DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Web site that sells cruises is promoting a little-known way to get a discount on your next trip at sea: Using the stock market.
If you own stock in a cruise company, you may qualify for an onboard credit. For example, says Bob Levinstein, CEO of CruiseCompete.com, if you own 100 shares of stock in Carnival (CCL) or Royal Caribbean (RCL) at the time of your cruise, you can qualify for an onboard credit of $50 to $250.
In other words, Levinstein is suggesting that you could buy the stock, get the credit and sell the stock. Unless the stock price went down, you'd be ahead of the game.
As with many companies, shares of Carnival and Royal Caribbean are down from a year ago. The $8 share price for Royal Caribbean (RCL) is down from a 52-week high of $36, and Carnival (CCL) was trading at about $21 at the end of March, down from $43.
Royal Caribbean, which owns Celebrity and Azamara, also offers shareholder credits on shorter cruises: $200 credit for 10-13 nights; $100 credit for six to nine nights; and $50 credit for sailings of five nights or less.
Carnival owns Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, and Costa, and offers $250 credits on sailings of 14 days or longer, $100 on sailings of seven to 13 days, and $50 on sailings of six days or less.
Credits can be used for a variety of purchases and services onboard, including specialty restaurants and spas.
Applications to get the credits must be made prior to cruise departures, restrictions apply, and certain requirements must be met. For example, Royal Caribbean's investor relations department must receive a copy of your shareholder proxy card or a current brokerage statement showing proof of ownership of at least 100 shares, along with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, ship, sailing date and confirmation number. Royal Caribbean also advises that the shareholders' benefit offer is not combinable with other offers.