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Best loyalty program?

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Cruzaholic41 said:

 

Good gracious. Can you get any more elitist?  Seriously. You really need to tone back this rhetoric. I’ve cruised luxury and premium lines including your beloved Oceania. But unlike you, I’ve also cruised those so-called amusement parks. There are great things to be said about each and every cruise line. But that’s not the topic, is it?  The topic is loyalty programs. So how about, for once, you try to stay on topic and put aside your shilling for Oceania. 

Reread my post. I said that "many people" feel that way. Of course, others do not. AND every one of my posts has been directed to explaining why a complimentary cruise is among the best loyalty perks that any cruise line can offer.

 

Wanting to avoid megaships (even if it means choosing their "exclusive" ship-within-a-ship) has less to do with "elitism" than it does have to do with their vacation preferences.

 

As for me: When my grandkid is old enough, we'll take her on a cruise line like Disney, which caters to kids and has many amusements. When our daughter was young we chose RCI for its kids program (there were no Disney ships yet). On our own? "Funships?" They're just not our cup-of-tea and, anyway, IMO the higher end cruise lines are far more desirable as much for what they do not offer as they are for what they do offer.

And, there are certainly enough like-minded folks to support entire segments of the cruise industry.

Are you saying that all those folks who opt for deals like NCL's Haven or whatever is RCI's equivalent are "elitist?" I'm betting "no."

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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One thing about any loyalty program,

 

You must like the product in the first place...... and to go back you must have enjoyed it......

 

So to look at the loyalty program in isolation without deciding if you enjoy the cruise line,

is a bit like the cart before horse..

 

Loyalty is just something in recognition of you coming back..... It should not be the only reason you come back...

 

It is like to buying a car ( it is terrible, hard to drive, etc ) but you get free petrol...

it is sort of like cutting your nose despite your face...

 

A cruise is a holiday... something to enjoy... you spend your hard earn money on it.......

 

surely you want to enjoy yourselves..... so why would go on a ship or cruise line you didn't enjoy 100%.....

 

Just because of a loyalty program ????

 

Right off the soap box.....

 

Cheers Don  

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38 minutes ago, getting older slowly said:

One thing about any loyalty program,

 

You must like the product in the first place...... and to go back you must have enjoyed it......

 

So to look at the loyalty program in isolation without deciding if you enjoy the cruise line,

is a bit like the cart before horse..

 

Loyalty is just something in recognition of you coming back..... It should not be the only reason you come back...

 

So very much agree with the above!  

 

We do not cruise on Princess because we are Elite.

We are Elite because Princess is the best fit for us so we often cruise on Princess.  

 

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46 minutes ago, OCruisers said:

 

So very much agree with the above!  

 

We do not cruise on Princess because we are Elite.

We are Elite because Princess is the best fit for us so we often cruise on Princess.  

 

I suppose that is sort of like us, we do not cruise any particular line because of our status, we cruise on the line that suits us at the time (itinerary, timing, price) and as such have status with numerous lines.

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15 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Sorry but you appear to still be a bit unclear on the concept of "relative." 

 

Trusting that your comparison is a spot on identical 7 day itinerary w/o air and that our theoretical passenger would desire "identical" (at least on paper) basic onboard added perks like those provided on O, you'd then need to add unlimited internet $175, unlimited beverages $175 (approx.) and specialty restaurants (let's say four dinners on RCI at about $25/night upcharge = $100. That's an increase of $450 + RCI's original $399 cabin cost. RCI cost is now  $849. That puts the difference from O's $1700 at $851. Use an Oceania Connoisseur's Club preferred TA and their minimal added $ perk will pretty much always cover, at least, your gratuities at $16/person x 7 days = $112. (Most will also share their commission at an average of 7% of the commissionable fare, I.e., approx $100 in refundable SBC - but we won't count that commission share for this exercise). Since you'd need to pay those gratuities on RCI, lower the $851 price difference by another approx $100 = $750.

Is Oceania's $750/person higher net fare (just over $100 per day) worth it for the "experience?"

