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Onthetweendeck

Best Loyalty Program

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Short answer: Royal Caribbean, for what you get at a relatively low number of cruise days, room to grow in the levels and fun ships to sail on while you wait for your upper lever perks. The other Lines are just not serious about your repeat business.

What we have learned in our extensive travel is to focus our spending on one brand within the categories (hotels, cruise lines, etc.).

If you spread your money around you will not attain the higher status levels of any one brand (where the serious perks start).

Quick look at the major players in the US market and focusing on the perks with real value (those items that will save you major money on commonly purchased extras).

 

Royal Caribbean.

 From 80 cruise days: 3 free alcohol drinks on your Sea Pass per day, plus use of the Diamond Lounge where you get unlimited alcohol drinks during set  hours.

 From 700 cruise days: Free 7 day cruise in a balcony cabin.

 Bonus: Fun ships for active adults and kids, with innovative amusement features on board (Flowriders, Bumper Cars, Skydiving Simulators, Slides, Ziplines, etc.) Focus on Customer Satisfaction has been Very Good to Excellent lately.

 

Norwegian

 From 80 days: some specialty dining (one with wine).

 From 700  days: one free 7 day cruise

Bonus: Fun ships, with Race cars, ropes courses, etc. Innovative, hip thinking management focus, from dining options to Craft Beer bars and amusement opportunities.

 

Princess

From 16 cruises (roughly 112 days on 7 day itineraries) 151 days if you take longer cruises (someone please explain the logic in that policy). You get one mini-bar set up in your cabin even if both of you are Elite level, that's a total of 10 alcohol drinks plus mixers. Now lets say you prefer wine. They will take your entire mini-bar set up including mixers/water and give you (1) 750ml bottle of wine. So now your 10 alcohol drinks are down to 5 per cabin (again looking for the logic in this policy, I had $100 worth of drinks and now I have $40 if I prefer wine at boat pricing)

Negative: Un-fun boats, nothing for active people (please do not bring your kids on Princess unless you like purchasing unlimited Internet minutes to entertain them). No level above Elite to try to attain for better perks. Focus on Customer Satisfaction is non existent at the moment. Our observation is that they appear to be failing at attracting new repeat customers and the boats we were on recently were not sailing full. Therefore they are not awash in cash and if you have a problem on board don't expect that they will refund any cruise fare or shower you with perks.

 

Holland

From 200 days: 3&4th guest in your cabin free.

From 500 days: Specialty dinner

Negative:  Un-fun boats, stuffy atmosphere

 

Carnival

Good to try but not the brand for a lifetime of cruising

From 200 days: One time cabin upgrade or 3&4th in your cabin free.

Bonus: Fun boats

 

Celebrity

At what they are getting for cruise fare right now, earn your status on Royal Caribbean and they will match your status for that sailing.

Negative: Un-fun Boats. Focus on Customer Satisfaction has been terrible for us.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Thorben-Hendrik said:

Is this a marketing scam? 🤔

Yeah I was wondering the same thing.  Looks like a shill.

Edited by time4u2go

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NCL points

Tier

Points
Bronze 1 - 29 points
Silver 30 - 54 points
Gold 55 - 79 points
Platinum 80 - 174 points
Platinum Plus 175 - 699 points
Ambassador 700+ points

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Nice overview but there isn't a one size fits all for either the loyalty programs or the cruise experience. 

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11 hours ago, Onthetweendeck said:

What we have learned in our extensive travel is to focus our spending on one brand within the categories (hotels, cruise lines, etc.).

If you spread your money around you will not attain the higher status levels of any one brand (where the serious perks start).

I used to abide by this mentality, and I used to sail exclusively on one cruise line, until I attained their second highest loyalty level. But then I realized how much I was limiting myself by being loyal to one cruise line for the sake of attaining a certain status in pursuit of “serious perks”.

 

And then something absolutely fantastic happened. I branched out to other cruise lines. I made it a point to never repeat the same cruise line two times in a row, to try cruise lines that I had never sailed on before, and to visit new destinations. Ever since I embraced this new outlook, my enjoyment of cruising has increased tremendously. It’s absolutely wonderful and I haven’t missed the “perks” that I once received by being loyal to one cruise line. Interestingly, I’ve been treated better as a first time cruiser on some cruise lines, than as a high tier past guest on another. 

 

Personally, I will never go back to sailing exclusively on one cruise line. 

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12 hours ago, Onthetweendeck said:

What we have learned in our extensive travel is to focus our spending on one brand within the categories (hotels, cruise lines, etc.).

If you spread your money around you will not attain the higher status levels of any one brand (where the serious perks start).

 

I don't book based on loyalty programs.  Recently we have been sailing Royal Carribbean and in fact our last cruise was as Diamonds.  However we prefer Princess.  The reason why we haven't have sailed Princess recently is that they don't cruise from Florida during the time frames we normally do.  We do two type of cruises, one to just get away, so any western/eastern run is fine.  The second is "bucket list" type cruise".  A few years ago we did a med cruise because my wife could see the Pyramids and I can see some greek islands.  It just happened to be the Brillance.  Another time we did a partial canal cruise which was on Coral Princess.  We also have done a Holland America cruise primary because it stopped in Tortola which we have never seen.  Other cruises have been on Carnival and Disney.

 

So we book on intinerary/price and the loyalty is program is a nice plus but the driving factor.  

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I Couldn't agree more. What irks me is when I read (on all cruise boards) the upper level members complaining about how the benefits are watered down and the cruise line doesn't care about the loyal customers and then you see they have more cruises booked with the same line. Where is the incentive to treat them better or offer more benefits?

