete your first cruise you’ll be automatically enrolled in said line’s loyalty program, which basically means a bunch of mailings and e-mails advertising future cruises (which you can unsubscribe from if they become annoying) will be sent your way. But before you dismiss your new status, recognize that there is some value to be had here. Repeat cruisers are typically offered 5% to 10% discounts (sometimes higher) on future cruises.
Discounts through loyalty programs increase the more you cruise. Cruise 25 times on Carnival, for example, and you get 25% off your cruise fare; sail 50 times and get 50% off; 75 times and get 75% off; and cruise with the line 100 times and your week long cruise is free (the ultimate prize of loyalty!).