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Maybe it's just me, but I feel like most cruise loyalty programs are a bit outdated for the current cruise experience and ships. Who cares about a crowded Diamond Lounge and non-premium drinks, particularly when I have a premium package and can go anywhere and get what I want already?

 

I get some people might not be buying the package, but a great deal do.

 

And even the nicest Diamond and Concierge lounges on board kind of remind me of an airport lounge. I have to spend enough time in those, I certainly don't want to do so on my vacation.

 

What if instead, they actually really amped up the customer service angle? I'm top tier with a couple airlines, and the biggest perks are upgrades and immediate access to customer service.

 

I think the top levels of a cruise loyalty program should look more like this:

- REAL dedicated phone line with immediate access to an agent

- Automatic upgrade (i.e. just shift the price point by a category or two)

- Decreased or no deposit

- Delayed final payment

- More favorable cancellation/refund terms

- Category guarantees up to a certain point before sailing

- Perks such as complimentary specialty dining services or excursions

 

I know some of this is already done, but I think a lot of it could be done better. I just think the focus on some very dated on board amenities isn't quite cutting it.

 

Thoughts?

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The loyalty programmes with airlines has a slightly different business case than cruise lines.

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The loyalty programmes with airlines has a slightly different business case than cruise lines.

 

True, but I think the demographic is changing. Younger top tier travelers are not going to find a crowded lounge and well drinks to be a reason to maintain any sort of brand loyalty. I certainly don't feel any brand loyalty for that. I just wonder if it's a missed opportunity.

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- Automatic upgrade (i.e. just shift the price point by a category or two)

This will discriminate against pax that need HC cabins. Firstly there is a limited number of HC cabins, which get booked very quickly. Secondly if a pax books a JS HC, on most of the ships they are already in the highest grade HC cabin they can get. So what will they be given in place of the Automatic upgrade?

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- Automatic upgrade (i.e. just shift the price point by a category or two)

This will discriminate against pax that need HC cabins. Firstly there is a limited number of HC cabins, which get booked very quickly. Secondly if a pax books a JS HC, on most of the ships they are already in the highest grade HC cabin they can get. So what will they be given in place of the Automatic upgrade?

 

Again, I'm just brainstorming. We could have a months long conversation on how they sell and categorize staterooms.

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You do realize that the number of people in the lounge is an indicator of how many people like that perk, so that you are in the minority that does not.

 

We barely spend money on drinks, because we don't have to. Perhaps one or two good whiskey of some type, and perhaps a glass of wine. But it's nothing compared to a drink package. And I have no real reason to change from that.

 

There is a number for D and D+ that we use, and it's pretty quick. It would be nice if there was no hold, but having someone ready to answer ALL calls instantly is rather unrealistic, IMHO. Too many people sitting around waiting.

 

We do get a BOGO for specialty dining, and I'm not all that happy that they now offer that to anyone. Used to be a nice perk, now it's not one at all.

 

Given how full ships sail, like airplanes, free upgrades are not all that possible for all. They certainly happen, as we've had it happen more than once.

 

Really, the only realistic suggestion is reduced deposits. Which would be nice for refundable fares. Even half of what's normally required would be nice.

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You do realize that the number of people in the lounge is an indicator of how many people like that perk, so that you are in the minority that does not.

 

We barely spend money on drinks, because we don't have to. Perhaps one or two good whiskey of some type, and perhaps a glass of wine. But it's nothing compared to a drink package. And I have no real reason to change from that.

 

There is a number for D and D+ that we use, and it's pretty quick. It would be nice if there was no hold, but having someone ready to answer ALL calls instantly is rather unrealistic, IMHO. Too many people sitting around waiting.

 

We do get a BOGO for specialty dining, and I'm not all that happy that they now offer that to anyone. Used to be a nice perk, now it's not one at all.

 

Given how full ships sail, like airplanes, free upgrades are not all that possible for all. They certainly happen, as we've had it happen more than once.

 

Really, the only realistic suggestion is reduced deposits. Which would be nice for refundable fares. Even half of what's normally required would be nice.

 

Good points. I do realize people feel differently than I do. I just think that in general the program construct is a bit dated.

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Free pressing would be nice, not just the one "First Formal Night" press.....

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- REAL dedicated phone line with immediate access to an agent

- Automatic upgrade (i.e. just shift the price point by a category or two)

- Decreased or no deposit

- Delayed final payment

- More favorable cancellation/refund terms

- Category guarantees up to a certain point before sailing

- Perks such as complimentary specialty dining services or excursions

 

We could all come up with our lists for what we'd like to see on the C&A benefits sheet, and it's almost guaranteed that we'd all have different lists.

 

 

The only thing on your list that would interest me would be automatic upgrades (because who wouldn't want that) and complimentary dining/excursions.

 

 

The dedicated/instant answer phoneline thing might be difficult. There are a lot of diamonds running around right now. It's conceivable that enough of them would be on the same ship and using that service that there would at some point be a delayed answer, and then they'd get mad because their perq didn't happen.

 

The deposit doesn't bother me. I'm gonna pay 'em a hundred bucks whether I deposit it now or at final payment, and I'm not aware of any low-risk investments with sufficient return to make me care about not having the $100 on me right now. ;)

 

The bottom line for me is that I will take the loyalty rewards that I like from the list, but I make it a habit not to be ensnared by loyalty programs. That's a great way to get trapped into something you don't really like because you feel like you'll lose something if you go elsewhere. I'm not at that point with Royal right now, nor do I anticipate being there, but things happen, companies change, and I don't want a loyalty program to influence my decisionmaking.

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True, but I think the demographic is changing. Younger top tier travelers are not going to find a crowded lounge and well drinks to be a reason to maintain any sort of brand loyalty. I certainly don't feel any brand loyalty for that. I just wonder if it's a missed opportunity.

 

I think a lot of them are dependent on what people want. You're not going to please everyone with all the perks. For example, I couldn't care about almost any of the ones you suggested, outside of specialty restaurants. Automatic upgrades would have to be before you book a cabin if just moving to a better balcony from another balcony (as I generally pick the cabin I want). Which really just means a discount on a cabin (which for balconies is already done). The drinks are one of the ones I use the most, as I am a moderate drinker, only have 2-3 drinks a day or so on the ship. There are more people like that then you think. I think the drink vouchers have taken care of some of the issues with crowded lounges (if you don't want the lounge, you get your drink elsewhere).

 

As for younger top tier, assuming you mean people in their 20's and 30's, they're as different between them as older ones.

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Speak for yourself, we love our free 'cheap' drinks, and actually spend a lot of time in the Diamond/Concierge Lounge on our cruises. We would never drink enough to make a drink package worth the money, but certainly enjoy a few free drinks each evening. My husband's favorite perk in the coffee machine in the Diamond lounge. He uses that multiple times a day.

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I tend to agree that the C & A program could be massaged a bit but think that Royal Caribbean is making changes that may rub many people the wrong way.. The introduction of suite lounges that exclude D+ members is probably the most apparent change and that brings into question the benefits that will be afforded to D and D+ members.

 

Most of us enjoy the lounges because that is where we meet up with old cruising friends. The social aspect is more important than the freebies.

 

I guess there are still a few upgrades but, other than an occasional revenue upgrade, it has been a long time since I've seen one.

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Value placed on perks is personal, but I’d MUCH rather retain the free drinks and D/D+ lounge than getting comped cruise ship excursions. It has been years since I have done one of those.

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True, but I think the demographic is changing. Younger top tier travelers are not going to find a crowded lounge and well drinks to be a reason to maintain any sort of brand loyalty. I certainly don't feel any brand loyalty for that. I just wonder if it's a missed opportunity.

To quote Yogi Berra, "The place is so crowded no one goes there anymore":)

 

IMO, there are quite a few perks beyond the lounge and drinks: Discounts on balcony cabins, free photos, robes, wine, beer, cookies, and water delivered to the cabin when you get on board, just to name a few. And if you are focusing on the drinks, other than foo-foo umbrella drinks, they can make pretty much anything you ask for in the Diamond lounge.

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Good points. I do realize people feel differently than I do. I just think that in general the program construct is a bit dated.

What makes it "dated"?

 

Was free drinks in a lounge a '90's era thing to do? Or some 2005 trend? I don't understand what makes "the program construct" dated.

 

I think what you really mean is that it's value to you is not what you want. They are giving stuff that they think is valuable to their long term customers- and most appreciate it. And all you are doing is giving different stuff- which is just as dated as giving out free drinks.

 

One was always able to buy drinks, now they make it easier for you to buy drinks in a specific package. That does not at all make the free drinks as a perk obsolete. What it does is actually put a real monetary value on the benefit of free drinks. And many here think that monetary value is useful, especially when super high quality isn't really required. If you want that, you always have the option to pay for it, but free drinks is valuable.

