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Crown and Anchor

Royal Caribbean reverses decision to get rid of popular customer loyalty perk after fan backlash

In:
Category: 
14Jul2021

Hours after Royal Caribbean announced it was making changes to its customer loyalty program, one change has been rolled back.

In a webinar on Wednesday, Royal Caribbean told travel agents one of the benefits for their top tier members was going away.

Crystal blocks are given to Diamond Plus guests periodically after they accrue enough points, but evidently many of these heavy blocks were being left behind on the ship.

Royal Caribbean said over 60% of guests that received a crystal block left it on the ship for one reason or another, leading the cruise line to announce they would distribute whatever stock they have left and then end the amenity.

That decision did not sit well with many cruise fans, who told Royal Caribbean exactly how they feel about that change.

While there may have been some guests that did not care for them, many others felt strongly about getting them.

Clearly Royal Caribbean heard the feedback loudly, and decided to continue the crystal block program.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted on Facebook on Wednesday evening that a formal announcement will be made, but the crystal blocks will continue.

"We will be posting an official update on the future of Crystal Blocks tomorrow, however, here’s a sneak peek.   Crystal Blocks will remain!"

Mr. Bayley said Crown and Anchor members will now have the option to either have the bocks delivered onboard, delivered at home, or decline them completely.

The new options are aimed at ensuring many blocks do not end up in the trash.

The same cruise fans who were upset at the change celebrated the policy reversal.

barbeyg loved the change back, "It is funny how the smallest of things can lift the spirits. Made my day!"

smokeybandit thinks cruise fans may have surprised the company with their response, "I assume they got a bit more negative feedback on that move than they expected."

Royal Caribbean is no stranger to reversing policies due to strong customer feedback.  From honoring the $18 drink package error, to grandfathering in Oasis Class neighborhood perks, the cruise line listens very closely to their loyal customers.

Read moreFive times Royal Caribbean changed its mind after announcing something

How to earn a crystal block

Crystal blocks are a recognition of loyalty and for achieving milestones in the Crown and Anchor Society.  

Once you reach 140 points in Crown and Anchor Society, you earn a crystal block from the ship you happen to be on at the time.

You then earn a new block every 70 points you accure thereafter. 

The block you get is from the ship you are on when you cross the point threshold.

Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program changes: What's temporary and what's here to stay

In:
Category: 
14Jul2021

With Royal Caribbean restarting cruise ships again, comes many changes, including to their customer loyalty program.

The Crown and Anchor Society program has undergone a number of changes, some temporary and some permanent.

Nancy Ramos, Royal Caribbean International's Director of Onboard Branding, Communications & Loyalty, spoke to travel agents in a webinar on Wednesday to go over the changes made, and outline which will revert back later.

Guests sailing on early cruises have experienced many of the changes, but other changes may have gone overlooked.  More importantly, it was not clear which changes would be reverted at a later date.

Most of the changes are enhancements or additions, although there are a few benefits that have been temporarily rescinded and fewer that have been permanently removed.

Here is a breakdown of the changes, and what to expect going forward as you cruise.

Permanent changes

One of the most popular changes so far has been Royal Caribbean's shift with drink package vouchers.

Instead of a few select drinks they can use in the evening, Royal Caribbean has revamped its offerings to allow at least 4 beverage vouchers for Diamond and higher guests in Crown and Anchor, which are good all day and at any bar (except Starbucks).

This includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, and includes any beverage up to $13 per drink ($14 on ships from the UK).

Royal Caribbean also made enhancements to the youth benefits, where kids can now qualify for the same internet WiFi discount that their parents have always had.

Other program enhancements include changes to some entertainment offered to Crown and Anchor Society members, along with standardizing some other offerings.

"Because we can no longer take our members behind the scenes and take them backstage to see the actual props and costumes and all of that. We're trying to bring this to life through a masterclass type event onboard."

Ms. Ramos said they tested this out on Adventure of the Seas, but it is being refined so it offers a combination of live entertainment and backstage videos of where guests can no longer visit.

In terms of the reserved seating, this benefit is changing due to limited capacity and health protocols.

"What we agreed to do is that let's open the theater doors earlier to our Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members, allowing them to come into the theater and select the see that benefits them."

Something else Royal Caribbean did was to simplify the loyalty status match between Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society and Celebrity Cruises' Captain's Club.

