Military cruise deals: Save big if you’re a service member, first responder or teacher

2 weeks ago 16

Many cruise lines honor those who serve our country with various year-round discounts. Some cruise lines extend deals beyond active and retired military personnel, offering special rates to first responders, medical personnel and educators.

From onboard credits to a free cruise, here's a line-by-line list of military discounts and other deals worth checking out.

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AmaWaterways

Active and retired U.S. service members can take advantage of a special military discount of $250 off an AmaWaterways river cruise using the code "MIL250" at the time of booking. You can also combine the discount with other promotions or offers.

Alternatively, active military members and veterans can utilize an exclusive two-for-one cruise fare promotion for select river cruises in 2024 to destinations like Vienna; Regensburg, Germany; and Paris. Mention the promo code "MIL2FOR1" at the time of booking.

Details: amawaterways.com

Carnival Cruise Line

The Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge on Carnival Venezia. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

Active and retired military members receive discounted cruise rates, onboard credits and reduced deposits on Carnival Cruise Line sailings. The line also hosts military appreciation gatherings for service members and their families. Additionally, you'll find a Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge aboard several Carnival ships.

Details: carnival.com

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises offers active and retired U.S. and Canadian military members $25 off bookings of inside and ocean-view cabins and a $100 discount on veranda cabins and above on select sailings. This discount applies to the first and second guests in the same cabin.

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The offer applies to select cruises of four nights or longer and excludes Galapagos sailings.

Details: celebritycruises.com

Disney Cruise Line

Active and retired U.S. military members and their spouses receive special rates on select Disney Cruise Line sailings. Prices start at $200 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. The offer is only valid for new bookings and is limited to one cabin per service member, per sailing.

Details: disneycruise.disney.go.com

Holland America

Active U.S. and Canadian military members and veterans receive a $100 onboard credit per cabin on every new booking of a Holland America cruise. The same discount is extended to educators in the U.S. You can apply the credit to products or services, such as shore excursions, beverages and spa treatments, while on board.

Details: Military discount; teacher discount

Margaritaville at Sea

In 2024, Margaritaville at Sea updated its popular Heroes Sail Free program, renaming it Heroes Sail Free and First.

The new program offers all active and veteran military, first responders, law enforcement officers, medical personnel and educators in the U.S. a free sailing with a paying guest as often as they like throughout the year. The offer applies to sailings aboard Margaritaville at Sea Islander, the line's newest ship, as well as Margaritaville at Sea Paradise.

With the addition of the Heroes Sail First component, qualified passengers also receive an Express Pass, which includes priority embarkation and disembarkation at both home and destination ports, two complimentary welcome beverages, priority luggage delivery and expedited booking assistance for shore excursions for all sailing destinations.

The offer applies to windowless inside cabins only. Any additional cabin guest who does not qualify for the program must pay the standard cruise sailing rate. While the cruise is free, guests are required to pay all port taxes, fees and gratuities.

Details: margaritavilleatsea.com

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises offers discounted fares to all active and retired U.S. military personnel and family members traveling with them. You can receive a 5% discount on inside and ocean-view cabins, a 10% discount on balcony cabins and suites and a "kids sail free" promotion on select sailings.

Additionally, MSC will not penalize cancellations due to deployment. You will receive a 100% future cruise credit for two years from cancellation (with verification from the commanding officer).

Details: msccruisesusa.com

Norwegian Cruise Line

STEVE BEAUDET/NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES

Norwegian Cruise Line's Military Appreciation Program provides exclusive benefits to U.S. military members, veterans, the National Guard, reserves and their spouses. Members of the program receive a 10% discount on all cruise fares. It's also combinable with the Free at Sea program, which includes free drinks, airfare for a second guest, Wi-Fi and other perks.

NCL also runs its Giving Joy contest each May during Teacher Appreciation Week. Winning educators within the U.S. receive a seven-night cruise for two.

Details: Military discount; Giving Joy contest

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises extends up to $250 in free onboard spending credit to U.S. and Canadian veterans and active, retired and disabled military personnel. You can apply the credit toward specialty dining, onboard shopping, shore excursions and spa treatments.

Throughout the year, the line also has special promotions for first responders, medical professionals and teachers (no specials were available at the time of publication). Those who qualify can verify their status through Princess' website and sign up to receive notifications of promotions.

Details: Military discount; first responder and medical professional discount; teacher discount

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean offers military rates to active and retired personnel, veterans and their spouses in the U.S. and Canada. The line also extends discounts to police officers (local, state or federal) and firefighters. The discount applies to friends and family members staying in the same cabin as the eligible service member or first responder.

The special rates vary from sailing to sailing, and the best way to access the discount is by booking through a travel agent or directly with Royal Caribbean over the phone.

Details: royalcaribbean.com

Bottom line

Many of these discounts are minor but are still nice if you want to shave a few dollars off the cost of a cruise vacation. For the best deals in addition to military discounts, do your research, look for sales and compare prices across travel sellers. Enlisting a travel agent to help with vacation planning is another great way to unlock cruise perks and discounts.

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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