Norwegian Cruise Line lets passengers pay for the suite life – for now

Norwegian Cruise Line has begun testing out a new program that will allow passengers to ‘pay for perks’ usually reserved for Suite-class passengers and members of the Latitudes loyalty program, according to Cruise Radio.

It’s likely to go down well in the Middle East cruise market (where Norwegian is targeting more growth) if introduced fleetwide, because the Middle East source market likes to spend more at sea.

The program is reportedly being tested aboard Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Breakaway

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The program is called Priority Access and gives passengers the ability to receive faster boarding and disembarkation, priority access to tenders, spa credit and other perks from $69 to $199 per stateroom, depending on the length of the cruise.

Priority Access includes:

Priority Security, Check-in and Boarding

Priority tendering (Off the ship)

Priority Debarkation in Home Port

Access to a Daily, Complimentary Standard Room Service Breakfast Menu

A $50 Spa Credit (for services on port days only)

Canapes (delivered on Day 2 of the cruise)

According to Cruise Radio, the program is currently being tested on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Sky, but when contacted by Cruise Critic for comment, the cruise line only confirmed they were testing the program, not the ships it was being tested on.

During the testing phase, it will be limited to 25 cabins per sailing, and is not available to guests staying in the Haven and Owners Suites, or those who have achieved Platinum, Platinum Plus and Ambassador levels in the Latitude program (because all of the perks are already offered anyway).

Per stateroom price:

$69 per stateroom for sailings lasting 3-5 days

$99 per stateroom for sailings lasting 6-9 days

$149 per stateroom for sailings lasting 10-15 days

$199 per stateroom for sailings of 16 or more days

The ‘pay for perks’ option is likely to prove popular for groups of passengers with members that are staying in suites or already part of the line’s loyalty program, enabling the entire group to embark or tender ashore faster, for example.

Perks include complimentary room service breakfast (image illustrative only)

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With the perks available at the cost of your average shore excursion for a family of four passengers, its likely to prove popular, which is unlikely to go over well with Latitudes members who have earned their perks through loyalty to the cruise line.

Nickel-and-diming is a constant in the modern cruise industry though. If passengers are willing to pay more to dine in a specialty restaurant (and eat better food than those in the main dining room), why not expect that they’ll also pay for priority access to tendering and boarding?

Royal Caribbean saw success with its Key Program back in 2018 and now offers it on all cruises, while Holland America’s Club Orange program has been similarly well-received.

Norwegian’s Priority Access program does not offer the same level of benefits at present, but if they were to add in VIP seats for theatre shows and ‘skip the queue’ benefits for at-sea attractions (such as the go-karts aboard the Breakaway-Plus class), it would probably prove very popular.

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