[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and Chase Sapphire Preferred. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Cruise lines offer a hassle-free vacation experience for travelers looking to embark on an adventure without worrying about the logistics. Dining, nightlife, luxury amenities and the actual travel are all provided, and often at a lower price than a traditional trip.
To reward loyal cruise customers, many major cruise lines also offer credit cards that can earn cardholders cruise benefits and travel credits. If you’re a frequent cruiser, check out our list of every major cruise credit card (plus two bonus picks for general rewards credit card alternatives).
Remember, before applying for any new credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores to make sure you qualify — particularly for rewards credit cards, which can have higher credit score requirements. You can get your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, right here on Credit.com. (And here’s a guide to what makes up a good credit score.)
Disney Premier Visa Card
Disney’s Visa credit card earns rewards dollars redeemable for Disney vacations, onboard spending credits and merchandise. Cardholders earn 2% in rewards dollars on gas, groceries, dining and purchases made at Disney locations and 1% rewards on all other purchases. At the time of this writing, Disney also is offering a bonus $200 Disney Gift Card when you spend $500 within three months of opening the card.
Disney customers also can use the card to finance select Disney vacation packages interest-free for six months. On Disney cruises, cardholders will get 10% off photo packages, merchandise and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) getaway packages and 20% off massages or facials at an onboard spa.
There’s a $49 annual fee, a 3% foreign transaction fee and a variable APR of 16.49%.
Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card
Royal Caribbean’s credit card earns points that can be redeemed toward cruises, onboard credits, room upgrades, excursions and discounts. Cardholders earn two points for every dollar spent on qualifying Royal Caribbean purchases and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Points have a redemption value of one cent. Royal Caribbean is currently offering 17,500 in bonus points: 10,000 points are earned upon the first transaction, while 7,500 are earned by spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of the card.
There is no annual fee. The APR is a variable 13.49% to 23.49%, and there is a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Carnival Cruise Credit Card
Carnival’s credit card earns points redeemable for statement credits toward Carnival cruises, airfare, hotel stays and merchandise. Cardholders earn two points for every dollar spent with Carnival and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Carnival is offering 10,000 bonus points upon your first purchase or balance transfer. Those points can be redeemed for a credit of up to $100 toward your next cruise purchase. You’ll also earn double points on all purchases aboard a Carnival cruise and one point on all other purchases.
There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. The APR is a variable 14.49%, 19.49% or 24.49% based on creditworthiness.
Norwegian’s Worldpoints Rewards Credit Card
The Norwegian credit card earns three points for every dollar spent on cruise purchases and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Points can be used for stateroom upgrades, cruise reservations and onboard credits, cash, airfare and hotels, car rentals and gift cards. Most reward redemptions value each point at one cent.
As of this writing, Norwegian is offering 10,000 bonus points when you use your card within the first 90 days. And for a limited time, new cardholders can earn an additional 5,000 bonus points when they make at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
There’s no annual fee. The APR is a variable 13.49% to 23.49%, and there is a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Princess Cruises Rewards Visa Card
Princess Cruise’s credit card points can be used for cruise rewards, onboard credits and amenities and discounted airfare. Cardholders will earn two points for every dollar spent on Princess purchases and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. They’re currently offering 5,000 bonus points when you make your first purchase on the card.
There’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. There’s a variable APR of 14.49%, 19.49% or 24.49%, based on creditworthiness.
Celebrity Visa Signature Card
The Celebrity Visa Signature Card earns two points for every dollar spent with Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International cruises and Azamara Club Cruises and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Right now, Celebrity is offering 10,000 bonus points when you complete a transaction in the first 65 days and a bonus 7,500 points when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days.
There’s also a premium card that has no foreign transaction fee, 10,000 annual bonus points when you spend at least $10,000 annually, and 50% off second guests at any onboard specialty restaurant. There are also discounts on select excursions, drink packages and vacation packages.
The basic card has no annual fee and a 3% foreign transaction fee, while the premium card costs $69 a year and has no foreign transaction fee. Both cards have a variable APR of 13.49% to 23.49%.
Holland America Cruise Credit Card
Holland America’s credit card earns two points for every dollar spent on Holland America purchases and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. They’re currently offering 5,000 points upon your first purchase. Points can be redeemed for cruise discounts, onboard amenities and credits, gift cards, merchandise and airfare.
There are no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee with this card. The variable APR is 14.49%, 19.49% or 24.49% based on creditworthiness.
Alternatives to Branded Cruise Cards
Most cruise-branded credit cards earn average points rewards that are tied to specific cruise lines. While you can use the cards for purchases elsewhere, redemption of those points is limited to the cruise line and related purchases. If you’re looking for a travel card with a little more freedom, there are a few great cards out there that can unlock cruise benefits. You can check out our roundup of the best travel rewards credit cards. Here are two of our favorites:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card features two points per dollar on all dining and travel purchases and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back, merchandise, gift cards and travel reservations. New applicants receive 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. Points earn an additional 25% value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
There is a $95 annual fee for this card (which is waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees. The APR is a variable 16.49% to 23.49%
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card earns miles that can be redeemed for most travel expenses, including cruises. Cardholders earn two miles per dollar on all transactions, and each mile is worth one cent. New cardholders receive 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days of opening their account. In addition, cardholders receive a 5% rebate on the miles they redeem.
There is an $89 annual fee (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees. There is a variable APR of 16.49%, 20.49% or 23.49% based on creditworthiness.
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