Addressing Recent Royal Caribbean Policy Changes

by 2028

It would be great to blog about good news all the time. Oasis of the Seas, My Time Dining. The positive reception to the altered Mariner of the Seas itinerary that merits consideration for future itinerary planning. And did I mention Oasis of the Seas? Actually, I noted the ship twice on purpose, once for the unprecedented physical features you probably know about and a second time for the many operational enhancements we have not yet made public. More on those soon.

There is of course more to our current reality than incessant good news, and one of my responsibilities/opportunities is to blog about sources of guest dissatisfaction when they arise. We never seek guest dissatisfaction, however as I have noted in a previous entry we are constantly managing trade-offs that are inherent in our business. Some of these issues have been well noted by our guests, particularly our valued loyal guests, in recent months. I will comment on these issues, knowing the readers will not necessarily agree with my view. But thanks for reading just the same.

Elimination of Concierge Lounge access for Diamond Crown & Anchor members
Much has been written about our decision to restrict the number of guests with access to the Concierge Lounge. Our desire to deliver a great guest experience drove this decision. We cannot adequately handle the volume of Diamond, Diamond Plus and Suite guests who currently have access to the Concierge Lounge on 10 of our 20 ships (Mariner, Navigator, Adventure, Explorer, Voyager, Jewel, Serenade, Brilliance, Radiance and Enchantment — these are the ships that have a Concierge Lounge but do not have a Diamond Lounge. Freedom, Liberty and Independence have both Diamond and Concierge Lounges; the other seven ships have neither). On approximately 60% of the sailings on these ships we need to set up a satellite lounge due to the overcrowding.

In order to optimize the use of the available space in the Concierge Lounges, we will offer access to the Concierge Lounge to Diamond Plus and Suite guests (suite categories consisting of Grand Suites and above) as of the sailings of September 1st. For sailings post-September 1st, we will create a dedicated VIP-type environment for Diamond members in a public lounge every night of each cruise on all 17 ships that do not have a Diamond Lounge. We will also create an opportunity each morning for Diamond guests to receive concierge-type services and continental breakfast.

We understand this is an important change as compared to having access to a dedicated lounge on the 10 ships in question. Our people will do their best to make it an enjoyable nightly experience. Also, this will be an enhancement on the 7 ships that do not have a Concierge Lounge. This is a service enhancement for Diamond Plus and Suite guests and a service reduction for Diamond guests. Many Diamond guests have asked us to grandfather the existing Diamond members. Unfortunately this would guarantee the perpetuation of the crowding problem we must alleviate. In addition, many Diamond guests have asked us to continue to provide a full range of free beverages in the evening in the designated public lounge. We are not comfortable to do so in that setting.

I realize this is not a small change, and I apologize to our affected Diamond members. We will work hard to make the new program as beneficial as possible and a proper recognition of the great loyalty our guests demonstrate to us.

Elimination of Combinability of Various Discounts on our Ticket Prices
We really messed up on this one. Our intention and policy has been consistent from the beginning – ask our customers to choose which one of the available applicable discounts they prefer to use for a given booking. This is a well-established practice for retail. Unfortunately we dropped the ball in our execution and allowed significant numbers of customers to double and triple dip. The discounts in question are primarily the shareholder benefit, the Next Cruise onboard credit and certain Crown & Anchor discounts. We have now begun to enforce our policy as intended.

Many of our customers would like the combinability to continue. Unfortunately, combinability results in bookings that do not benefit our business. We need to set our discounts at compelling levels on the basis that only one will be used per booking. Returning to where we should always have been has been hard on our customers who were simply doing what our people were allowing them to do. I apologize (again).

Changes to the Ultimate Value Booklets for Crown & Anchor members
One of the ways we recognize our Crown & Anchor members is to provide them with Ultimate Value Booklets containing discounts and benefits available during their cruise. The content of the booklet evolves over time based on multiple variables including what guests tell us they value, how guests use the benefit or the service to which the benefit relates, what our revenue partners will support (e.g., the providers of our spa/fitness, photo and retail offerings) and what is logistically feasible to deliver. Speaking futuristically, it should be possible to have these discounts and benefits preprogrammed into the Seapass card so they automatically apply without the necessity of creating and managing tens of thousands of booklets.

Whenever there is an evolution that reduces a benefit in the booklet, it is an issue and understandably so. This happens from time to time. For example, the photo benefit in the Diamond booklets is now 20 % off a white lifestyle portrait photo. Until late 2007 the photo benefit was one free photo. In this case, the economics of offering a free photo did not work for our photo provider which resulted in the change. As an aside, many guests understand this as a more recent change because the ships were using up older booklets before distributing newer booklets. Another change that is both more recent and completely within our own domain is the transition of the Johnny Rockets benefit from one entry into the restaurant without a service charge to a two for one offer on milkshakes. The goal of the benefit was to inspire multiple visits to Johnny Rockets. The actual effect was to inspire one visit to Johnny Rockets. We will continue to strive for the right balance of benefits, always looking to increase our guest satisfaction and enjoyment of the many services we provide onboard. In the new edition of the booklet we have added a coupon for $5 off laundry of $25 or more for Diamond and Platinum members. I have instructed my team to keep the Ultimate Value Booklets “stable” through 2009.

Removal of Chocolates from the Pillows at Night
We provided small chocolates on the pillow for many, many years and it was indeed a nice touch at the end of another enjoyable day of cruising. We decided to eliminate the chocolates outside of our suites for two reasons. One is our strong desire to eliminate waste where possible. According to our Hotel Operations and Supply Chain groups, on an annual basis we have been throwing away approximately 35,000 pounds (17.5 tons!) of chocolate covered by 780,000 square feet of foil. Many (but probably not all) readers are aware that public health rules require us to dispose of all such unused chocolates notwithstanding that they are foil wrapped. In our opinion, throwing away such a volume of chocolate and foil is not environmentally sustainable behavior. Second, we want to re-purpose the investment in these chocolates into the continued evolution of the onboard experience. We did not make this decision lightly. It was hard to say good-bye to the chocolates and we know some of our guests read into this a decline in our product quality. But we believe this is the right decision to make.

Room Service Charge after midnight $3.95 per order
This has been an interesting one for me as I resisted the implementation of this charge for about five years. We had seen a competitor try to introduce this some years back (on a 24 hour basis) and to put it mildly the initiative didn’t go well. My skepticism was worn down over the years by persistent and increasing anecdotes about how much wasteful ordering was taking place. And when I say wasteful ordering, I mean remarkable amounts of ordered and unconsumed food. Nevertheless, I requested our hotel operation to limit the charge period to after midnight as that is when most of the wasteful ordering takes place. Since we implemented the charge, the number of room service orders between midnight and 5 a.m. has reduced by two-thirds. Room service satisfaction ratings have improved significantly. And adverse comments are minimal.

Charge for Chops Steak in the Dining Room
Within our large fleet we are able to do tests of new ideas on individual ships before we make fleetwide decisions. In this case, we tested several approaches on several ships and while we were in the middle of the testing period the “story got out” in a way that disadvantaged the eventual implementation. We are probably still recovering from the way this unfolded and it is a good reminder of the value of clear and early communication of our intentions.

We are very proud of our Chops Grill steakhouses and believe they represent one of the finest specialty restaurant experiences at sea. There are a variety of reasons why someone might order a Chops steak in the dining room as opposed to in Chops itself: Chops has a cover charge ($25), it may be full, only 10 of our 20 ships have Chops, it has an age restriction (13 and higher), there may be people in a family or group who do not want to eat in Chops, etc. So, while maintaining our standard everyday offering of an a la carte steak for no charge, we decided to introduce the possibility of ordering a Chops steak in the main dining room for $14.95. Charging for a food item in the dining room is unusual or maybe even unprecedented, and this caused a commotion completely out of proportion to its significance. We might introduce similar concepts in the future but we have no specific plans at this time.

Elimination of the Daily Newspapers
This one probably hasn’t gotten as much attention as the preceding items, but I’m having so much fun I don’t want to stop. For many years we have printed and distributed summaries of daily news in English and other languages. Recently we discontinued this amenity on the basis that with internet-enabled ships and CNN and other stations on the stateroom televisions, our guests will source the news when and how they wish in more relevant ways. This saves a very significant amount of paper and once again allows us to re-purpose resources towards what we believe will be better and broader uses.

So, what might the reader take and not take from all of this? First, hopefully this will remain forever my longest blog entry. Second, we don’t take any changes in our offering lightly and we understand our guests will examine any deviation from the status quo under an electron microscope. Third, there are reasons for the decisions we make and this blog may serve a purpose as a forum for communicating the reasons for decisions we make in the future. Fourth, the reasons for the above changes are quite diverse and unrelated. They do not represent a “slippery slope”. Our mission is to Deliver the Wow at every moment. Our ratings are strong and I’m comfortable that the benefits of innovations such as My Time Dining outweigh any negatives. Having said that, we simply must take into account the great loyalty that many of our long time cruisers demonstrate to us and make sure their experience remains positive and their loyalty recognized. We value our guests’ input and seek it frequently through many avenues. We will continue to listen to your suggestions and include them in our internal discussions. Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this entry.

