Set Sail With The 13 Best Cruise Affiliate Programs

If you love traveling and the open ocean, becoming a cruise affiliate could be smooth sailing toward passive income. The cruise industry generates over $35 billion in revenue each year and continues to grow.

As a cruise affiliate, you can earn commissions by promoting cruise lines and travel services to your audience. With so many options, though, it can be overwhelming to choose the best cruise affiliate programs.

That’s why we’ve done the legwork and identified 13 of the most lucrative and reputable cruise affiliate programs. Whether you have a travel blog, Instagram account, email list, or any platform with a travel-focused audience – these programs offer great commission structures to earn income.

Let’s dive right in and explore the top cruise affiliate programs for this year!

1. Royal Caribbean Cruises

Commission Rate: 4% per sale

Cookie Duration: 45 days

As one of the world’s largest cruise lines, Royal Caribbean offers diverse itineraries to popular tropical and exotic destinations worldwide. Their modern ships feature world-class dining, entertainment, activities, and more to delight cruisers of all ages.

The Royal Caribbean affiliate program provides a competitive 4% commission rate on all cruise bookings. With an average order value of $2,500 and a 45-day cookie duration, affiliates stand to earn $100+ per sale.

If you have an audience interested in luxury or family cruises, promoting Royal Caribbean offers great earning potential. One of the reasons why this is the best cruise affiliate program is because of sheer name recognition. 

2. Polynesian Cultural Centre

Commission Rate: 5-7% per sale

Cookie Duration: 60 days

For affiliates focused on promoting Hawaiian or Pacific Island cruises, the Polynesian Cultural Centre affiliate program delivers solid value.

Located in Hawaii, this popular paid attraction immerses visitors in Polynesian culture through interactive villages, island shows, and crafts. Cruise passengers love stopping here during port excursions for the must-see entertainment and shopping.

As an affiliate, you can earn 5% commission from general attraction ticket sales and a 7% commission from product purchases made online or in-store. With a 60-day cookie duration and a $385 average order value, your earnings add up quickly.

If you create content around these topics or you have a travel-related audience interested in Polynesian culture, this could be a great way to diversify your affiliate profile. 

3. Travelpayouts

Commission Rate: 50% per sale

Cookie Duration: 30 days

Among the highest-paying cruise affiliate programs is Travelpayouts. This travel affiliate network aggregates the best travel deals and offers 50% commission per sale on all bookings.

With cruise deals across all major lines, destinations, and dates, Travelpayouts should be a go-to program for all travel affiliates. You really can’t beat a 50% commission rate and a 30-day cookie!

Some of the most popular and highest-converting offers are Caribbean cruises, Alaskan cruises, and European river cruises. But no matter the itinerary, you’ll earn a flat 50% commission, which is incredible.

4. Orbitz Cruise

Commission Rate: 1.6%-4% per sale

Cookie Duration: 7 days

Expedia Group owns Orbitz, among the most recognized online travel agencies globally. In addition to great flight and hotel deals, Orbitz Cruises helps travelers book dream vacations aboard ocean liners.

Some Orbitz perks includes price-matching guarantees, flexible booking policies, and exclusive promotional offers. This makes them appealing both for leisure and budget-focused cruisers.

For affiliates, Orbitz pays 1.6% to 4% commission per cruise booking made through your link. Although the cookie duration is short at 7 days, their high search traffic converts well when timed properly.

With industry-leading customer service and affordable pricing, Orbitz Cruise delivers reliable value for both cruisers and affiliates. Plus, name recognition is a big thing, and most people have heard of Orbitz. 

5. Expedia

Commission Rate: Up to 12% per sale

Cookie Duration: 7 days

Alongside Orbitz, Expedia is a dominant force in online travel bookings – including cruises. Loved for its price comparison technology, flexible booking options, and special deals, Expedia makes cruise dreams a reality.

On Expedia CruiseShipCenters, your audience can browse sailings with all major cruise lines as well as niche river cruise companies. Destinations span the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Asia and beyond.

As an affiliate, you can earn up to 12% commission per cruise booking made via your Expedia link. While the cookie duration is short at 7 days, Expedia’s strong repeat customer base and popularity with savvy travelers drive conversions.

