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Updated: Apr 02, 2024

The Best Credit Cards for Cruise Travel

If you are planning on booking a cruise make sure you know everything about cruise line credit cards before signing up.
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While searching for cruise options online, you have likely been inundated with credit card advertisements from the major cruise lines.

It certainly seems logical that a Carnival Cruise Line credit card may have benefits unique to your upcoming Carnival cruise, but will this card actually save you money?

MyBankTracker researched current credit cards from the major U.S. cruise lines, and here is what we found.

Major U.S. Cruise Line Credit Cards

This list of cruise-line credit cards certainly isn’t exhaustive, but the cards below are the major players on the market today.

It’s not difficult to see the similarities. In fact, each cruise-line card offers the same points system; 2x points for cruise purchases and 1x points for all other purchases.

If variety is the spice of life, cruise-line credit cards seem a bit bland.

Rewards Points For Cruise Credit Cards

Cruise Credit Card Reward Points
Carnival® World Mastercard®
  • 2x points per $1 on Carnival Cruises
  • 1x points per $1 everywhere else
  • No annual fee
Norwegian Worldpoints® Rewards Card
  • 2x points per $1 on NCL
  • 1x point per $1 everywhere else
  • No annual fee
Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card
  • 2x points per $1 on Princess Cruises
  • 1x point per $1 everywhere else
  • No annual fee
Disney® Rewards Visa® Card
  • 2x points per $1 at Disney locations
  • 1x point per $1 everywhere else
  • No annual fee
Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® Card
  • 2x points per $1 on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamura Club Cruises
  • 1x point per $1 everywhere else
  • No annual fee

Best Credit Cards for Cruises and Other Travel

We prefer non-cruise line credit cards for all travel-related purchases, including those on cruises.

If you’re an avid traveler, we are a big fan of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The bonus miles and miles back programs will work for nearly anyone.

But if your upcoming cruise is the first trip you’ve taken in five years, this might not be the card for you.

Accruing miles is relatively pointless if you rarely travel.

The Citi Double Cash credit card is a more practical choice for folks who will be using their card for everyday purchases, with the occasional trip thrown in for good measure.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

With the , you earn miles for all purchases and bonus miles for reaching certain milestones. Plus, your miles don’t expire.

These miles are good for qualifying travel-related purchases, so this card is best for frequent travelers.

And for those globe-trotters who spend at least some of their travel dollars overseas, you’ll be happy to know that this card has no foreign transaction fees.

Best Runner-up Cruise Credit Cards

Citi Double Cash

What’s ‘double’ about this card? Well, it’s actually pretty cool. With the Citi Double Cash card, you get 1% back on purchases and then another 1% when you pay those purchases off.

This earning structure is unique to the Citi Double Cash card, and it’s great for people who want unlimited rewards.

With no annual fee and no limit on earned rewards, this is a great all-around credit card.

However, with a 3% foreign transaction fee and no travel redemption options, it might not be the best choice for frequent travelers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Another travel-focused credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is our second favorite option for frequent travelers.

For travelers who spend the big bucks, this card has a great bonus program.

If you redeem points for cash, you’ll get a rate of 1 cent per point whereas if you redeem for travel, you’ll get a rate of 1.25 cents per point.

The Bottom Line

Any cruise line card is going to have a hard time standing up against a generic cashback credit card. Unless you actually live on a cruise ship, you’re probably better off signing up for a non-cruise line card.

If you travel frequently, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is our absolute favorite.

Otherwise, we like the Citi Double Cash card. With cashback on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee, this card is as flexible as they come.

Nobody knows your spending habits better than you. With the vast array of credit cards available today, everyone can find a card that meets their unique needs.