Temporary changes

Some of the changes made to Crown and Anchor Society are in place now, but the plan is to revert them later on.

Most of these temporary changes are due to social distancing and other Covid-19 related protocols.

The most notable change is the reduced capacity in the Diamond Lounge, but the expectation is to roll that back once the cruise line is able to based on government guidance.

"The reality is that we are dependent on the local authorities and health guidance from the CDC, " Ms. Ramos explained to travel agents. 

"And as soon as we can lift this restriction and this capacity limit, we will and it will be like it was pre pandemic."

Discontinued benefits

Royal Caribbean completely got rid of three benefits due to either limited guest use or other program changes.

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has reversed the decision, and will continue to offer crystal blocks.

The crystal blocks have been a cornerstone of the Crown and Anchor program, where a guest would recieve a paperweight block every so often after accruing enough points.

Ms. Ramos said according to the cruise line's internal data, over 60% of guests were leaving their crystal blocks on the ship when they left for any number of reasons.

"It's a beautiful recognition. However, we understand that a lot of people didn't have space in their luggage, it was heavy to carry back home, et cetera.

The plan right now is to distribute whatever crystal blocks they have left, but then end that benefit.

"We are looking at other ways to still recognize our members through a special appearance with the loyalty ambassador and something that they can still use to commemorate that that milestone."

The tuxedo rental program was something very few people were using, according to Ms. Ramos.  

And the reduced rate upgrades has become obsolete with the RoyalUp program.

Royal Caribbean changes complimentary drinks offering on Adventure of the Seas

In:
07Jun2021

With Royal Caribbean about to restart cruises in North America on Adventure of the Seas, the line is changing up some of the offerings for its customer loyalty program.

Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society program is one of the most generous customer loyalty programs in the cruise industry, and guests sailing on Adventure of the Seas can expect a few changes.

Royal Caribbean sent an email to guests booked on Adventure of the Seas to inform them of what to expect onboard as it relates to their loyalty benefits. To be clear, these changes are for guests sailing on Adventure of the Seas.

First and foremost, it appears the Diamond Lounge will be open, but to reduce crowding in the venue, the cruise line is going to give guests more flexibility with their complimentary beverages for Diamond and higher guests.

Ordinarily, guests who are Diamond, Diamond Plus, or Pinnacle in Crown and Anchor Society can enjoy complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages each evening in the Diamond Lounge, as well as up to 3 drinks at bars or restaurants onboard each night.

On Adventure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean is increasing that offering.

Each day of the cruise, Diamond members receive four vouchers, Diamond Plus members receive five vouchers, and Pinnacle Club members receive six vouchers. Each voucher is for drinks up to $13.

These vouchers are open to be used all day long, not just at night. Moreover, it looks like these drinks may not be limited to the usual Diamond Drink menu of select offerings.

UPDATE: As it turns out, it looks like the drink vouchers will be counted if you redeem them in the Diamound Lounge.

A guest booked on Adventure of the Seas reached out to the Adventure of the Seas Diamond Concierge for clarification.

This is a change Royal Caribbean first made to Quantum of the Seas when it restart cruises in December 2020.

The cruise line also says there will be "newly reimagined" behind-the-scenes entertainment tour and a Meal with an Officer, priority access to all shows, and new ways of recognizing our new Pinnacle Club members.

At check-in for the cruise, while all guests will have to adhere to a new check-in process in Nassau, Bahamas to help manage crowding, Pinnacle Club members will not have to do so.

Pinnacle Club members can enjoy Flexible Arrival — a new program allowing the freedom to check-in up to one hour before or after your scheduled check-in time while
the terminal is open.

Onboard the ship, access to Suite and Concierge lounges will only be limited to members staying in Suites. This means no Pinnacle or Diamond Plus members will be admitted into these venues.

The Crown and Anchor changes are in addition to other health protocols announced for Adventure of the Seas, which include requriring the Covid-19 vaccine for adults, a new check-in approach, a digital muster drill, and more.

Adventure of the Seas sets sail from Nassau, Bahamas on June 12 from Nassau, where she will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay twice, Cozumel, and Freeport, Bahamas.

This will be the first Royal Caribbean International ship to restart from North America, and the second ship in the fleet to sail again following Quantum of the Seas.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog will be live blogging from the first two sailings of Adventure of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean temporarily suspends certain Crown and Anchor Society benefits for health reasons

In:
Category: 
26Mar2021

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has reached out and informed me that the information posted earlier on Royal Caribbean's website was not completely accurate, and as a result, I have remove the content of this post.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said the new protocols and changes for guests onboard is still being developed.

