For any cruise passenger, onboard credits (or OBCs) are wonderful things. In simplest terms, they are currency you can use to pay for a variety of goods and services onboard. How can you get OBCs? There are several ways, which include:
promotions. Some cruise
lines offer OBCs instead of, or along with, fare discounts. And, cruise lines often
give professional travel advisors onboard credits to pass on to their clients.
referrals. A cruise
line you’ve sailed with before may offer OBCs as an incentive for a future cruise,
or as a reward when a friend books a cruise on your recommendation.
cards. You may receive OBCs
when you sign up for your favorite cruise line’s branded credit card.
Shareholder benefits. If you own enough shares of a cruise
line’s stock, you may receive OBCs whenever you take a cruise on that line.
compensation. It’s not a
very fun way to get OBCs, but if you have a complaint, OBCs may be part of any
compensation the cruise line may offer to you.
Once you have
onboard credits, there are lots of ways to use them:
dining packages. If
you’ve cruised before, you know that most beverages are not included in your
cruise fare; but, you can use OBCs to purchase beverage packages that provide discounts
on soda, cocktails, beer, wine, specialty coffees, and other drinks. If your
ship has specialty restaurants with cover charges, you can also pay for them
excursions. A few
luxury cruise lines include shore excursions in their fares, but on many
cruises, onshore activities come with fees you can pay for with OBCs.
treatments. In onboard
spas, treatments can start at $100 or more. If you’d like a massage or some other
pampering, it’s a delightful use of OBCs.
access. While many cruise
ships now make Wi-Fi available, they often charge hourly or daily rates. If you
need to stay in touch while sailing, this is another good use of OBCs.
helpful extras. You can
use OBCs to buy things in onboard shops and boutiques, or for extras like
laundry services. Some cruise lines allow passengers to use OBCs as gratuities
for the crew, but a few specifically disallow this.
usually non-transferable and non-refundable, so when you have some, be sure to
use them before they expire. For more tips about onboard credits, talk with Anita,
your professional travel advisor.
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