Every cruise line has its loyal fans that will tout its superiority over every other ship at sea.   Sailing with a different cruise line is akin to abandoning a sports team in the minds of some cruisers.

But in this article I will explain 10 reasons you should at least consider branching out and trying multiple cruise lines, all while supporting any reader who chooses to be loyal to one.

Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

On a recent poll on social media we asked, “Are you loyal to one cruise line or do you choose multiple cruise lines?”  The results were very interesting:

1 cruise line only: 40.4%
2 – 3 cruise lines: 39.4%
4 – 5 cruise lines: 4%
I’ll take any cruise line: 16.2%

That’s at least 80% who would choose to sail on 3 cruise lines or fewer.

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I’ve gone on cruises with 10+ different cruise lines.   Sticking with just one cruise line and building up loyalty points was once something I wanted to pursue, but after trying out so many cruise lines I’ve developed a greater appreciation for what each one does well.

Here are 10 reasons to consider breaking out of that one cruise line for life mentality:

1. You can score a better deal

Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Competition is great for consumers.  And when a cruise line runs a special promotion – like a real promotion, not one of these pretend sales that’s actually the same price as before – I’m on it like a fly on potato salad at a summer picnic.

I’ve sailed with cruise lines that may not have been my all-time favorite, but because I scored a sub $500 cruise on a balcony for 7 days in the Caribbean, it was worth every penny.

Sailing with multiple cruise lines allows you to fish in a bigger pond and reel in some deals you would not even know about otherwise.

I recently compared cruise fares with seven different cruise lines for various cruises from January to December.  This included over 300 specific cruise itineraries.

From this data I could gather how much more of a premium some cruise lines charge for an upgrade from an interior cabin to a balcony cabin.  MSC Cruises only charged 53% more on average for a balcony over an inside cabin, and Princess Cruises charged 84% more on average, with every other cruise line in between.  So even selecting what kind of cabin you want can differ depending on the ship.

In the data I could also see which cruise lines offered steeper discounts during different months and for various destinations.  The moral of the story here?  Even a cruise line known for its low fares can be undercut by another cruise line running a promotion.  And if you’re willing to try a new line you can save enough money to hit the high seas more often.

Related: 5 overlooked cruise costs first-timers always miss

2. Each cruise line has their expertise

Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

As I began to cruise with different cruise lines, I got a feel for what each company keeps as their focus.  Some do really well in training their staff and crew, some have a huge assortment of complimentary food options, and some have really amazing entertainment and theatrical offerings.  Even what you would call a “discount cruise line” will have a specialty in which they excel.

By broadening your horizons and trying different cruise lines you will find a new appreciation for an aspect of your vacation that perhaps you didn’t think about before.  You can name any cruise line and I will tell you something I like about what they do on their ships.

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If I’m on a Carnival ship I’ll be enjoying a Guy Fieri burger and some chocolate melting cake.  If sailing with Royal Caribbean I’ll be scoping out a stunning show in the theater or Aqua Theater (if on an Oasis-class ship).  If sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line I will be relaxing in their incredible thermal suites and wishing I had enough money to book The Haven.

I could go on about each cruise line, but you get the idea.  Sailing with multiple cruise lines allows you to discover something you didn’t even know you wanted in a vacation, but now you can’t live without.

3. Loyalty points aren’t that rewarding

I’ve read over the loyalty benefits for each major cruise line, and while some have some attractive perks, over all it’s not worth justifying actual loyalty.

I wouldn’t be placing my hand over my heart and pledging complete devotion to a cruise line that requires more than 10 week-long cruises just to land a free beverage and priority boarding.

In a recent article I analyzed how much it would take to get a free cruise through loyalty points with all of the major cruise lines.  Since, after all, a free cruise is the ultimate reward for being loyal to a company.

First of all, only three of the companies reviewed offered a free cruise, and of those that did it would require at least 100 cruises to even reach this level, sometimes requiring 150 week-long cruises.

And if you’ve gone on that many cruises it’s just about the equivalent to buying your own private yacht to dock at Atlantis in the Bahamas.  (Ok, not quite since using my math it would cost about $160,000 in cruise fare to earn the 700 points with Norwegian to reach Ambassador level)

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take advantage of every loyalty point you can get.  I’ve leveled up with several cruise lines and enjoy the minimal perks I do receive, but it’s not enough for me to ignore all the other points in this article.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line did offer some of the more attractive perks when it came to loyalty benefits, so I will give them their props.

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Related: Cruise reward programs compared between 8 cruise lines

4. Your loyalty status could be matched by another cruise line

MSC Meraviglia docked in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Only a couple cruise lines will actually match loyalty points from another line, but this point had to be addressed here.

MSC Cruises will match the loyalty status of any other cruise line.  I should note that this doesn’t mean you will get the exact same perks that you had before.  But it does mean you don’t have to start over when trying out an MSC cruise when you have leveled up with another company.

To qualify with the MSC status match program you just have to fill out a form and you will immediately get the perks associated with that level.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises also offer loyalty matching with one another, since they are under the same umbrella of the parent company.  Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor members that are Diamond through Pinnacle can receive Elite level rewards with Celebrity, and Celebrity Captain’s Club members who are Elite through Zenith can receive Diamond level rewards on Royal Caribbean.

