Carnival Considers Updating VIFP Loyalty Program

Carnival Cruise Line believes that, just like in a marriage or a strong friendship, loyalty matters. So it’s not surprising that when Skift’s newly revamped Business of Loyalty Newsletter talked to several big wigs at the cruise line, they found out that the company monitors its loyalty program very carefully…  and just might be making changes to it in the future.

Skift reports that Kathy Tan Mayor, chief marketing officer for Carnival, has been looking for ways to get passengers better perks in a shorter time period “so they don’t feel like they’re waiting a lifetime to appreciate a benefit.”

The Current Program

carnival cruise line

Like the loyalty programs run by most major cruise lines, Carnival’s VIFP — that’s Very Important Fun person — offers a series of increasingly valuable rewards based on points accrued with each cruise. Passengers — whether past, present or future — can sign up for the program and immediately begin working their way up the color-coded ladder.

The current loyalty levels are Blue (for first-time cruisers), Red (from your second sailing until you’ve earned 24 points), Gold (25-74 points), Platinum (75-199 points) and Diamond (for those who’ve amassed 200 points or more). Obviously, the higher the level, the better the rewards, ranging from offers and a newsletter at the Blue level to unlimited laundry and priority restaurant reservations for those at the top of the heap.

What They’re Considering Changing

Having done a whole lot of research into these areas, Mayor believes there’s a certain point at which people go from someone who is taking a cruise to someone for whom cruising has become a preferred type of vacation. “The third [sailing] is what we believe the tipping point is,” she told Skift news editor Hannah Sampson, adding that the line “should be designing the loyalty program to hand you more from the first cruise to the second and the second cruise to the third.”

This makes sense on numerous levels. After all, if the rewards you get at the lower levels aren’t particularly attractive, it might be tempting to give another line a try. Your loyalty to the brand has not yet been established, and it’s more like you went on a first date and are still deciding whether or not to commit. But by offering sweeter incentives at the lower levels, newbies would have more reasons to go on a second date, as it were.

The line is also looking to develop new partnerships as well as expand those already in existence, all as a way of making Carnival the brand people think of when they think of cruising. By making sure people have the best experience possible, Carnival hopes that ultimately, cruisers will want to sail with them again not only because of the perks they might receive by doing so, but because of the quality of the experience.

The last change to the VIFP program was in 2015.


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How important are the perks offered by a cruise line’s loyalty program when you are deciding with whom to sail? What perks would you like to see added to Carnival’s current lineup?

61 Responses

  1. as someone who uses the wifi every cruise, i sincerly hope they NEVER give it free. its satellite internet and i know from installing it for dish network the more people using it. .the worse it is for everyone. the net already sucks as it is, but when you only have so much bandwith the number of users can drastically alter it.

  2. I can’t wait to see what changes will be made. I’m going on my tenth cruise in August, all ten have been with Carnival. I had the opportunity to be apart of the VIFP party one time before the changes were made in 2015. I’ve been pretty loyal so hopefully that will be rewarded.

  3. I would like to see a level between platinum and diamond. Those of us in the middle of the country can’t just fall off our back porch into the cruise ship every other month. 🙂

  4. went on my fourth 7 day cruise last January became a gold card holder at that time. Happiest with the water and pin. The bottle of water provided in the room lasts about half the cruise with the addid bonus of taking it on excursions. The pin is nice too and goes on my lanyard. Only get to cruise maybe once a year so do not plan on progressing to another level anytime soon.

  5. The only difference between red and gold is a bottle of water (which I could do without ) and a pin… But when you go from gold to Platinum or diamond, there’s about 20 features from the gold …. Level it out some, how about a cash voucher for the casino or a free picture. I could think of allot of things I would rather have than what’s offered. But hey, that’s just me.

  6. To be honest my biggest concern with the vifp program is the fact that there is no Progressive benefits based upon the level of room that you booked. Currently if I take a 7 day cruise I get the same benefits whether or not I spend the money on an interior room or Grand Suite. I truly think that the cruise industry such as Carnival would benefit greatly if they followed similar programs to that of the airline’s where there is a higher credit per day rate for Days Cruise based upon the level of room that you booked in your cruise

  7. One of the main reasons mom and I decided to go again on Carnival was to get the red card next time LOL! We could care less about the other incentives.

  8. Platinum Level on NCL gives 2 specialty restaurant dinners with a bottle of wine and a 2 hour guided tour of the inner workings of the ship. Also 2 bags of laundry. Carnival does not even come close on that level.

