18/07/2024

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New Big Changes: Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Program

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New Big Changes: Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Program

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Royal Caribbean has made several significant changes to its Crown and Anchor Society Loyalty program over the past few months. Most travel loyalty programs make major changes only once a year.

Some of these new changes provide more benefits for Crown and Anchor Society members or clarify the policy. However, some changes remove and/or reduce benefits for its most frequent cruisers. The revised perks and benefits start on cruises departing on December 9, 2023.

If you have cruised on Royal Caribbean, these changes will impact you. Here’s what you should know.

Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor program changes affect ships
(Photo by Debra Schroeder/Traveling Well For Less)

Drinks and Dining

Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society Loyalty Program offers the most perks for drinks and dining. Here are the new changes to the drinks and dining perks for Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus. and Pinnacle Club members.

Up to 50% Off Any Coffee Beverage

Crown and Anchor Gold members enjoy a one-time 25% discount on any coffee beverage (excluding Starbucks) per cruise.

Platinum and Emerald members receive a 50% discount that you can use twice per cruise, excluding Starbucks.

Unfortunately, this new perk doesn’t extend to Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members.

This is not a new perk but a clarification of the benefit. On the old grid sheet, this was listed as a single line item “Discount on any coffee beverage (excludes Starbucks) with the percentage off listed under each tier on the grid sheet.

Now it’s listed as two line items “25% off any coffee beverage (excludes Starbucks)” with a bullet point for Gold. And “50% off any coffee beverage (2 coupons per sailing, excludes Starbucks) with bullet points under Platinum and Emerald.

Coastal Kitchen Access

You get all day Coastal Kitchen access if you’re staying in a suite or if you are a Pinnacle Club member. Junior Suite guests can enjoy dinner in Coastal Kitchen dinner based on space availability.

On October 13, Royal introduced the top tier exclusion change. This restricted Coastal Kitchen access to suite guests, Masters, and the top Pinnacle guests determined by their cruise points.

No new changes coming to this perk this month. I’m mentioning this because many folks aren’t aware of the change. And it has a direct impact on the specialty breakfast perk.

Pro-tip: Masters in Club Royale, Royal Caribbean casino program also get Coastal Kitchen access. Stay tuned for my post about Club Royale

Exclusive Daily Breakfast at a Specialty Restaurant

As a Pinnacle Club member, you get an Exclusive Daily Breakfast at a Specialty Restaurant. This perk is available on all classes of ships.

On Oasis and Quantum Class ships, non top tier Pinnacles who aren’t granted Coastal Kitchen access enjoy breakfast in Coastal Kitchen. Pinnacles who sail on all other class Royal Caribbean ships can breakfast in Chops Restaurant.

But this changes. Starting December 9, instead of enjoying breakfast at Chops, breakfast may be in the Main Dining Room (MDR).

The Member Benefits sheet doesn’t indicate a separate section for Pinnacles in the MDR.

It simply states that the “location varies by ship, is subject to change, and will be communicated to members once onboard.” Nor are any criteria given such as the Coastal Kitchen restriction.

Allowing each ship to decide if they want to allow Chops breakfast.

This is a lost benefit, a removal of a perk that Pinnacles used to enjoy. And a huge change.

When sailing on ships without a Coastal Kitchen, we’ve enjoyed breakfast at Chops. It’s quieter, you never have to wait for a table, food comes out quicker and hotter, and the service is superior.

Onboard Access and Events

Crown Lounge Access With Nightly Happy Hour

The recently named Crown Lounge, formerly the Diamond Lounge, is available for Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members.

No upcoming changes to this perk EXCEPT for the recently added change affected Diamond members.

On cruises with large numbers of Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members, Diamond members will lose access to the Crown Lounge nightly between the hours of 5 pm and 8 pm.

Suite Concierge Lounge Access

You have Suite Concierge Lounge Access and Suite Sun Deck access if you’re staying in a suite (Grand Suite and above). Junior Suite guests do not have access to the Suite Concierge Lounge or Suite Sun Deck.

As a Pinnacle, you can enjoy the Suite Concierge Lounge and Suite Sun Deck based on availability. If your access to Coastal Kitchen is restricted to the top Pinnacles, so will your access to the Sun Deck.

This access and restriction includes the Suite Neighborhood on Icon, Utopia, and Wonder of the Seas.

In-Stateroom Services

There’s one change to the in-stateroom service perks for Crown and Anchor members.

Upgraded Bathroom Amenities

You get upgraded bathroom amenities as a Crown and Anchor member with 340+ cruise points. Previously, sometimes these toiletries were a different brand.

Starting this month, the upgraded bathroom amenities will be exclusively SALT+BREEZE. Salt+Breeze is Royal Caribbean’s exclusive toiletry line for all its ships.

This seems more of a degradation of perks vs an improvement.

Photo, Retail, Spa

Royal is upgrading a perk to the Royal, Retail, and Spa benefits for loyalty members.

Instead of 10% off a Digital Photo Package or Photobook limited to Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle members, you get a bigger discount depending on your tier status. Additionally, you can use the discount on a photo.

Under the new benefits, all Crown and Anchor members except Gold will enjoy a discount on a single photo, photo package, or photobook.

Platinum members get a 20% discount. Emerald members get a 25% discount. Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle members get a 30% discount.

The discount applies to a single transaction and doesn’t combine with other onboard discounts. It excludes the Private Studio, Group and Wedding photo packages. Youth members aren’t eligible for this benefit. 😢

Pro-tip: The fine print doesn’t indicate if the photo discount is per cruise or a single use benefit.

Buy 1 Photo, Get One 50% Off

But with the added benefit, another benefit is taken away. Gold, Platinum, and Emerald members will no longer get to buy 1 Photo, get one 50% off. This benefit stops on Saturday.

One (1) Free Digital or Printed Photo

Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members still receive one free digital or printed photo from your existing photograph selection. But the new guide clarifies the benefit.

Youth members can’t get a free photo. This was not an existing perk. There may have been some confusion and perhaps some members under 18 were able to take advantage of the free photo.

However, now the policy is clarified. It’s excluded for youth members.

Youth Member Benefits

One of the children aka Youth Members under age 18 perks will also change.

50% Off Ice Cream at Ben & Jerry’s

Crown and Anchor Society Youth Members previously enjoyed 50% off ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s, limited to one scoop twice per cruise.

Youth Members will get 50% off one scoop of ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlor twice per cruise. They can still choose a cup or cone. Sugar Beach is excluded from this perk.

This is both a good and bad change. Good because not all ships had Ben and Jerry’s. Bad because now Ben and Jerry’s is excluded. If that was the only option on a ship, the kids couldn’t use that benefit.

Update: Royal Caribbean announced that the Ice Cream Parlor will replace all Ben and Jerry’s on Royal ships by the end of the year.

If you like old fashioned hand dipped ice cream, consider cruising on another cruise line like the Regent Seven Seas Grandeur.

Conclusion

On the heels of two recent major changes to Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society program come yet more changes. As with previous changes, cruisers have little notice about the benefits change.

Positive changes include additional benefits such as up to 50% off any coffee beverage excluding Starbucks, a larger discount on a digital photo package or photobook plus the ability to use the discount on one picture.

Negative changes include the elimination or reduction of perks from loss of the buy one photo, get one free, the elimination of daily breakfast at a specialty restaurant, and downgrading the upgraded amenities.

Youth Members lose out on the 50% off a scoop of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s. Instead the benefit only applies to the Ice Cream Parlor.

Are you happy, sad, or mad about the upcoming changes to the Crown and Anchor program?

Traveling Well For Less has partnered with Your Best Credit Cards for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.


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