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Norwegian Cruise Line Changes Loyalty Program

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A few weeks back, we began hearing rumors that Norwegian Cruise Line was looking to make changes to its wildly popular Latitudes Reward Program. And at last, we know exactly what changes are being made. New levels and additional perks have been added, with Ambassador level members earning a free 7-day cruise.

What’s Changing?

The biggest news is the addition of two new tiers, which will come as good news to folks who — having been longtime fans of the line — had already maxed out. The first new level is Platinum Plus, which is for passengers who have earned 175 points or more. Among the perks offered here is an opportunity to have dinner with the ship’s officers. The next new level is Ambassador, although the difference between these two is substantial, with this highest tier for those who have earned 700 points or more!

Other enhancements to the program include a bottle of sparkling wine for anyone at the Bronze level (between 1 and 29 points), which essentially means anyone who is taking their second Norwegian cruise. (Points are credited to one’s Latitude account after sailing, not before or during.) Among other enhancements are onboard discounts on shore excursions for anyone at the Silver level or higher (meaning one has earned at least 30 points), free internet minutes beginning at the Platinum level (80 points or higher) and priority restaurant/entertainment seating for those at the Platinum Plus or Ambassador levels.

More Levels, More Points

If there’s a downside to the changes, it will be felt by those whose level of privilege will be impacted by the shifting of the points levels required to move up the scale. Formerly, one advanced from Bronze to Silver after earning 20 points, while the Silver category now begins at 30 points. For the most part, however, the switch will not impact those who had reached the higher levels on the previous rewards scale. For example, Platinum status was previously granted to those who had earned 76 points. The new Platinum level begins at 80. The two new levels are clearly aimed at offering rewards and incentive to those who complained that despite continuing to be loyal to NCL, they were no longer earning additional rewards.

How The Program Works

Unlike some rewards programs which require guests to register, all passengers aboard any Norwegian ship are automatically enrolled in the program if they are 18 or older. One point is earned for every night cruised, with an additional point earned if staying in a Suite or in The Haven. In addition, another point is earned, per night, if a passenger books a Latitudes Rewards Inside Offer, details about which can be found on the web site.

What do you think of NCL’s changes to their rewards program? Do rewards programs and their associated perks play into your decision regarding booking a cruise?

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