Military Discounts: Cruise Specials

Lisa Fritscher February 11, 2015 No Comments


Carnival offers one of the most generous military discount programs at sea.

A cruise is a nearly all-inclusive vacation option that can be as fast-paced or as relaxing as you choose. Cruising allows you to disconnect and get away from it all in a way that few other vacations permit. If you or someone in your traveling group is connected to the military, you can rack up enormous savings on cruises to all points of the globe. Each cruise line has its own policies regarding who is eligible for military discounts. Here is a look at what to expect.

Active Duty and Retired Personnel
Virtually all cruise lines offer military discounts to active duty and retired members of the United States Armed Forces and, in some cases, members of the Canadian, British, or other armed services as well. Some lines extend this discount to civilians working for certain branches of the federal government such as the FBI, NASA, and the Department of Defense. If you are a civilian or civilian retiree, contact your chosen cruise line for the most up-to-date information.

Many, but not all, cruise lines allow the spouse of an otherwise-eligible person to utilize the military discount if the eligible person is deployed or deceased. Some lines put extra restrictions on the spouse’s use of the benefit, while others do not. Check with your chosen cruise line for details.

Increasingly, cruise lines are extending military discounts to veterans who served for 2 years or more, or for at least 6 months in a war zone. You must present your DD214 or other proof of service to qualify. Note that veterans cruise discounts are not generally extended to spouses sailing without the veteran.

Number of Cabins
In general, the military discount is extended only for one cabin, which must be occupied by the military member, eligible spouse, or veteran. Everyone staying in that cabin will receive the discount. Friends and relatives in their own cabin are not eligible. However, Carnival typically runs a promotion at least once a year that allows eligible persons to extend the military discount to multiple cabins. Some other lines do this occasionally as well. Check with your cruise line to find out if such a friends and family program applies to your sailing date.

Shipboard Credit
A few cruise lines do not provide a military discount, but instead give military personnel shipboard credit, which is money that can be used for onboard purchases. This credit is typically combinable with other shipboard credit programs, so be sure to ask for everything you believe you qualify for. Note that shipboard credit is generally extended only to the military member, and not to friends or relatives, although you might be able to apply it to the cabin rather than your individual name. Contact the cruise line for specific information.

Other Discounts
If you receive a military discount rate rather than shipboard credit, it is not combinable with any other discounts. Therefore, it is always important to compare the military rate for your cruise with all other offers for that sailing. Sometimes the past guest rate, senior discount, or special fare for living in whatever state the cruise line happens to be targeting that month is actually cheaper than the military discount. Although many travel aggregators sell cruises, it is almost always best to check directly with your chosen line.

avatarAbout the Author:

Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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