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Carnival Cruise Line thinks I’m a gambling high roller, and they invited me on a free cruise. Let me explain.
I currently have Hyatt Explorist status. I keep it every year by matching to MGM Rewards (formerly mLife) and then back again (see this post).
Last year, after reading a post on Frequent Miler, I decided to match my MGM Gold status to Carnival Cruise Line through Carnival’s Fun Match program. After that, I received some offers for discounted Carnival cruises, but nothing substantial and definitely no “free cruise” offers.
Free Carnival Cruise Offers
Last week, I received an email for a free inside room on Carnival. The offer was valid on many ships and dates through September 2023. It was even valid for a 14-night transatlantic cruise on a newer ship! Wow, what a deal!
I was tempted. REALLY tempted. However, my husband is running low on PTO time. Plus, I can’t be away from home that long while my kids are in school. And admittedly, I don’t love inside cabins. I’m slightly claustrophobic, and I need at least a window.
My family actually had a Carnival cruise booked for next January. Unfortunately, after learning my husband would not be able to get off work for it, I decided to cancel it. This offer almost tempted me to re-book that same cruise just for me and a kid (or two). I decided to wait a few days and think about it.
The very next day, I got another email, but this time for a free BALCONY room! Now we’re talking! And no, I couldn’t resist this deal.
While the deal says it’s for a “free” balcony room, it’s technically a $100 deposit per person with a $100 onboard credit for up to two people. Plus, you have to pay port taxes (which are $128 per person on the cruise we were looking at). There is no requirement to spend money in the casino.
With the offer, I could choose any balcony room. So of course I picked a cabin with an extended balcony. Why not?
The cruise visits two ports we’ve never been to, Amber Cove and Grand Turk. The ship has a roller coaster on the top deck.
For me and my son, the total cost of our cruise on the brand new Carnival Celebration including taxes and fees is $457.72. Plus, we get $200 of onboard credit to spend on excursions, drinks, etc. And of course, we will need to pay tips on board. So, it’s not free, but it’s a heck of a deal for sure.
I hope to use miles and points for flights and a hotel the night before the cruise.
Do I Have a Gambling Problem?
No, I’m not a gambler. I just happen to have MGM Gold status due to status matches. Carnival wants to attract gamblers to their cruises to spend money in their onboard casinos.
But, I AM a sucker for good deals. And yes, my family travels too much. But soon enough, my kids will be flown and grown. So, YOLO.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.