In a spirit of giving and of recognition, Celebrity Cruises has this week announced a re-arrangement and enhancement to their Captain’s Club (guest loyalty) program. Not to overly trump Celebrity Cruises and the changes, but I say ‘enhancement’ because remarkably there will be no changes nor retraction to the manner and levels upon which the Captain’s Club was based before.
The main two new differences are:
- an additional two upper level tiers of recognition for long-time repeat passengers; and
- the changing of the system to one that is now to be points based (instead of number of cruises based).
Celebrity claims to have studied other cruise lines’ past guest programs before implementing their own changes. This is evident especially in the way that some of the changes mirror some of the successful, particularly Princess Captain Circle, procedures. Additionally, there has been some creative thinking and quite outright generosity surrounding some of the other more novel enhancements.
The two new upper level tiers or recognition – that are superior to even Elite status – are now Elite-Plus and Zenith.
Elite-Plus will receive more elaborate worth of benefits of the other established tiers plus new offerings such as complimentary and unlimited specialty coffees along with discounts off of beverage packages and specialty restaurants.
Attaining Zenith status will gift the guest a free 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise in a verandah stateroom, along with additional perks like a free Beverage Package, outright included laundry services, free luggage valet service from ship to airport, and much more.
What is more, upon one’s reaching the Zenith tier, Celebrity will make a charitable donation on the member’s behalf. And one last thing about Zenith status I have noticed and really like, while being subtle and otherwise insignificant to most: each tier will have a different colour cruise card, but just like Princess’ top Captain Circle status (called Elite with them, just to muddle the definitions and levels between lines!), the Zenith tier cruise card will be coloured black.
Anyone who is already, or knows someone who is, Elite Captain’s Circle level on Princess will know that producing a black card for confirmation of services and purchases and ID onboard ship makes one feel oh so good and important! (akin to having a black/Centurion AMEX card, in a cruise-related way)
Celebrity has also decided to alter the structure of the Captain’s Club program to one that is now points-based, much like Royal Caribbean had previously done to their Crown & Anchor program, for chosen accommodation type multiplied by number of cruise nights. Thus, Celebrity claims this will provide more transparency and calculation of one’s own Captain’s Club status and what it will require to attain a further tier. No established Captain’s Club member has been put back in status by these changes.
So far, reaction to these Captain’s Club changes has been positive, and Celebrity has obviously been careful to make it so. Some minor complaint has arisen from those who thought they were close (such only one cruise away under the former calculations) to a superior tier (Elite for instance) and now find that they will require additional points, or an upgraded room type or longer length of cruise, compared to what they were previously considering and strategizing.
It is also worth highlighting something more about these changes, that Celebrity has not overtly chosen to do nor to boast about. These Captain’s Club enhancements, and the fact that current and previous guest status and benefits remains unchanged, is an acknowledgement that Celebrity Cruises has grown enough to have such long-time repeat customers who were demanding a more significant status and array of benefits for their devotion to the line.
Celebrity Cruises have not been the most recognizable cruise brand over the years, but they have recently striven to alter that perception among the public with gorgeous new ships, novel advertising, and unique trend-setting promotional offers that have set them apart and made many cruisers take notice. Though in this way they are somewhat preaching to the converted, Celebrity’s Captain’s Club changes and enhancements further announce that the Celebrity brand has arrived as a major player in the cruise industry and should demand the respect about which such standing boasts.
As a repeat cruiser on many lines, including Elite status on both Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises (and I am still, to my temporary chagrin!), on the whole I believe Celebrity Cruises has come up with a winner with their new Captain’s Club program and structure.
I’m not sure if the timing was on purpose, but the changes implemented are both generous to their repeat guests as well as unique by including the salute to charity with the new Zenith tier, however remarkable and rare (and difficult) it might be to attain such lofty status.
On the heels of US Thanksgiving this week, Celebrity Cruises are definitely in the spirit of giving and of being thankful to their loyal clientele, and to a creative and remarkable degree. Kudos here to Celebrity, and Happy Thanksgiving (and a Happy Hanukkah) to all who celebrate!Matthew Vaughan
Cruise & Travel Specialist
t: 604.737.8100 –ext. 116 | t: 1.800.565.2784 | f: 604.737.1672