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How to Get Onboard Credit for Owning Norwegian Cruise Line Stock

How to Get Onboard Credit for Owning Norwegian Cruise Line Stock

If you cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line, or another NCL-owned cruise line, you can get free onboard credit on every cruise, just for being a Norwegian stockholder! Here’s how to get your free OBC.

One of my favorite perks of cruising is getting free onboard credit—often abbreviated to OBC— when I book during certain sales. Since I always use a cruise travel agent, I’ll often get extra onboard credit just for booking through the agency.

OBC is awesome! You can use it for just about anything on the ship—buying souvenirs in the shops, paying for specialty dining, booking shore excursions, and more.

But did you know that you can get even more free onboard credit every time you book a cruise on Norwegian or any other cruise line owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings?

It’s true! If you’re an NCL stockholder, you’re eligible for free onboard credit each time you cruise. As long as you own enough shares and can show proof before each sailing, you’ll get free money to make every cruise even more fun.

What cruise lines offer free onboard credit to Norwegian Cruise Line shareholders?

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. offers free OBC to shareholders on all of their cruise lines. This includes NCL, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises.

Applying for free onboard credit as a Norwegian shareholder

If you own Norwegian Cruise Line stock (or you’re planning on buying some), it’s super-easy to get your free shareholder OBC. Read on to find out how many shares you need to own, how much credit you’ll get for each sailing, and how to let your cruise line know you’re eligible.

How much NCL stock do you have to own to get onboard credit?

You’ll need to own at least 100 shares of stock in Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) at the time of sailing to earn their free onboard credit benefit. The shares need to be held in the name of a booked passenger to earn OBC.

How much onboard credit will I get for my cruise?

The amount of free onboard credit you’ll get per cruise depends on how long your sailing is. See the table below to find out how much OBC you can be awarded on your next cruise.

Cruise LengthOBC per stateroom
Sailings of 15 days or more$250
Sailings of 7 to 14 days$100
Sailings of 6 days or fewer$50

You may also like: How to Save Money on Cruises

How do you let the cruise line know you’re a Norwegian Cruise Line shareholder?

Although so many things are automated these days, you’ll need to let the cruise line know that you’re a shareholder before each and every cruise, so you can have your OBC credited to your account.

Annoying, I know, especially if you take a lot of cruises! But trust me, it only takes five minutes, and you’ll earn between $50 and $250 to spend on your next cruise. Now that’s a nice rate of return!

Six steps to apply for onboard credit as an NCL stockholder:

  1. Own at least 100 shares of Norwegian Cruise Line stock (NCLH)
  2. Access the Shareholder Benefit Request Form *
  3. Print, copy or scan your proof of shares (proxy card or brokerage statement)
  4. Black out your brokerage account number
  5. Mail or email the form along with proof of shares to your cruise line
  6. Check your online cruise planner for the OBC a few weeks before your cruise departs

*NCLH likes to periodically change the location of the Shareholder Benefit Request Form on its Investor Relations website. If the above link is broken, I’ve saved a PDF of the 2022 Norwegian Shareholder Benefit Request Form that you can access instead.

You’ll need to mail or email the completed form with proof of your shares to your specific cruise line at least a few weeks before your sail date.

The cruise lines need to receive all shareholder benefit requests at least fifteen days prior to the sailing date to issue onboard credit.

Proof of shareholder status could include:

  • A copy of your shareholder proxy card OR
  • A copy of your brokerage statement showing that you own at least 100 shares of NCLH (black out your brokerage account number)

Be sure to also fill out the Shareholder Benefit Request Form completely, including your full name, address, phone number, and email. You’ll also need to provide the ship name, sailing date, and reservation number to ensure you’re credited correctly on your cruise.

Mail or email your form and proof of shares to the cruise line you’ll be sailing on:

Norwegian Cruise Line
Shareholder Benefit Department
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, FL 33126

Oceania Cruises
Shareholder Benefit Department
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, FL 33126

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Shareholder Benefit Department
8300 NW 33rd Street
Suite 100
Miami, FL 33122

What if multiple members of my family are Norwegian shareholders? Do we all get free onboard credit?

Norwegian’s free onboard credit program for shareholders only allows one shareholder per stateroom to use the benefit. So if you have multiple shareholders in the same cabin, only one can get the free OBC.

But if you want to get creative, you can sometimes work around this policy.

Let’s say you’re traveling as a family unit—two parents and your kids who are old enough to stay in a nearby room. Each parent owns at least 100 shares of NCL stock, but you’d like to actually sleep in the same room as your spouse or partner.

Despite the strict rules around one free OBC benefit per cabin, the cruise lines aren’t the bed police! If you book one parent into each of the two rooms, both adults can get the free credit.

Of course, each stateroom key card is assigned to a specific passenger and also acts as ID and your way of making purchases on board. So the logistics can get tricky with this workaround, but many cruisers use this method to double up on OBC.

You may also like: Cruising with Kids: 19 Essential Tips

What if I hold NCLH shares jointly with another passenger?

If you own Norwegian Cruise Line shares with another passenger in your stateroom, you’re only eligible for one OBC per cruise.

However, if the other passenger is staying in another cabin AND you jointly own at least 200 shares, you’re both eligible to apply for onboard credit.

Can you gift your Norwegian shareholder onboard credit to friends or family sailing with you?

Just like any other cruise onboard credit you might receive in a special sale or via your travel agent, Norwegian shareholder onboard credit isn’t transferable. The cruise line will apply the OBC only to the account that matches the name of the legal shareholder.

But if you want to share your credit with friends or family, you can always use it to buy a gift on board for a friend or loved one. Just remember you need to make the purchase yourself—you can’t give your cruise card to another passenger to use your OBC.

