Did you know there are perks for owning stock in a publicly traded cruise line? How does some onboard credit sound?
With 3 cruise companies to choose from you can lock in some onboard credit just for owning a certain amount of shares in one of these companies.
In this post we will cover what perks you get for owning stock in these cruise companies and the slight differences in each program.
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While the price of a stock will fluctuate throughout the year, one advantage to owning stock in a cruise line is the onboard credit value stays relatively constant.
I say “relatively” because cruise lines do tend to change their shareholder benefits from time to time and there may even be restrictions added to certain situations.
This is not financial advice and we are not investment advisors. You should talk with your own financial advisor and assess the risks of buying or owning stock in any company.
What 3 cruise companies offer onboard credit perks?
Not every cruise line is publicly traded in the U.S. stock market. Some, like MSC Cruises, are privately owned.
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But, the majority of cruise ships in the world, sail under one of these 3 parent companies that ARE publicly traded and invest-able:
- Carnival Corporation & PLC
- Royal Caribbean Group
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd
If you don’t see your favorite cruise line in this list above, not to worry. Many cruise lines are owned by these “big 3” parent companies and we have detailed this below. In fact, a large majority of all cruise lines fall under one of these brands.
- Carnival Corporation & PLC – owns the following brands
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Princess Cruises
- Holland America Line
- P&O Cruises
- P&O Cruises (Australia)
- Costa Cruises
- AIDA Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Group – owns the following brands
- Royal Caribbean International
- Celebrity Cruises
- Silversea Cruises
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd – owns the following brands
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Oceania Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Note: Not every cruise brand may qualify for the perks of its parent company, and it’s important to check with your cruise line first. For instance, currently passengers on Silversea cannot benefit from the ownership of Royal Caribbean stock (RCL).
How many shares do you have to own to get the perks?
The perks and requirements for each of these cruise companies is very similar. For each of them you must own 100 shares of stock in the company to get onboard credit benefits.
Related: What cruise line is best for you: 25 compared
Benefits of cruise stock ownership compared
Now, let’s dig a little deeper and see exactly how much onboard credit you receive for each cruise company. The requirements for each company are only slight different based on the duration of itineraries.
Also, keep in mind that these offers can change or updated at any time at the discretion of the cruise companies.
Carnival Corporation & PLC
Requirements: Must own at least 100 shares in the company (NYSE:CCL)
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 14 days or longer: $250
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 7 to 13 days: $100
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 6 days or less: $50
In order to receive the onboard credit you have to ask for it and prove you own shares in the company.
According to Carnival’s shareholder document, requests for the onboard credit must be made at least 3 weeks before a sailing date. If using a travel agent you should do this at least 4 weeks before.
Restrictions: Employees, travel agents cruising at travel agent rates, interline rates, tour
conductors or anyone cruising on a reduced-rate or complimentary basis are excluded from this offer.
Also, the onboard credit is not transferable. In other words, once you prove you own the stock in Carnival the onboard credit is applied to the cabin you are staying in.
The credit cannot be exchanged for cash and cannot be used in casinos or applied to gratuities onboard.
Read more about the stock ownership onboard credit program or learn how to apply with Carnival here.
Royal Caribbean Group
Requirements: Must own at least 100 shares in the company (NYSE:RCL)
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings 14 or more nights: $250
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 6 to 13 nights: $100
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 5 nights or less: $50
These onboard credits can be made on two Royal Caribbean brands including Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
Royal Caribbean stipulates that your request for onboard credit must be in their office between 2-3 weeks before your sailing date. This means you should make the request 3-4 weeks before your cruise just in case.
Restrictions: All Galapagos sailings are excluded from this onboard credit program.
Also, the onboard credit cannot be redeemed for chartered sailings or complimentary sailings.
The perk applies only to the cabin in which a shareholder (with a minimum of 100 shares) is sailing. The credit is applied per cabin, assuming double occupancy. Only one credit can be claimed per cabin on any given voyage. If shares are jointly held, 100 shares are required for each credit request on any one voyage.
Credit given at the start of the voyage cannot be used for charges incurred on the voyage or for activities booked in advance. Any credit remaining after the final night of the voyage will be forfeited and cannot be exchanged for cash.
If you own at least 100 shares of stock in NYSE:RCL you can request your onboard credit with Royal Caribbean here.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd
Requirements: Must own at least 100 shares in the company (NYSE:NCL)
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 15 days or more: $250
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 7 to 14 days: $100
- Onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of 6 days or less: $50
Currently this offer can be used on sailings with all 3 of NCL’s cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Proof of stock ownership must be provided to Norwegian at least 15 days prior to the sailing date and this can be done through mail or email. See the link below to start this process.
Restrictions: This offer cannot be applied to chartered sailings.
If you’re looking to get onboard credit for booking multiple staterooms or suites and you hold shares jointly, you’ll need to have at least 100 shares per room booked.
If you’re a single traveler paying 200% of the fare, you’ll be able to get the full value of the credit. Just keep in mind that any unused credit won’t be refunded and can’t be exchanged for cash. This benefit can’t be transferred to others and doesn’t apply to certain special rates, like employee discounts or cruises booked through travel agents.
If you own at least 100 shares of NYSE:NCL stock and would like to make a request for onboard credit in your upcoming cruise you can use the Shareholder Benefit Request Form here.
Related: How rookies waste money on a cruise
What’s the biggest perk of onboard credit through stock ownership?
If you’re a long term investor and you go on a lot of cruises, this should be a pretty simple decision.
The biggest perk is that you can get the onboard credit for every cruise you take in the future (provided the program remains in place). If you take 4 cruises a year that can easily amount to $400 total on 7-night sailings.
The stock price of cruise lines has dropped dramatically over the last few years, and we aren’t here to predict the future about where the price could go. But we CAN tell you that it’s a lot easier to get 100 shares of a cruise stock today than it was in 2019.
At the time of the writing of this article it would cost just over $1,000 to buy 100 shares of Carnival Corp. stock.
I just looked up some prices for Carnival cruises out of Miami and found a few deals on Carnival Magic in 2024 for about $384 per person without taxes and fees. This is a 7-night cruise and would be eligible for $100 of onboard credit.
That’s not a bad perk in my book.
What can you use your OBC (Onboard Credit) for?
You can use that onboard credit for just about anything you can pay for on a cruise ship. Things like spa treatments, massages, facials, and hair treatments can quality. Or you can use it for specialty dining restaurants or even for a purchase in the gift shop.
Some things you cannot use your onboard credit for would be things like gratuities and gambling in the casino.
Again, none of this is financial advice and you really should talk with your financial advisor before buying stock in a cruise company just to take advantage of onboard credit.
If you do take a lot of cruises throughout the year and would like to find a way to supplement some of your onboard spending, this might be something worth looking into.
Also, keep in mind that cruise companies were hit hard by shutdowns over the last couple years and their financial stability is in question. We don’t know how long programs like this will be in effect.