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Norwegian Cruise Line loyalty program review
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he Norwegian Cruise Line loyalty program is known as Latitudes. It is a program that offers some substantial benefits. However, there are some issues with the way it is administered in practice.
The Latitudes program has six tiers: Bronze (1 point); Silver (30 points); Gold (55 points); Platinum (80 points); Platinum Plus (175 points) and Ambassador (700 or more points).
Guests earn one point for each night spent cruising with NCL. You can earn an additional point per night if you book a Concierge stateroom, a full suite (not a mini-suite) or a stateroom in The Haven. You can also earn an additional point for booking a Lattitudes Insider Offer. Thus, it is theoretically possible to earn up to three points a night on a cruise.
The Latitudes program has an extensive list of benefits. We find the most attractive of these benefits is the complimentary dinners in the ship's specialty restaurants. Each guest Platinum level and above is entitled to a dinner for two with a bottle of wine at Cagney's or Le Bistro. Such guests are also entitled to a dinner for two at La Cucina or Moderno without complimentary wine.
These are not all you can eat dinners. The restaurant staff inform you that each person is entitled to one appetizer, a main course, a side dish and a dessert. Despite these limitations, these meals are quite substantial.
Similarly, if you order a main course that has an ala carte price above a certain amount ($35 as of this writing), you have to pay the additional amount. In our experience, if it is a nominal amount, the restaurant staff often “forgets” to make the additional charge.
Another benefit we have found useful is the laundry benefit. Each guest Platinum level and above is entitled to a complimentary bag of laundry. (Gold level are entitled to 50 percent off a bag of laundry). Guests who are entitled to this benefit can reduce the amount of clothing they have to pack for a cruise, We have sent shirts and underwear through several ships' laundries and have had no difficulties. However, we have never tried sending delicate or expensive items of clothing to the laundry.
With regard to internet services, Platinum level are entitled to 30 free minutes, Platinum Plus receive 60 minutes and Ambassador receive 100 minutes. Our experience has been that 60 minutes is quickly used up. The program does, however, offer discounts on certain internet packages.
Latitudes provides discounts on quite a few things aboard ship. These include spa services, certain merchandise in the shops, photos and on shore excursions. The amount of the discount varies with your level in the program.
Those guests who make it to Ambassador are entitled to a complimentary seven day cruise.
According to the list of benefits, guests Platinum level and above are entitled to priority embarkation and guests Platinum Plus level and above are entitled to priority seating in the dining rooms and the entertainment venues. Although a guest's Latitudes level is clearly marked on the boarding pass that you present to the staff on embarkation and on the room key card that you present at the door to the various restaurants, our experience has been that you do not receive priority unless you expressly point out to the staff that you are entitled to priority. They do not appear to be ignorant of the fact that certain levels are entitled to priority, they just do not give priority unless you say something.
Along the same lines, guests Platinum level and above are entitled to a “concierge service to assist you with specialty restaurant, entertainment and shore excursion reservations.” However, we have seen nothing that tells guests how to take advantage of this benefit or that identifies who this concierge is.
The Latitudes representative on each ship is also the CruiseNext representative. With rare exceptions, they seem to view their job as selling future cruises. Taking care of the Latitudes program and issues is a secondary priority. It would be much better if NCL followed the lead of some other cruise lines (e.g., Royal Caribbean) and separated the two responsibilities.
During a cruise on the larger ships, there is typically a reception for guests who are in the lower tiers of the program and a party for the guests who are in the upper tiers. These are usually nice parties with a selection of complimentary drinks and horderves.
Guests Platinum Plus and above are entitled to a dinner with an officer. These are usually convivial gatherings with wine where you can talk with one of the officers and fellow Norwegian enthusiasts. However, our experience has been that even when you sign up for these dinners in a timely fashion, you do not always receive an invitation saying when and where it will be held
At one time, Norwegian used to give Latitudes members lapel pins with the name of the ship you were sailing on embossed on the pin. The line no longer does this. As a result, there is nothing which readily identifies you as a Latitudes member or your Latitudes level unless you wear your room key card around your neck. Not only is this detrimental to fostering camaraderie among Latitudes members but there is nothing that instantly signals to the staff that you are a frequent customer.
Above: Norwegian Bliss in Cozumel.
Cruise ship article/review - - Norwegian Cruise Line - - Latitudes