Can you save your NCL shareholder onboard credit for another cruise?

Although it would be nice to be able to save your unused onboard credit to use on a future cruise, your OBC expires at the end of each sailing. So use it before you lose it!

Can you get more than one free OBC benefit if you hold more than 100 shares of Norwegian stock?

If you have several hundred (or more!) shares of Norwegian Cruise Line stock, you’re probably wondering if you can get more free onboard credit for each block of 100 shares you own.

Unfortunately, free onboard credit for NCL shareholders is limited to one credit benefit per person per sailing.

Is anyone excluded from receiving free onboard credit for being an NCL shareholder?

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings employees likely already know that they’re not eligible for onboard credit for owning NCL stock. But some non-employees also aren’t able to take advantage of this program.

If any of these situations apply to you, you also won’t be able to get free OBC as a Norwegian shareholder:

  • A travel agent cruising at travel agent rates
  • Tour conductors or group leaders cruising at a reduced rate
  • Guests sailing on interline, friends & family, or vendor rates
  • Anyone sailing on a complimentary basis
  • Guests using a cruise credit certificate
  • Anyone on a chartered sailing

What can you use your Norwegian shareholder onboard credit for?

Unlike some cruise lines that allow you to use OBC before your cruise to pay for packages and services on board, NCL and its subsidiaries only allow you to use onboard credit once you’re physically on the ship.

Consider using your Norwegian shareholder onboard credit at one of your ship’s specialty dining restaurants (image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

But, you can use your onboard credit for almost anything you’d normally pay for once you’re on the ship. Here are some examples of how you can use your free shareholder OBC:

  • Specialty dining that you book on board
  • Shore excursions that you book on board
  • Beverages that aren’t covered by a drink package
  • Purchases in the onboard shops
  • Spa and salon visits
  • Experiences like wine tastings, cooking classes, or behind-the-scenes tours

Just remember that some cruise lines will give you a discount if you prebook and prepay for some of these extras before you sail. Take that into consideration when deciding how you’ll use your OBC.

You may also like: Are Cruise Drink Packages Worth It?

What can you NOT use your NCL shareholder onboard credit for?

There are tons of ways you can use your free onboard credit for owning Norwegian stock on a cruise. However, NCL has a few rules about what you can’t use it for. Make sure you know these exclusions before you assume you’re covered (and stuck with an unexpected bill).

  • Using shareholder OBC for service charges
  • Paying for crew gratuities with shareholder OBC
  • Using shareholder OBC for anything that you need to use cash for (like for extra tips, or vending or self-service laundry on some ships).

More resources for your Norwegian cruise

What’s your favorite way to get free onboard credit on a cruise? Have you received OBC for being a Norwegian Cruise Line shareholder? Let me know in the comments below!

Carrie Ann Karstunen


Thursday 1st of December 2022

Hi, I owned 100 shares of NCL stock and contacted NCL about this at least 2 months prior to cruising. I never did receive an OBC from them and they were actually quite rude about it. Gave me the run-around for a while and then sent me a bogus email saying they tried to open the pdf proof that I sent but they couldn't. I sold the stock and figured I learned my lesson. Sure wish they would have honored me being a shareholder.

Carrie Ann

Friday 2nd of December 2022

Hi Jerry, I'm sorry to hear about your experience with the NCL shareholder benefit. I haven't had that experience with them, but I've heard from other cruisers that sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get it. You mentioned that you already sold your NCL stock, but other readers can benefit from your story. Sending in your proof of shares early and following up usually does the trick. For anyone having trouble with Norwegian honoring the shareholder benefit for a similar reason, I'd advise also pasting the proof of shares into the body of your email, or mailing in hard copies of the form and proof well before your sailing date. If all else fails, try calling Investor Relations at 305-468-2339.

Karen Masagatani

Thursday 29th of September 2022

Hi, I'm looking into purchasing the stocks to get the Onboard Credit for future cruises. How long do you think this onboard credit offer will last? Do we have to own the stocks at least 60 days before we are eligible to use it?

Carrie Ann

Friday 30th of September 2022

Hi Karen, I don't see the Norwegian stockholder OBC benefit going away any time soon! It's been offered for many years, and several of NCL's competitors also offer a similar benefit. I would imagine that if it were canceled, a lot of angry stockholders would sell the shares they're holding just for the credit!

To answer your second question, you don't need to own the NCL stock for 60 days (or any other specific length of time) to use it. The cruise line says you need to be a shareholder at the time of sailing, but I've never heard of them actually checking after your OBC is approved. Thanks for the questions!

John K.

Tuesday 2nd of August 2022

Thanks for this! I had no idea that this was even a thing. We now own a tiny piece of NCL, and have already had a credit applied to our upcoming cruise.

Carrie Ann

Tuesday 2nd of August 2022

Hi John, that's awesome! I'm so glad I could tell you all about how to get Norwegian shareholder credit, and that you could make use of it right away. Happy cruising!


Thursday 16th of June 2022

Hi, is there a limit to how many times you can get the onboard credit per year? We have a few cruises booked over the next 12 months, and I hope I can get OBC for all of them. Also can I send in my information for all of the cruises now, or should I wait until it's closer to each sailing date?


Wednesday 30th of November 2022

@Susan, You can use it for each cruise. I have even done back to back cruises and got $100 for each cruise. You must use the credit during that cruise. There is no carryover.

Carrie Ann

Thursday 16th of June 2022

Hi Susan, excellent questions! Norwegian doesn't have a limit to how many times you can get the free shareholder OBC, so you'll be able to apply for it for all of your cruises. As for when you should send in your forms and proof of shares, I personally have never sent them in more than a few months before sailing, but there's nothing in NCL's fine print that says how early you're allowed to send it. I'd say go for it :) Enjoy your cruises!