 

If, for example, you want prime meats, lobster available nightly, "a la minute" cooking in the casual restaurant, etc; first class bedding and cabin amenities (soon to include "on demand" movies); excellent service (thanks in no small part to the outstanding crew ratio); passenger loads of less than 700 (R ships) and 1200 (O ships); and a civilized/decorous environment, I'd say that price difference for the Oceania experience is a BARGAIN.

 

BTW, mass market lines have figured this out and that's why there's a growing number of wannabe "luxury" ship-within-a-ship projects which, somewhat ironically, will usually cost as much as if not more than the real thing in the premium/luxury cruise industry segments but fall far short of the mark. 

 

Of course, if you're idea of a night out on the town is Golden Corral and you're fine with  spending those 7 days on what many consider to be an overcrowded floating amusement park, I'd be the first to advise you to spend that saved $100/person/day on something of greater importance to you.

 

THAT is a "relative" comparison.

 

 

I understand the nuts and bolts of your "relative" comparison. You're still trying to connect the price by an experience. You make it sound like a no-brainer to spend $1500 more as a couple (even after buying all of the add-ons) for stuff like food quality, bedding, and service. $1500 is also on the lowest end of this comparison too. Some do, most don't.

 

You also don't understand why the "wannabe luxury ship" experiences exist. Everyone has different tastes. Not everyone likes the stuffy environment of luxury classes. We're all very impressed by your taste in fine sheets, but some of us stay up past 9 pm and have a good time.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Joebucks said:

 

....You're still trying to connect the price by an experience....

Exactly! That's what "relative" means.

 

Some do, most don't.

Entire cruise lines "do." Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, Ponant, Regent, Seabourne, Regent, soon-to-be St Regis, even wannabe Viking et al. (And don't forget expedition and yacht charter products).

 

Everyone has different tastes. Not everyone likes the stuffy environment of luxury classes.

And yet, the purchasers of "ship-within-a-ship are doing just that because they desire what they are convinced the will have a BETTER experience. BTW, You're starting to make unjustified generalizations when you suggest that a premium line like Oceania is somehow "stuffy." O cruisers enjoy the "country club casual"™ atmosphere and absence of "stuffy" concepts like the "prom nights" on some mass market lines.

We're all very impressed by your taste in fine sheets, but some of us stay up past 9 pm and have a good time.

LOL. Your frustration with reality is starting to show with the marked increase in your erroneous stereotypes.

The next time you look at a possible future cruise on one of the aforementioned cruise lines (which "we all" know you will, remember this thread).

In the meantime, Bon Voyage!

 

 

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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21 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Exactly! That's what "relative" means.

Not even sure what we are arguing about at this point. There is a relation between cruise lines. I will just leave it at that.

 

Entire cruise lines "do." Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, Ponant, Regent, Seabourne, Regent, soon-to-be St Regis, even wannabe Viking et al. (And don't forget expedition and yacht charter products).

Your point? I said some do, you named some. These represent an extremely small portion of the cruise market since you like to get technical.

 

And yet, the purchasers of "ship-within-a-ship are doing just that because they desire what they are convinced the will have a BETTER experience. BTW, You're starting to make unjustified generalizations when you suggest that a premium line like Oceania is somehow "stuffy." O cruisers enjoy the "country club casual"™ atmosphere and absence of "stuffy" concepts like the "prom nights" on some mass market lines.

It's impossible to speak for everyone. However, cruise lines have proven that some people enjoy the activities of the mega ships, yet also enjoy the option of private and luxuries areas. There are countless examples on this website of people who don't prefer the luxury liner atmosphere. Are you inferring that it is a generalization than a luxury liner offers similar nightlife options to a mass-market liner?

 

LOL. Your frustration with reality is starting to show with the marked increase in your erroneous stereotypes.

The next time you look at a possible future cruise on one of the aforementioned cruise lines (which "we all" know you will, remember this thread).

In the meantime, Bon Voyage!

Erroneous stereotypes such as Golden Corral? Who knows, maybe one day I may evolve my interests and decide to sail one of these lines. Currently, I have zero interest in doing so. Some people just don't crave the elitist lifestyle. Some people also prefer a vacation away from those who do.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Joebucks said:
.....Are you inferring that it is a generalization than a luxury liner offers similar nightlife options to a mass-market liner?
 
Since Oceania, Regent and NCL became partners in the same holding company a few years ago, the entertainment talent on all the ships is handled by the same booking agents. Yes-- same comedians, singers, dancers, etc.
 
Of course, premium/luxury ship size prevents having scaled down versions of Broadway shows with aspiring actors. But, IMO, if you want a Broadway show, just choose a cruise itinerary that starts or ends in NYC and go see the real thing (e.g., just booked two shows for a 3 night post-cruise September stay in Manhattan). 
 
And yet, there is an entertainment benefit to small ships since finding unique small scale talent can be a rewarding challenge. One of the best shipboard shows I've ever seen was a Broadway mainstay singing storyteller who shared with us his lifetime family and professional relationship with Ethel Merman. It was a stunning and unique look at the real Broadway.
 
As for other "entertainment," I prefer things like smoke-free casinos (just to be spared the stench) and lecturers who are well-vetted and much sought-after.
 

 

Quote

.....Some people just don't crave the elitist lifestyle. Some people also prefer a vacation away from those who do.

 

If you ever do try a premium line like Azamara or Oceania, I trust that you will not find anyone who is the Thurston Howell (and Lovie) elitists you seem to envision but have never actually experienced. Rather, what you will find is a demographic that is generally well traveled, cosmopolitan and decorous. You will also find the bulk of them to be accomplished professionals, tradespeople and public servants who have worked very hard in order to be able to afford finer things and who understand the quality value quotient.

 

 

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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20 hours ago, Cruzaholic41 said:

 

Good gracious. Can you get any more elitist?  Seriously. You really need to tone back this rhetoric. I’ve cruised luxury and premium lines including your beloved Oceania. But unlike you, I’ve also cruised those so-called amusement parks. There are great things to be said about each and every cruise line. But that’s not the topic, is it?  The topic is loyalty programs. So how about, for once, you try to stay on topic and put aside your shilling for Oceania. 

 

I would agree. Guy sounds like a really fun person.

 

My wife and I are comfortable enough to take the higher end cruises but frankly, we don't want to. We enjoy partying and having a great time on Carnival versus the uppityness of Celebrity. We think the entertainment on Celebrity is awful. 

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13 minutes ago, 1city@atime said:

 

I would agree. Guy sounds like a really fun person.

 

 

As you can see, he just doesn’t give up. Some people just don’t get it that higher end cruising doesn’t equate to a better experience for everyone.  Like you, I find myself having much more fun on the larger mass market lines than I do on those so-called high end lines. 

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It sort of comes down to .... The best loyalty program is whatever the cruise line/lines of your choice offers. :classic_cool: 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, OCruisers said:

It sort of comes down to .... The best loyalty program is whatever the cruise line/lines of your choice offers. :classic_cool: 

That's a nice thought but not what the OP asked.

IMO, the nature of the OP's quest regarded what loyalty program gets you the most quantity/quality of extra product for your investment of time and money to get to the appropriate level. 

And my point has always been that, beyond basic perks of "every future cruise" substance (e.g., included gratuities, increasing SBC, or even exclusive "free booze" parties), a complimentary 14 day cruise on ANY ITINERARY including international airfare for each accumulated 20 "cruise credits" (approx minimum of $24k/cabin total investment for each "free" cruise [per JoeBucks earlier Oceania example]) that can get you a $30k+/- per cabin loyalty cruise (in addition to all the "every cruise" extra perks like the tips and SBC) is hard to beat.

 

So, the original question remains: which loyalty program gives you the ultimate best ROI "bang for your buck?"

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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I think it is different for many people, for some it is not much point cruising on a line where they don't feel comfortable,, cannot budget for or it doesn't go form their home port, so it wouldn't matter what perks it offers, it is not for them.

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23 minutes ago, MicCanberra said:

I think it is different for many people, for some it is not much point cruising on a line where they don't feel comfortable,, cannot budget for or it doesn't go form their home port, so it wouldn't matter what perks it offers, it is not for them.

This is a very valid point. Nonetheless, OP didn't qualify their question in that respect. 

Perhaps we can hear back from OP regarding what are the additional parameters, if any (e.g., within the OP's regularly booked cruise industry segment).

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, getting older slowly said:

I think the OP could cruise with HAL.... after looking at their other posts.....

 

 

Given this thread's negative posts about HAL's loyalty perks, perhaps that's why OP is looking elsewhere?

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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15 minutes ago, getting older slowly said:

I think the OP could cruise with HAL.... after looking at their other posts.....

 

 

Yes, they are disappointed in the HAL perks or lack there of.

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What I find ironic is the fact that we actually get a far better loyalty reward from our on line TA than we get from any cruise line.

 

We don't get free dinners, internet minutes, laundry, medals, pins, or meals etc.

 

What we get. on a consistent basis, is anywhere from 8-12 rebate in the form of OBC's on just about every cruise that we book.  Sure, the cruise loyalty reward programs give us a few benefits. But nothing like those which we get from out TA simply by booking with her agency instead of with the cruise line.

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Hi

 

For the OP if he/she cares... I do think it was mentioned at least once... choosing and sticking with cruise line based on the loyalty program has never been a good idea. It is better to find the cruise line that is best suited to your tastes, and you are able to do that only if you try a number of different cruise lines. Trying one flavor and saying, I like that, I don't need to try anything else, might be good enough, but you also might be missing something that you would like better.

 

happy cruising

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On 5/2/2019 at 5:57 PM, OCruisers said:

Princess actually has a very good loyalty program.  :classic_cool:

We were "Elite" with Princess for many years, but the meagre benefits couldn't convince us to return.

 

Our preference is now Viking Ocean, as they have no loyalty program. On our next cruise, as first time pax with them, we receive way more than the Princess Elite benefits and the total cost of the cruise is virtually identical. 

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3 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

Yes, they are disappointed in the HAL perks or lack there of.

HAL has a very loyal base of cruisers, most of whom could care less about the perks (which are not very good).   Sometimes we find it hard to understand the almost fervent loyalty by long time HAL cruisers but we have found it unique among all the cruise lines upon which we have cruised.  We suspect this is one reason why HAL has never made much attempt to improve their loyalty perks.  HAL fans are happy to get a near worthless Medallion or a Pin (try to deny them those things and they revolt).   For those cruisers that really care about perks, HAL is not a great choice.  But ask many HAL cruisers why they love HAL and they will tell you they like the smaller ships, wonderful Indonesian staff, and atmosphere of the line.  

 

I love the cruise industry (like many here on CC) and have a lot of fun analyzing the management decisions(or lack thereof) of many cruise lines.  So here is new thought.  Perhaps some cruise lines need to offer more loyalty perks to attract more cruisers, while other lines do fine without having to bribe cruisers with a few perks.  Consider that HAL really does not offer much with their Mariners Club perks, but I can tell you that the HAL fans are very loyal!  The reality is that most HAL fans are not booking the line for a few perks although we all certainly take advantage to what is offered.  Ask long time HAL cruisers what Mariners Club perk they really appreciate and you will often hear, "unlimited free laundry."  That is because seasoned HAL cruisers are often taking very long cruises (measured in weeks or months) and truly need the laundry.  Those on lines like X will cite the daily free drinks (I like this benefit) but many on HAL could care less because they are simply too old to drink (only teasing).  

 

Consider that HAL has a Medallion award ceremony on all their cruises and this is usually held just prior to the Mariners Luncheon.  Some folks actually go to this boring ceremony to see cruisers awarded a tinny Medallion for having cruised a certain number of days.  On most lines, passengers could care less about this kind of stuff and other lines do not have anything like the Medallion program.  But among HAL loyalists this is an important thing (as I found out when I suggested it would be OK if it was  eliminated).  DW and I are 5 Star Mariners on HAL and normally skip these ceremonies and the Mariners Luncheon (which means the Lido will be less crowded that day).  Other HAL friends have told us they are surprised we would not attend these functions as they view the events as cruise highlights.  For us, getting out of our comfy deck chair and getting dressed for a luncheon makes little sense...but for others this is a very important rite of passage.  HAL management is attuned to these passengers and accommodates their wants.  In that sense we think that HAL is ahead of many other cruise lines who simply offer perks as bribes to encourage booking.  Give some of these HAL cruisers a choice between free Internet or a worthless Medallion...and they would choose that Medallion (which they can wear around their necks on a ribbon).   I do not understand this love of Medallions...but now recognize that for some HAL loyalists it is among one of the more important facets of their cruise life :).  I still smile at a post (a few years ago) from a lady who told me that "she earned that Medallion" and it is truly important.  As one who now gets lots of perks on many lines I have never thought of any of that as being "earned" but simply bought...similar to frequent flyer perks on airlines.

 

And lastly, we offer this observation.  A few years ago we were on a RCI cruise with a CC Mod.  At the time we were both Diamond (with RCI) when that loyalty category had access to the Concierge Lounge (this has benefit has since been changed).  We chatted with that guy about cruising on one line (in this case RCI) versus seeking variety on many lines.  That person told us that he preferred RCI because having the perks made him feel "important and special."   He did not like the idea of "starting all over again" on another line.  So for some folks these Loyalty perks are truly important.  For many others (including moi) they are nice but have little to do with our choices on which line to book.  Different strokes for different folks?

 

Hank

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25 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Our preference is now Viking Ocean, as they have no loyalty program. On our next cruise, as first time pax with them, we receive way more than the Princess Elite benefits and the total cost of the cruise is virtually identical. 

 

Just as a comparison  trip  Australia to New Zealand   same time of year aver Christmas this year 

 

Princess ( on the Majestic )  13 nights  in a penthouse suite $6470   $498 per person per day

Viking Ocean ( on the Orion ) 14 nights in the cheapest cabin $9595  $685 per person per day or in a mid tier cabin  $828

 

So the difference $197 per day per person almost 40 % dearer...    If you do your own thing in port in the 8 ports

 

I do not see their stated $200 extras per day free.....

 

I know it is totally different cruise line........but I so not see the total cost of the cruise being the same that is all

 

Don   

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, getting older slowly said:

 

Just as a comparison  trip  Australia to New Zealand   same time of year aver Christmas this year 

 

Princess ( on the Majestic )  13 nights  in a penthouse suite $6470   $498 per person per day

Viking Ocean ( on the Orion ) 14 nights in the cheapest cabin $9595  $685 per person per day or in a mid tier cabin  $828

 

So the difference $197 per day per person almost 40 % dearer...    If you do your own thing in port in the 8 ports

 

I do not see their stated $200 extras per day free.....

 

I know it is totally different cruise line........but I so not see the total cost of the cruise being the same that is all

 

Don   

 

 

 

I compared a similar World Cruise on Sun Princess (which is a rust bucket) to the Viking Sun, a 2-year old ship with balcony cabins about 50% bigger than Princess. Locations on ship were comparable.

 

Sun Princess - CAN $36,000 for 104 nights = CAN $346.15 per night

Viking Sun - CAN $62,195 for 119 nights - CAN $522.65 per night

 

Included with Princess was gratuities, as it was R/T from Sydney. As we were Elite we got free internet (limited) and a few drinks in the cabin every segment (4). No OBC. Meals were rubbish

 

With Viking, we have US 9,000 OBC, and an all-inclusive cruise that includes business airfares and excursion in every port. Although the up front cost for Viking and other Luxury/Premium lines is higher, by the time we return home the cost is virtually identical.

 

Having both worked for and cruised with Princess for 35 years, you couldn't pay me to board a "Royal" class ship, such as the Majestic. What happened to the Promenade Deck ???😞

 

 

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53 minutes ago, getting older slowly said:

 

Just as a comparison  trip  Australia to New Zealand   same time of year aver Christmas this year 

 

Princess ( on the Majestic )  13 nights  in a penthouse suite $6470   $498 per person per day

Viking Ocean ( on the Orion ) 14 nights in the cheapest cabin $9595  $685 per person per day or in a mid tier cabin  $828

 

So the difference $197 per day per person almost 40 % dearer...    If you do your own thing in port in the 8 ports

 

I do not see their stated $200 extras per day free.....

 

I know it is totally different cruise line........but I so not see the total cost of the cruise being the same that is all

 

Don   

 

 

 

The cheapest Viking cabin for that 14 Aussie/NZ cruise is $9595?

Aussie/NZ 14 day (January 2021) in a Veranda on Oceania is $9999 and that includes RT airfare and $800 in O's SBC.

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