When cruise lines are promoting special deals, onboard credit is often chief amongst the offerings. Three hundred dollars here, one hundred there - some lines offer as much as a thousand dollars of onboard credit to passengers booking particular itineraries.
In order to understand the value of these offerings, you need to know what onboard credit is and what it can be used for. The short answer is, it’s currency. Money that can only be used onboard the ship, but money nonetheless, loaded onto your cruise card for easy access - and there is certainly no shortage of opportunities to spend it. Listed below are the things, tastes and experiences that onboard credit can get you to enhance your holiday.
- Drinks! These are one of the easiest ways to spend onboard credit, and we’re not just talking alcohol. Most mainstream cruise lines offer specialty coffees for a small charge, and some great non-alcoholic options too - alongside the delicious cocktails, beers, wines and spirits which go down a treat by the pool or in one of the many bars and lounges. Sometimes you can even collect a souvenir cup with your cocktail, and Carnival’s ships sailing in Australia offer their very own craft beer to enthusiasts. Simply swipe your card at any watering hole and celebrate your holiday freedom with a beverage.
- Specialty restaurants. For a special night out, you can use your onboard credit to pay the cover charge at one of the specialty eateries around the ship. These run the gamut of flavours and cuisines across the many ships and lines sailing from Australia - you could dress up for a night at Carnival’s classy Nouveau steakhouse, indulge your inner foodie at P&O’s Chef’s Table degustation or sample the tastes of Asia at their Dragon Lady, enjoy a social group dinner at Princess’s SHARE by celebrity chef Curtis Stone, and bamboozle your senses with the creative, whimsical dishes of Celebrity’s Qsine. Those are just a few of the amazing options - and they are onboard credit well spent!
- Shore excursions. If you really want to add value and precious memories to your cruise holiday, a shore tour is the way to go. Booked through the cruise line, they make it easy to see and experience the location you visit, and to make the most of your time off the boat with a guarantee that it won’t leave you behind. Your onboard credit could take you snorkelling in tropical bays, ziplining over Queensland forests, touring wineries in Marlborough, visiting Fijian villages to watch firewalking shows, and many more memorable adventures.
- Spa treatments. For the ultimate in relaxation and indulgence, treat yourself and spend a bit of onboard credit on some time in the spa. Every one of the big ships has a spa tucked away somewhere, offering fabulous massages, facials, beauty treatments and other such wonderful experiences.
- Almost anything for sale onboard. From souvenirs in the shops to ice cream counters that charge for their wares, onboard credit will add extra touches to your cruise experience. It can also be used to pick up one or two of those cheesy but awesome professional photos taken on formal nights.
Where can’t you spend it?
Onboard credit is loaded only to your cruise card that works on the ship, so you can’t use it onshore during your shore tours - unless you are at one of the cruise lines’ private islands in the Caribbean. In many cases, passengers are not permitted to use onboard credit in the onboard casinos either - you can use your cruise card but only the portion of credit which was loaded by you, not the pre-loaded free credit. However that is not the case for all cruises, so if you like a flutter, check the rules before you get on your ship.
What about luxury lines?
The appeal of a luxury line for many cruisers is the all-inclusive nature - that is, you don’t need to whip out your cruise card to pay for any extras onboard. However, these lines do still offer onboard credit incentives, and people do use them - where?
Even luxury lines do have cheeky fees for some things. While drinks, gratuities, room service and other additional bits and pieces are included on the majority of these lines, spa treatments, shore tours and sometimes even specialty restaurants can be at an extra cost. Regent Seven Seas is perhaps the most inclusive of cruise lines, yet charges just for the top tier of shore excursions and spa treatments. On a luxury line, your onboard credit still has value - you can spend it on the big indulgences rather than drinks and coffees!
For great deals which often include onboard credit offers, take a look at our sale page!