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jazzycitrine

Pinnacle travelling pattern (popular dates/itineraries) + Coastal Kitchen Q

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Jazzy and others, take note of happicruzer's post above.  Read my live review from Harmony and research the many threads on CC on the topic of pinnacles ruining the suite experience.  

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Just had to get involved in this conversation. As a Pinnacle Member we earned the Suite Lounge/Coastal Kitchen benefit. Either way you look at it, it is our benefit. As a Suite guest, you also receive this same benefit by booking a Sky or Star Class suite. No argument there, that is your benefit.  So really we both have this same benefit equally. Andy C's position is that we Pinnacle Members cheapen or dilute the Suite Class benefit. You know what, we as Pinnacle Members could say the same thing about Suite guests.

 

We have all paid the price for this same benefit. To get to the loyalty level of Pinnacle, we booked  many cruises over many years and continue to book many more cruises each year for this benefit. Suite guests pay a very hefty price for a nice Suite to also receive this same benefit. This is also true.

 

In the end, both Pinnacle Members and Suite guests are equal and we each have the same right/benefit to use the Suite Lounge/Coastal Kitchen and both of our experiences can be affected by the other's behavior. Hopefully all of us that use these venues can appreciate the others that also use these same venues and keep an open mind on how each of our behavior habits affect others around us!

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Reality - Pinnacles did not receive suite lounge access when the suite program was first introduced.  There were also only about 300 in the program. Many pushed for a write in campaign - that caused corporate to add Pinnacles to suite lounge access.  They were definitely upset at being relegated back to the Diamond Lounge as the concierge lounge disappeared.

 

I don’t remember the last guess of Pinnacle numbers, maybe 1800, but the volume of Pinnacles grows each week. Due to the success of the Pinnacle promotion, It is time Pinnacles receive a lounge that does not impact the services due to suite guests.  

 

HAL is implementing a suite dining experience.  Princess introduced Club Class. Celebrity has Luminea. None of these lines allow top tier members unless they currently book the cabin category to receive the upgraded suite experience.  Top tier parties are about it and Princess has a lot of top tier members. 

 

It is time for RCI to create a Pinnacle lounge area.  Most companies revamp their programs when success becomes a pitfall either due to cost, overcrowding, or simply just can’t be maintained under current circumstances.  I believe the current glut of Pinnacles fits all three of my scenarios.  

 

Suite guests may not be able to get seats in the suite lounge or dining reservations at Coastal Kitchen. Personally, book a nice cabin, save yourself a bunch of money and have fun.  Oasis MDR food was better than Coastal Kitchen on Harmony.  If you do pay $$$ for a suite be sure to make your CK dining reservations before you get onboard.  Those suite guests who didn’t, ate somewhere other than CK. 

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Pretty sure Pinnacles have had access to the Oasis CK/SL as long as its existed.  

 

It's so easy to bash Pinnacles because there truly are so few of them.  Even if there were 10,000, and there aren't, that would be less than one tenth of 1% of C&A.  If there are 60 on Oasis, that's about 1%.  There are easily 300 Sky and Star pax on any given sailing of Oasis.  Capacity is well over 400, so suite passengers fluctuate a lot more than many say they do.

 

Pinnacles are not the only source of crowding in CK/SL.

 

Repositioning cruises, Inagural Cruises, President Cruises, etc.. are going to have huge numbers of upper tier C&A.  Plan accordingly. 

Edited by John&LaLa

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Empress to Cuba -  zero Pinnacles 🙂 

 

I have some friends who were in a full suite and had just finished their appetizer in CK.  Hostess came over and told them they needed to move tables before their entree arrived - Pinnacles wanted their table.  So yes, some Pinnacles definitely impact Suite guests in way that is not reciprocal.

 

I'm really not sure they implement very much a prioritization scheme.  If you ask for a 6pm reservation it's not like they have some sort of algorithm to predict the number of suite guests who may want that same time and they'll refuse to give to a Pinnacle a reservation, or vice versa.    The exception may be JS who have to fight for what's left over.  They likely hold some tables like land restaurants do to deal with last minute VIP (Star class) or other situations.

 

I sailed Sky Class and couldn't make reservations the morning of.  That's when they told me to make reservations for the week so that's what I did the next times I sailed Sky class.  Simply reply to the suite concierge email the week before sailing and make all CK reservations for the week.

 

For the Symphony TA they did restrict Pinnacles to 3 CK nights each.  In reality I don't know if they enforced that or not.  That was supposedly a lesson learned and change based on the President's cruise.  Pinnacles were not pleased about that.  

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The issue that is not being addressed by many is overcrowding of the suite lounge area on most (Oasis class) vessels on an unknown number of cruises.  The overcrowding is only going to worsen as Pinnacle numbers continue to grow.