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OP be careful what you ask for:lips-sealed::lips-sealed:.....you may end up not liking the next set of new changes (when ) RCI decides to make them. We're (our entire extended family) are all D+ and in the last several years have been disappointed when RCI makes changes.....because the majority of those are actually not in our favor. :loudcry:

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By the way, there's is a D+ desk. When you call the C&A tele # (800) 526-9723 just prompt #7. This I found ou from our resident helpmeister "Bob" some time ago. I use when I'm frustrated with the Pre-cruise Planner Dep.

 

With regards to the cancellation policy, that ship has since sailed.

 

Also, not everyone purchases drink packages. However, I like some free pressing opportunities and no charge room service.

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There is a number for D and D+ that we use, and it's pretty quick. It would be nice if there was no hold, but having someone ready to answer ALL calls instantly is rather unrealistic, IMHO. Too many people sitting around waiting.

 

 

 

What is the number for D and D+?

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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What is the number for D and D+?

They all use the same phone number: 800-526-9723. My understanding is that D+ and Pinnacle can press 9 when the recording starts and get to the D+/PC desk. I don't know if there is any special routing for the really bottom level C&A like Diamond and below.

Edited by Host Clarea

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Speak for yourself, we love our free 'cheap' drinks, and actually spend a lot of time in the Diamond/Concierge Lounge on our cruises. We would never drink enough to make a drink package worth the money, but certainly enjoy a few free drinks each evening. My husband's favorite perk in the coffee machine in the Diamond lounge. He uses that multiple times a day.

 

Same here. We had always purchased a drink package but when we became Diamond we decided to see if we actually needed/wanted it.

Turns out we don't drink that much, lol. So we save around $700 per cruise.

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Dated? It was not too long ago that you only got free beer and wine, plus 25% off drinks. They just finished building all of the Diamond Clubs.

 

"Who cares about a crowded Diamond Lounge and non-premium drinks, particularly when I have a premium package and can go anywhere and get what I want already?" I CARE

 

I don't want the premium package. I'm perfectly fine with the drinks in the clubs. Why are there so many people on CC that want to take away the clubs? None of the other perks you suggested would really save me any money, especially if those upgrades you are suggesting are not available.

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Maybe it's just me, but I feel like most cruise loyalty programs are a bit outdated for the current cruise experience and ships. Who cares about a crowded Diamond Lounge and non-premium drinks, particularly when I have a premium package and can go anywhere and get what I want already?

 

I get some people might not be buying the package, but a great deal do.

 

And even the nicest Diamond and Concierge lounges on board kind of remind me of an airport lounge. I have to spend enough time in those, I certainly don't want to do so on my vacation.

 

What if instead, they actually really amped up the customer service angle? I'm top tier with a couple airlines, and the biggest perks are upgrades and immediate access to customer service.

 

I think the top levels of a cruise loyalty program should look more like this:

- REAL dedicated phone line with immediate access to an agent

- Automatic upgrade (i.e. just shift the price point by a category or two)

- Decreased or no deposit

- Delayed final payment

- More favorable cancellation/refund terms

- Category guarantees up to a certain point before sailing

- Perks such as complimentary specialty dining services or excursions

 

I know some of this is already done, but I think a lot of it could be done better. I just think the focus on some very dated on board amenities isn't quite cutting it.

 

Thoughts?

 

I would probably still drink Jameson on the rocks before dinner if I had a drink package.....so the free drinks work for me.

Drinks, balcony discount, 2 free internet days each, and priority boarding are the most important perks for us.

 

My profile is marked "no upgrades" as I already have the cabin I want. Royal has made a intelligent business decision as they now sell the upgrades. I hope this helps keep prices down.

 

Don't consider paying now or later much of a perk. I use Bob's trick to get an agent(works most of the time). Very rarely use a ship excursion, as it's always better to book outside operators.

 

I guess if Royal added a speciality dining perk that would be nice.....but I've always been able to cut a deal with the waiters on every ship I've been on. They will take 30% off without blinking an eye. The best deal I negotiated was 50% off and free margaritas at Sabor on Navigator.

 

I believe I would rather Royal leave it alone.

 

 

 

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

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In some ways trying to compare cruise line loyalty programs to airline is like apples and oranges. The biggest difference is that with airline you need to requalify each year, with cruise lines you just keep moving up. You end up with a lot more top tier on ships.

Even comparing Royal's program with other lines there are big differences. Royal gives more than others. Other that Celebrity, who else has lounges with free drinks?

As for the program being dated... I am not sure what you mean other than maybe after getting the benefits for a long time you are bored with the current offerings and want more.

We are pretty happy with how it is now.

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