The Next Cruise Centre on many Royal Caribbean ships

Sometimes they’re neatly hidden away in the corner of a lower deck, other times they’re front and centre in a cruise ship’s main atrium, but the Future Cruise or Next Cruise desk is all but impossible to completely avoid and ignore during a cruise, even just for a quick look.

These desks can vary in size from a small, inconspicuous collection of desks through to a big, brash space that could easily be filled with another restaurant, lined with exotic photos, videos and advertising.

Most of the day, these desks are manned by several crew members who sail with the ship and work to help travellers learn more about other opportunities to hop back onboard for another cruise before they have even finished their current one.

But why would you bother booking another cruise before you have even finished this one? It’s rarely disclosed but there is quite a number of benefits to investing in your next sea holiday before you’ve even put your bags down at home.

You’ll get a lot more onboard credit

Part of the allure in booking your next cruise while onboard another, travellers are typically tempted with a great big offer of onboard credit.

Even booking shorter voyages onboard will see you get at-least $25 per person. Longer sailings will often give you in excess of $250 per person.

Make a booking for a cruise and you can receive free money to spend onboard.
Onboard credit really is free money, redeemable for real things onboard such as dining, shore tours and drinks.

You can double-dip with bonuses by booking onboard and also enjoy rewards from your local travel agent

If you do decide to take advantage of the great bonuses of booking onboard, you can also ask the consultant to transfer the booking to your favourite travel agent back at home.

When you arrive home, your agent should have been made aware of it and will hopefully have made contact with you in gracious admiration of your loyalty and also to make sure all the booking details are correct.

They will then also typically offer you some additional extras – such as further discounts on the fare or potentially even more onboard credit.

Your travel agent can handle your booking after you have made it onboard.
Your travel agent can handle your booking after you have made it onboard.

You often get early access to upcoming cruises not currently on sale

Many cruise lines will give their onboard cruise consultants prior notification of when each cruise season is going to be released for sale.

They will also generally have some behind-the-scenes knowledge of each ship’s movements before they are announced – giving you an opportunity to start planning, sometimes months before the final schedule is officially released.

In these instances, or any others where you’re actually unable to book a cabin on a particular voyage, the consultant will sell you what is known as a “Future Cruise Certificate”. This is essentially a gift voucher for a reduced deposit and gives you all the same benefits as if you were booking it onboard.

These vouchers are normally valid for two years and can typically be applied to any promotion as it is released, meaning you can still book your cruise with your travel agent back at home and enjoy all the benefits of booking onboard.

You can sometimes score onboard credit for the voyage you’re on

The great value of booking your next cruise while onboard is only furthered when the cruise line offers you yet more credit to use on the cruise you’re currently on!

For example, Norwegian Cruise Line allows you to buy a $100 future cruise certificate, which will then give you US$100 onboard credit for the voyage you are on. You then have four years to use the deposit, giving you even more time to sort out what your next dream voyage will be.

Having additional onboard credit is particularly beneficial when the voyage is operating in American dollars.
Having additional onboard credit is particularly beneficial when the ship you’re sailing on is operating in American dollars.

Certain voyages are significantly cheaper by booking onboard

You might be loving your cruise so much, you either don’t want to get off or you want to find a way to get onto a much longer cruise.

If you’re looking at world cruises aboard Princess Cruises for example, booking while onboard another cruise can see you receive a reduced deposit of 5% of the cruise fare and a 3% discount on the fare itself – in addition to increased onboard credit. This might not sound like much, but a 3% saving on most world cruises can mean thousands – or in the case of suites, tens of thousands in your pocket instead of the cruise line’s.

Some cruise lines will also offer exclusive pricing on one-way sailings such as repositioning voyages and special itineraries such as Antarctica or Amazon River itineraries.

Some cruise lines allow you to extend the benefits of booking onboard to friends and family who aren't sailing with you.
Some cruise lines allow you to extend the benefits of booking onboard to friends and family who aren’t sailing with you.

Booking onboard can also provide savings for your friends and family

Holland America Line is known for its elegant and refined ships which often attract large groups of friends and family travelling together, so its no surprise the cruise line puts in a concerted effort to make it particularly attractive to book your whole group as one.

You can even book a voyage for your friends and family who aren’t sailing with you at the time, for them to get all the bonuses and extras as if they were!

Your cruise line can tell you all of the offers you’re eligible for

Future cruise consultants have the ability to see all rates on the voyage you’re interested in – including seniors fares, past guest discounts and active military. They will all appear for the future cruise consultants to book and are generally fares which can normally be quite difficult for your travel agent to obtain.

Have you booked another cruise while onboard before? Tell us about your experience.

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