  • Nancy Jenkins

    I hope that all of your future postings will be as informative and candid as this one has been! I can’t say that I agree with all of your decisions, but at least now I understand a little bit more of the rationale behind them. Thank you!

  • LYNDA bUCHANAN

    As a devoted Royal Caribbean customer, thank you for the information provided. We will be sailing the Oasis in June 2010 and can hardly wait. Your honesty is much appreciated.
    Thanks, Again.

  • bARBARA

    Adam, thank you for the explainations of the various changes to RCCL. We appreciate your concern that all past and future cruisers receive as full an explanation as you are able to give. We are now Diamond members, and will take our first cruise as such on Freedom in September. We are disappointed that we will not be able to experience the Concierge privalage, but are hoping that the alternatives you have outlined will keep us “loyal to royal!”

  • Ryan P

    Please, please continue to write ‘long’ blog posts. THIS post goes beyond a ‘form letter’ that we receive– it goes beyond the ‘script’ that representatives are limited to. I think that’s why your Live Chat was so popular, and why this Blog is popular: You’re providing background information, statistics, insight, and candidness (as another poster said), which is more than we get in any other avenue from RCCL.

    Keep up the blog posts. While we may not always agree on every aspect, it certainly makes me feel that you’ve made informed decisions.

    I’d be happy to see lengthy blog posts continue in the future. There is such a yearning for ‘information’ out there… especially ‘credible’ information, which you are able to provide.

    Thanks,
    – Ryan P

  • P. Webster

    Thanks for your explanations of benefits! I know that your changes were in the best interest of Royal Caribbean and guests.
    I am especially looking forward to the nightly Diamond event with champagne each evening on all of the ships. This is a big plus!
    However, we did not understand the Johnny Rocket’s change in benefits for Diamond members. Could you explain? Thanks!

  • dan Hanners

    So there is no need for me to make a next cruse booking, because
    I can not reveice on board credit and Dimond discount on my room.

  • http://www.crowncast.org Jamie Snyder

    Clear, concise, contentious. Who are you and what have you done with RCI? Thank you so much for this post, the truth shall set you free, hopefully.

    Great post makes this blog worth it just for this post alone.
    Great Job Adam.

    Wait there was a daily newspaper?

  • Mandy

    I add my applause for this post, which addresses some difficult issues involving customer disatisfaction. I am both a customer and a share holder, making it possible for me to view business decisions from both perspectives.

    I understand the combinability issues to a point. My problem arises from the perspective of using these discounts as a reward or incentive, to prompt customers to act in a way that benefits the business. Booking early and paying an up-front deposit a year or more in advance (Next-Cruise) is hugely beneficial to RCL. It allows the company to invest those $200 deposits for long periods of time and encourages passengers to book early so the company can see how various sailings are selling.

    Encouraging individuals to invest in RCL by offering an incentive is also beneficial to the company.

    By not allowing stock holders to benefit from advance booking (NextCruise), you are telling loyal customers who have invested money in RCL in two ways (buying stock AND paying a deposit on a future cruise way in advance) that the company will recognize only ONE of these investments. Is either less valuable to RCL? Why should stock holders be excluded from the NextCruise benefit?

    I understand and appreciate the triple-dipping issues and agree that a line HAS to be drawn somewhere. But these two benefits are not awarded without the customer providing some financial investment. It’s not merely a reward for loyal patronage, it’s an incentive for the passenger to make a financial investment in the future of RCL.

    Perhaps instituting an early booking incentive requiring an advance deposit, similar to what CCL is currently offering, and separating it from the whole share-holder/past-cruiser OBC program entirely would be beneficial to all concerned.

    As I said, I’m a stock holder as well as a loyal customer and I absolutely want the company to thrive. Both my bank account and my future vacation experience depend on the success of RCL. Yeah, I miss the free filet in the MDR, but it doesn’t ruin my vacation. I enjoyed a free trip to Johnny Rockets, but that doesn’t make-or-break my vacation either. I 100% agree to putting that chocolate cost into areas where the company sees more return on investment. We all get plenty of calories on the ship, we can afford to forgo the chocolates at bedtime!

    However, if a passenger answers two different calls to invest up-front money in RCL, by means of early booking deposits and the purchase of stock, I believe they should be rewarded for both efforts.

  • Karen

    Thank you for addressing many (if not all) of the concerns that have been raised over the past few months in such a forthright fashion. Like many people, I don’t support all of the changes, but I do appreciate such a candid and well written explanation. Well done.

  • Brian Prater

    Thank you for your explanation of the thought process for the changes. I can also appreciate the flexibility shown by RCI concerning the conceirge lounge and the dissatisfaction of Diamond members with the one special Diamond event vs nightly special events/offerings in one of the public lounges. Personally we’re not big drinkers but enjoyed speaking with and being around other Diamond members. Some of which have sailed itenerary’s we have not been on but may be interested in.

    We’ll miss the chocolates but, I understand the conern of disposing of those that have not been consumed. It’s hard to believe that there were that many that passengers were not eating. I personally enjoyed each and every one of them left on our pillows.

    I would very much like to see the coupon booklets done away with and replaced by the discounts being attached to the Seapass card. There have been many times I would have used one of the coupons but, I had left it back in our stateroom and did not want to bother with going back to get it. I also find it to be inconvenient to carry it around the ship on the off chance I might make an impulse purchase. By having the discounts tied to our Seapass, there would be no more conern about taking the discount booklet with us any time we leave the cabin. This is one change that can’t come soon enough for me.

  • http://www.RescueCNN.com Scott Jensen

    There is a recession going on and that is time to tighten one’s belt. When you make these changes, your loyal customers do notice. That’s good. That means they are paying attention and want the best experience possible.

    I like that you posted a long blog here. It means this blog might actually mean something to you and it might … just might not be written by one of your publicists. I encourage you not to be too concerned about length. Write what should be written and no more. As Roger Ebert says about movies, a great one cannot be too long and a bad one cannot be too short.

    As for what you wrote this time, I am glad to see you finally getting rid of newspapers. They are such a waste. More and more hotel chains are as well. That is both good for the environment, good for your bottomline, and removes essentially junk for us to deal with. That is why I bring my laptop. I can hop on the internet, check Google News, and read what interests me. In, out, and informed. No tree needed to die for those ten minutes of reading.

  • Jrandolph

    I don’t really have a problem with any of these changes. In fact my wife and I have always wondered what they did with all the chocolates we did not eat.

    When I saw the tile of the blog, I was actually hoping that you might be addressing some of the “bar” policies that allow some guests to drink far beyond the point of inebriation. This has been the cause of mulitiple situations that dissapointed me, especially when traveling with my children. I know folks will get drunk in a bar, but when it is in a supposed family friendly area it gets old.
    Not a huge deal, but I’m still holding out hope for better results on every cruise.

  • scottdougher

    Hello, I am very upset regarding the mistreatment I received from my housekeeper during a recent cruise. I understand that most benefits are completely discretionary. Gracious customer service should never be at the discretion of any employee.

  • Linda A

    I would like to thank you Adam for a very interesting posting. I am glad to see that you do care about what is being said about your company. I have to agree with Mandy about the combined benefits. I have posted several comments regarding this very issue. I was told by the Crown & Anchor Department that the Stockholders Division was seperate from the Crown and Anchor division. If this is so, then too, the benefits should be seperate and therefore be granted to those of us “Loyol” cruises when we take a trip on RCCL. How can two SEPERATE DIVISIONS be seperate in everything EXCEPT discounts? We do put money upfront in the forms of deposits and stock options? Why don’t you give the deposits given interest then, since most of the time the money is given a year in advance. You have this money to use and yet we get nothing in return. Sounds to me that RCCL wants the best of both worlds. Time to rethink the combined benefits program. Again, I love the long letter trying to explain the changes, but I dont think you fully understand the unhappiness these changes have caused your loyol customers.

  • Karen

    Adam,

    Thank you for personally addressing our concerns. I am a loyal Diamond (working on Diamond plus) member and was quite disappointed in most of the changes. I was unaware of the Johnny Rockets change as we were just on a cruise in April and still had the no svc chg coupon. We always visted twice and used one coupone each time. If now we have pay a svc chg each time we will not be going at all.

    I am excited for the Oasis as we are on the inagural cruise that we booked the first day it was open for booking for Diamond/Diamond plus members. I am a little disappointed though that now you have added on a 4 day pre inagural cruise to Labadee, it kind of takes the whole excitement on of being on the inagural.

    Again thank you for taking your time to listen (read)

  • Michelle

    I really enjoyed reading this blog and have no concerns with the explanations that were given. I’m cruising on the Oasis in October 2010 and I can’t wait!

  • Lee

    Great post! Some of the changes that have been made, I didn’t notice and some were a great disappointment but what makes this post great is your ability to explain the reasoning instead of just giving speaking points. It is much appreciated.

  • steve

    I love the post, I’ll admit I did notice some of the changes. I just finished a cruise on the Explorer and I did miss those chocolates! My main concern is the quality of food served in the dinning room
    (too many vegatarian selections)

  • scott

    I don’t think there is anyone who really doesn’t understand RCI’s need to keep the concierg privileges special. This is esp true when one has purchased a suite. But RCI fails to recognized the fact that there is a culture of frequent and loyal cruisers. It really doesn’t take much to keep them loyal…RESPECT and HONESTY is good start. I have taken great pride in belonging to the Crown and Anchor program and I have spent a lot of money getting to the Diamond status. I immensely enjoy a “free” martini at the Gold and Diamond parties. I felt like I was part of something special. I have taken great pride in bringing family and friends on RCI vacations. Your explanation as to why I can no longer have that martini at the Gold and Diamond party is insulting. Sure RCI can certainly decide how to allocate privileges, if given at all. However, don’t make the big mistake of failing to consider the consumer also has the ability to decide where to spend and where to make cut backs. Vacations and especially vacation spending, is entirely up to the whims of each consumer. Brand loyal consumers are to be treasured. RCI is showing it can build great ships. Please balance that with getting back to the basics…great customer service and loyalty shown to the regulars who love cruising and Royal Caribbean.

  • Linda A

    I forgot to mention one very important thing. Remember, it is the shareholders that vote people in and out of office. If enough shareholders who also enjoy cruising decide that the man at the top is not guiding OUR investment correctly, he could be replaced. I was under the impress, IF THE SYSTEM IS WORKING DONT FOOL AROUND WITH IT. Well, ppl are upset with the changes/enforcement of the Crown & Anchor and the Stockholders benefits. Get enough of us upset, and new management may be in order.

  • http://VitalityProgram Caren

    Thank you for addressing most of the changes which have/are taking place. I, like many others, am a Diamond Crown and Anchor member and am concerned about the elimination of the Vitality exercise program. While I understand the overall expense of the gifts we can earn, could there be another way to continue running the program? I truly look forward to these sessions and would love to see them reinstated. I can do without another t-shirt but would enjoy having the program back. Thanks!

  • Colton

    I’m very glad you addressed those issues however i don’t buy the one charging for a chops steak in the main dining room. A cruise line CHARGING $14.95 for a steak in the dining room when all your food should be included is ridiculous. I think that you should stop that idea, throw it away and never bring it back. I love the My Time Dining idea and am looking forward to it on our cruise but PLEASE TAKE AWAY THE CHARGE FOR A STEAK IN THE MAIN DINING ROOM!!

    Oh and many other people stated this but please give us texans a year-round ship in Galveston. Some of our friends would love to go back on Voyager but are forced to go on Carnival because Voyager isn’t in Galveston when they can go. Plus you miss out on the summers! Let’s not forget that Texas has over 20 million people and Galveston is the closest cruise port around here!

  • Bill

    As a Diamond member I beleive RCI created the problem in the concierge lounge. All of my RCI cruises were between 7 and 10 nights. You give full cruise credit for very short cruises and before you know it everyone is Diamond. I’ve always believed it should go by days at sea. Changing the rules after your Diamond just may cause me to completly switch to the other two cruise lines we also use. Please tell me what will be included after Sept 1 in the public lounges you will be using. Thanks, Bill

  • Lyn

    As a Diamond Member I am so disappointed in RCI’s cutbacks. Say what you want they are cutbacks. I also agree with many people that the food in the main dining room and the menu options have dropped off drastically as the years have gone on. When we started cruising with RCI in 1992, the food and service was top notch. Our most recent cruise was on the Explorer and the menu was horrible. It forces you to go to the speciality restaurants if you want that ultimate dining pleasure. It is still great being served and not cooking but RCI’s food has dropped off! I have been on 51 cruises with different lines and RCI used to be our favorite. The new ships are stunning but the top service is hit or miss and food is average or below. I also want to know what I am getting if we go to a dedicated open lounge instead of the concierge lounge. IMO Loyalty means very little to RCI anymore. Yes I can go on one cruise in a suite and get everything but the money I spent on 18 RCI cruises and the family members we pay for does not give me the perks I used to get. Please give me a good explaination because I as of now I’ve taken my last RCI cruise.

  • Juergen Haar

    We are Diamond Plus members and we ARE grateful for the changes, we did Transatlantic on the new Independence of the Seas, and there were 1450 Diamond members on board. It was next to impossible to get a seat in the Ixtapa Lounge or equivalent, a drink could not be obtained because of sheer volume. This had to change. The onboard booking discount was raised from $ 200 to $300, so what are you complaining about???
    We are very happy that logic finally won.
    Kind regards,
    J. H. and G. K

  • joyce calvin

    I, like many others, appreciate the candor of the blog and the explanation for each of the changes. I am a Diamond Plus member of Crown and Anchor and as such will still enjoy the concierge lounge. However, each item discussed deals with “taking away” a benefit or privilege. Nowhere do I see the addition of a benefit or privilege. For example do away with the discount book altogether and provide unlimited bottled water and/or soft drinks to Diamond and above members! Obviously you are a for profit company, however, frequently the fastest way to favorably affect the bottom line is to encourage sales and not discourage them, particularly from your most loyal customers!

  • Betty D

    Very informative post on the many changes experienced recently with RCI. I am a Diamond Plus member and most recent cruise being on The Adventure of The Seas on May 17, 2009. I totally agree with the views expressed by Mandy, Linda A and Scott as well as other views posted. I wish I had know about the changes in the shareholders benefits before convincing friends to purchase stock with RCI just within the past couple of months. I as a stock holder don’t remember being advised of this change, however I was advised of the stock dividends being discontinued. After booking 6 cabins on a future cruise, one of my friends (who is a new stock holder) called to find out how the shareholder benefit worked and discovered it had been discontinued. I also embarassed myself on my recent cruise in the concierge lounge by convincing other passengers in the lounge about the benifits of being a stock holder and the discount received with each booking. They must think I am not very intelligent, especially when I found out the benefit had been discontinued 12/31/08 and here I am convincing them to purchase the stock to receive the benifit in May of 2009. Also, another concern of mine as a Diamond Plus member is the benefit of priority seating in the main dining room. This did not happen on my recent cruise, although table for 2 was requested at time of booking and confirmed before the cruise with Crown & Anchor representative. Not only did I not receive a table for 2 in main dining, but I was forced to take My Time Dining (which ended up a great choice). It was the attitude of the person in charge of changing dining room requests on day of embarkation. No respect for a Diamond Plus members status or request. I also experienced the changes mentioned in the posts and not happy or agree with a lot of them. These recent changes give me a lot to think about for future cruises, however I doubt that I will be as loyal to Royal as I have been in the past.

  • brian

    Thank you for leaving the detailed blog, and hope you continue with the blogs in the future. Our whole family are Diamond Plus members and appreciate the benefits we have earned from our dedication and loyalty to RCL. I can agree with everything said, but one, and the decisions you have made to improve the services and onboard experience provided.

    The one thing that I just cannot make since of is the cutback of Diamon Plus benefit program and the stock ownership benefit program, offered by your two separate divisions. Example: Lets assume I am a stockholder of RCL and a Diamond Plus member. I book a cruise with RCL and receive a discount as a Diamond Plus member. Great, I feel RCL is being loyal to me for cruising on RCL for over 24+ cruises. Now I request my stockholder benefit from the separate division and I am denied the discount as a stockholder, since I have already received the Diamond Plus benefit. Now assume, I am a stockholder and I am on my first cruise with RCL. The first time cruiser will receive almost the same benifit as a stockholder. Where is the loyalty benefit, if a first time cruiser can receive the same benefit as someone else who has been loyal for over 24+ cruises??? I really think you need to rethink the issue.

  • http://www.mjontravel.com/ marshall jackson

    Mr. Goldstein,

    Thank you for offering such a thoughtful and informative post. I, for one, do not have any problems with the Diamond benefit changes, but will admittedly miss the concierge lounge. We really enjoyed the Diamond Lounge on Liberty this past week, met many new people, and made new friends including your fabulous Diamond Lounge Concierge, Mario. I will look forward to continuing to enjoy Diamond Lounge access on Freedom and Oasis class ships, and hope that the new Diamond evening offerings on other ships will provide a similar atmosphere. Looking forward to Mariner in November, and hope to learn more here on the blog.

  • http://www.flgreenliving.com Davina M

    As a Diamond Plus member, I have come to enjoy RCCL cruises. I am annoyed by Adam’s response regarding the chocolate issue (even though I never ate them). Attempting to put the blame on the wastefulness of the chocolates instead of simply saying they needed to cut costs.

    They wanna talk about wastefulness, lets talk of ALL the paper and ink that is wasted from those un-purchased photos! Not to mention the excessive amount of employees to run the entire operation. Do what Disney did and have a card that is scanned previous to any photo taken. Then, have computers around that can easily be accessed to view the photos and guests can choose which pictures they want to have printed. That would save huge amounts of money not to mention be better for the environment! As “green” as RCCL is trying to be, I am shocked that this hasn’t already been implemented!!!

    On the other hand, I would love to see the C&A program changed even further. Instead of focusing on the number of sailing’s one has achieved, it should be a cumulation of sailing’s and money spent. There are people who rack up huge Sea Pass accounts and those who do not, yet the two are treated equally. What kind of business are you guys trying to run here?

  • Cameron Cole

    Please correct me If I am wrong but I understand that the “highrollers” from the casino still get to use the Concierge lounge.

  • david

    Good Afternoon
    I’m a Platinum level cruiser

    I travel a bit with the company I work for and a few months ago I saw the you had a promotion with Hallmark Insights (Choice Hotels). I then started to saving my points toward my next cruise and now its gone. I’m not real happy it happened. It was like a big sting. I’m writing too you as well as them about my disappointment.

  • robert chesvick

    i just got off Mariner of the Sea cruises , i started my trip on the 24th of May, i trusted your people with bags, and all but one of them had shown up our room, very concerned I check at the desk to find my bag with missing tags and it had been gone through and my iphone had been stolen out of my bag . i reported this to security they took a report and search my cabin, after that told my to call a 1800 number to get payed for back for my stolen phone , i called today after i got back form my trip and was told they would not cover lost or stolen items on the ship like this. I could not believe what i was hearing, you search my bags you take my iphone and lie to me about reinbursment , my wire has been on over 20 cruises this has never happend before . thank you for your time

  • Allen R

    Adam
    We are Diamond members working on Diamond Plus now.
    We have already sent a letter to the Chairman of the Board of RCL on the stockholder on board credit benefit. Suffice it to say you did yourselves a great disservice. The post on onboard booking credits deserves some discussion also. If there are no credits why bother with the service. Use the space for an increase in the available passenger internet computers, since the wiring for it is already there and save the staff costs. In other words earn some revenue. The advance deposits issue is also one you need to consider. Last minute bookings sold through consolidators to keep the ships full and the staff properly compensated are one thing. Not rewarding folks for advanced deposits regardless of how they are made is another as you have the money in your bank account. Shifting the cupon booklets to our Sea Pass accounts makes real sense. Ending the newspapers and choclates is fine with us. Watch your Johhny Rockets revenue drop like a rock with the changes you have made. The concierge lounge deal is one of fairness. Does a one time high roller who books a suite get a benefit that a loyal customer with 20 cruises with you does not? Cruise credits should be thought out better with more gradations given the number of short trips easily available to east coast USA folks in particuliar. Booking inside cabins should never have the same cruise credit benefit as balcony and above.

  • scott

    I love RCI, have since the my first cruise. RCI has had a magical way of making past guests feel valued and proud to attain each Crown and Anchor status level. It’s truely amazing how RCI has groomed so many passionate loyal cruisers. It should be studied in business school!! Also, RCI’s recent decisions should be studied in business school as well. It saddens me to see the decision makers taking away Crown and Anchor privilges, and doing so in such a manner that has resulted in so many unhappy loyal guests. You are certainly not going to fill those beautiful new jumbo ships by upsetting so many people! Sure I’ll still bring my family on RCI, I love the cruise line as I said, but I am upset and truely disappointed.

  • Shari

    Thank you for responding to our comments.

    I understand the need for many of the changes, however, I still feel that shareholders benefits should definitely be considered as a separate entity. Most cruisers do not invest in the company with buying shares. Those of us who have, should not have to choose between using a C&A coupon or the shareholders credit, nor an advance booking credit, or a next cruise credit, both of which require us to put money up front for a year a more … we have had 2 next cruise bookings for more than 2 years and I wish we did not now, because we have tied up that money for two years (with no interest) and will not get the benefit we were promised when we bought them. Needless to say we will not book on board or purchase a next cruise booking again. There is no need to do so and why tie up my money for nothing in return. Please reconsider this aspect of your changes.

    We really enjoy cruising with Royal but some of our friends are getting a lot more shipboard credit and discounts on other lines for being repeat customers than we are now and that makes it hard for us to encourage them to join us on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

    Thank you for listening,
    Shari

  • Cynthia

    I, too, have been a loyal patron of Royal Caribbean and was excited to achieving Diamond status. In January when achieving Diamond status, I reserved two cabins for September sailing out of Barcelona to celebrate my 50th birthday. In January, the benefits had not changed and I selected two balcony cabins on the same floor as the Concierge Lounge for myself and my parents to enjoy (we are all Diamond members). What a shock and shame to see that somthing purchased in January now has a lessor value (less benefit) than when it was reserved. It does not seem fair or equitable to change in midstream. Although I understand the need for cost cutting measures, the change should affect those reserving their vacations following the change… NOT PRIOR TO CHANGE. If Royal Caribbean had ordered a new ship and one month before delivery they were informed that carpeting was no longer included, I am sure the corporation would not be pleased. When you order something, you should receive what you order, whether delivery/sailing is this week or in five months.

    On another “Crown and Anchor” note, I have sent correspondence to the “contact us” link on numerous occassions and have never had a reply. This does not bode well for Customer Service. Several times I have reserved and paid for a “Grand Suite” for myself and my parents. Although my name is first in the booking and my name is used on the Sea Pass account and my credit card is used for payment, all Concierge correspondence is addressed to MY FATHER! Does Royal Caribbean have something against its female passengers? I have asked this question of the Crown and Anchor; however, as stated earlier, have yet to receive a reply. If this had only occurred once, I may not be as upset; but it happens every time I reserve a suite.

  • Thomas YOung

    In reading your comments on eliminations I do not see many things being added. I realize every cruise is judged by the money it brings minus the money RCCL spent and thats the basis for your judgement of success or failure. I can only say this I have cruised 3 times with you and twice with Carnival I will be taking my 4th cruise with you this fall. I am taking people with me that have never cruised before. If this cruise falls below my expectations as did last years I will probably look for other sources of vacation entertainment. Its the small things like the mints, like the assortment in the dining rooms, like the entertainment, the cleanliness, and the wow factor that set you apart. As they disappear from your assortment or presentation nothing left makes you stand out. Every ship I have been on has been clean. Every ship had friendly help. Every ship had plenty of food. The subtle things like mints on the pillow, the Steward that sees you coming and opens your room door for you, the people you pass that say hello, the friendly people that work Windjammers, and seem genuinely happy to help you with your coffee refill, the entertainers that seem to really put out 200% during their performances. I am totally cognizant of the fact that the last time I took this same cruise I will be doing in the fall I paid a lot more money for it. What you have to realize is the person taking the cruise had a lot more disposable income back then as well. To spend dollars you should not be spending but are doing it to bring a little pleasure to your tough year you have just been through should be met with some excitement that I and fellow cruiser have chosen to spend those dollars with you. While I am still of the belief that no cruise can be a bad cruise I say it with reservations after what I am reading and witnessed last year when the times were still good. I will see you guys in October and I hope for my sake and yours it goes as good as it has in the past.

  • JCity156

    I too understand the cost saving measures and thank you for your honesty. I am one of the passengers who saves the paper as a momento of the cruise. I can appreciate putting this info on the tv during the cruise, but please do not eliminate the brochure size sheet with the timetable of happenings each day. They are handy to carry so no matter where you are on the ship you can plan your day and see what’s next. There is no way you can remember all of the available activites from looking at the tv screen in your cabin. We are loyal to RCCL and look forward to sailing on the Oasis in 2010. I also agree with the person who wrote about the wasteful printing of photos that may not be purchased. Having them available on a screen to opt for purchase makes a lot of sense. Discounts linked to your seapass is a good idea as well since the discount offer can be listed on the tv. One thing I am hearing from other cruise passengers is when tips are paid upfront, there is less incentive from the staff to provide excellent service as they feel they have their tip already and there is nothing to strive for (especially with the My Dining Time). I like during the course of the cruise when a waiter knows what you like and how you like something and you get to have a relaltionship during the cruise. The quality of the food and service is very important and I urge RCCL not to let their standards slip.

  • Don F

    With regards to the stopping of the daily newspaper. You mention that the tv carry news stations that fill in the news. Well I guess that works if you want the watch CNN for USA news or BBC for European news but how about those of us from Canada? The daily newspaper was the only source of any type of news from Canada. Now if you were to carry either both or at least one of the Canadian all news tv stations that would make up for it. I think there should be some sort of rethink of this issue.

    Don Fehr

  • Warren Walcher

    I too love RCCL. I understand that if you have 40 to 50 people in a lounge made for 20 to 30 people it ruins it for everyone. I do not drink so the free liquor is not an issue. I think the overflow for us diamond members is a good idea. I miss some of the perks BUT I know some reductions need to be done. We have 15 credits on RCCL and 10 on Celebrity. We just got off the Mariner giving us 53 days on that ship. I bought 3 future credits a couple of years ago and now they have no value as I own stock also. Not sure where Rccl is headed so I will just wait to see.

  • Dana Grimes

    Adam,

    I am very please that you at the have have implimented all of these changes for the benefit of us. I purposely book Grand Suites on 7 day plus cruises every time that I have cruised RCL in order to attain the Diamond Plus status much more quickly. I totaly agree with a previous blog entry in regards to passengers and your drinking policy. Here is a good one to impliment, when I was in the Navy we were allowed two beers every sixty days that we were at sea without pulling into port. Well – the entire benfit of me booking onboard is gone toooo, but guess what, so am I; Hello Holland America!