"We’re still working through our member benefits and this does not accurately reflect member experiences onboard. As a result, we’ve turned off commenting on this post and will delete shortly. We promise we won’t let our intern near the enter key any time soon again. Thanks!"

The goal of this site is to always deliver the most accurate information possible, and providing the wrong expectation for guests is anything but that.

When there is updated information, I will be sharing it with all of you immediately.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean changes complimentary drinks offering on Quantum of the Seas

In:
08Jan2021

Royal Caribbean has been making changes to its only cruise ship sailing right now, including one that now affects one of the most popular customer loyalty perks.

A guest sailing on Quantum of the Seas received a letter in their stateroom informing the Diamond Plus guest that the complimentary drinks offered each night will be conducted in a different manner.

Y.C. Tan shared a photo of the letter from the Loyalty Ambassador on Quantum of the Seas that listed a change to how guests can get complimentary drinks as part of the Crown and Anchor Society.

Redeeming these are easy - simply provide your SeaPass Card at the time of purchase and the benefits will automatically be applied. You can now redeem your drink vouches all day at any bar.

Read more: Quantum of the Seas live blog posts

Instead of Diamond, Diamond Plus, or Pinnacle guests going to the Diamond Lounge to receive their drinks each evening, they can enjoy four or five drinks per day, per person anywhere and anytime throughout the day.

  • Diamond guests get 4 drinks per day
  • Diamond Plus get 5 drinks per day
  • It is not clear how many Pinnacle guests get

The complimentary drinks are not limited to the Diamond drink menu, but just like a drink package must not exceed a value of above $12. Specialty coffee is allowed as well. 

You also have the option of paying the difference if a drink is above the $12 individual drink limit.

It is unclear if this change will be replicated across Royal Caribbean's fleet of ships once they restart sailings, or this is a change just for Quantum of the Seas in Singapore.

Royal Caribbean's policies have always been different for Asia sailings compared to North American or European cruises, although with the current global health crisis, all policies are subject to change in order to encourage social distancing and best practices.

Read more5 ways to save money on drinks if you are not buying a Royal Caribbean drink package

Mixed thoughts from cruisers

Anytime there is any change to Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, there are plenty of strong opinions all around.

Most people seemed okay with the change within the context of social distancing, but are concerned this may be a temporary change that remains in place.

Read more9 Royal Caribbean Cocktails You Need To Know About

Aaron Lewis described this concern in his comment, "I think a lot of these changes are in fact because of Covid. My fear is that once companies learn new ways of doing business, things will never go back to the way they were."

Susan Westfall likes the change for the flexibility it provides, "What I like about this is that you can get drinks anywhere and any time of the day. We are Diamond Plus and usually stop by the lounge for a pre-dinner glass of wine, and have never used all three drinks available to us. However, there have been times when a tropical-type drink by the pool would have been nice. I would have no problem with this change."

Vance Lewis thinks it would be a bad decision to make this a permanent change because it would cut at the cruise line's profitable drink package sales, "For some reason I don’t think that they will keep some of these new changes around permanently because it would decrease the number of drink packages they would sell. If you’re getting four or five free drinks, why get the drink package at all?"

More information

Crown & Anchor Society Member Ambassador part of recent Royal Caribbean layoffs

In:
Category: 
25Apr2020

In an email to Crown and Anchor Society members, Royal Caribbean announced its Member Ambassador was among the many cruise line employees let go as part of layoffs.

Molly Paolini had served as the face of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program since being appointed to the role in July 2019.

Last week, Royal Caribbean reduced its workforce by 26% through a combination of permanent layoffs and 90-day furloughs with paid benefits.

Royal Caribbean Director, Onboard Branding, Communications & Loyalty, sent an email to Crown and Anchor Society members announcing Molly's departure.

For those who know Molly, you quickly perceived how passionate she was about representing the Crown & Anchor Society. Most of all, I know getting to know you was one of her favorite aspects of the job. The new ideas and dedication she contributed to this family were inspiring — and that type of commitment will continue, you have my word.

Ramos emphasized the she and her team are still available to answer questions and ensure perks and benefits are available to guests.

