While I’ve never sailed Norwegian Cruise Line, I know others who have, and they conveyed to me a pretty transparent casino tier system. And, upon evaluation, that does appear to be the case.
So in today’s post I’ll cover how the program is structured, how you earn points and tier levels, and what you get.
The Five Tiers of Casinos at Sea
Casinos at sea has a five tier structure, based on the number of points you earn:
- Jade: Entry level card when you join.
- Pearl: 5,000 points earns you their second tier.
- Sapphire: 15,000 points gets you to the third tier.
- Ruby: 35,000 points earns you their fourth level.
- Elite: This is their top level, at 100,000 points earned.
Earning tier points is a transparent process. In fact, it follows the same general setup as Royal Caribbean’s structure:
- Slots: Get a point for every $5 of coin-in.
- Video Poker: Get a point for every $10 of coin-in.
- Table Games: Points earned are based on average bet, session play or hands played and game type.
Like with Royal Caribbean, points can be redeemed for free slot play or a bill credit to your room’s bill. But NCL lets you also go beyond that for redemption on spa treatments and dinners in their specialty restaurants (although you could just bill that to the room bill and use the points on that too).
One key (and beneficial) difference is points can be saved for a future cruise; on Royal, you use or lose points within a sailing. You also can use NCL’s points on any ship within the family, which includes sister brands. So there is more integration to be found there. Points have an 18 month expiration, so they do need to be used within a certain period of time.
Another similarity between the two programs is the tier year is identical – you earn points from April 1 through March 31 each year, and that’s what establishes your tier for the following year.
And if you tier up mid year, you get to keep that tier for the remainder of the current tier year, as well as the next, like any other casino program.
What You Get at Each Tier
Tiering up unlocks benefits at each level; there are more benefits to be had in this program, but it does put some of the benefits Royal gives in higher tiers, with more gambling obligation, than Royal.
At the Pearl tier you pick up a few key benefits:
- Casino discount on NCL staterooms
- Birthday offer for free play on your birthday month
- Complimentary house drinks while in the casino (NCL differentiates drinks into categories for the purposes of your comped beverages)
- Onboard Credit
Sapphire adds some additional benefits, although one key one is harder to get here than on other lines:
- Convenience fee waived (PRIME level on Royal Caribbean offers this at a lower gambling requirement to reach it)
- Stateroom discount for their Oceania and Regent Seven Seas lines
- Complimentary premium drinks while in the casino
- Priority disembarkation
Further perks are added on at Ruby level:
- Complimentary ultra drinks while in the casino
- Cash advance fees waived
- Free internet package: Ruby players get 400 minutes or 1250mb.
A final set of perks are added for Elite level players:
- Complimentary shore excursion, up to $300 per person value for the first and second guest on the room
- Services charges are also waived for the first and second guest for sailings up to 12 days.
- Private transfers to or from the ship or home, up to 25 mile limit