All Aboard With Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society

Royal Caribbean
All Aboard With Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society
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Image courtesy: Royal Caribbean
 

I often speak with readers interested in learning more about cruise loyalty programs. That probably has a fair amount to do with my location. Living in Jacksonville, I live a relative stone’s throw from some of the most popular cruise terminals in the world, including Port Canaveral – popular for vacationers also interested in visiting the theme parks in Orlando, about 90 minutes’ drive away – Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Cruises can be an outstanding value, especially if you’re in close proximity to a port. Once you take into account the fact that food, lodging and transit from port to port are all part of the experience, taking a cruise can be a far more affordable way to visit many tropical destinations than booking airfare and hotels and paying for food separately. Short jaunts to the Bahamas or elsewhere in the Caribbean are also a great way to break out of the everyday grind without sacrificing too much time away.

Today, we’ll take a look at the Crown & Anchor Society, the loyalty program for one of the largest and most popular cruise lines, and operator of the world’s largest cruise ships: Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean is known for their relentless innovation in the cruise business, bringing one preposterously cool idea after another to life on the high seas. Their latest ship, naturally their largest yet, includes bumper cars, an ice skating rink and the North Star Viewing Deck, a capsule similar to those found on the London Eye, attached to a robotic arm similar to the one used on the Space Shuttle, allowing guests to peer out at the ocean and ports of call from a whole new angle:

Image courtesy: Royal Caribbean
 

Nuts & Bolts

Cruise programs work differently from airline and hotel programs. When it comes to elite status, airlines and hotels typically make travelers start from scratch on an annual basis. The one exception to this is Million Miler status, offered by American, Delta and United, among others. Million Miler status accrues over a passenger’s lifetime based on total distance flown, even if status earned annually waxes and wanes with your travel patterns. Similar lifetime numbers can be accrued with SPG, Hyatt and Marriott properties based on the number of nights stayed or base points earned.

Cruise programs follow the Million Miler model, rewarding those customers that come back again and again for more fun. There’s no time limit or expiration date for your status. Whether months or years separate your last and next cruise, you’ll continue to earn status all the same.

Earning Status With Royal Caribbean

If you’ve cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past, you can apply those vacations toward status in the Crown & Anchor program, even if you weren’t registered for it prior to or during your cruise. You may contact Royal Caribbean at crownandanchor@rccl.com or 800.526.9723 to request past cruises be added to your history. If you already have a membership number, have that on hand. You’ll also need the ship name, sail date and your passenger name on hand.

Elite status in the Crown & Anchor Society is determined by the number of cruise points you’ve earned. Typically, guests earn 1 cruise point per night. Guests staying in suites earn 2 points per night. From time to time, Royal Caribbean offers promotions where bonus points can be earned. Guests staying by themselves in a cabin are also eligible to earn 2 points per night in most cabin categories.

Benefits Of Status With Royal Caribbean

Crown & Anchor Gold: 3+ Cruise Points

Given that very few Royal Caribbean cruises last less than 3 nights, almost all guests will reach Gold status in the Crown & Anchor Society after their first vacation. This comes with a number of fun benefits and is surprisingly generous, presumably to encourage members to sign up on their first cruise with Royal Caribbean. Perks include:

  • Discounted Crown & Anchor Society rates and priority notice regarding special offers and new routings.
  • A special onboard booking bonus. The exact amount will vary on your status level, any ongoing promotions, length of cruise and category of cabin booked. You may request this bonus when booking through a Royal Caribbean representative. Note that any promotional booking bonus won’t stack with the Crown & Anchor bonus; you’ll receive whichever bonus is better.
  • An “Ultimate Value Book” with onboard offers. These typically include coupons for shipbound shopping and activities.
  • Access to a meet and greet with the stars of onboard entertainment and productions.
  • Priority check-in.
  • Access to an exclusive departure lounge with continental breakfast at the cruise terminal. From past experience, I can note this is often as simple as free coffee and danishes, but can still be a welcome bonus if you plan to board early in the day.
  • Access to an exclusive trivia event on board, with prizes only available to Crown & Anchor Society members.
  • Crown & Anchor Platinum: 30+ Cruise Points

    As you might expect, benefits stack from each elite tier to the next, so Platinum members enjoy all the benefits given to Gold members, plus a few more:

    • Access to a special Crown & Anchor Society reception, featuring complimentary cocktails and appetizers, on cruises of 5 nights or more.
    • Luxurious bathrobes for use onboard. All I ask is that you aren’t the guy playing blackjack in his bathrobe at the casino!
    • A signature lapel pin recognizing your status as a Platinum member.
    • Discounts on balconies and suites.
    • Waived ChoiceAir Plus fees, making transport from the airport to the cruise terminal a breeze.

