Saturday, 11 July 2009

Join the Club? (by SV)

Celebrity Cruises has relaunched its Captains Club benefits programme to offer more exclusive services and features for repeat passengers who qualify in its three-tier system.

And, for a change, it really does sound like a cruise line has "listened to our regular guests" in redesigning what the Club can do to make a Celebrity cruise more attractive for past passengers.

Instead of the hackneyed old 'private drinks reception,' (which, frankly, is a pretty feeble idea that set sail with the original Queen Mary), they have introduced a special Captain's Club quiet lounge, an exclusive, once-a-cruise Captain's Celebration, complimentary Internet packages and more (with Celebrity promising further additions to come after more 'consultations').

The new Lounge will offer a casual coffee-house style from 8-10am (with complimentary teas, espressos and other items) and a social wine club from 4-6pm, with wine-tasting and other events.

Another handy, if less dramatic, addition to the programme re laundrey, dry-cleaning and pressing benefits, based on the length of cruise.

It may not sound a lot but this does provide Captains Club members with some neat sea-going privileges and, more importantly, it gives the whole idea of cruise 'rewards' programmes far more credibility and clout, while this should certainly offer a genuine 'lure' for anyone looking to join (or take their next cruise if already enrolled). Members are also offered told there will be more opportunities to reach higher-tier status.

You can read the full press release on the Royal Caribbean investor website, and the promise of more to come, should make Celebrity a highly attractive proposition for anyone with a few 'credits' already under their belt (and credits are also earned for longer cruises and higher categories of stateroom with Celebrity Cruises).

When the competition for passengers' hard-earned money is getting more and more fevered almost day by day, it is these kinds of more thoughtful 'extras' which may well catch the eye. Just in the case the brand spanking new Celebrity Equinox doesn't!