  • Dave b

    Could you please revisit the decision to eliminate (or enforce) the combinability of the shareholder credit with a coupon or C&A discount? I understand the profitability concern, but I believe a shareholder of the company exhibits a higher level of commitment to RCCL than any other class of passenger. Perhaps eliminating the sliding scale on-board credit and replacing it with a flat rate credit, even if $50-$75 per sailing, would help reinforce the loyalty of the shareholder. I think this would be especially beneficial during times like these when the stock dividend payment has been suspended. Thank you very much for your consideration

  • LOUISE DEBRINO

    My husband and I are Diamond members working on Diamond Plus. Our next 2 reserved cruises are 7 days each, one on the Freedom and one on the Oasis. You can do the math. We always spend money on the ships when we cruise so I don’t think giving out a couple of free drinks and some munchies is a lot to ask for. Having the D+ be the only ones to benefit is not fair – having a Diamond lounge and giving us a 25% discount is not a lot to give back. At least make it 50% or one for one. I have seen people go into the lounge and drink for 3 hours straight and really feel no pain afterwards. That should be monitored. Why not go back to the days when we could purchase a bottle on the ship and pay a corkage charge allowing us to have a drink in our room before going to dinner, or after the evening is over. We would still spend money at the lounges if we so wished but it would be nice to relax in our room or on our balcony with a drink. We would have to buy the bottle on the ship but we could take it back to our cabins. Thank you for giving us this information – we too are disappointed but we can live with it. I still think RCI is the best but might start to look elseware if things are consistently taken away from the loyal cruisers. Thank you.

  • Donald marburger

    A friend of mine who is Diamond Plus called last Sunday to tell of his experience on Liberty of the Seas. He was refused access to the Concierge Lounge even though current policy states Diamond Plus will have that access even after September 1. Both Diamond and Diamond Plus members were refused Concierge Lounge access on the Liberty sailing the last week of May. I would like to know if someone on the Liberty simply misinterpreted current policy or if a new unadvertised change is underway.
    Based on my friend’s experience and the fact that word of mouth travels fast, I sold half of my 200 RCL shares. I believe as many others that a shareholder no longer has incentive to buy a next cruise certificate. I’m sorry that I still have one to use.
    I appreciate the fact that this blog is open for comments and understand you have a business to run. My wife and I have sailed 63 days this year on Royal Caribbean and have another 7 day sailing next month. We only need 3 more credits to become Diamond Plus. I am most interested in seeing if promises to initiate the new policy changes September 1 are being honored. Thank you for listening.

  • C. Marie

    Thank you for taking the time to explain why Royal Caribbean has been making such drastic cutbacks in services, amenities and discounts it previously gave its loyal customers, especially those who had more than 10 cruise credits but less than 24 cruise credits. Those of us in that category who have had to give up so much for the benefit of others really appreciate how much Royal Caribbean values us.

    In fact, to show my appreciation for these cutbacks to Diamond Members I recently canceled my Mariner of the Seas cruise and instead took a last minute cruise on NCL’s Jade round trip out of London for the same week. We had a great time and spent a lot of money on board. NCL gave us $100 OBC just because we booked the cruise using our American Express card. I guess I can kind of see where you are headed with all these changes you are making. RCI seems to be looking more and more like the NCL product. Funny, I always thought the Royal Caribbean product was great, it got our family hooked. But I guess you know better than your customers what your customers want!

    I had never taken a cruise on NCL before as I was always using up my vacation time cruising on RCI ships. Thanks to the way RCI has decided to treat its Diamond “Guests”, I now have the incentive to try any cruise line not affiliated with RCI. Looking forward to trying Princess next .We will take the two RCI cruises we have booked and will probably still sail RCI from time to time, but only with last minute deals. With all the new “Enhancements” you are providing that are chasing away your loyal Diamond members, these last minute deals should be plentiful.

    As a family of 6 Diamond Members, 3 RCL stockholders and avid cruisers, we would like to personally thank you Mr. Goldstein for giving us a great incentive to book with other cruise lines and freeing us from our addiction to RCI. The way your company rewarded its customers really got so many of us hooked. But now that has all changed.

    Just a little friendly advice for the future. Next time you decide to completely alienate a huge group of your loyal customer base, trying being honest about it upfront. The way these cuts were implemented was worse than the cuts themselves.

    Nothing like giving your customers something for their loyalty, then taking it away from them and calling it an enhancement. You really know how to insult people!

    Oh, and just one more thing, why was your loyalty ambassador on the Freedom last summer pushing so hard for my husband and I to purchase stock in your company when plans were already in the works to implement the changes in combine ability of discounts? He said since we spend so much on cruising with the company and always book multiple balcony cabins and/or a suite we could save even more. Now looking back I realize his behavior was totally unethical, but is that even legal?

    Keep up the good work!

  • Marilyn Lang

    Hi,
    My husband & I are diamond members with 19 cruises to date. We always book an outside room with a veranda & receive $200 off as a diamond member. In the past when we reeived a C&A certificate we were able to use it also. I am told that has changed which I resent. Don’t send me these certificates with one hand & then take it away with the other hand. I am sure most of the diamond members book at the very least, an outside room with a veranda, so you are giving us, your loyal customers nothing extra & but taking away something. All I read is the cruise industry is suffering in this economy but I feel Royal Caribbean is not customer friendly.
    Thanks, Marilyn Lang

  • Paul UK

    Very interesting blog which was sent to me in the UK via our cruise friends made on the Mariner in the Diamond lounge as it cruised from Florida to Rio de Janerio.

    This large lounge was open for Diamond members and it was the best experience we have had on a RCCL ship. ( far better than the small deck 10 lounge.) With plenty of room we met many new friends and with the couple of free drinks it was really cool as we felt like VIP’s. As we enjoyed the experience so much, we have booked 3 more cruises with RCCL. The Mariner ex LA again this year, Dubai with the Brilliance and the Oasis both in 2010. I hope with the reduction of benefits it does not spoil our view of the RCCL, as we will make comparisons based on our last excellent cruise experience as you are our favourate cruise line.

    Thanks for the advice about the discounts as we have been trying to buy RCCL shares from the UK but now you will save me the trouble as I only wanted to buy them for long term discounts.

    One final point with some of the other passenger comments in that I agree with extra credit for booking suites, or balcony to gain more Crown and Anchor benefits. You must be careful with your loyal customers who automatically book RCCL that you do not alienate them and cause them to move to other cruise lines. If RCCL ships do not run at a high passenger utilisation then long term the company will suffer great financial problems and then the benefits will get worse and prices increase again which would further affect your utilisation.

  • Jane Smith

    As a Diamond member, my husband and I have just completed our 9th trans-Atlantic cruise, 8 with RCCL and l with CCL. We especially appreciated the live music in the Diamond lounge on Voyager and would like to see this become a permanent arrangement on Freedom and Oasis class ships. We prefer dancing to drinking and think this is an encouragement for others who enjoy the live music.
    Thank you for your sensitivity to loyalty members of Crown & Anchor.

  • Terry Black

    If you’re not going to allow people to express their views on your blog, (you deleted mine) then it’s not a blog, it’s a censorship.

  • april

    This was a fantastic post so length is not an issue, at least not for the readers. It prevents cruisers from having to call people who do not know the answers anyway or who do not want to have to put themselves on the line by having to give those unpopular answers. I am sure that the call center employees enjoy the blog for that reason! The employees may want to refer people to the blog for complete explanations to their questions concerning these issues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=708067833&ref=profile Peter Calgaro

    First of all, thank you for the blog. It answers many of the questions I had about recent changes in my cruise experience with RCL. BTW if you keep going you will take away everything that made RCL special.

    I also agree with many of the other people who feel it is unwise to alienate stockholders and Diamond Members of your loyalty program (if you can still call it that) by reducing the benefits you promised to gain our repeat business and encourage investment in your future. It grates on me every time I get an email from your company “begging me” to use a coupon for an upcoming cruise knowing I will not get to use it at all. Please stop sending them out.

    I will sell my stock later this year as soon as the price matches my initial outlay. I will also advise my adult children (all diamond members and stock holders) to do the same. What made it desirable in the first place was the on board credit. As a stock it is a poor performer and gives no dividend at all.

    As far as the CL for diamond members, shame on you. You held out a “carrot” dangling it in front of me for years and I chased after it only to have it taken away after I had booked two future cruises with that benefit in mind. How can you sell one thing and then deliver something else? Isn’t that called “bait and switch”?

    Anyway enough said. I look forward to seeing what happens on the two cruises on the Navigator OTS in the fall. It may well be the last cruises on RCL. I will begin to give other cruise lines some of the business that was exclusively yours.

  • Doris Casamento

    I am glad I found this blog and read it..I have two cruises booked with you one to Egypt in Nov and one transatlantic in April next year..Neither are paid in full and I am having serious thoughts about changing my mind about them. I have a RCCL credit card where I have been putting EVERYTHING on to accumulate points to get OBC. I also am a shareholder having added shares this year and convincing two of my friends to buy shares. I will be watching the stock very carefully now as there is no reason to own it anymore and will sell as soon as i can even up..Do I feel like a fool now? WE are Diamond and worked very hard to get there and now have no benefits at all. Do you mean since I booked a balcony on both cruises and got a discount off the price for C&A I can not get my shareholders OBC? I sent my reservation number to Ms Buchanan and thought I was set for the nov. cruise. With using my credit card and the shareholders OBC my onboard credit money certainly goes back to RCCL it isn’t in my pocket. I don’t care about the chocolates, newspaper or booklets but to take away the OBC that YOU benefit from anyway will be changing my mind on future if not presently booked cruises. I will be calling the credit card company to be sure I will be getting my OBC from spending all my money with them this year whereas I could have used my American Express card and gotten cash back. We took Holland America last november and enjoyed it immensely. We are also shareholders with Carnival and have credit cards with them and NCL also. Maybe we will have to be more loyal to those companies from now on. I am certainly disappointed in RCCL discontinuing dividends and now cutting back on everything else as well.