  9. I liked your comment…We happen to live in Florida..and we do fall off our back porch….on to a cruise ship….Something to be said about living in Florida…and being able to take to take 6-8 cruises a year….
    But I do see your point…because we have friends that live in other parts of the U.S. that can’t always join us…There is a big gap between Platinum and Diamond….

  10. Could use some added features. Like a free photo, one dinner at Italian etc esp for those that are Platinum and above. The perks and gifts are kind of hit or miss. The notebook pad set in wooden box nice. The unfolding duffle not so much. The hydrotherapy pool for Platinum and above should also be inclusive

  11. I would like to see better perks on the cabins, reduced prices on balconies, free dinner in the specialty restaurants, free photo opportunities….duffle bag? Not really a perk!

  12. Priority disembark and return for all ports, not just tender ports and not just one way (off the ship) for Platinum/Diamond. Let them use the crew ramp. One thing to be careful of when designating perks for lower level tiers, is alienating those who have demonstrated brand loyalty and expect the perks that should come with such a long-time investment in a brand. Offering those well earned perks to try and lure new cruisers dilutes the value of being a long term cruiser with Carnival. Sounds like Carnival is trying to have its Chocolate Melting Cake and eat it too.

  13. I am a recently acquired Platinum Cruiser with CCL. It took me awhile to get here, but I’m loving the perks. I would like to see some more substantial perks for the ‘chronic’ cruisers. We are definitely a segment of the cruising population that is worth spending some time/money on; we’re not going to stop now. But with the limited itineraries out of some of our home ports that CCL offers, the inclination to cruise with another line to visit different ports is more prominent.

    Also, I have been a cruise advocate for most of my life. Maybe there could be a program for referrals as well? On-board credit, unlimited sodas/drinks/specialty coffees, etc. . . .

  14. Been cruising since 1986 and I was one cruise away from Diamond before they changed last time and now have to do 100 more days sailing, grrrrrr

  15. we are diamond on carnival, and would like to see our status somehow blended with the other lines in the brand. we cruise hal and princess, and would cruise more with them if we got some of our benefits there. we would also like to see some sort of reserved seating in some places like the adult deck or the show room, similar to rccl does.

  16. i love in Florida, however we are only able to take 1 short curse a year due to work obligations and finances. we have been Gold for a while now and it seems we will be this for many many years as we are unable to cruise more then some people. I would like to see either more levels closer together or more perks for those that have long cuise in between. going from 25-75 is alot of days when you only curise one 3-4 day cruise a year.

  17. A level between Platinum and Diamond would be great. There is a serious Gap between them and does not really give incentive to be loyal if Carnival is not too concerned about their current loyal cruisers. Would also like to see crossover benefits with other Carnival owned ships.

  18. Make it free to the most loyal cruisers. I will soon be Diamond and would love to have something that I actually need instead of more Carnival cups

  19. Good idea. We are Diamond with 238 sea days. Took us 15 years and a lot of $ 🙂

  20. I am a Gold Member with Carnival. I have tried 2 other cruise lines and always come home to Carnival. I would like to see some type of incentives for referrals I have had a couple of friends to join the Carnival family and they love it as much as I do. Also I only go with the balcony but would love if the prices were a little cheaper so my friends can experience what I experience.

  21. I Agee on another level ..big gap between them. Seems like it’s taking forever to reach Diamond. Also would like to sail on other Carnival owned ships.. the crossover benifit would be great!

  22. That’s would be great. Maybe a free drink for returning cruisers or some other swag. To be honest, the free bottled water really doesn’t cut the mustard.

  23. I’m Platinum, and not that I don’t appreciate the gifts they award us, but I had rather have a $5 OBC.

  24. It takes forever to go from Gold to Platinum! Change the gold to 50-74 points and add a level between Red and Gold ( call it Bronze 25-49) I understand that the Past Guest Loyalty parties were getting too crowded and on one cruise they had to have 2 sessions! But some kind of get together for each level above Blue would still be nice. ALSO in this day of computers it should be EASY to combine loyalty programs with the other CCL brands. (I’d LOVE to do Princess for example but starting at the bottom seems fruitless) IMHO

  25. Stateroom service has declined in quality in recent years. It’s become a hassle picking up duty free liquor. It used to be delivered to stateroom.

  26. How about free internet for loyalty Customers? It would cost the cruise ship nothing and would be a definite perk as well as great advertising with all the pictures posted on line to family and friends.

  27. Only so much bandwidth you can squeeze out of a sat uplink unless you want half of lido to be giant sat dishes like NASA has

  28. Better food. Half the time i can’t identify what it is. What happen to the Caribbean music bands?

  29. Cross recognition of status with other Carnival brands. Since it takes so long to build status it feels like restarting when your tastes change or a different itinerary drives you to a different brand. This gives you no incentive today to stay in the family

  30. I guess I need to check lido for the dish size that is currently being used. I really don’t believe that is where it is.

