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Thoughts on RCI's Concierge lounge changes?


Sailaways_

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I know this is the Celebrity board, but I was just wondering what others thought of the recent changes to RCI's Crown&Anchor program. Here's the press release from RCI's site:

 

 

Member Benefits Changes effective July 1, 2009

Starting July 1st there will be some changes to our Crown & Anchor Society benefits. Crown & Anchor members will continue to receive their most valued benefits such as discounts on cruises, savings certificates and priority embarkation and debarkation. Our Platinum and Diamond members also will continue to receive discounts on suite category staterooms including the recently introduced upgraded services and amenities for suite guests.

 

The changes include:

con_bulletgray_ico.gifA new Ultimate Value Booklet with coupons for various onboard amenities.con_bulletgray_ico.gifAn upgraded wine tasting event at a special pricecon_bulletgray_ico.gifA new special event, hosted by our ship officers for Diamond and above members to meet and mingle with other fellow members, will feature complimentary wine, champagne and hors d'oeuvres.

Due to limited capacity, the Concierge Lounge has not been able to accommodate our growing membership, challenging our ability to provide the optimum experience for our guests. Therefore the Concierge Lounge will now be accessible to our suite and Diamond Plus guests only. Diamond Members cruising on Freedom Class ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will continue to be able to experience exclusive access to a dedicated Diamond Lounge on these ships, which feature a complimentary 'happy hour' from 5-8:30pm daily.

 

 

I know a lot of Celebrity cruisers often sail RCI for the diamond benefits, mainly the concierge lounge. I always read on this board (and agree with, as an elite Celebrity fan) that elite or any other CC status means nothing in comparison to RCI's benefits.

 

What's your take on this move? Will this affect your decision to sail RCI? Will this affect Celebrity - and if so, will it be negatively or positively?

Also...(most importantly) does this change mean we're really never going to see the promised improvements to Captain's Club? It certainly feels like it. :(

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What, you think anyone will like this change???? Maybe a few Diamond plusers who will now have the CL all to themselves. Plenty of comment on the RCCL boards for anyone who cares to chip in. The only comment one could make here is that there is no D+ equivalent on Celebrity, so Elites are SOL.

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I suspect that folks who pay for suites may like this change, which is more in line with what HAL does with their Neptune Lounge, which is limited to suite guests. When we have sailed with Royal Caribbean, the concierge lounge has been of little use because of the crowding. We avoid it, even if we have booked suites. Perhaps Royal Caribbean should make provision for their frequent cruisers in larger spaces on their ships if they wish to continue to offer special services to loyal repeat passengers. The change is probably also due to the downturn in the economy. Cutting free drinks will both reduce costs and increase revenue when folks buy their own evening alcohol.

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BUMMED OUT

 

We never had crowding on Jewel in the lounge throughout the day or in the Hollywood Odyssey in the evenings!

 

but I agree that we should keep the conversation over at the Royal Boards!

 

Since X offers nothing comparable & has a better cruise expeprience, this is a boon to X. Guess no one should be expecting any similar program now that they have cut it completely at Royal C...

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It might be nice to see some free internet minutes as part of a loyality profram. Most people want to use hte computer but find it too expensive and too slow so that would be a nice Celebrity perk and free laundry. Both are great to have.

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Gosh, I didn't expect such replies. :eek: Thanks to those who had constructive comments, at least.

 

Royal decisions affect Celebrity, one way or another. For better or for worse, Royal and Celebrity are in this together. That is why I asked the question. A few people on the Royal boards have even mentioned migrating to X for the better service now that there is no CL. food for thought!

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Gosh, I didn't expect such replies. :eek: Thanks to those who had constructive comments, at least.

 

Royal decisions affect Celebrity, one way or another. For better or for worse, Royal and Celebrity are in this together. That is why I asked the question. A few people on the Royal boards have even mentioned migrating to X for the better service now that there is no CL. food for thought!

 

Hi:) I am sure those folks who participated in the Conceirge Lounge

will be upset. Suite Passengers have always received more benefits,

I think.

