Carnival Cruise Line Returns Sought-After Loyalty Benefit

Carnival Cruise Line is bringing back priority boarding for loyal guests, but not for every cruise. Why not?

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Carnival Cruise Line is bringing back one of the most sought-after benefits for its Diamond and Platinum loyalty guests. As of November 3, 2022, the priority boarding for those guests will once again be available.

Priority Boarding to Return

In a brief social media post, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald confirmed that priority boarding for Diamond and Platinum VIFP guests will resume on Thursday, November 3, 2022.

Priority boarding includes special lines at cruise embarkation terminals so guests have faster check-ins regardless of when they may arrive for their cruise, as well as boarding as soon as a ship is ready to begin embarkation, rather than waiting with later boarding groups.

“Effective November 3 priority boarding for diamond and platinum guests will return,” said Heald. “I want to say a massive thank you to all of you, our most loyal guests, for your patience on waiting for this to return.”

The reinstatement of the benefit is being communicated to guests via email. Furthermore, online check-in for each sailing will continue to open two days early for Diamond and Platinum VIFP guests, permitting them to choose arrival appointment times before other cruisers have access to that information.

Carnival Cruise Line Ships
Photo Credit: Francisco Blanco / Shutterstock

Priority boarding has been one of the most sought-after benefits of the VIFP program, and one that past guests are eager to take advantage of once again.

“Like you, our embarkation team has been looking forward to the return of this early boarding privilege for our VIFP guests, and they look forward to seeing you soon,” the email read.

Guests from recent sailings have reported that priority boarding was available for some cruises, but now the benefit will become standard practice fleet-wide once again for all cruises from November 3.

While it may not seem significant, the ability to bypass long lines and board the ship right away helps make a cruise vacation even more relaxing and stress-free, as well as adding extra time to the getaway just as you arrive.

The only exception to priority boarding is for Carnival Journeys sailings, which are longer cruises that typically have many more high status past guests, which would make offering priority boarding much more complicated to accommodate everyone’s benefits.

Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Jouni Niskakoski / Shutterstock

Status of Other Benefits

Most of Carnival Cruise Line’s VIFP benefits were put on temporary hiatus during the pandemic to minimize crowding, stateroom entries by multiple people, and other situations that could more easily transmit communicable diseases.

Over the last few months, however, the cruise line has gradually reintroduced many of the benefits, though some are now managed in entirely new ways.

For example, Platinum and Diamond guests also receive commemorative pins and Carnival-branded gifts on each cruise. Before 2021, these items were placed in guests’ cabins and made a pleasant surprise either upon boarding or when returning to the stateroom later in the cruise.

That distribution was adapted, however, to minimize how many people would be entering guests’ staterooms (and thus potentially causing more exposure or transmission), and guests now need to collect these items from each ship’s photo gallery. Doing so is quick and easy, provided guests visit the photo gallery at a time when lines are minimal.

Collectible VIFP Pins for Platinum Guests, 2012-2019; Photo Courtesy Melissa Mayntz
Collectible VIFP Pins for Platinum Guests, 2012-2019; Photo Courtesy Melissa Mayntz

Other benefits, such as the past guest parties offered on sailings of 5+ nights, were completely discontinued during the pandemic and as cruise ships restarted service with strict health and safety protocols as well as staffing difficulties.

The past guest parties were finally restarted from June 24, 2022 as staffing shortages began to ease.

Loyal Carnival Cruisers

“VIFP” guests are part of the cruise line’s “Very Important Fun Person” loyalty program. To reach Platinum level, guests must have accrued at least 75 points, while Diamond level requires 200 points. Guests earn points for every day they sail with Carnival Cruise Line.

Each level offers exclusive benefits, with other notable items being priority spa reservations, priority access to port tenders (where applicable), complimentary laundry service, and a priority line at the Guest Services desk.

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