The value of “status” with airlines, hotels and cruise lines has always eluded me. It seems like the time, effort, and money spent are not worth the nebulous perks. Now that I realize that I am a couple of cruises away from Diamond status on Royal Caribbean I may be changing my tune.
Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society
Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program is called the Crown and Anchor Society and anyone with a completed cruise can be a member. Notice that the lowest level (Gold) requires that the member have three nights at sea, which you will have if you go on one of Royal’s shortest cruises. Here is a list of the benefits obtained at each level. The benefits at the lower levels don’t have much value to me–for example, I probably won’t go to an “exclusive” trivia event! I now have Emerald status with 64 cruise credits. After my upcoming cruise, I’ll only be 11 cruise points away from Diamond and I’m starting to wonder if I should make an effort to push myself on up. Below is a list of the on board benefits that you get when you reach Diamond status:
The Diamond Lounge Access Benefit vs. an All-Inclusive Drink Package
The last two items on the above list are the ones I’m interested in. You have access to the dedicated Diamond Lounge on all ships that have one (and not all do.) Here in the lounge you may partake freely of beer, wine, and mixed drinks during the lounge’s opening hours, which are usually from about 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. In addition to the Diamond Lounge access, you get three tickets for three drinks at any bar on the ship (excluding the dining rooms.) Some ships do not have a dedicated Diamond lounge and they will usually open up an area of one of the other bars for Happy Hour. Even if there is no Diamond event or lounge open, you would still have your three free drink coupons.
You may find that confining your drinking between the hours of 5-8 pm is too restrictive, and you would like to consider all all-inclusive drink package and have drinks whenever you want. Royal Caribbean would love you to buy one of these–they cost $55 a day. Unless you drink more than five drinks a day, this is not a good value. A. and I got free beverage packages included with our comped cruise with Norwegian’s Casinos at Sea program. After a few days of using the package we settled down to just drinking a few glasses of wine each day and we imbibed the majority during the hours of five and eight pm! The frou-frou drinks served by the pool palled after about two days–they were just too sweet, ruined your appetite, and made me lethargic for the rest of the day. We stopped ordering late-night martinis because it was just too much alcohol after a few glasses of wine with dinner. For our drinking patterns, a few glasses of wine during happy hour would be sufficient.
The Different Roads to Royal Caribbean Diamond Status and How I’ll Get There
You get one cruise credit for every night of cruising. After my next cruise, I’ll need 11 more nights, or points, to reach Diamond status. You can get double points if you cruise solo (you are basically paying the price for two in a double-occupancy cabin) or if you book a suite ($$$$$.) I will probably continue with my modus operandus of booking inside or outside cabins on the cheaper cruises.