    Beginning at the Platinum level, Crown & Anchor Society members will also earn matching status with Celebrity and Aazamara. Match perks will continue to improve as Crown & Anchor Society members rise higher up the ranks.

    Crown & Anchor Emerald: 55+ Cruise Points

    Emerald members receive all the benefits of Gold and Silver status as well as a special welcome gift amenity that will be waiting for them in their stateroom when they board. This amenity consists of a combination of sweet and salty snacks, along with fresh fruit and a choice between complimentary bottled water, fruit juice or soft drink.

    Crown & Anchor Diamond: 80+ Cruise Points

    The welcome amenity offered to Emerald members is upgraded for Diamond members, now including the option of beer or house wine as the included beverage. Many additional perks kick in at this level:

    • A special Chef’s Choice dessert for one of their on-board meals.
    • Priority debarkation at the end of your voyage.
    • Priority waitlist access for the main dining room.
    • Priority shore excursion and spa reservations.
    • Access to the Diamond Lounge on board larger Royal Caribbean vessels, which offers a variety of special coffees, breakfast fare and canapés later in the day. In the evenings, complimentary wine, champagne and fountain drinks are available in the lounge, along with a 25% discount on cocktails.
    • On ships without a Diamond Lounge, a nightly Diamond Event will take place offering the same complimentary wine, champagne, fountain drinks and discounted cocktails. Specialty coffees are available for Diamond guests in the main dining room during breakfast.
    • On sailings of 5 or more nights, Diamond guests may participate in an entertainment tour, taking them behind the scenes of the on-board shows and productions.

    At 140 Cruise Points, Crown & Anchor members also receive a special commemorative gift as an intermediary bonus on their way to Diamond Plus status.

    Image courtesy: Prayitno
     

    Crown & Anchor Diamond Plus: 175+ Cruise Points

    In addition to the behind the scenes tour of the ship’s entertainment, Diamond Plus guests gain access to a special tour of the galley and bridge, taking them inside the operational facilities that keep the fun going and affording the opportunity to meet with one of the ship’s officers. In addition, Diamond Plus members will receive:

    • A personalized gift or amenity of their choice from a list including several alcohol-related possibilities.
    • Preferred seating location and table sizes in the main dining room.
    • Concierge Lounge access on larger ships.
    • Priority seating in the main theater on all sailings and at the ice shows and AquaTheater events on some of Royal Caribbean’s largest vessels.

    Intermediate Diamond Plus Benefits

    A number of other benefits kick in at higher point levels, prior to the top tier of status with the Crown & Anchor Society. At 340 points, guests are invited to enjoy a meal with an officer on cruises of 7 nights or more. They also receive upgraded bathroom amenities, priority access for stateroom upgrades when available and a set of Royal Caribbean luggage tags.

    Cabins are typically quoted with at least two passengers in mind, meaning single travelers can expect to pay double in most cases. For solo travelers that reach 340 points, however, the “Single Supplement” fee is reduced to 50% of the per-person rate.

    At 350 points, guests receive an additional welcome amenity upon departure. At 525 points, a third welcome amenity is offered to guests on each sailing.

    Crown & Anchor Pinnacle Club: 700+ Cruise Points

    Pinnacle is a fair name for this category. Given the maximum earning rate is typically 2 points per night for stays in a suite, Pinnacle members will spend no less than roughly a year on board Royal Caribbean ships in total to earn their status. In exchange, they’ll receive an exclusive, personalized lapel pin and a Pinnacle Club Gold Card.

    This card ensures priority tender access, VIP pool deck seating, private seating at breakfast and lunch in specialty restaurants onboard Voyager and Freedom-class ships, complimentary luggage valet and onboard check-in service, access to cabanas in Labadee and a complimentary pressing of garments on Formal night.

    More importantly, Pinnacle Club members are also granted a complimentary 7-night cruise in a balcony stateroom upon reaching the 700 mark. They receive an additional complimentary 7-night cruise in a balcony stateroom once they reach 1,050 points. For the true diehards that make it to 1,400 points, a 7-night complimentary cruise in a Junior Suite is awarded. Another Junior Suite 7-night cruise is offered for every 350 points earned thereafter.

    A Lifetime of Fun

    To many potential cruisers, the steep curve for these benefits may seem insurmountable. Indeed, many of the best benefits don’t kick in until cruisers reach Diamond status, which requires 80 points. However, remember that these benefits can accrue over many years.

    Airline and hotel programs force you to prove loyalty on an annual basis to maintain their best elite privileges. With Royal Caribbean, however, your status will continue to accrue and improve for years to come, allowing you to be rewarded for each cruise you take, no matter how far apart they may be.

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About PointsAway
Casey Ayers is a consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for travel. After amassing enough miles and points to travel anywhere in the world for almost free in less than six months, he developed PointsAway as a way to help others make travel dreams big and small come true.
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