Guests can still reach Royal Caribbean by their Facebook page, signing in to a Crown & Anchor account, or reaching out to the dedicated Loyalty Call Center at ‌1-800-526-9723‌.

Royal Caribbean hosting virtual happy hour

In:
09Apr2020

It's BYOB, because Royal Caribbean is inviting you to a virtual happy hour this evening!

In an email to Crown and Anchor Society guests, Royal Caribbean announced it is holding a virtual happy hour on the Crown & Anchor Society Facebook page t‌h‌i‌s Th‌ur‌sd‌a‌y
Ap‌ri‌l 9th, a‌t 5‌:‌0‌0 E‌S‌T. 

Royal Caribbean says we can expect to engage in trivia games & chat with others.

Spotted: Virgin frozen drinks added to Diamond Happy Hour menu

In:
27Jan2020

Guests sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship in the last couple weeks have reported non-alcoholic frozen drinks have been added to the Diamond member happy hour drink menu.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader John Durland first reported the change and readers Eileen & John Triplett shared a photo of the new drink menu.

Diamond Drink menu from Mariner of the Seas, January 2020

Diamond drink menu from Independence of the Seas January 2019

The updated menu adds juices and virgin frozen beverages to the menu, along with new wines added to the Wine By The Glass menu and Heineken 0.0.

Each evening, Royal Caribbean offers complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in its Diamond lounges for Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members. In addition, Diamond members and above receive three complimentary drink vouchers to use at bars and lounges around the ship during the same time.

4 rewards Royal Caribbean will give you after just one cruise

In:
Category: 
31Oct2019

After taking just one cruise, Royal Caribbean gives its guests a fair amount of benefits and rewards to enjoy. Cruise line or not, the Crown and Anchor Society customer loyalty program offers its guests incentives to return time and time again.

While some of the most lucrative benefits are reserved for the top tiers of the program, today we have a look at what everyone can expect after just one Royal Caribbean cruise!

Priority check-in

When you arrive to the cruise terminal to check-in for your cruise, there will be a special line just for you as a Gold member of Crown and Anchor Society.

In fact, each tier of Crown and Anchor Society has its own line to check-in with the pier agents.  This means less waiting in line with the vast majority of guests, who are new to Royal Caribbean.

Private departure lounge with continental breakfast

On the last day of the cruise, Royal Caribbean sets aside a special area for Crown and Anchor guests to wait for their luggage tags to be called.

This is a quieter area, reserved just for those that have cruised before, and it includes complimentary coffee, juice and a few choice items to enjoy while you wait.

Onboard offers loaded on SeaPass Card

Arguably the best reward by Royal Caribbean for cruising again with them are the onboard offers you will receive pre-loaded onto your SeaPass card.

When you arrive to your stateroom on the first day of the cruise, there will be a letter waiting that lists every benefit you are entitled to enjoy while onboard.  Each guest has their own set of rewards, and these include perks such as BOGO deals on alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, discount at the Vitality Spa, Voom internet discount and more.

Here is an example of the Gold-level list of discounts from a recent cruise.

Priority access to new itineraries and offers

When new itineraries are released, or a new cruise ship is announced and open for booking, all members of Crown and Anchor Society are entitled to a head start on these bookings, ahead of the general public.

Usually, this comes in the form of new itineraries open to Crown and Anchor Society members a day in advance, and then it gets opened up to the general public after that.

This means priority access to these new bookings and an edge on getting lower prices and stateroom options.

What is your favorite perk of Crown and Anchor Society? Which benefit do you use the most? Share with us in the comments!

Royal Caribbean introduces new Crown & Anchor Society Member Ambassador

In:
Category: 
15Jul2019

Royal Caribbean introduced Molly Paolini as its new Crown and Anchor Society Member Ambassador.

Royal Caribbean describes Molly's role as keeping Crown and Anchor members updated on everything Royal Caribbean, planning special events and more.

Molly introduced herself to Royal Caribbean enthusiasts, "Cruising is in my DNA and Royal Caribbean has long been my favorite brand (we already have something in common)! I’m so excited to embark on this role, updating you on everything Royal Caribbean, planning special events, and so much more. I hope I have the chance to meet you all, but in the meantime, I’d love for you to learn a little bit about me. So, here’s a start!"

Molly also encouraged members to send questions regarding the Crown & Anchor Society program to [email protected].

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