For one of the highest commission structures among top OTAs, Expedia is one of the best cruise affiliate programs, hands down. 

6. ROAM Luggage

Commission Rate: 8% per sale

Cookie Duration: 30 days

While luggage may seem an unlikely addition among cruise affiliate programs, ROAM offers a unique value proposition. Allowing customers to fully customize their suitcases for style and function, ROAM bags are perfect for the needs of cruise travelers.

Options include expandable compartments, TSA-ready locks, luggage tracking, and more. With an average order value of $414, affiliates earn a straight 8% commission or about $33 per sale.

The 30-day cookie is also a perk, allowing you to earn from repeat purchases and secondary bags ordered for travel partners. 

What we love most about this affiliate niche is that there are a lot of complimentary options you can promote, like luggage, airfare, transfers, car rentals, and more. This is simply one of the great options!  

7. Cruise Critic

Commission Rate: $0.18 – $0.40 per click

Cookie Duration: 7 days

When choosing the optimal cruise, reading reviews and advice from other cruisers can be invaluable. Here’s where Cruise Critic shines as the world’s largest platform for cruise reviews, tips, and insight.

Featuring editorials and first-hand feedback on cruise lines, ships, destinations, and deals, Cruise Critic is a top research destination for vacation planners.

As an affiliate, you have the chance to earn $0.18 – $0.40 per click sending users to targeted Cruise Critic landing pages. With detailed cruise guides and booking functionality built-in, Cruise Critic delivers qualified traffic ready to plan and purchase.

While the CPC payout model is less common, Cruise Critic’s qualified audience converts extremely well – especially for research-focused buyers.

8. Virgin Holidays Cruise

Commission Rate: Up to 2% per sale

Cookie Duration: 30 days

Founded by billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin Holidays offers excellent vacation packages – including cruises aboard their adults-only “Scarlet Lady” ship.

With dozens of dining venues, nightlife options, entertainment, and wellness amenities, the Scarlet Lady was specifically designed for the modern cruiser. Offering Virgin’s signature exceptional service, this intimate ship sails the Caribbean in style.

As a Virgin Holidays Cruise affiliate, you can earn up to 2% commission on all cruise bookings via your link. While the payout is lower compared with mass-market lines, Virgin’s higher price point balances earnings potential. 

With sailing fares ranging $3,000-$5,000 per guest, a 2% commission nets you $60-$100 per booking.

If your travel affiliate content is more geared towards adults and honeymoons rather than families, this might be a great cruise to throw in there. 

9. Fugu Luggage

Commission Rate: 10% per sale

Cookie Duration: 90 days

Here’s another luggage affiliate program catering to discerning cruise travelers! Fugu offers expandable carry-on suitcases allowing cruisers to return home with all their vacation shopping.

These patent-pending bags utilize zipper technology to expand up to 40% capacity when needed. Then when packing light for port excursions, simply zip back into its standard dimensions meeting airline requirements.

With functionality that suits frequent travelers, Fugu makes an ideal upsell for cruise audiences. As an affiliate, you can earn a 10% flat commission for all purchases driven through your link.

On average, affiliate sales earn $45 in commissions thanks to a $450 average order value. With vacuum compression and other premium features, Fugu luggage sells itself – earning you cash in the process!

10. Dock & Bay

Commission Rate: 5% per sale

Cookie Duration: 30 days

Known for their iconic Beach and Bath towels made from recycled materials, Dock & Bay products have become vacation must-haves. Quick dry functionality, ultra-soft texture, fun patterns, and compact packing make them ideal for cruising.

Offering beach towels, sarongs, wraps, and other accessories, Dock & Bay allows your audience to arrive in style on the shores of their paradise island destination.

As a Dock & Bay affiliate, you’ll earn 5% commission on all purchases made through your unique link. Cookie duration runs 30 days – allowing you to capture repeat purchases of their popular items.

With smaller commissions, this stylish brand offers nice income potential from impulse and gifting purchases you’re bound to find inside cruise luggage all over the world. 

11. Allianz Worldwide

Commission Rate: $10 – $50 per sale or $10 per lead

Cookie Duration: 15 days

One crucial element for trouble-free cruising is comprehensive travel insurance. That’s where industry leader Allianz Worldwide excels – offering plans to protect overseas medical costs, evacuation, baggage, delays, and more.