  • Dan

    I think you haven’t been completely candid on several counts, including your reasoning for discontinuing the nightly drinks for Diamond members. The originally stated reason was that there was not enough space; now space has been found but only a slight discount on drinks will be offered.
    We never received any communication about this, and only found out by reading criticism of the policy on other blogs. The new policy about not being able to combine discounts was never conveyed to us. I am learning about that just now in your blog, as well as the new Johnny Rockets policy.
    I would think that these changes would have been conveyed to, as you put it, “your most loyal customers.”
    You and your team have failed miserably.
    We have booked 6 cabins on the Adventure on the first sailing with reduced benefits for Diamond members. Depending on how that trip goes, we will make our decision on whether to return to RCCL ships.
    I hope you are more candid and professional in the future. (I am not trying to be insulting, just expressing disappointed).

  • http://smuehlm@gmail.com Sandy Muehlman

    I made a reservation today and was informed that I could not get the $150 savings certificate applied to my room rate since I received the $200 Diamond discount for a balcony room. So now I wonder: Why are the savings certificates sent to Crown & Anchor members if those members can’t use them? Are the certificates only for C & A members that book non-balcony rooms?

    In other words, why are touted so much and sent to members with reminders to use them, when in fact, members can’t use them!

  • Dana Grimes

    Hello Adam,
    Just wanted to thank you for the terrific rewards system that has recently been implimented! Dude, do you realize that I intentionally booked Grand Suites in order to achieve Diamond level status much more quickly. I know, this is kind of like your follow ups concerning post issues during a cruise – “been there done it next” – translation we have their money screw them, there’s more suckers out there anyway. On my way to this point, I have read all of the responses written by other loyal cruisers. Guess what Adam? – keep building those mega capacity ships, they are going to look real pretty rusting pier side at the rate your going. As for limiting benifts, maybe you should consider limiting your alchol sales in the same respect – how can a family enjoy a cruise constantly being bombarded with alchol sales and drunks at every venue. But, its your company run it any way you want, just remember its my money and I am going to be spending it at Holland America from now on, I’m through with Royal Caribbean – you have showed your true colors. And for ALL OF THOSE CONCRENS ABOUT DOUBLE DIPPING – People, I just received an e-mail from these clowns ” $50.00 per person up to $200.00 plus $100.00 onboard spending credit or $150.00 for booking a deluxe catagory – must be that sales are already down with the loyal RCL customers and that things are already getting desperate. Too bad so sad, reality is a bitch – explain this to your share holders Adam as you did to us with a blog; corporate greed gets you nowhere. Oh, Adam glad to here that your a Phillys Fan, I sailed with 200 PHILLYS’ fans and 4 of the Phillys on a Jan., 7 Day cruise with HOLLAND AMERICA. Nation of why not? How about this Adam, a Nation of Why Should I get Screwed Again? Ciao Bella

    Sincerely,
    Dana Grimes
    A Loyal Holland America Vacationer :)

    P.S. Oh, I forgot, not just me, but on average about 25 family members as well.

  • celia bowen

    Thank you for your candid answers to some of the very difficult Corporate decisions that each of you have had to make over the last year. We understand that there are economic challenges ahead of you, and we hope that these changes will benefit the company.

    We are Stockholders and have reached Diamond Plus with the Crown & Anchor Program.

    I do have one thought that I would like to present about the “new” Coupon Books. The one coupon that has always been valuable to us has been the “free photo coupon.” I know that it is hard to negotiate with suppliers, especially in these economic times, but I would like to suggest that they are actually “losing money” by not publishing this coupon!

    It has been my experience, as well as many other cruisers, that this coupon incentivizes us to purchase “additional” photos from the Gallery area. In the past, we would purchase a package of pictures or two or three photos that were really nice, simply because we had the “free coupon.”

    On recent cruises, we don’t even bother to go down to the Gallery, since we don’t have this coupon. I really hope that you can find a way to bring back the “free photo coupon!”

  • Phil Hale

    Just a suggestion, many offices have a candy jar. Why not instead of eliminating all the chocolates putting a candy jar at the Pursers, Shore excursion, loyalty embassador and Maitre d. stations? Still gives a sweet treat but still cuts significantly the waste cost and impact.

  • Margaret Harding

    I am very disappointed in the changes. Especially you all say book a future cruise while on my cruise and get onboard credit but then tell us we can’t get the diamond discount for balcony AND the onboard credit – sneaky if you ask me since it was never promoted on board that you could not do both – very unethical and feel that those of us who have been loyal to RCCL are now penalyzed and taken advantage of. I have my Cruise Compasses and can verify your false advertisement. And the coupon books (new ones) are terrible. What ever happened to rewarding faithful customers. I will be looking at what other cruise lines offer. You were the best when we started and after 18 cruises we are not as happy with
    being deceived!

  • marcelo fischer

    Diamond Members,

    If you are not happy with your current supplier (RCCL) – talk with the competition.

    I did it – and worked !

    I had two balconies reserved on the liberty for August 15 2009 and after the “enhacements” made by RCCL we decided to look what other cruisie lines would offer.

    I as surprised, I mentioned that I was a unsatidfied Diamond Member with RCCL, send then (I will not say the name of the Cruisie Line here) a copy of my reservation with the deposit and Bingo – they offered me a Huge deal, with the equivalent beneffits of Diamond Member in their program, on board Credit and equivalent Discount !

    I am very thankfull to Mr. Goldstein for this opportunity to use other CL.

    The Golden handcuffs are rusting now . . . . . . . . .

  • Thebigc

    I have 16 sailings on RCCL which is equal to $48,000 in cabin bookings.
    I hves 19 sailings on Celebrity which is equal to 57,000 cabin bookings.
    I have 1000 shares of RCCL.

    What do I have to show for this, stock that is down over half of what I paid for it. Fewer benefits on the cruise ship for being a loyal customer. Coupions sent to my email that are worthless since you cannot combine with other offers.

    I have never received a upgrade.

    First time on Holland America I got upgraded to a suite.
    Good Bye RCCL, you don’t seen to care for you loyal customer.
    I am going to a cruise line that does

  • Edgar Vovsi

    As a Diamond Plus member, I can appreciate the frustration being felt by Diamond members who now see themselves being denied the amenities of the Concierge Lounge. Been there. Our last cruise was the member’s cruise from Santiago to San Diego that got caught up in the swine flu mess, and resulted in five additional sea days instead of stops in Mexico. The Concierge Lounge was so inundated, that we opted, on occasion, to go up to the Viking Crown to a lounge that had been opened for Diamond members. The place was a joy, and the variety of pre-dinner snacks was definitely more varied.

    There is always a rightful discontent when any privilege is taken away. I’d probably be screaming the loudest. So how bad can three hours of free beer and wine nightly really be? Probably more than anyone really needs.

    I would like to, however, echo the dissatisfaction with the coupon book. I live in Las Vegas so all of the casino coupons are not a turn on. A casino on a ship is not the best place in the world to gamble. I, too, would like to see the photo credit come back. Margaret Harding is right, the coupon sucked you in to the photo gallery and you always walked out with ones you bought. It was a good loss leader. And Euro CNN and ESPN can not replace the little newspaper. Bring it back!

    All in all, you folks are doing the best you can, I think, in a rather difficult economic time, some of which you have brought on yourself as an industry, with the proliferation of bigger ships after ships.

  • S Howell

    I appreciate the explanations and I believe all are valid with one exception. I too, am highly disappointed in the combinability of “discounts” and also believe that the shareholder benefit should be separate from other discounts – RCCL Visa card, Diamond discount, Next Cruise. The shareholder benefit is a mere $100, really, in the grand scheme of things – how can this affect the bottom line? We have given RCI our investment and have earned that small reward. We have cruised 14 times, all on Celebrity or Royal, and have 3 more cruises booked. We are Diamond. As a former business owner, I understand the hard decisions but I feel not being able to combine the shareholder discounts with at LEAST one other benefit (Diamond, Visa OR Next Cruise) is a slap in the face to the customers who have proven their loyalty over and over. Count me in as another vote for revisiting this issue and finding a compromise – even if it is simply allowing the shareholder benefit to be combined with one other discount. The 2 times we used shareholder/Diamond/Visa we still spent 4 figures onboard.

    I commend you on the compromise on the Concierge Lounge/Diamond issue. While we will miss the CL over the next few cruises, I understand the need to make the change and congratulate you on the response to find a middle ground.