 

yes, anyone can be the nicest individual you ever want to meet.  Has no bearing on overcrowding which tends to stress out many nice people.  Not getting service stresses out many nice people.  Yes, as a suite guest I learned service went to gold bar entitled individuals.  Watch and learn if you are a suite non-P guest.

 

Unfortunately, each suite lounge has a maximum amount of seating. If the seating was based on suites, then overcrowding is a given if all suite guests show up at the same time to a lounge.  Unlikey, but the arrival of more passengers than seats means someone will not get a seat.  Used to happen in the concierge lounges and reportedly still happens in many Diamond lounges, and supposedly one reason Diamonds lost CL access before creation of the Diamond Lounge.

 

Many pinnacles appear to feel entitled because they cruise many times and earned the free benefits. They keep quoting what they spent to gain the level of Pinnacle.  Before, when D+ was top tier, one had the same level of entitlement when visiting the earlier lounges whatever it was then called.  Believe there may still be a CL on one ship and no lounge on Majesty and Empress. Amazing how folks get along without  a lounge. Maybe it will come to that.

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Here is the bottom line - and you won't find it in the Royal Suite Class promotional materials - when you pay for Royal Suite Class there is another population called Pinnacles who do not need to book a suite (and in most instances do not book suites) who will be given priority and take up space in areas "exclusive to Royal Suite Class."

 

The takeaway is simple - do your research before you spend serious coin on Royal Suite Class because although the RCI website states that you will have, "Exclusive access to the Suite Lounge and more" this is not the case.  Pinnacles who now number in the thousands have access as well.  Have fun trying to find a seat or getting the service you expected.

 

And take note of one more thing - this only happens on Royal.  You won't see a Zenith in a suite area in Celebrity as long as they are not paying for a suite.  But you wouldn't know they were Zenith anyway because they don't walk around the ship wearing faux gold plated lapel pins.  

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As a suite guest, I must add that on our 5 cruises since CK we have never encountered any issues in the suite lounge with seating or getting the time for dinner we want in CK.  (July-August sailings)

 

Now mind you, we try to get to the suite lounge at least 5 of the 7 nights for cocktails before dinner and meet up with some friends.  We have never had an issue with seating, just sit anywhere.  

 

However I did find on all the occasions the suite lounge had standing room only when we went there for priority to leave the ship on that last morning.

 

Enjoy the lounge.............................it is there for all to share and meet new people.

 

TY

 

 

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I do agree that Pinnacles have earned the right for access to the SL.  I'm only half way there but issues of late do make me wonder if SL access will still be there if I ever make to that level.

 

Royal has created a monster not only at the highest level but also in the D/D+ level which is also growing faster than the Pinnacle level is. Converting the CL's across the fleet to SL's exacerbates the problem.  

 

CK access is one issue, SL access is another.  Dedicating ship real estate to a Pinnacle Lounge is a possible solution but real estate is precious on any ship and depending on the average number of Pinnacle on any sailing it might not be a wise use of real estate.  If the average is 20 per sailing, does it make sense to lose 300 to 600 sq. ft to a space dedicated to 20 people on average? 

 

Any loyalty program represents a cost to the company.  That cost is justified to foster loyalty.   At some point as the cost of the loyalty program increases it no longer makes good business sense.  Leveraging the SL minimizes the incremental cost of the loyalty program while a dedicated space increases the cost of the loyalty program.

 

If they denied SL/CK to Pinnacles that would upset a lot of people but would it stop them from sailing Royal?   Perhaps the answer is to eliminate the DL, make it a PL and restrict D/D+ to their 3 free daily drinks.  Or combine that with a bump of the D+ beverage package discount to 40% and hope more will buy the package as a result.  Perhaps limiting Pinnacle to 3 CK meals is a compromise.

 

In the end it's the bad behavior of the few that represent the whole group.   Some people at any level will abuse the program forcing change that impacts everyone.  That can be said of any loyalty program, airlines, cruise lines, etc.

 

The reality is now we have people like the OP that are actively seeking to avoid certain cruises with higher top elite.  That defeats the purpose of a loyalty program if it's driving other customers away.    It's a red flag and Royal will have to do something.  I'm sure they are struggling with this as we speak.  

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Just my two cents:

 

My wife and I are Pinnacles (within the last year).  We're both retired and really increased our cruising since then.

 

A couple of comments:

 

Last December we were booked in a Grand Suite Guarantee on Anthem.  About two weeks before the cruise we were notified that we were assigned to a Star Class suite with all of the perks.  We did not step foot in the concierge lounge during happy hour.  We spent happy hour in various venues on the ship as we had a drink package as part of Star Class.  Also, on sea days, Star Class cabins have a rolling bar comes to your door for happy hour, which is another reason not to go to the lounge.

