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Best return guest perks?


DeBlonde1

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RC has treated me well. So far, I have had them upgrade my cabin category twice. In fact, they upgraded me to a Junior Suite for next week from a standard oceanview, which will count as 2 credits and bump me to the next level on their rewards program. Don't know about other lines...made the NCL mistake once...never again, and I wasn't impressed with Carnival.

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I think Princess has one of the best Frequent Guest program for us. Here is the link:

 

https://book.princess.com/captaincircle/jsp/memberShipBenefits.jsp

 

However, it does take some time to get to the good levels.

 

Celebrity allows you to achieve a higher level pretty fast since they count cruises longer than 14 days as two cruises and booking a CC class cabin as two cruises. We took a two week cruise through the Panama Canal in a Sky Suite and it counted as three cruises. But Celebrity's benefits are limited.

 

It comes down to what benefits you really use and enjoy. The free internet package of Princess is big deal to us. I own a small business so I use the internet quite a bit onboard and their free minutes saves money. We did a 15 night Hawaii cruise and figured the package saved us about $150. We also like the departure lounge.

 

I believe Cruise Critic did an overview comparing all the cruise lines but I don't have the link handy.

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I have the frequent passenger on NCL, CCL, RCL and Princess. From the perspective of a passenger on their SECOND cruise after joining, the company with the best perk is RCL because the real perks start on cruise 2, including a few minutes of free Internet and a two for one drink.

 

All of them start with what I call the "fake" perks. A membership pin, a magazine so that they can sell you more cruises, a special desk to check in that usually is no faster than any other desk, someone on the ship to complain to and discount pricing on a cruise that never seems to really be cheaper than the best price you can get from a great agent.

 

Now the real perks: They all include a cocktail party.

 

NCL nothing really until after your fifth cruise. Then you get two special treats delivered to your room (which invariable end up having chocolate and I don't like chocolate!) On he ninth cruise they add a welcome basket, priority services and a special gathering with the captain. Get to your 14th cruise and you get a free $20 dinner at Le Bistro.

 

Carnival nothing really until your tenth cruise. Stationary with your name on it (yeah, someone discovered the laser printer). A logo item (ie something so you can advertise your cruise). A $20 entry fee to the slot or BJ tournament. Petit fours in your room once. Free laundry (not dry cleaning). Some priority services and $5 worth of credit for the kiddies in the arcade. When you get to 25, 50, 75 and 100 cruises you get a discount of that percentage. So basically a free cruise after 100 cruises (which works out to a discount of about 1.6% by the time you get to cruise 100.)

 

RCL starts with a coupon booklet which changes from time to time but usually includes a two-for-one drink or a free soft drink, some match plays in the casino, a few seconds of free Internet access, a discount at Ben and Jerry's (if they have one) and free food at Johnny Rocket (if they have one). There is also a free gift in your room (dollar store photo frames). There is also a coupon for a free wine tasting (drunk on your ass in the afternoon and it's FREE!) After the fifth credit they lend you robes (different robes based on your level) and they drop the custom air fee. There is also a discount on suites. Get to diamond (10 cruises) and you get access to the concierge lounge if it isn't too busy (otherwise they accommodate you elsewhere and half the people will be bitching and complaining because they don't like the location of the free perk. And some pre-dinner drinks. And priority services. Get to 25 cruises and you get a behind the scenes tour, a special pin, special luggage tags and the ability to annoy all the other passengers by forever saying "but I'm diamond!" (For the most part there are some nice people who enjoy the perks, but there are those who seem to use their diamond status as some sort of Sword of Damocles and find that they have nothing better to do but complain that everyone doesn't fit into the concierge lounge. It ruins it for the nice people, but they don't seem to care, they think that the ships crew should bow at their feet because they have been so loyal. (Sorry, these people annoy me. I don't ask to be treated special, just with mutual respect.)

