Onboard credit (sometimes called OBC) is currency you can use during your cruise. Each cruise line has a different set of rules about where and when you can use it. But generally it’s good for anything onboard, including drinks at bars, meals at speciality restaurants, shore excursions and spa treatments. Getting your hands on some free onboard credit can make your cruise holiday significantly cheaper. Here are 5 ways to get some.
1.Take advantage of cruise line deals
The most common way to get free onboard credit is to bag it as part of a promotion. How much credit you get usually depends on which type of cabin you’re reserving. The more expensive the cabin, the more free credit you’ll get. So to get the best deal, make sure you take the value of the free credit into consideration when choosing your cabin.
2. Book a cruise onboard
All cruise lines want you to return. Most will give you free onboard credit to spend if you book a future cruise while onboard. Some require you to book a specific cruise, while others let you put a deposit toward any cruise within the next few years. For example, Carnival has a Welcome Home program that gives you $50 to $100 of free onboard credit when you book your next cruise before you go home. You’ll also get a two-category upgrade, 50% deposit discount and early saver rates.
3. Get lucky at the casino
If you like a flutter and you can afford it, it’s worth visiting your ship’s casino while you’re at sea. Several cruise lines have loyalty programs that reward you with free onboard credit as you earn points. A great example is Norwegian Cruise Line. As you move up through the ranks on their program, you’ll enjoy all kinds of amazing benefits. You’ll score free drinks, free WiFi and private transfers in addition to onboard credit.
4. Refer a friend
You can get some free onboard credit and do a good deed at the same time by referring friends. If you’ve got a favorite cruise line you know someone will love, tell them about it. And make sure they mention your loyalty number when booking. Most cruise lines will reward you with a small amount of onboard credit as a way of saying thanks. Meanwhile others, such as Princess, will instead deduct a small amount when you make your next booking. Note: you usually only earn a referral reward if the person you’re referring has never cruised with the line in question before.
5. Be a loyal cruiser
Another way to get your hands on free onboard credit and other perks is to stick with one cruise line. To encourage guests to return, many cruise lines will give cruisers free onboard credit each time they sail with them. Royal Caribbean is one such cruise line that does this. Each time you book a Royal Caribbean cruise, they reward you with points you can exchange for onboard credit.