How To Earn And Use Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Club Loyalty Points

Disney Cruise Line operates a much smaller fleet than other cruise lines and has spent much less time sailing the seas. For example, Disney currently operates five ships, while Royal Caribbean operates 26 ships. Disney Cruise Line began sailing in 1998, while Norwegian Cruise Line first set sail in 1966. However, Disney has quickly become one of the cruise industry's most popular wave-makers.

Much like its fleet and sailing experience, Disney Cruise Line's loyalty program is comparatively modest to other cruise operators' loyalty programs. With Disney, you won't receive free cruises after hitting a certain tiered status or enjoy deep discounts on shore excursions, which are popular perks offered by other major cruise lines. However, Disney Cruise Line's loyalty program, named the Castaway Club, does provide valuable perks that Disney Cruise Line fans will appreciate. Namely, Castaway Club members enjoy early access to reserve onboard activities, new cruise itineraries, and preferred cabins.

Castaway Club offers four status tiers

Earning a status in the Castaway Club is simple. Regardless of the length or expense of a specific Disney cruise, you'll earn credit toward a Castaway Club status for every cruise you take. The more you cruise with Disney, the higher your membership status. Currently, the Castaway Club is divided into four tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Pearl.

After taking only one cruise, you'll automatically be a Silver Castaway Club member. You'll achieve Gold status after five cruises and Platinum after 10 cruises. You can earn Pearl status, the highest available tier, after sailing on 25 cruises. Similar to other loyalty programs, your membership perks align with your status.

As mentioned previously, these statuses don't involve over-the-top discounts or free cruises. However, to earn a higher status, you'll obviously need to be an avid fan of Disney cruises, and the specific privileges of different membership statuses mindfully reflect this fandom.

Loyalty is rewarded with priority access

After your first cruise with Disney, you'll be a Silver Castaway Club member and probably quickly understand the benefit of club membership. At the Silver level, you'll be entitled to a few different perks, including a welcome-back gift and exclusive Castaway Club communications, but the true perk is found elsewhere.

The most valuable benefit of Silver status is a head start against the general public for reserving onboard activities, such as character meet-and-greets and specialty restaurant reservations. Silver members can make these 90 days before sailing and book new cruise itineraries 24 hours before the general public. While this may not seem too exciting, seasoned Disney cruise fans know that popular onboard activities and preferred cabins on new cruises sell out quickly.

The higher the status tier, the larger your head start. At Gold, you can reserve specialty dining, port adventures, and other activities 105 days before sailing. Gold-level members can also book new itineraries two days before the general public. At Platinum, you'll have a 120-day head start for activities and a three-day head start to book your cruise.

Arguably, the biggest benefit of a Pearl status is reserving everything, including new cruise itineraries, before everyone else. Again, this may not seem like a big deal, but Disney fans are notorious for snagging everything the moment an opportunity is available. If you choose to sail Disney, then you're probably a fan of the brand, so for many, this priority access is rewarding enough.