 

Princess gives you almost nothing until your sixth cruise, then you get a package of free Internet (from $75 to $200 worth of overpriced Internet access based on the length of the voyage. An upgrade to their gold travel protection when you buy the regular protection and an atlas. Get to your sixteenth cruise and you get some priority services, shoe shining, laundry and dry cleaning. A free mini-bar setup, canapes, afternoon tea in your room, 10% off the shops and complimentary wine tasting

 

From the perspective of a new cruiser... RCL has the best package and NCL has the worst.

 

Sorry about the editorial, but some people irk me.

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A little more on RCI benefits:

 

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/cas/benefitsLoggedout.do;jsessionid=0000hhjpctuIJsw0_10FLJtBTep:12hdhu6tq?cS=NAVBAR

 

 

After 5 cruise credits (Platinum) you get discounts on balconies.

 

After 10 credits (Diamond) The coupon books are for free things and better discounts (Don't have to buy anything to get something)

Balcony discounts are better.

 

After 24 credits (Diamond Plus) Not much better then Diamond except for an upgrade under certain circumstances.

 

Cresits are earned as follows.

1 credit for any length cruise in any cabin below a suite and up to 12 days.

2 credits for staying in a suite and up to 12 days.

3 credits for staying in a suite and over 12 days.

 

So, you can become Platinum after 2 cruises and Diamond after 4 cruises.

Or 5 three night cruises in a Junior suite or above.

 

If you are elite on Celebrity, you are Diamond on RCI and vice versa.

 

There are a few Diamond and Diamond Plus that think they're entitled and are loud about it. Fortunately, there are very few of these onboard any ship.

Most of the time, you'll have no idea what level anyone is.

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A little more on RCI benefits:

 

 

If you are elite on Celebrity, you are Diamond on RCI and vice versa.

 

 

Is that because they are sister companies? So, are there any other cruise line that count towards Carnival's platinum program?

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Get to 25 cruises and you get a behind the scenes tour, a special pin, special luggage tags and the ability to annoy all the other passengers by forever saying "but I'm diamond!" (For the most part there are some nice people who enjoy the perks, but there are those who seem to use their diamond status as some sort of Sword of Damocles and find that they have nothing better to do but complain that everyone doesn't fit into the concierge lounge. It ruins it for the nice people, but they don't seem to care, they think that the ships crew should bow at their feet because they have been so loyal. (Sorry, these people annoy me. I don't ask to be treated special, just with mutual respect.)

 

LOL, I agree. I told the the loyalty ambassador on my last cruise that I thought the C&A status should not be printed on the seapass. He asked why and I told him I didn't think I should be treated any different that a first time cruiser and I was only in it for the discounts.

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We took our first cruise in 1999 and then became Gold Members of RCIs Crown and Anchor Program. Our second cruise was in Jan. 2005 and by Feb. 2007 we were Platinum Level; now in Feb. 2008 we are Diamond level so the RCI Loyalty Program has our vote.

In addition to the perks listed above; we also received little plates of goodies including chocolate covered strawberries 4 times in our cabin on our last cruise and were received two 2 8x10 pictures of us on formal night for free.

We love the Concierge Lounge privileges especially for pre-dinner drinks and the espresso/cappuccino machine anytime of the day/night.

In addition, we truly enjoy the cabins and amenities on RCI.

We are also members of RCIs Casino Royale VIP Program which has benefits depending on your rate of play in the casino.

Kathy:)

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And can you combine cruises on sister lines to earn higher levels in past cruiser programs?

 

 

I don't know about the Carnival brands, but I know that RCCL/Celebrity do not combine cruises from each line to earn higher levels. RCCL/Celebrity do give you reciprocal benefits for the level you have earned on the other line, but it's not combined.

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I don't know about the Carnival brands, but I know that RCCL/Celebrity do not combine cruises from each line to earn higher levels. RCCL/Celebrity do give you reciprocal benefits for the level you have earned on the other line, but it's not combined.

 

I believe the Carnival brands are all separate and there is no reciprocal benefits. The only thing you can get is special pricing on booking for return passengers. But all other perks remain valid only with each specific brand.

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