But for those of us who never book suites and just "regular cabins"

it really has no affect.

Unless I am missing something? I have only cruised on Royal

once...and that was a little 3 nighter on Soveriegn of The Seas

back about 5 years ago.

I am Elite on X but figured after nothing was upgraded in the perk

area for us that it was never going to happen anyway.

Its good I sail them for the product they provide me:) and not

for the perks...or lack of them.

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I am Elite on X but figured after nothing was upgraded in the perk

area for us that it was never going to happen anyway.

Its good I sail them for the product they provide me:) and not

for the perks...or lack of them.

 

You said it, Lois. Although the Celebrity board on CC is often one of the most negative here, lots of people out there really do like the product X provides. Royal fans often say they cruise for their product, not the perks, but the outrage over this change leads me to believe that might not be entirely accurate.

 

When Celebrity fans say they cruise for the product, not the perks...they actually mean it (because there's no perks really worth cruising over!) Maybe Celebrity is onto something ;)

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You said it, Lois. Although the Celebrity board on CC is often one of the most negative here, lots of people out there really do like the product X provides. Royal fans often say they cruise for their product, not the perks, but the outrage over this change leads me to believe that might not be entirely accurate.

 

When Celebrity fans say they cruise for the product, not the perks...they actually mean it (because there's no perks really worth cruising over!) Maybe Celebrity is onto something ;)

 

Hi,:) you see, when we who love the product (without those

perks) post our views, many times we get blasted and are

told we have rose colored glasses on.

So many of us now just answer the questions posted, if they

are the factual type questions,..times of things, etc. But no

longer post how wonderful a time was had....

 

Negative? That is this board's middle name:eek:

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I think it is a misguided business decision because the CL is a nice perk that doesn't cost the cruise line a significant amount of money. For every person who takes advantage of their free drinks, there are many who use it primarily as a place to relax and enjoy their fellow passengers in an intimate setting.

 

Royal Caribbean has been more successful in this economy than other mass market cruise lines in filling their ships without substantially lowering their prices. Without this perk many people who were "loyal to royal" are likely to consider other cruise lines, making it necessary for Royal Caribbean to compete on price.

 

My gut feeling is that the real reason why they are doing this is to encourage their diamond passengers to spend more time in public lounges buying drinks.

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I'm a Diamond level on RCI who just returned from my second Celebrity cruise,on Solstice. We immediately booked a cruise on Equinox for next year. Already booked a Christmas cruise on Century this year. When I got the email about the changes on RCI, I told my husband that I don't care if I ever cruise on RCI again. Tacky way to treat loyal customers.

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BUMMED OUT

 

We never had crowding on Jewel in the lounge throughout the day or in the Hollywood Odyssey in the evenings!

 

but I agree that we should keep the conversation over at the Royal Boards!

 

Since X offers nothing comparable & has a better cruise expeprience, this is a boon to X. Guess no one should be expecting any similar program now that they have cut it completely at Royal C...

 

But many of us do sail other lines and will be looking seriously at them. When we booked our last cruise, the first place I looked was RCI after a customer service issue on our last with X They didn't have the dates/itinerary we wanted so we booked our first HAL and a had a fantastic time. Princess(better perks) and HAL are definitely back in play!

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The CL was a nice perk on Royal but the lounge was always overcrowded. I have to say if I booked a suite I would be annoyed that all those people were in it. The Diamond lounge on Freedom is so much nicer than the CL on Explorer so I will be glad to still be allowed in there. Sailed Royal as many times as Celebrity but when asked when on board Royal why I sailed X, I would always say it is hard to put into words but it is so much better. Most time I travel with friends and will go almost anywhere they want, but if I had to sail by myself it would only be on X.

 

Pat

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If RCCL hadn't ruined both Loyalty Programs maybe this wouldn't be happening. Why should I - who has never sailed Royal Caribbean - be a Diamond Member of their Loyalty Program just because I'm Elite on Celebrity and vice versa?