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We have done Panama canal, Alaska, Med, and 6 TA's.  Sailed Celebrity, Princess, Carnival, and RCI.

We like the RCI  ships and are comfortable with them.   The loyalty perks are just icing on the cake.

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13 hours ago, Onthetweendeck said:

Short answer: Royal Caribbean, for what you get at a relatively low number of cruise days, room to grow in the levels and fun ships to sail on while you wait for your upper lever perks. The other Lines are just not serious about your repeat business.

What we have learned in our extensive travel is to focus our spending on one brand within the categories (hotels, cruise lines, etc.).

If you spread your money around you will not attain the higher status levels of any one brand (where the serious perks start).

Quick look at the major players in the US market and focusing on the perks with real value (those items that will save you major money on commonly purchased extras).

 

Royal Caribbean.

 From 80 cruise days: 3 free alcohol drinks on your Sea Pass per day, plus use of the Diamond Lounge where you get unlimited alcohol drinks during set  hours.

 

 

It’s points not cruise days. Solo 2 pts. Suite 2 points. Solo Suite 3 pts. Per day. 

 

Free Alcohol select brands only on the Diamond list. Current Vodka New Amsterdam. This is about as bad a Vodka one can drink. Low grade Bourbon and Scotch as well. 

 

I know of people who seem to survive on New Amsterdam but it’s all about FREE. 

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46 minutes ago, Iamcruzin said:

I Couldn't agree more. What irks me is when I read (on all cruise boards) the upper level members complaining about how the benefits are watered down and the cruise line doesn't care about the loyal customers and then you see they have more cruises booked with the same line. Where is the incentive to treat them better or offer more benefits?

 

Actually, about the only way to drink the Vodka on the Diamond List, New Amsterdam, watered down. 

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3 minutes ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

 

Actually, about the only way to drink the Vodka on the Diamond List, New Amsterdam, watered down. 

 

Mixed with sugary cranberry juice cocktail and a lime, you cant tell the difference.   It's all in your head.

 

Come visit this summer and I'll prove it.

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2 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

Mixed with sugary cranberry juice cocktail and a lime, you cant tell the difference.   It's all in your head.

 

Come visit this summer and I'll prove it.

 

If you had a choice, would you still choose New Amsterdam?  What do you have at home?

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13 hours ago, Onthetweendeck said:

What we have learned in our extensive travel is to focus our spending on one brand within the categories (hotels, cruise lines, etc.).  If you spread your money around you will not attain the higher status levels of any one brand (where the serious perks start).

 

I wish I could agree with you but I don't.  I travel a lot for work and I stick to one parent company of hotels (Hilton) because the points are accumulated over 15 brands.  Whether I'm on the road and spending the night in a Hampton or attending a black tie affair at a Waldorf, I'm still earning toward 1 program.  This results in free stays when I travel on vacation, and I have a choice of experiences.  

 

Cruise lines don't work that way.  I'm not aware of any parent cruise company that allows you to accumulate points into 1 program, yet still allowing you the flexibility to experience 15 totally different lines.  On cruises, in order to get to the highest levels, you have to be ok with always having the same old experience.  RCCL comes close with their reciprocity, but thats only on 3 lines and they still don't accumulate into 1 program.  

 

I'm with Tapi on this one.  Perks are nice to have but I prefer new experiences.

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34 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

Mixed with sugary cranberry juice cocktail and a lime, you cant tell the difference.   It's all in your head.

 

Come visit this summer and I'll prove it.

 

 

Yeah,  the head is a big problem in the morning after drinking it.

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35 minutes ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

 

If you had a choice, would you still choose New Amsterdam?  What do you have at home?

 

Belvedere, Grey Goose,  and Hammer & Sickle as I recall. But I've recently had Smirnoff, Ciroc, Tito's, Pinnacle, Absolute, and Stoli.  

 

I've seen New Amsterdam at Publix, wasn't the cheapest in the store

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1 hour ago, Tapi said:

 

 

And then something absolutely fantastic happened. I branched out to other cruise lines. I made it a point to never repeat the same cruise line two times in a row, to try cruise lines that I had never sailed on before, and to visit new destinations. Ever since I embraced this new outlook, my enjoyment of cruising has increased tremendously.

 

Personally, I will never go back to sailing exclusively on one cruise line. 

I agree.

I  love the variety of different lines. Like a breath of fresh air.

 

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It's not a full comparison and it's only a snippet (I assume) of each cruise line.  However, not knowing other lines I would point out the balcony discount which in itself is a valuable asset.  Also as a D+ get a bottle of wine and other goodies in my cabin, bogo specialty restaurant, discounted internet and any other benefits that come along with each tier.

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We enjoy the Celebrity Elite benefits the most as compared to Diamond and others;

 

1.   Priority Embarkation (sometimes not that big of a deal)
2.   Complimentary Pressing of up to 2 items  * Per Passenger
3.  Complimentary dry cleaning of one garment  * Per Passenger
4.   One complimentary bag of laundry (wash, dry, fold)  *Per Passenger
5.  90 minutes of complimentary internet  *Per Passenger

 

As for drinks we always get drink packages so not an issue

As for upgrades we always manage to get fares to our liking and check for reductions

A few cans of soda or bottles of water per passenger not important

 

The first five above are a value for us since we book longer cruises.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bilyclub said:

The new guy on Royal's social media staff making his mark.

 

Or the new C&A director taking over for Millie.

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No rose’ colored glasses here. Fully aware of the Tisdale wine and cheap beers they serve us in the Diamond lounge and bars from the special menu but appreciative of the gesture to save us money on drinks with this perk.

 

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