10 Ways to Get Treated Like a VIP on a Cruise Ship

How to get treated like a VIP on a cruise

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Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned veteran, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of receiving VIP treatment on a cruise ship. In the past, this exclusive experience was reserved for only a select few. However, times have changed, and cruise lines now offer numerous opportunities for the average passenger to enjoy special treatment.

In fact, these days getting the VIP treatment is more accessible than ever. Whether you’re splurging on a suite, booking a private tour, or indulging in exclusive specialty dining experiences, there are many great ways to upgrade your cruise experience.

In this post, I share 10 ways to get to get treated and feel like a VIP on a cruise ship.

How to Get the VIP Treatment on a Cruise Ship

1. Upgrade Your Cruise Cabin

Cruise Suite Cabin

If you’re looking for the ultimate VIP experience at sea, consider upgrading your stateroom to a suite category. Although every cruise line is different, suites often have amazing benefits.

For instance, if you book MSC’s Yacht Club, you’ll have access to exclusive dining venues, unlimited drinks, and 24-hour concierge and butler service. You’ll also have access to a private swimming area, priority check-in, and more.

Of course, upgrading to a suite does cost extra. However, the experience is truly incredible, and it’s a great way to get VIP treatment when cruising.

2. Cruise Loyalty Rewards

A benefit of cruising with the same cruise line is earning loyalty perks. The more you cruise with the same cruise line, the more perks you earn, which can result in some amazing benefits!

Each cruise line rewards its loyal customers differently. However, loyalty benefits can range from exclusive events with the captain to included laundry and free onboard credit. At higher levels, you may get free drinks and the use of an exclusive lounge for higher tier members.

If you’re an avid cruiser, it’s worth considering cruising with the same cruise line. Cruise lines do a great job of rewarding loyal customers and making them feel like VIPs!

3. Reserve Exclusive Areas


Onboard many mainstream cruise lines, you can book exclusive adult-only areas. Holland America’s “The Retreat,” Norwegian Cruise Lines “Vibe Beach Club,” and Princess Cruises “The Sanctuary” are exclusive areas that provide a more luxurious atmosphere.

Exclusive areas on cruise lines, whether you purchase a day pass or a pass for the entire cruise, these areas offer a level of comfort and convenience that’s hard to beat. With access to hot tubs, comfortable seating, and dedicated waiters, you can relax and enjoy your cruise.

While it’s true that exclusive areas on cruise lines come with an additional cost, the benefits they offer make them worthwhile. These areas provide a peaceful escape from the crowds and an upscale atmosphere, perfect for cruisers looking for VIP treatment.

4. Book Specialty Dining

MSC Seascape Ocean Cay specialty restaurant

If you want an enhanced culinary experience, consider booking specialty dining. You’ll find high-quality meals, refined service, and a more intimate atmosphere at a specialty restaurant.

When you step into a specialty dining restaurant, you’ll be treated to a personalized dining experience. The waiter will ensure your visit is not just special, but also memorable.

Whether celebrating a special occasion or enjoying a wonderful meal, eating at a specialty restaurant is a great way to make your cruise experience extra remarkable.

5. Book a Themed Cruise

Booking a themed cruise is a great way to access special activities and VIP events. For instance, Princess Cruises is having a Love Boat-themed cruise, where cruise passengers can pay extra to attend events where they will meet the original cast.

Themed cruises are a great option for those seeking a unique cruising experience. Furthermore, attending private events is truly special and will make you feel like a VIP.

6. Attend the Art Auction

Attending the art auction is a great way to be treated like a special guest. As you enter, you will often be given complimentary champagne (sparkling wine).

Furthermore, if you show a lot of interest or are a past buyer, you may be invited to exclusive VIP events. The Park West team may also give you gifts like a complimentary bottle of champagne in your stateroom.

If you spend enough money on art, you may even get invited as a VIP art guest on a cruise. I’ve been on sailings with VIP art guests, and they certainly get extra special treatment!

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7. Book Private Shore Excursions

Booking a private shore excursion through the cruise line is a great way to have a personalized experience in port. Onboard Celebrity and Princess cruises, you can book private shore excursions and customize your experience.

For instance, Celebrity Cruises has a Private Journey program where cruise passengers can get help from a team of destination insiders to get the best experience possible. This is an excellent way for cruise passengers to get a VIP experience while in a cruise port of call.

Related: 15 Simple Ways to Make Your Cruise Feel More Luxurious

8. Book a Spa Package or Thermal Spa Pass

Spa on Cruise

Getting a spa pass is the ultimate way to relax on a cruise ship. When you book a spa pass, you can access saunas, steam rooms, hydrotherapy pools, comfortable seating, and more.

Typically, cruise lines limit the number of spa passes for cruise passengers to create an exclusive atmosphere. Furthermore, limiting the number of guests in the spa allows cruise passengers to fully enjoy the spa facilities.

If you enjoy the spa, you’ll want to purchase your pass on the first day, as they can sell out. Although some cruise lines offer day passes, they will not be available if the spa is fully booked.

9. Rent a Cabana

Renting a cabana is a great way to feel like a VIP on a cruise ship. When you rent a cabana, you’ll have access to your own private seating area, a dedicated waiter, special menus, and comfortable seating.

Available on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess, cabanas provide an exclusive retreat away from crowds. Booking a cabana is advantageous because it is shaded, which comes in handy during a hot day at sea.

A bonus to booking a cabana is that you won’t have to worry about finding lounge chairs. You can leave your belongings in your cabana and fully enjoy the day.

10. Play at the Casino

MSC Seascape Casino

Playing at the cruise ship casino certainly has it’s benefits. If you’re a frequent casino player, you can get free drinks, onboard credit, specialty dining, cabin upgrades, and even free cruises.

Furthermore, you can get priority embarkation, be invited to exclusive parties, get discounts on the Wi-Fi package, and receive complimentary gifts. The cruise line will go out of its way to make high-rolling casino guests feel extra special.

If you’re a frequent casino player, seeing which cruise line has the best offerings is a good idea. This way, you can take advantage of the casino benefits and get treated like VIPs.

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Final Thoughts How to Get Treated Like a VIP on a Cruise Ship

There’s no denying that feeling like a VIP on a cruise ship can make your cruise vacation feel more special. Whether you splurge and upgrade your cabin, book a specialty restaurant, or take advantage of cruise line loyalty programs, there are many simple ways to get VIP treatment on a cruise ship.

Do you have a trick for getting VIP treatment on a cruise ship? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer has been cruising with his family since he was four years old and has been on more than 30 cruises. As a frequent traveler, Ethan shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like from a young person’s perspective. Ethan also writes about men’s fashion, travel and college advice on the website WhatToWearMen.com.


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