 

On our last two Celebrity Sailings over half the ship were Captain's Club Members and the party for just Select and Elite Members filled the Bar at the Edge of the Earth to capacity plus. There's nothing special at all about these programs.

 

Anne Maria

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I understand the reasoning- crowding makes sense..

 

HOWEVER-

 

I have always booked suites, and would prefer to get some sort of benefit in my own room, vs in a public space.. So perhaps the could make more people happy by offering suite pax similar perks in their rooms, and extending this to more non suite pax? Making more people happy is always good.

 

Call me Pollyanna.

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I've said many times on these Celebrity boards that the best thing about being Elite was becoming a Diamond member at RCI, and I honestly think that reciprosity arrangement added to the problems with the Concierge Lounges. I'm sure there are quite a few of us who jumped ship to take advantage of, what was, a far superior loyalty program. In 2008, we took 2 RCI cruises and took advantage of the wonderful $150 per person balcony discount and, sometimes, enjoyed the Concierge lounge. I have to admit, that on both cruises, the lounges were very overcrowded. So much so, we usually just got a drink and left. I'm quite sure when the perks of the RCI program was originally implemented, they never forsaw the problems that could develop when both lines combined the members. It does not surprise me at all that the game has been changed. By the way, we only strayed a little and were on the Solstice in January and booked on the Mercury for next January.

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I've said many times on these Celebrity boards that the best thing about being Elite was becoming a Diamond member at RCI, and I honestly think that reciprosity arrangement added to the problems with the Concierge Lounges.

 

I have to agree. For us, all things being equal, we'd take Celebrity in a heartbeat. But the Diamond and/or CL lounge makes a difference that can make up for some of what we don't like about RCCL. So we end up on RCCL more often than we would otherwise, and have always found lots of similarly-minded Celebrity cruisers in the Diamond/Concierge lounge.

 

On the other hand, while this will doubtless save RCCL some money, I don't see that as the primary driving factor: there will still be a Diamond lounge on all the bigger ships (Freedom and Oasis classes), so if it were just about the money, those would be gone too. I think it is much more about the space.

 

RCCL's Diamond lounge, coupon books, and category discounts continue to put Celebrity's CC perks to shame. Granted, the economic situation makes the drive to improve the CC perks somewhat difficult to justify, yet I think that improving customer loyalty would bring about just as great a ROI as some of the deep discounts they are now offering. So the pollyanna in me is still hoping that X will, someday, improve the CC perks.

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This action is a complete disaster --- a lot of cruisers are booking RCCL in order to achieve diamond status -- now, one of the better perks is removed --I'll probably start looking at the other lines which offer cruises at less expense, have better food, better service --- no incentive to stay loyal --- Coupled with the stupid promotion of the "Nation of Why Not" maybe it's time to sell the Royal Caribbean shares depite the loss.

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We cruised RCCL.

We liked them, but NOT as much as -X-.

We truthfully enjoy cruising -X- more.

 

So, we have been cruising with other friends that enjoyed RCCL,

the CL and, the free drink before dinner, each evening.

Sometimes even an after dinner drink.

Now they have cancelled (or, soon will) we will just come

back to -X- again...

 

We just booked the CONSTELLATION (our favorite ship, B-T-W)

for next September....RCCL's loss is -X-'s gain.

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I tend to agree with RodPat and others who have said the concierge lounge is generally too overcrowded to really enjoy. We have two cruises booked with RCCL now, and I could care less about the Concierge Lounge. The main benefit I enjoy is the discount on balcony cabins.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On our recent Voyager of the seas cruise, there were so many people trying to use the concierge lounge they opend a second on in another part of the ship. Even with this there were many times when you couldn't get in. On a seperate note, my friends that were traveling with us thought this was one of the few bright spots of the ship.

 

Voyager is a beautiful ship but! with all the recent cut backs by RCCI the service and the food are definately lacking. kSo bad in fact that we have added RCCI to our never travel on that line again.

 

have fun and cruise often, we all have to do our part to keep the economy going

 

 

Matt

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