    One final issue that was not addressed was the fairly recent implementation of the 3% charge in the casino. While I understand that the passengers that used the casino as a bank ruined it for the rest of us, ie the gamblers, I feel that if we are playing at a table and ask for money on our Seapass card, that the fee should be waived since it is apparent that we are using it for use in the casino.

    Thank you Mr Goldstein for this blog and for the time you have given your customers here.

  • Tom Convery

    I just completed my 10th cruise with RCI and as a result I will be a Diamond member on my next cruise. Unfortunately I will not have access to the concierge lounge despite having fulfilled my part of the bargain that I have had with RCI over the last 6 years. (FYI, RCI is the only cruise line with which I have cruised)

    In establishing a practice of offering increased benefits for repeat customers who attain defined levels of loyalty, RCI has established a trust relationship with its customers. Now, RCI complains that it customers have been too loyal (there are now too many of us) for RCI to uphold its side of the trust relationship. Having just completed a cruise on the Mariner of The Seas, I can assure anyone who is interested that the Concierge Club, with the use of the Dragon’s Lair, was able to easily handle the combined volume of Diamond, Diamond Plus and deluxe suite customers on this completely booked vessel.

    By eliminating promised benefits, RCI has unfortunately initiated a type of “bait and switch” scheme, i.e., entice the customer with a benefit and then when the customer meets the threshold level to receive the benefit, RCI advises that the benefit is no longer available. Such schemes are unethical and illegal in most municipalities, but illegal, but not, I guess, on the high seas.

    While overcrowding is being used as the reason for reducing benefits, I was advised by one mid-level RCI employee that the real reason for the change is that RCI wants to increased the bar revenues that would come from the soon to be rejected Diamond members. It is such a pity if this is true.

    In response, I am contemplating the idea of shopping my loyalty, as evidenced by my cruise history with RCI, to other cruise lines to see what level of amenities they may be willing to offer. In fact, I might even suggest that they market directly to disaffected Diamond members in an effort to take market share from RCI, but only if they can offer something for the switch. Would this be an act of disloyalty? No, not by RCI’s standards.

  • lInda winter -devereux

    I responded to a post by marcelo fischer and our posts have been deleted
    WHY?THE CENSORSHIP???
    Worrying only one way blogs now ???

  • Marvin Ginsburg

    My wife and I ,who are Diamond Members, have stopped booking RCI because we believe that the reduction of C&A benefits coupled with a general decline in RCI cruise ammenities have made a once superior product uncompetitive with other cruise lines sailing similar itineraries. Hopefully in the future Royal Caribbean will reestablish itself as a premium offering and recognize the importance of past cruiser loyalty. It is obvious from your comments that you remain unmoved and unresponsive to the expressions of past clients, but hopefully that too will change. Recognition and appreciation of loyalty are of great importance in any service enterprise. It is far easier and more cost efficient to keep a current passenger than to recruit a new one. The new larger ships are certainly beautiful but they must sail at capacity to be profitable.

  • Bob Jackson

    I feel we should have been given some sort of on board credit when they took away the Concierge lounge from us after we book a cruise on 4/18/08 for cruise on 9/16/09. Not just a 25% discount in some lounge as a diamond member.

  • Kathy Helling

    Just needed to write a vent a little. My husband and I are both Diamond members and we do not intend to chase you carrot and stick to become a Diamond Plus member because I feel that eventually you will have to change that also. We have been on the Radiance of the Seas in Sept. and as Diamond Club members a private lounge was opened up to us – and we were served mixed beverages – now you are willing to open up a public lounge and serve us wine and champagne – what is the difference – I don’t get it. Also as a stock holder, I want to know where is my incentive – if I used your savings certificate, and then the crown and anchor gave me discount on my room, I would lose the saving certificate benefit and if I applied for my stock holder on board credit then I would lose the crown and anchor benefit – so where is my incentive to own stock – don’t you need stock holders and why should I use any of your savings certificates? Here is my suggestion for you to save money – stop your lame advertising – the most valuable advertising you have is word of mouth and trust me you are definitely getting lot of word of mouth apparently you don’t understand that we who cruise a lot make friends from other cruises and we “talk” and you have ruffled a lot of feathers. I know as for as we are concern we were taking a cruise every three months this year you will be lucky for us to take two cruises and next year I am not even promising you “one’ cruise. Also maybe the CEO should take a pay cut – considering that you are decided to build two huge ships when it was clear that we were going into an economic downturn. With 10% and raising unemployment and tightening credit – you just might need us frequent cruisers. I think you should reconsider your very bad business decisions and put the blame and the sarifice on the shoulders of those who goofed. By the way Princess is always sending me advertising – and guess what they go to different places the RCCL does and Princess has nice ships also. I always said you take away my privileges you would lose me and mine.

  • Cindy Amend

    My husband and I love RCCL. We are currently Diamond members having started sailing in 2002. We are in our late 50’s and have a different mind set when cruising than many people our age. We enjoy all the ship board activities available including the rock climbing wall, the surfing, full basketball courts, miniature golf, etc. You will not find these on other cruise lines. We will remain loyal to RCCL. Twice, we have paid for and brought our entire family with us reserving 4 cabins each time. Although we only get one cruise credit, we have spent over 10,000 each time. We are looking forward to our cruise on the Oasis both on December 1 and 5 with great excitement. These are massively expensive cruises. Our last cruise was on the Navigator this past February. We saw a reduction in amenities at that time, but we felt the level of customer service had not declined. We missed the chocolate, but we just went out and got cookies or a little dessert from the Windjammer. As a Diamond member, I do feel that points should be earned in direct relation to how much is spent on a cruise. With the upcoming Oasis inaugeral cruise I feel that we should earn more than on a regular cruise. I also feel that not receiving the C & A benefits that we have become accustomed to is really not appropriate from a loyalty standpoint. We booked this cruise when we were still considered valuable guests. I have recommended RCCL to many friends who are now cruising with you. I own shares of RCL and was excited to have the shareholder benefit which is now worthless. My stock is now worth 1/3 of the purchase price. Hopefully the economy will pick up and the value will increase.
    It would be very nice if RCCL would allow the Diamond members to remain a part of the “Concierge” group. On our last cruise we met a first time cruiser in a grand suite. They got a deal and enjoyed the lounge with us. When the last night rolled around, we gave a gratuity, but the newbies didn’t. They told us that they were entitled and this was not something they wanted or had to do. Hmmmm….no loyalty or appreciation there.
    We will be cruising Freedom class and above until we get our Diamond Plus status, but who’s to say that another carrot won’t be put out in front of us. If that happens, and when we both retire and our energy level lessens, we may be looking elsewhere. Hopefully not.
    I wanted to say that whoever suggested the photo/seapass card swipe gave a very good suggestion. It has become such a time waster to find your pictures and we have stopped trying to find ours. We used to buy a lot, but not anymore. This would save a lot of money on your end also.

  • Mark W

    Mr. Goldstein: I just want to tell you that I will be taking my last cruise with RCCL. I am taking a “free” one with the credit card. This is the same card that increased my interest rate to 12.5% for no reason. It is the same bank that borrows money for next to zero and lends it out to me. It is the same bank that we citizens own a large portion of. The bank, like RCCL has gone way downhill. I have been a diamond member for some time. I have noticed since you took over from Jack that things have been getting progressivly worse. Little things at first… now bigger things. You have to understand that loyalty is a two way street. You do for me and I will do for you. I guess it is too much to ask for you to buy me a drink after all the thousands of dollars I have spent with your company. You will be glad to know that my last Alaskan cruise with Holland America was up to your old standards. They probably will get my business in the future.

    Whats my beef?
    1) Food quality in dining room has gone way down.
    2) Taken away Diamond privledges
    3) Extra charges evrywhere for little things that used to be included (not free).
    4) Went on a european cruise and dining room did not open at all for lunch except for sea days.

    You think we don’t notice? You think we won’t vote with our wallets? Just remember, it was you who changed the terms not us. I wonder how on earth you are going to fill up those huge ships with such a dissatisfied customer base? Good thing I don’t own any stock. Say hi to the Pritzgers.

  • paul capps

    Like many of my fellow diamond level passengers, we booked an upcoming Sept.,14 day cruise with a large group. This reservation was done way prior to the benefits deduction. All members of this group are either platinum, diamond and diamond plus passengers. All agree, after this cruise, we will all explore options to use other cruise lines that we believe will be more honorable and loyal. Like RCCL says, “why not” for what would be the logic to exclusively use RCCL to achieve C/A levels, to have benefits arbitrarily reduced. I sailed twice on the “Song of America” which should hint how long I have been cruising with RCCL. There is no question that recently, all level of services have declined on RCCL. Many and most are mentioned in the above comments. It seems that RCCL has plenty of money to build many fabulous ships, but not enough money or sense to reward (properly) these very people that have spent millions to make RCCL cruise line stay afloat. For all of you new cruisers-rewards you expect to receive for being loyal and faithful passengers, beware for they can and probably will instantly change.

  • Tom Convery

    Mr. Goldstein states,

    “Diamond guests have asked us to continue to provide a full range of free beverages in the evening in the designated public lounge. We are not comfortable to do so in that setting.”