5. You can enjoy different itineraries and locations

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Certain cruise lines specialize in different parts of the world.  If I’m going on an Alaskan cruise I will lean towards Princess Cruises, Holland America, or even Norwegian Cruise Line if I’m on a budget.

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If I’m wanting a Transatlantic cruise that takes me back to the classic age of ocean liners, I look no further than Cunard.  If sailing in Europe, MSC provides a myriad of itineraries and options, and if I want a more exploratory sailing to the Galapagos Islands I might look at Hurtigruten, Celebrity, or Lindblad Expeditions (National Geographic).

Your favorite cruise line might be perfect for you, but you could be missing out if they don’t offer a specific itinerary to a location you’ve been wanting to see for a while.   Branching out allows you to see more places in the world.  And if a cruise line has smaller ships you can explore ports that larger ships cannot.

On a Viking Ocean cruise a couple years ago I was able to sail around Iceland, which was a trip of a lifetime for me.  But a select few cruise lines even sail to this region of the world.

Related: How to cruise more often

6. A port might be more convenient for you

Los Angeles World Cruise Center. Photo Credit: 200472885 © Bradnixon9 Dreamstime.comlos

For a lot of people, the first cruise line they choose comes down to how easy it is to get to the port.  The cost of flying across the country is another expense to take into account, so a port that is an easy drive away makes sense.  But this also means that you are limited to what cruise lines actually sail out of that port.

Earlier this spring I saw some great deals that sailed out of the Long Beach cruise terminal in California.  But after looking at flight costs it was a no-go.

Sailing out of a cruise port closer to where you live might mean having to try out a different cruise line.  And with cruise ships moving around from season to season your options might be limited.

For example, if you’re cruising out of Mobile, Alabama or Charleston, South Carolina then Carnival is your only choice.

If a cruise line you’ve never sailed with before decides to move a ship to a port near you, it might be worthwhile to give it a shot.

7. Get a different entertainment experience

Cruise lines do a lot of things in similar ways.  But when it comes to entertainment there is a vast array of shows and theatrical performances that take place with different companies.

If you’ve only cruised with one cruise line there’s a good chance some of the performances can become a bit stale.  Maybe you’ve already seen a particular show 3 times, and while it’s good entertainment it might be time to branch out a little.

Whether it’s Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Club, Royal Caribbean’s Broadway style shows, Norwegian’s The Choir of Man show, or an immersive Carousel Productions at Sea show on MSC Cruises, taking cruises on multiple cruise lines lets you experience the best of everything.

Related:  How to avoid spending a single extra penny on board a cruise

8. Enjoy some new culinary delights

Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

I will try to write this without salivating all over my computer.  Just thinking about the various food offerings on cruise ships makes me want to get on a ship right now.

Cruise lines like MSC and Princess claim to have the best pizza at sea, Disney allows you to have the same wait staff while being in a different dining room each nice, and Norwegian has pioneered the Freestyle dining experience.

Not to mention if you haven’t enjoyed Celebrity’s La Petit Chef’s animated culinary experience as a show takes place right on your plate, you might be missing out.

It would take too long to mention the kinds of food offerings available with each cruise line, but to me, this is one of the best parts of cruising.

New dining choices are being added by cruise lines every time a new ship is unveiled or an older ship comes out of drydock.  I like to take advantage of this by sailing on as many ships as possible.  I mean, how can you say a certain steakhouse or Italian restaurant is the best at sea if you haven’t tried the others?

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Related: Biggest mistakes cruisers make in the main dining room

9. Another cruise line may cater to a different situation

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady on embarkation day.Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Going on a romantic cruise for two is different than a family cruise with 3 generations of family members.  You will probably expect a different experience for these getaways.

And if you want a cruise that has a 100% chance of having no kids, you can sail with Viking or Virgin Voyages to ensure that.  If you don’t mind a few children running about but you still want a romantic getaway you can try Princess or Celebrity.

You see, a wonderful thing about cruising is that there is a cruise line and cruise ship for everyone.  And when the situation changes you can adapt and find a cruise line for that as well.

It’s just important to know what to expect.  When someone complains that a cruise was not enjoyable I usually find that they would have been perfectly happy had they only sailed with a different cruise line.

Related: Biggest mistakes cruisers make on sea days

10. Sometimes you need a change of pace

Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

A change of pace when it comes to cruising can be very beneficial.  Think about what you have to lose if you try a new cruise line.  If you like it you have just broadened your horizons and can try some new experiences.  And if you don’t like it then it will give you a greater appreciation for your favorite cruise line, further bolstering your commitment to that line.  I don’t see this as a waste.  Any time away from land and out at sea on a floating resort of paradise is a good time for me.

But I’m a glass-half-full kind of person.  On any cruise line I can find certain things they do better than everyone else.  This is why we wrote the very long article on best cruise lines for every person.  We compared 25 different cruise lines and who that particular company is geared for.

Bottom Line

If you choose to sail with only one cruise line for the rest of your life, I in no way want to talk you out of it.  After all, when you find what you’re looking for you stop looking, right?

I love to hear from loyal cruisers to certain cruise lines because I’m all about the cruise industry as a whole.  And the more ardent the cruise travelers are the better off we all are as cruisers.

But if you’re on the fence about trying a new cruise line, consider this that extra push.  And whatever kind of experience you have be sure to let us know so we all can benefit.

Read more:  Cruise Packing: 15 things people always forget to pack

What you should do before you unpack your suit case on a cruise

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