TravelStories Episode 33: Cruise Loyalty with Traveling Well for Less’ Debra Schroeder

Are you interested in cruises, and want to capitalize on miles and points, but feel unsure of where to start? Then this episode is for you! Today we sit down with, Debra Schroeder, who first became interested in miles and points back in ’94, when she bought an excess of cereal boxes to capitalize on an American Airlines promotional campaign. Her history with cruising goes back almost as far, starting in ’98. Fast forward to today and Deb has become an expert at optimizing her travel plans. Tuning in, you’ll learn how Deb first started writing her travel blog, Traveling Well for Less, and how she began posting deals and sharing her insights with other avid travelers. We talk with Deb about her evolution as a traveler and her enduring love of cruises, before hearing her advice on how to get the most out of your trips. If you’re curious about cruising or want to take your loyalty membership to the next level, then you won’t want to miss this fascinating conversation with Deb Schroeder!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • [00:00]  Debra’s involvement in the miles and points community.
  • [04:18]  What casino programs were like when she started (and how they have changed).
  • [10:04]  Trends in cruising over the past few years and the current state of cruises.
  • [14:34]  Booking in advance and how to get lower prices for your cruises.
  • [18:49]  Recurring issues with food provisions on cruises.
  • [21:19]  An overview of the traveling that Deb still wants to do.
  • [24:18]  Cruise loyalty; how Deb obtained her Pinnacle Member status with Royal Caribbean.
  • [26:59]  An overview of the divisions amongst Pinnacle Members and what caused it.
  • [32:16]  The huge success of loyalty schemes and how this has impacted cruise lines, airlines, hotel chains, and passengers.
  • [33:17]  Why Deb, and so many others, have remained loyal to Royal Caribbean.
  • [34:21]  Comparing Royal Caribbean’s casino loyalty program with other cruise lines.
  • [38:57]  Deb’s insights into Las Vegas, on-land casinos, and earning perks and points.
  • [40:54]  Recent news regarding MGM partnerships and upcoming developments.
  • [43:41]  Deb’s parting advice: don’t wait to take advantage of all the current cruise offers!


“The miles and points community, it’s a large community, but it’s funny how small it is, really. Everybody knows everyone.” — @TktweetsKim [01:38]

“In the last couple of years, there’s been leadership change over at Royal Caribbean. So they’re doing a lot of cost-cutting and different financial strategies and implementing different things that they didn’t [do] in the past.” — @DebraSchroeder [12:29]

“With all the different changes, they have to submit the manifests to customs, like 72 hours in advance. [So] you can’t get that last-minute deal that the Floridians are used to, where they could just stroll up to the port and book a cruise right there.” — @DebraSchroeder [15:27]

“It’s incredible to think how loyal and dedicated customers are. The mania, the craziness of miles and points – extends to cruisers, just as much as people who love airlines and hotels.” — @TktweetsKim [31:25]

“Royal has the best loyalty program of all the cruise lines, in terms of what you get for your status. That is why so many of us have remained loyal to Royal because you get so much more.” — @DebraSchroeder [33:18]

“Get those free cruises now before you miss out on the opportunity! We haven’t had these many offers in a long time.” — @DebraSchroeder [44:29]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Traveling Well for Less

Traveling Well for Less on YouTube


Vanilla Reload

Royal Caribbean

Celebrity Cruises


Norwegian Cruise Line

Holland America


Crystal Cruises

The Milenomics Podcast Network

Subscribe to Milenomics on Patreon

Thomas Kim on X

Trevor Mountcastle on X

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *