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Best loyalty program?


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1 hour ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Speaking of HAL, cute story:

After a LONG hiatus from cruising due to our professional commitments, retirement found me contacting several TAs on the Condé Nast “best of ....” list at that time (who were also well respected by some of my marine industry contacts).

One of my “interviewee” TAs was particularly comprehensive in working on developing a “profile” for our travel experiences, preferences, expectations and, of course, the means to pay for it. 
Having several friends who are/were regular HAL cruisers, I then asked her opinion of HAL. Her immediate answer was “that’s NOT you.”

To my reply, “You seem pretty sure of that,” she remarked “I was a HAL Guest Services Director for many years.”

Knowing that seem to like smaller ship lines with very good cuisine I would agree you would not be very happy on HAL.  Until 2 days ago we had a 42 day HAL cruise (Noordam) booked for March-April 2022.  That cruise involved Japan and was cancelled (by HAL) two days ago.  It is the third straight year that HAL has had to cancel their Japan cruises because of COVID.  But the difference (for us) is that HAL has been changing having eliminated Production Shows and now seeming to have further downgraded their menus.  Not only that, but HAL has now added extra cost items to their MDR menus (a practice I deplore).  When HAL cancelled our 42 day booking they said it would automatically be rolled over to the similar cruises in 2023.  But DW and I now face a decision on whether we want to cruise on HAL for 42 days, given their lack of Production Shows and questionable menus?  We will take some time to think about it :).  But perhaps HAL should be concerned that we even thinking about it since we are 5 Star Mariners and long time customers.  Our issues are not about the itinerary, ship, or cost....but simply about whether this line offers the quality experience we expect on a long cruise.

 

Hank

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18 hours ago, iancal said:

We will happily take a cruise fare discount in lieu of a percent off a wine package or some other non monetary offering designed to boost our fragile egos.  That includes lapel pins, medals (who on earth would want one let alone think it is a reward) or a Special cruise check in line.

 

That's all I care about, what is the bottom line, and then what does it include.

 

As a solo at 340 pts rcl gives solos a 50% off the solo supplement. I've read a few pages here and dont see any other line who does this? 

 

The free vouchers for daily drinks is nice but I hardly drink. The solo discount beats all other loyalty programs for me personally. 

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after thinking about the question.... best loyalty program ??

 

From the cruise line point of view.... one which get you back

 

For the person... something of perceived value......

 

Could it be easier... if the loyalty program was simply a discount on fare after so many day ???

 

I don't think so..... some wish to be special... or have a different colored card...

or access to a special place...

 

Really I don't care,    in the end you paid for what you get...

 

 

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9 hours ago, firefly333 said:

As a solo at 340 pts rcl gives solos a 50% off the solo supplement. I've read a few pages here and dont see any other line who does this? 

 

I don't know of any other mass market lines that do this. Some of the luxury lines have (in the past) offered much lower solo supplements (like 130% to 150%) but not as part of any loyalty program.

 

Does RCL give solos twice the loyalty points when sailing solo in a regular cabin?  I know a couple of lines do this -- but since loyalty programs rank low on the list of things I consider important when booking a cruise, it doesn't really matter much in the end.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, getting older slowly said:

after thinking about the question.... best loyalty program ??

 

From the cruise line point of view.... one which get you back

 

For the person... something of perceived value......

 

Could it be easier... if the loyalty program was simply a discount on fare after so many day ???

 

I don't think so..... some wish to be special... or have a different colored card...

or access to a special place...

 

Really I don't care,    in the end you paid for what you get...

 

 

So if I get $500 off a solo fare because I've hit some magic number with rcl, plus maybe a additional balcony discount ... I paid for what i get?   You mean i cruised more to hit that number of pts? 

 

Not sure what i paid for what i got means. 

 

Carnival on the other hand my perceived value of their loyalty program is about zero, I dont use the free laundry, so I get onboard or debark faster, but nothing that affects what I pay for my cruise. 

 

I think it depends on what has value to you, and to me its paying less. 

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I don't know of any other mass market lines that do this. Some of the luxury lines have (in the past) offered much lower solo supplements (like 130% to 150%) but not as part of any loyalty program.

 

Does RCL give solos twice the loyalty points when sailing solo in a regular cabin?  I know a couple of lines do this -- but since loyalty programs rank low on the list of things I consider important when booking a cruise, it doesn't really matter much in the end.

 

 

Rcl gives 1 pt pp in a regular cabin. 1 pt to a solo in a solo cabin. JS and up everyone gets 1 extra pt.

 

So a solo in a junior suite or above gets 3 loyalty pts. Pppd , double occupancy 2 people in a suite each get 2 pts per day, though doubled thru dec 2022, which promotion just ended sept 30. Js all the sudden went for higher prices for those extra pts. 

 

What is good about the 50% off is it's off any category, not just select categories. 

 

Rcl recently during their wow sale did 0 solo supplements, on dates thru next march so I have some bargains booked. 

 

And yes during covid i have seen some bargains, like carnival was offering no solo supplement but only on its cheapest cabins. 

 

Rcl for me has the best perks, balcony discounts (with the balcony discount a balcony can be cheaper than a inside), daily drink vouchers, and discounted solo supplements. 

 

Celebrity also does balcony discounts, but their double pt promotion I believe was only for balconys and higher. 

 

I did sail to hawaii on celebrity as a elite, my first cruise with them because they share loyalty levels somewhat.

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We could care less about cruise liny loyalty or loyalty programs.

 

Once we narrow it down to itinerary and date we select based on ship and price.  We are hardly going to pay 10 percent, 20 percent more for a like for like ship simply because their loyalty program or because we can move from something like a silver medallion to a gold medallion.

 

I spent years traveling for business.  All kinds of loyalty perks.  They all have two things in common.  You may save a few dollars however that saving is typically on a product or offering that the vendor enjoys huge margins, ie little or no cost to the vendor.    As they used to say in my business...we give away anything to get a sale as long as it does not cost us anything.

 

The second, more compelling reason IMHO is strictly ego.  Designed to stroke customer's ego, make them feel special, important, etc.  

 

We will take bottom line price any day. 

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57 minutes ago, iancal said:

The second, more compelling reason IMHO is strictly ego.  Designed to stroke customer's ego, make them feel special, important, etc.  

 

This. Was it on this thread that someone kinda said they wish the benefits didn't begin at such a low level?

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15 hours ago, firefly333 said:

Rcl gives 1 pt pp in a regular cabin. 1 pt to a solo in a solo cabin. JS and up everyone gets 1 extra pt.

 

So a solo in a junior suite or above gets 3 loyalty pts. Pppd , double occupancy 2 people in a suite each get 2 pts per day, though doubled thru dec 2022, which promotion just ended sept 30. Js all the sudden went for higher prices for those extra pts. 

 

What is good about the 50% off is it's off any category, not just select categories. 

 

Rcl recently during their wow sale did 0 solo supplements, on dates thru next march so I have some bargains booked. 

 

And yes during covid i have seen some bargains, like carnival was offering no solo supplement but only on its cheapest cabins. 

 

Rcl for me has the best perks, balcony discounts (with the balcony discount a balcony can be cheaper than a inside), daily drink vouchers, and discounted solo supplements. 

 

Celebrity also does balcony discounts, but their double pt promotion I believe was only for balconys and higher. 

 

I did sail to hawaii on celebrity as a elite, my first cruise with them because they share loyalty levels somewhat.

 

Sounds like RCL is more solo friendly than many lines. 

 

Still, for me, I look primarily at itinerary and I find that RCL ships almost never end up on my shortlist of possibilities, i.e., they are not offering the itinerary I want. I'm not sure why that is -- perhaps with so many big ships they only tend to do the bigger ports and places, or maybe their primary offerings are for cruises I'm rarely looking at -- like the Caribbean. I wouldn't be averse to trying them again though. Last time I was on an RCL ship was in the early 1980s!

 

Does RCL still have any smaller ships? Any that are known for particularly interesting destinations or itineraries?  (I find many of the mass market lines have one or possibly two ships -- often older and a bit smaller -- that are earmarked for more "outside the box" itinerararies and not the same 7, 10, and 11 day sailings offered over and over in a season. For Celebrity, that ship seems to have become the Constellation (and possibly Infinity). For HAL it has always been a couple of their smaller ships, some of which (unfortunately) have now been sold to other lines that don't directly compete with the big mass markets.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Sounds like RCL is more solo friendly than many lines. 

 

Still, for me, I look primarily at itinerary and I find that RCL ships almost never end up on my shortlist of possibilities, i.e., they are not offering the itinerary I want. I'm not sure why that is -- perhaps with so many big ships they only tend to do the bigger ports and places, or maybe their primary offerings are for cruises I'm rarely looking at -- like the Caribbean. I wouldn't be averse to trying them again though. Last time I was on an RCL ship was in the early 1980s!

 

Does RCL still have any smaller ships? Any that are known for particularly interesting destinations or itineraries?  (I find many of the mass market lines have one or possibly two ships -- often older and a bit smaller -- that are earmarked for more "outside the box" itinerararies and not the same 7, 10, and 11 day sailings offered over and over in a season. For Celebrity, that ship seems to have become the Constellation (and possibly Infinity). For HAL it has always been a couple of their smaller ships, some of which (unfortunately) have now been sold to other lines that don't directly compete with the big mass markets.

 

 

Jewel is a smaller ship. It was supposed to do almost Panama and could go to coco cay from Galveston which none of the bigger ships will do.

 

I say almost Panama since it goes to Colon, not the actual locks and you have to pay for a excursion. Though now jewel went to cyprus and got cancelled out of Galveston during covid. Jewel doesnt have all the new slides or as many pay venues. It's a beautiful ship with glass elevators. 

 

I think jewel is going out of miami soon. It's beautiful and does have more varied itineraries. 

 

I actually love the bigger ships and more food choices. Oasis class does a actual broadway musical and pay royalties which smaller ships cant afford to do. I love musicals. 

 

For me it's a trade off between where you go and food choices.

 

For me I'd like one of the southern jewel does. Here are 3 of the less expensive choices. 

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26 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Sounds like RCL is more solo friendly than many lines. 

 

Still, for me, I look primarily at itinerary and I find that RCL ships almost never end up on my shortlist of possibilities, i.e., they are not offering the itinerary I want. I'm not sure why that is -- perhaps with so many big ships they only tend to do the bigger ports and places, or maybe their primary offerings are for cruises I'm rarely looking at -- like the Caribbean. I wouldn't be averse to trying them again though. Last time I was on an RCL ship was in the early 1980s!

 

Does RCL still have any smaller ships? Any that are known for particularly interesting destinations or itineraries?  (I find many of the mass market lines have one or possibly two ships -- often older and a bit smaller -- that are earmarked for more "outside the box" itinerararies and not the same 7, 10, and 11 day sailings offered over and over in a season. For Celebrity, that ship seems to have become the Constellation (and possibly Infinity). For HAL it has always been a couple of their smaller ships, some of which (unfortunately) have now been sold to other lines that don't directly compete with the big mass markets.

 

 

Oh I see its jewel going to Iceland. Iceland cruises had a bunch of folks jumping on them. Involves flying, but I wouldnt mind seeing iceland. Here is the least expensive.

 

How about the artic circle? Have you seen it?

 

 

 

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Edited by firefly333
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I get far more out our Costco Executive card that we have ever got from a cruise line.  We get far more from our TA for booking cruises than we ever have from a cruise line reward program....much, much more.

 

All of our really good cards are about cash back, free flights, free hotel nights.   

 

Far better than those aspirational directed cruise line reward programs that tug at the frail ego.

Edited by iancal
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6 hours ago, firefly333 said:

I actually love the bigger ships and more food choices. Oasis class does a actual broadway musical and pay royalties which smaller ships cant afford to do. I love musicals. 

 

For me it's a trade off between where you go and food choices.

 

Yup, definitely goes back to the whole "everyone is different" thing. I like good food as well, but it's less important to me than itinerary (plus I try to eat some meals locally and not always on board the ship). And while I'll go to the shows if the ship has them, I can really take or leave them. I prefer activities like lectures or listening to a musical performance in a small venue.

 

As I said, nothing against Royal. I think I remember hearing that one class of their ships (older now) were much loved, with a lot of glass and windows for the views. Maybe Jewel is one of that class?  That kind of thing appeals to me more than the Vegas glitz of many of the newer, bigger ships.

 

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1 minute ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Yup, definitely goes back to the whole "everyone is different" thing. I like good food as well, but it's less important to me than itinerary (plus I try to eat some meals locally and not always on board the ship). And while I'll go to the shows if the ship has them, I can really take or leave them. I prefer activities like lectures or listening to a musical performance in a small venue.

 

As I said, nothing against Royal. I think I remember hearing that one class of their ships (older now) were much loved, with a lot of glass and windows for the views. Maybe Jewel is one of that class?  That kind of thing appeals to me more than the Vegas glitz of many of the newer, bigger ships.

 

If I want a Broadway Musical, I go to Broadway. Seriously, every 2-3 years, our travels take us “home” to NYC where we load up on theater tix. And some of those visits are just tacked on the end of a cruise.

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On 10/4/2021 at 9:55 AM, firefly333 said:

Oh I see its jewel going to Iceland. Iceland cruises had a bunch of folks jumping on them. Involves flying, but I wouldnt mind seeing iceland. Here is the least expensive.

 

How about the artic circle? Have you seen it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew what you meant -- just joking earlier.  😇

 

 

4 hours ago, clo said:

When we did our Norwegian coastal cruise I didn't know if I was on it or in it.

 

 

We had two port stops in Iceland but I don't think we ever actually crossed the arctic circle.   That would be the closest we have been in a cruise ship.  Flying nonstop from SFO to London we would have crossed it in the air I guess.  

 

Same for the equator.  I've only crossed it while flying.   

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On 10/4/2021 at 4:01 PM, cruisemom42 said:

 

Yup, definitely goes back to the whole "everyone is different" thing. I like good food as well, but it's less important to me than itinerary (plus I try to eat some meals locally and not always on board the ship). And while I'll go to the shows if the ship has them, I can really take or leave them. I prefer activities like lectures or listening to a musical performance in a small venue.

 

As I said, nothing against Royal. I think I remember hearing that one class of their ships (older now) were much loved, with a lot of glass and windows for the views. Maybe Jewel is one of that class?  That kind of thing appeals to me more than the Vegas glitz of many of the newer, bigger ships.

 

 

I still think of Jewel as a large ship but I guess  it isn't when you compare it to the 5000 - 6000 passenger mega ships.    I'm glad I'm not the only one that likes windows so we can watch things pass by.  That is one aspect of the "center boulevard" ships that I really don't care for.   

 

I usually enjoy guest entertainers more so than the ship sponsered musicals.  I've always enjoyed the smaller ensembles in the lounges as much if not more so than the big productions in the theater.   

 

Seems there used to be more lectures before (that were not infomercials).   And I recall once attending a photography class that was pretty decent.  At least I learned a lot.  Of course that is my experience on the cruise ships we frequented, many of which where were in the 2500 - 3500 passenger range. Sounds like the smaller ships have more to offer in that area.  On the other hand (I sound like an economist - haha) I do enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the larger ships.   

 

 

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5 hours ago, clo said:

When we did our Norwegian coastal cruise I didn't know if I was on it or in it.

 

We did a Scandinavian road trip and stopped at two Arctic Circle markers. On the way north through Sweden the Polcirceln was just a sign with a tiny cafe and a lot of mosquitoes😂. We actually missed it and had to turn back. It was only us and a Russian family also road tripping. They absolutely loved it😁. On the way south we went through Norway's Polarsirkelen and what a difference. So many people even bus tours. There was a museum, souvenir shop, restaurant, a monument and all over the ground visitors had made their own little Cairns. Best of all no biting insects😜

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2 hours ago, ldubs said:

 

I knew what you meant -- just joking earlier.  😇

 

 

 

 

We had two port stops in Iceland but I don't think we ever actually crossed the arctic circle.   That would be the closest we have been in a cruise ship.  Flying nonstop from SFO to London we would have crossed it in the air I guess.  

 

Same for the equator.  I've only crossed it while flying.   

Oh, we were definitely IN the Arctic Circle by about 250 or so miles.

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19 minutes ago, clo said:

Oh, we were definitely IN the Arctic Circle by about 250 or so miles.

 

I didn't doubt.  Hope it didn't come across that way.  I was just speaking of our experience (or lack thereof).  

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A cruise line loyalty program is the very last reason we would select a cruise.  In fact, cruise line loyalty is the last reason for us to select a particular cruise.

 

Our choice is based on itinerary, ship, and price of our shortlisted cruises.

 

The dollar value to us of the cruise line loyalty rewards are insignificant compared to the total cost of the trip.  

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20 minutes ago, iancal said:

A cruise line loyalty program is the very last reason we would select a cruise.  In fact, cruise line loyalty is the last reason for us to select a particular cruise.

 

Our choice is based on itinerary, ship, and price of our shortlisted cruises.

 

The dollar value to us of the cruise line loyalty rewards are insignificant compared to the total cost of the trip.  

 

We wouldn't select a cruise based on a loyalty program either.  But if given two similar options we would take the one with loyalty perks.  

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