Here at Just A Guy Thing, we can’t tell you how to make money in this recession, but we can find ways of saving it. If you’ve been thinking about taking a cruise (and yes, there are some great cruises for singles if you happen to be one), we’ve got an inside tip: buy shares of cruiselines before you hop onboard.
The world’s two largest cruise companies have long offered onboard credit - that is, cash to be spent on the ship - to their shareholders. To qualify, you need only own 100 shares of stock in Carnival Corporation or Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. at the time of your cruise.
But while Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) traded around $45 per share and Royal Caribbean (RCL) sold for about $36, CCL is now about $22 and RCL and is trading at about $8 per share. With share prices so low, it actually makes sense to buy some stock, even if all you plan to do is use the ship credit.
“With RCL at $8,” said Bob Levinstein, CEO of CruiseCompete.com, “anyone traveling on a 14-night Royal, Celebrity, or Azamara sailing can get a $250 onboard credit just for buying $800 worth of stock. That’s better than a 30% return on investment, and there’s no requirement to hold the shares for any particular length of time.”
RCL also offers shareholder credits on shorter cruises: $200 credit for sailings between 10-13 nights; $100 credit for cruises of 6-9 nights; and $50 credit for sailings of five nights or less.
Carnival Corporation, which owns Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, and Costa offers shareholders onboard credit (per stateroom) of $250 on sailings of 14 days or longer, $100 on sailings of 7 to 13 days, and $50 on sailings of 6 days or less.
Applications to receive these benefits must be made prior to cruise departure date, and certain restrictions apply. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean provide specific instructions on how to demonstrate your ownership to receive this benefit.