 

My guess is between Star Class perks, and the fact that many Pinnacles purchase drink packages (we get a 40% off perk for on board purchases), a lot of those guests don't need to go into the lounge very often.  Yes, certain cruises are crowed with Pinnacles such as transatlantic, Presidents cruise, holidays, etc.  Royal keeps a close eye on capacity and opens overflow venues when necessary.  Before we were Pinnacle, we were on the Allure transatlantic westbound and there were many Pinnacles in the suite lounge and Costal Kitchen; we were in a Grand Suite and never had a problem with seating in the lounge or Costal Kitchen. 

 

Most, but not all Pinnacles are retired and it is likely retirees are the ones who have the greatest opportunity to cruise frequently enough to reach Pinnacle level. Royal controls the show and I'm sure the perks they give to Pinnacles is a business decision that is made with an eye on their bottom line.

 

Bob

 

 

 

 

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Just my 2¢ but we pretty much sail all suites now and have never had our experience 'diluted' by Pinnacles. On the Oasis Class, the SL has never been overcrowded and the only time we had a problem getting into CK was a rare stay in a JS. I'll admit we've never sailed a trans or a President's cruise but we tend to avoid them. Trans because they're too long to stay away from work and President's because of price and word of lounge crowding. Maybe we've been lucky but every Pinnacle we've met has been engaging, inclusive, and friendly. OK so maybe that was more like 5¢ but I just don't get the hate.

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I don't get the hate either.  I'm the same person now as a Pinnacle as I was before.  Most people are very nice.  A very few, in all parts of society, are jerks.  In my opinion it's no different on a cruise ship.

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To be clear I could care less if you’re a nice pinnacle or a nasty one; if you don’t have a suite you shouldn’t be in the Suite Lounge or Coastal Kitchen.  If you’re a pinnacle not paying for or staying in a suite you are taking space in a limited area that is billed by RCI as exclusive and for Royal Suite Class.  This is obviously RCI’s fault and not an individual pinnacle’s fault. 

 

And those of you who haven’t encountered this well known and documented issue, be glad you were on in a sailing with few pinnacles. 

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3 minutes ago, Andy C said:

And those of you who haven’t encountered this well known and documented issue, be glad you were on in a sailing with few pinnacles. 

 

It's getting worse too.  It may not have been a big issue in 2016 or 2017 but it's progressively getting worse. With more and more Pinnacles crowned each sailing it's not going to get any better in 2019 and beyond.

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4 hours ago, Andy C said:

Here is the bottom line - and you won't find it in the Royal Suite Class promotional materials - when you pay for Royal Suite Class there is another population called Pinnacles who do not need to book a suite (and in most instances do not book suites) who will be given priority and take up space in areas "exclusive to Royal Suite Class."

 

The takeaway is simple - do your research before you spend serious coin on Royal Suite Class because although the RCI website states that you will have, "Exclusive access to the Suite Lounge and more" this is not the case.  Pinnacles who now number in the thousands have access as well.  Have fun trying to find a seat or getting the service you expected.

 

And take note of one more thing - this only happens on Royal.  You won't see a Zenith in a suite area in Celebrity as long as they are not paying for a suite.  But you wouldn't know they were Zenith anyway because they don't walk around the ship wearing faux gold plated lapel pins.  

 

Edited by DJChick
repeated post. sorry!

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47 minutes ago, Andy C said:

To be clear I could care less if you’re a nice pinnacle or a nasty one; if you don’t have a suite you shouldn’t be in the Suite Lounge or Coastal Kitchen.  If you’re a pinnacle not paying for or staying in a suite you are taking space in a limited area that is billed by RCI as exclusive and for Royal Suite Class.  This is obviously RCI’s fault and not an individual pinnacle’s fault. 

 

And those of you who haven’t encountered this well known and documented issue, be glad you were on in a sailing with few pinnacles. 

It is Royal's right to say who gets in the Suite Lounge and Costal Kitchen.  It's your opinion and that's OK, but Royal allows Pinnacles in the Suite Lounge and Costal Kitchen because it's good for their bottom line; if that ever changes, then they will make adjustments.  We've never had a problem getting a seat and using Costal Kitchen before we were Pinnacles; I'm sorry you did.

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

 

It's getting worse too.  It may not have been a big issue in 2016 or 2017 but it's progressively getting worse. With more and more Pinnacles crowned each sailing it's not going to get any better in 2019 and beyond.

 

Isn't it a funny coincidence that the pinnacles that are active on CC and comment on these threads are the only ones who feign ignorance to this growing concern?