  31. I agree with Ron. Took an Alaska cruise on Holland America so we could ride the train to the ship. Holland is owned by Carnival but no perks because it was our first time on Holland America.

  32. Sheesh, it took an eternity to cross from red-card land to gold. Of course it took a lot less for me to move tier two on NCL, which I like more than Carnival. Better ships, better food. No amount of beefing up VIFP is going to result in changing my loyalty. I book cruises based on one simple factor: cost.

  33. NCL has these kiosks that take your photo and send it instantly to any website or email you provide. FREE!

  34. True ‘dat. During a ship’s ongoing renovation while operating, they delay embarkation while they receive construction materials dockside AFTER turning the ship around. They send you an email advising you NOT to come at your assigned boarding time. Talk about waiting, during my time in line I watch a lady giving birth, two fights (one between women!) and a Musim couple were deported.

  35. I agree cross brands so that are in the carnival family as I would like to try their other ships but keep my perks in the family and build toward my diamond status more quikly!

  36. They don’t use actual satellite dishes I’d imagine. But one of all those antennas above bridge I’m sure are for wifi I’ll pay more attn on vista in 30 days

  37. Why not a loyalty program above DIAMOND????We are Diamond…..with 278 sea days…And we have 9 Carnival cruises booked between now and Dec.2018.

  38. I think they need a level between Platinum and Diamond.Change the requirement for all passengers in the same cabin to buy the drink package. Also have sales on it as other lines do.

  39. Since you can now “buy” the faster to the fun I feel that I as a platinum status carnival member no longer matter to carnival.

  40. Princess already has limited “free” internet minutes for Captain’s Circle Platinum and above loyalty cruisers. One of many reasons to be a loyal Princess cruiser!

  41. I agree, and want to emphasize, with those that have suggested that Carnival Cruise Corp would be smart and increase profits with increased passenger bookings by having a common loyalty program across all of their Cruise lines. This would keep their loyal cruise customers within the Carnival Corp brand no matter whether they chose, Canard, Carnival, Holland America or Princess. Each of these Carnival Cruise lines have some unique itineraries and this would incentivize past loyal cruises to stay within the Carnival Corp brand and not to move to competing lines.

  42. I agree with the cross line Perks as well much like Royal Caribbean does with celebrity my status perks transfer to celebrity if I want to get the perks directly from celebrity I must sail with celebrity this seems fair to me since I have Cruise so much would really sale if they did put there across their line and Prince but don’t want to start at the bottom of the line simple as that we cruise for perks having done a total of 85 we are addicted to cruising

  43. Currently we have Diamond status with 355 days sailing and quite a number of cruises booked. Recently we have been thinking about cruising with other lines. I strongly believe that your most loyal members, those with 300 plus days sailing with CCL should receive an upgraded loyalty level. Thanks!

  44. I agree on something between gold and platinum. Also they should consider dropping the single supplement on some cruises especially when the ship is half empty.

  45. As a platinum status member, I love not paying for it. We also love the free laundry (which we use every cruise), and we’ve been able to change an unappealing assigned dining time (usually for last-minute bookings) every single time we’ve asked without pushback. Platinum works for me!

  46. How about making the loyalty program portable across the Carnival brands so I can take a Princess cruise and collect nights?

  47. We have booked a family vacation for next May with 4 balcony rooms at a cost of over 8,500.00. We will only get points for the 1 room that myself and my husband stay in. I think there should be some points for us on the other rooms due to the fact that we are paying for them also.

  48. I got to gold just after it was changed ,like many others sure felt jiltedstayed with carnival but I still feel like I got short changed.but also things have to be done and not in my. Favor

  49. I totally agree with you. Surpose to earn that right now you can pay your way to it . Not right

  50. I believe Carnival should get rid of faster to the fun. Not fair to buy it. Many diamond/platinum people were complaining about this program due to the crowds on my last cruise.
    Update the current VIFP system (RC has a six tier system). Don’t know to what really.
    VIFP points being counted across all Carnival cruise lines, so that points don’t start over. A mystery to me as to why they wouldn’t do that. I would book more cruises between their different cruise lines.
    Change the booze package
    Better discounts the higher level and the more cruises taken per year.
    Let’s get our thoughts together to improve Carnival experience


  52. Red status is for people on their second sailing, up to 24 days at sea. I wish they handed us 24 points but you only receive 1 point for each day you have been at sea. To the best of my knowledge, they have never offered point bonuses like that. I also agree that a perk beyond a bottle of water would be nice.

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