By Theresa Boehl
One of the most exciting parts of shopping for a cruise deal is choosing the offer that goes along with it. If you’re new to cruising, a cruise offer is like a bonus you receive as an incentive for booking a cruise — a nice boost as a “thank you” from your travel agent or cruise line.
For example, CruisesOnly is currently offering three unique options to choose from as part an exclusive bonus offer: onboard credit, cruise cash back, or a Visa® prepaid card. As we’ll explore in more detail below, each of these comes with its own benefits and might be the right one for you, depending on your spending habits, cruise style, and budget.
What is Onboard Credit?
Also called “cruise credit” or “shipboard credit,” onboard credit is money that’s added to your onboard account and available for you to use during your cruise in a variety of ways.
Since it’s a credit, it’s money that never comes out of your own pocket, so you can splurge guilt-free on goodies like spa treatments, fun excursions, specialty dining, and drink packages that you might not have sprung for otherwise. There are a ton of ways you can use your onboard credit — in many cases, you can even use it to make purchases at the shops onboard your ship. Just remember that if you don’t spend all of your onboard credit, it won’t be refunded or carried over.
If you suspect you won’t find ways to spend all the money over the course of your cruise, it might be worth considering your other options for cruise offers. Also keep in mind that while there’s a lot you can do with onboard credit, there are usually some limitations on its use. The ship’s guest services desk can go over that with you.
The total price of your cruise (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges) will determine your onboard credit amount.
What is Cruise Cash Back?
Cash back is similar to onboard credit in that it’s a bonus you can use while you’re cruising, except that it does come out of your own pocket — at least to start. Here’s how it works: Spend the money upfront for onboard expenses dining, drinks, excursions, etc., and you’ll get a refund when you return from your cruise.
Since you’ll get reimbursed for those purchases eventually, it makes sense to spend up to the maximum amount of cruise cash back, which is calculated based on the total price of your cruise (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges).
This is a great option for people who like to know extra funds are coming their way after a vacation. There’s no better way to ward off the post-vacation blues than with some money to line your pockets.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to submit an itemized receipt of purchases no later than 60 days after your sailing in order to get reimbursed.
What is a Visa® Prepaid Card?
A Visa®prepaid card is like any other credit or debit card that can be used everywhere Visa® debit cards are accepted online, or for phone or mail orders. Buy what you want — whenever you want — at millions of merchants, including with us.
If you are an avid shopper, this option is perfect. You get the prepaid card after you return from your cruise and can use it to buy whatever you choose or even use it to rebook your next cruise. If you are always ready to book your next cruise (or love shopping), this might be your top choice!
Like the other cruise offers, your Visa® prepaid card amount is based on the total price of your cruise (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges).