Cruise Line Loyalty Clubs

I have touched on this subject a few times over the past couple of years and am returning to it now because there have been more changes recently to Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society and Celebrity’s Captain’s Club.

First of all, Royal Caribbean have been known to not particularly like solo cruisers, although the supplement had come down from double, which was a good thing. I have a budget and I’d never have done the cruises this year and last if the fare was double. There were rumours solos would now be getting two points per night from October 2013. I never received an email confirming that but people around the internet said they got their double points. Hooray! However, what they failed to tell us was we would now have to pay double again for the privilege. I don’t know whether it’s due to couples booking cheap deals with solo occupancy to get the extra points or because they’re being mean. I love Royal Caribbean but this is a joke in an age when cruise lines are competing for business and you can get cheaper fares for similar cruises elsewhere. Solo cruisers are on the rise and deserve more benefits for paying extra in the first place, not driven away to the competition. Princess currently give 2 credits to solos but only charge double for a balcony and above. Couples can be completely selfish. When Quantum went on sale, some travel agents booked them in the SINGLE cabins because they didn’t want to pay more. WE pay the money, we earn the perks. I’m hoping this double fare is temporary because of couples.

Meanwhile sister line Celebrity have finally caught up with points per night almost two years after RCI changed theirs. The Captain’s Club is more confusing though. The new tiers and points are as follows:

Classic 2-149
Select 150-299
Elite 300-749
Elite Plus 750-2999
Zenith 3000+

I’m glad it changed because there were too many Elites, but this system still has too many. With Diamond Crown & Anchor automatically having Elite status with Celebrity and vice versa, something has to give. I didn’t go to Diamond Club on Vision’s crossing due to there being too many. I was Elite on Celebrity with just 51 points with RCI when I became Diamond for Independence in 2012. Radiance and Vision twice has made me reach that level legitimately now. But while on Radiance, two of my snooty table companions looked down their noses at me for having 51 points but not at another snooty couple who were Diamond with just 7 points, having also got there via Celebrity. Anyway, Celebrity has always given you more ways to add credits (beating the system thanks to only 10 needed for Elite so 4 short cruises reaches that). Now they give you per night:

Interior/Oceanview – 2 points
Balcony – 3 points
Concierge Class/AquaClass – 5 points
AquaClass/Sky/Century Suites – 8 points
Celebrity/Signature/Royal Suites – 12 points
Reflection/Penthouse Suites – 18 points

So, with not many left giving credits instead of nights, how long before they change to a fairer system too? Cunard has been rumoured for years but nothing done. I do like their set free internet time per tier and wish Royal Caribbean would follow suit. Celebrity is getting there with 90 free minutes for Elite, 200 minutes for Elite Plus and 1600 for Zenith. Pity it’s not 200 minutes for Elite, 500 for Elite Plus and 1600 for Zenith.

And one other thing while I’m here. Drinks packages. Royal Caribbean have changed their soft drink one to include bottled water, virgin cocktails and tea/coffee. What if you ONLY want soft drinks? There’s no option for that. And isn’t it time all cruise lines included the mini bar and buying a drink when you go ashore if you have a package? It’s like showing your sticker at a bar and being charged again. Sort it out, eh?

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