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March 30, 2009

Get paid to buy stock before you cruise (really!)

Stocks losing value is rarely good news, but there is a little-known silver lining: free onboard credits of $50-$250 are now within easy reach.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean have long offered free onboard credits to shareholder. To qualify, you just need to own 100 shares of stock in the company at the time of your cruise on any of their lines. But while Carnival (CCL) traded around $45 per share and Royal Caribbean (RCL) sold for about $36 a year ago, CCL is now about $22 and RCL and is trading at about $8 per share.

What does this mean for you? With RCL at $8, 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 per stateroom for sailings between 10-13 nights; $100 credit for cruises of 6-9 nights; and $50 credit for sailings of five nights or less. Taking more than one cruise? You can get the shareholder credit every time!

Owning Carnival stock entitles you to shareholder credits on Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, and Costa. The credit (per stateroom) is $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. For details, see:

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