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4 minutes ago, Andy C said:

 

Isn't it a funny coincidence that the pinnacles that are active on CC and comment on these threads are the only ones who feign ignorance to this growing concern?

 

And if I was Pinnacle I would be right there with them 🙂 

 

58 minutes ago, Groucho said:

It is Royal's right to say who gets in the Suite Lounge and Costal Kitchen.  It's your opinion and that's OK, but Royal allows Pinnacles in the Suite Lounge and Costal Kitchen because it's good for their bottom line; if that ever changes, then they will make adjustments.  

 

Agreed.  Right now Pinnacles are allowed to use CK and SL.  No one is debating that.  I suspect Royal will make changes and my guess is that Pinnacles won't like them.  I also think Royal will make changes that impact me as a D+ and other changes that will impact D.  They'll have to, the DL is getting out of hand. 

 

The volume of beer/wine/booze they fly through every night in every DL on 25 ships every single day can't be sustained if they want base fares to remain competitive with other cruise that don't do this. 

 

I probably won't like the changes either, but changes are coming.  

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10 minutes ago, twangster said:

 

And if I was Pinnacle I would be right there with them 🙂 

 

 

Agreed.  Right now Pinnacles are allowed to use CK and SL.  No one is debating that.  I suspect Royal will make changes and my guess is that Pinnacles won't like them.  I also think Royal will make changes that impact me as a D+ and other changes that will impact D.  They'll have to, the DL is getting out of hand. 

 

The volume of beer/wine/booze they fly through every night in every DL on 25 ships every single day can't be sustained if they want base fares to remain competitive with other cruise that don't do this. 

 

I probably won't like the changes either, but changes are coming.  

I'm surprised that they have not limited the amount of drinks like they do on Celebrity.  They have a 3 drink per day maximum whether consumed in a bar or in their dedicated happy hour venue.

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5 minutes ago, molly361 said:

I'm surprised that they have not limited the amount of drinks like they do on Celebrity.  They have a 3 drink per day maximum whether consumed in a bar or in their dedicated happy hour venue.

 

They probably should adopt the Celebrity policy on Royal.  Do it under the cover of combining the two loyalty programs to a greater degree.  

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57 minutes ago, molly361 said:

I'm surprised that they have not limited the amount of drinks like they do on Celebrity.  They have a 3 drink per day maximum whether consumed in a bar or in their dedicated happy hour venue.

Is this policy also for Zeinth in Michael's club?

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17 hours ago, Andy C said:

Jazzy, while John is a gentleman and a scholar he is also a pinnacle and has a vested interest in the current set-up hence his comments above.  

 

FWIW, I'd wager we have more Suite nights on RCCL than you do.  And I'm not counting JS's or the B&J Sweet. 😉

 

Happy Thanksgiving old friend. 🦃

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18 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

FWIW, I'd wager we have more Suite nights on RCCL than you do.  And I'm not counting JS's or the B&J Sweet. 😉

 

Happy Thanksgiving old friend. 🦃

 

To you too, my brother!  Please give the Silver Fox our best!

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8 hours ago, happicruzer said:

The issue that is not being addressed by many is overcrowding of the suite lounge area on most (Oasis class) vessels on an unknown number of cruises.  The overcrowding is only going to worsen as Pinnacle numbers continue to grow.

 

yes, anyone can be the nicest individual you ever want to meet.  Has no bearing on overcrowding which tends to stress out many nice people.  Not getting service stresses out many nice people.  Yes, as a suite guest I learned service went to gold bar entitled individuals.  Watch and learn if you are a suite non-P guest.

 

Unfortunately, each suite lounge has a maximum amount of seating. If the seating was based on suites, then overcrowding is a given if all suite guests show up at the same time to a lounge.  Unlikey, but the arrival of more passengers than seats means someone will not get a seat.  Used to happen in the concierge lounges and reportedly still happens in many Diamond lounges, and supposedly one reason Diamonds lost CL access before creation of the Diamond Lounge.

 

Many pinnacles appear to feel entitled because they cruise many times and earned the free benefits. They keep quoting what they spent to gain the level of Pinnacle.  Before, when D+ was top tier, one had the same level of entitlement when visiting the earlier lounges whatever it was then called.  Believe there may still be a CL on one ship and no lounge on Majesty and Empress. Amazing how folks get along without  a lounge. Maybe it will come to that.

 

Tons of CL's still left.  All Vision ships, all Radiance ships,  Freedom, Anthem, several Voyager ships.  Not sure about Quantum and Ovation.  Possibly seasonal.

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23 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

Tons of CL's still left.  All Vision ships, all Radiance ships,  Freedom, Anthem, several Voyager ships.  Not sure about Quantum and Ovation.  Possibly seasonal.

Quantum and Ovation both have a CL deck 12 aft.

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