Yes! you read that right, free money, or commonly called ‘onboard credit’ (OBC for short) in the cruise industry.

I got really excited before our last cruise when my husband told me we had $900.00 to spend onboard Caribbean Princess!  Woot woot!

I’ll concentrate on how we got Princess Cruises onboard credit but most cruise lines do offer ways to earn them.

So how the heck did we accumulate so much and how did we spent it?

What is onboard credit?

It’s like having a gift card that you can use on the ship: in the stores, the specialty restaurants, for shore excursions, tips, actually anything you are charged for on your account.  Any expenses are deducted from your bill.

How did we get our onboard credits?

$300.00 – At time of booking

$150.00 each was part of the deal when we booked our cruise, almost a year in advance.

TIP: Look for deals that include OBC

$250.00 – Carnival shares

Carnival Corporation owns a few cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Cunard, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK and Australia).

The company is on the stock market and you can buy shares (100 shares minimum). As a share holder, you are eligible to receive onboard credit for each cruise, based on the length of the cruise. All you need to do is request a paper certifying you are a sharehold and send a copy to your Travel Agent or Princess direct.

$200.00 – Princess future cruise deposit

$100.00 each because we had booked a 14-day cruise.

We always take advantage of this offer from Princess. Basically, while onboard the ship, you book a cruise and you only have to give $100. per person deposit. You don’t have to decide on the date, or ship or where.

You then have 2 years to book and take the cruise or you get your money back.

When you do book the cruise using these future cruise reservations, Princess will give you onboard credit each, the amount depends on the lenght of the cruise.

It’s a no brainer!

$150.00 – Miscellaneous

$100.00 – Originally the itinerary included a port in Dominican Republic, but it was cancelled. We were given $50.00 each in onboard credit.

$50.00 – After we had cruised 20 times with Princess, we get $25.00 each every time we go on a cruise.

And on top of that

Tips were already included as part of the deal when we booked the cruise, which is a value of $378.00.

And we have ‘Elite’ status on Princess, which gives us 250 free minutes each of internet (my husband doesn’t use his, so I do!) and one free mini-bar.

How we spent our onboard credits

$440.00 – Shore excursions

We usually never book shore excursions with the cruise line, because they are more expensive that if you do your own research and find local operators that offer the same.

$120.00 – Clothes

I went shopping! There is always a 3-hour sale of accessories and apparels on each cruise. So I took advantage of our free money.

$85.00 – Drinks

golden margarita on Caribbean Princess

This includes the tropical drinks I had, such as Margarita, Daiquiri, etc.

We also bought a coffee card to enjoy fancy coffees, like Mocha Latte.

And a few soft drinks for my husband.

$85.00 – Specialty Restaurants

$60.00 was spent in the Crown Grill, a steak house offering such delicious food.

$25.00 was spent in the new Plank BBQ restaurant, which is very different than what we ever had before. You have a choice of 4 different meats and with your plate comes a side of chili, coleslaw, and beans and appetizer or soup.

$170.00 – Miscellaneous

$50.00 for new binoculars, since I lost the old ones.

$120.00 was an amount left that was refundable, so we’ll be receiving a cheque in the mail from Princess Cruise Line.

There you have it!

That’s how we earned and spent $900.00 worth of Princess Cruises onboard credit. And it was really fun 🙂

If you have any questions, you’re welcome to ask me in the comments below.