Ideal for affluent travelers booking longer cruises, Allianz policies provide peace of mind in case the unforeseen happens miles out to sea! As an affiliate, you have two options for earnings:

  • $10 to $50 commission per policy purchase
  • $10 CPL for insurance quote form submissions

With premium protection for demanding world travelers, Allianz Worldwide satisfies a key demand among cruisegoers. Easily add this proven program to complement your existing travel affiliate strategy!

12. Uniworld

Commission Rate: 5% per sale

Cookie Duration: 90 days + $100 referral program towards your own cruise

Do you have an outdoor-minded affiliate audience? People who seek the thrill of stepping outside their comfort zone and taking the trip of a lifetime? 

River cruising through Europe and Asia’s famous waterways has soared in popularity recently. That’s why Uniworld should be on every cruise affiliate’s radar for 2023!

Named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast, Uniworld features luxurious boutique ships with farm-to-table cuisine, one-of-a-kind shore excursions, five-star service, and exotic onboard entertainment.

It’s the ultimate way to experience Venice, Paris, Budapest, and other iconic destinations in sheer elegance. As an affiliate, you’ll earn 5% payouts on all sailings and package bookings you refer to Uniworld.

With 90-day cookies and modest order values beginning around $3,000 per guest, earnings from this prestigious brand make waves! Give your audience a taste of La Dolce Vita, where majestic rivers meet old-world cities!

13. Way.com

Commission Rate: Up to 7% per sale

Cookie Duration: 30 days

Last up among our top cruise affiliate programs is Way.com. While not exclusively cruise-focused, this travel booking platform provides a key service bound to resonate with cruisers.

Their flight + hotel packages help travelers make the most economical connections to/from their cruise departure ports. Without blowing your vacation budget before even boarding!

Packages include discounted flights, conveniently located airport hotels, free airport parking, shuttle rides, and more. Allowing to conveniently assemble air, hotel, and transportation without hassle.

As a Way.com affiliate, you can earn up to 7% commission by referring budget-savvy cruise travelers to their flight + hotel booking platform.

While earnings per sale may be lower, the high transaction volume and extensive route network open secondary earning potential from high-intent cruise customers.

Choosing the Best Cruise Affiliate Program

With such a wide selection of carriers and services in the cruise niche, deciding the optimal affiliate programs to promote can be challenging.

To maximize your commissions, be sure to factor in these elements when selecting cruise affiliate partners:

Commission Rate – Payout percentages vary widely from 1% up to 50% across cruise affiliate programs. Generally, branded cruise lines themselves pay lower commissions, around 2%-5%. Meanwhile, OTAs and supporting services often offer 10% or higher. Review each program’s commission structure to understand your income potential.

Cookie Duration – The cookie length indicates how long after a click, your affiliate link remains credited for a subsequent sale. Shorter cookies of 7-15 days require buyers to purchase quickly for you to earn the commission. 

More generous 30, 60, or 90+ day cookies provide much more time for users to return and complete cruise transactions after clicking your link.

Average Order Value – Considering the average customer spend per purchase helps estimate real-world earnings. Mass market cruise brands may only pay 2-3% commission but have average order values of $1,500-$2,500+ per person. 

Meanwhile, a 20% commission on a $100 ancillary purchase nets you just $20. Study both commission rate AND typical order size to accurately gauge income.

Site Conversions – Alongside commission metrics, reviewing programs by your audience and the site’s unique ability to convert traffic is key. An obscure program with big payouts won’t earn if your traffic can’t convert specific offers. Seek programs aligning to your audience’s interests and existing content strengths for the highest conversion rates.

Final Thoughts

Boosting your earnings from the enormous and growing cruise industry is now smoother than ever. With more people spending bigger on cruise travel every year, huge affiliate possibilities exist, and we believe it’s a great opportunity for beginners to dive into an unsaturated market. 

Hopefully, our picks of the 13 best cruise affiliate programs give you a head start at tapping into this lucrative niche.

Remember to align your selected affiliate partners to the audience and traffic strengths you already attract. This ensures the highest conversion rates and maximum income from cruise-oriented travelers this year and beyond!

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