    What is it that causes him discomfort regarding the setting? It can’t be the serving of alcoholic beverages since he intends to serve champagne and wine. It can’t be the serving of mixed drinks in an open setting since there are an abundance of accessible bars throughout the ship that serve mixed drinks. So Adam, what is your problem with providing Concierge Club amenities to your Diamond members? Hmmmm….. is it that the serving of complementary drinks will reduce your potential bar revenues? Would you please explain? I think you owe us that much.

  • Israel ramirez

    Mr Goldstein and Fain,

    What a mess you have cooked up with your Diamond and also Platinum members. As a previous co cruiser stated, your actions will be required business school reading and in that manner you will be immortalized and remembered long after your demise. Congratulations!

    In 2003 my wife convinced me to cruise with you since i had no interest having been in the Navy four years. I acceded and to my surprise I was astounded with the service and after reading about your C&A Society benefits, we decided to work towards Diamond level. In 2006 we achieved that level; 3 cruises a year. Now at 17 and 20 cruises respectively, the rug has been literally pulled out beneath us.

    Your new enhancements explanation (very bad word selection) are a cheap excuse which are relly intended to create a new revenue stream from one of your most loyal and valuable patrons.

    Of our cruises 7 have been on the Adventure of the Seas and we have never observed the Concierge Lounge full and have always given DiDi a good gratuity plus gifts in gratitude for her services. I have been also on the Serenade and didnt notice any overcrowding in the lounge. So your excuse is hard to comprehend, nevertheless if true on other ships, you have many lounges that are closed anyway during the day which could be used.

    I could say a lot more about the continuos loss of benefits but I would just be repetitive. You should both resign and get some new blood in the CL.

    One last comment, we have the Bank of America RCL Visa card and when they changed our 9.99% interest rate to a variable 18% rate in April, we opted out since the new rate would be not only applied to our new purchases but also to our existing. So we stopped using it for the following 3 months and guess what happened last week, BofA sent us a letter that they were doing away with there variable rate and our previous rate would once again be honored as of July 15.
    In this manner the Chairman and CEO of BofA recognized they had committed an error and corrected it. This made him a strong as wise leader.

    My question is, are both of you strong and wise leaders or is it to embarassing to admit you messed up?

    I also will be taking my third and last cruise this year with you on August 23 on the Adventurer again and the last week prior to your new enhancements to your loyal members goes into effect.

    We are looking forward to cruising with NCL and Princess CL in November. Thanks for helping us move on, nothing in life is eternal, not even RCCL.

    Rose and Israel from PR

  • H. Steele

    The “benefits” provided by Corporate RCCL are no longer an attraction to cruise RCCL…. just when we built a number of cruises and hoped this would be our line through retirement… :-( And, instead of the comment “to be stable”, why don’t you just get rid of the “value-LESS” books…. save a few pennies and spend them elsewhere… sorry, this sounds negative… just resigned.

  • Nancy Passerella

    I told myself it was just a fluke that some posts are missing, but it could be censorship.
    It takes years to build a loyal customer base and an instant to destroy it. I want to see my posts back.

  • MArio Salcedo

    Adam,

    As a long-term shareholder of RCI I appreciate and understand the difficult but necessary actions to protect profitability and future viability of the company so we may continue to enjoy cruising on RCI ships. I’m primarily referring to enforcement of non-combinabilty of discounts and credits per sailing.

    As a loyal customer of RCI (over 200 cruises) I truly appreciate and understand the actions taken to make the guest experience a great one, in particular with regards to Concierge Lounge access.

    I wish to remind Diamond members that they can continue to access the Concierge Lounge (on non-Freedom and Oasis class ships) by either booking a suite or becoming Diamond Plus members.

  • Steven hite

    Well, We are fairly new to cruising,(4 cruises) so, after reading about some of these changes that will be alienating alot of your current customers, I know that we will be looking at other cruise lines to see if there is more available. Plus I beleive that once you have set a Precedent you should have to stick with it instead of sticking it to the customer!

  • Scott

    Adam,
    My only criticism about this blog in particular is around the comment for the room service charge “Since we implemented the charge, the number of room service orders between midnight and 5 a.m. has reduced by two-thirds. Room service satisfaction ratings have improved significantly. And adverse comments are minimal”.
    My guess is that if you had charged for room service during the day, that you’re room service orders would also decrease drastically, but it doesn’t necessarily address the real problem, which is food waste. Maybe a better solution would have been smaller portions or a limit as to how much can be ordered per guest at a time (with no cap on how many times they can call for repeat service).

    Regards,
    Scott

  • Marvin

    If one reviews your blog comments since May, and paticularly your answers to guest crititism (on those rare occassions when you take the time to respond), it is obvvious your tone is becoming “downright nasty” to borrow your phrase. Is it possible that the pressures of corporate responsibility are producing errors in your judgement. Perhaps a vacation on another cruise line where you may recieve better treatment than guests now recieve on Royal Caribbean is in order.

  • Edna Taylor

    While this post will not make me very popular amongst the throngs of angst filled cruisers (you are entitled to your opinion, as am I), I am going to say it anyway. Times are tough right now, people are losing their jobs and their homes, yet you fill compelled to b*tch about a few cutbacks, about the fact that you might not get as many free drinks or free admission to Johnny Rockets or your coupon booklet anymore? On for heavens sake, get some perspective would ya? Everyone is having to tighten their belts these days and I know only too well because due to recent layoffs, we are down to only one income but we make the best of a bad situation and move on. I have looked at the video of the new Carnival ship “Dream” and I, for one, am NOT impressed. We are loyal RC customers and the fact that they saw fit to make some cutbacks in this tough economy will not change that fact. Things change and evolve, it is a part of life and business and I do not think that RC will go under simply because they no longer put chocolates on my pillow at night – sheesh. They have a quality product for a very good price and I have never had so much fun on a vacation as I have had on my cruises with Royal Caribbean.

  • Linda a

    Edna-I agree that times are very tight for everyone. Most of the ppl complaining are those that still try to enjoy cruising on RCL. They are the ones that have 24+ cruises and are stock holders. I am one of them. Since money is tight, why should we as stock holders leave our money in a company that is not during well financially. We can cut our losses and either leave it in cash or re-invest in a company that is MAKING money for us. The answer-on board credit for being a stock holder. If you ask 100 stock holders if they spend that on board credit or cash it in, 98 would tell you it is spent on board. So in effect, RCL is still getting that money back some how. Now you have the balacony credit that is an incentive to book a higher price cabin. This discount is given to those who have spent LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY on prior cruises. Two seperate issues, should be two seperate incentives. What would happen if all stock holders pulled out of the stock? Or only the inside lower deck cabins were to be booked. Then the higher price ones would be sold through third parties at a much reduce rate and RCL would loss more money then if they granted the double discounts. Prices for the cruise would have to go up and the “very good price” would no longer exsist. Other cruise lines also offer “much fun on a vacation”. Bottom line is price, price, price. I agree with the chocolates, daily compass, and the value booklet. Save money on those items, but dont tick ppl off with the deletion of benefits that were given to enhance your product.

  • Mike e

    I resd your statements and, though I do not agree with your logic, appreciate your frankness. I do, however, have a question regarding the combinability of discounts. WHY were the “loyalty” reps still telling people they COULD be combined when my wife and I booked in January?

  • james

    ok enough already on the oasis- you chose to build the massive ship and who do you think is going to pay for it-thats right us- by cutting back so much dont you see you are losing customers left and right. not the ones who cruise once every few years but the loyal ones- platinum and up. our benfits have gone from good to why bother. yes we are in a recession or depression how ever you look at it but come on enough already.$35 for a roller coaster ride,$9 for a bar drink, and so on. yes well all need to cut back but being a stock holder for many many years i think its time to rethink rccl and look else where. whats in it for me- a moving hotel room with ocean views for $1000 bucks for a week-lets get on the ball and offer some new stuff to off set what you took away

  • cINDY

    I appreciate you taking the time to address the policy changes. I have a comment/suggestion regarding the elimiation of the turndown/chocolate service. Word of mouth marketing is contingent on a guest’s experience. I’m a platinum member and I only found out about the new policy because I read multiple blogs of disappointed customers that didn’t know why the chocolates were eliminated. The waste is a concern, but a solution is not to take this service away from the thousands of customers who actually like the chocolates, but to rather allow your guests to register for turndown service or decline it in advance. Many hotels offer this option. The towel animals and chocolates are a highlight for many. This simple change would keep everyone happy. If only one person of a double occupancy prefers a chocolate then they can state this during the registration process. This is a simple solution that I hope you take into consideration. The downturn in the economy will lead to cost saving measures, but it will also separate the companies that offer exceptional customer service from those that don’t.

  • Cindy

    I apologize if this is my second post as there’s a glitch with the submission button.

    Although I agree with eliminating excess waste, taking away the turn down/chocolate service is not the answer. Word of mouth marketing is contingent on the experience of your customer. I’m a platinum member, but I had to read many blogs of dissatisfied customers to find out that the service was eliminated. A simple solution is to offer this service as an option during the online registration process. Towel animals and chocolates are enjoyed by thousands. Please take this solution into consideration and moving forward I suggest you poll your Crown & Anchor Members before making changes.

  • Robert & Ana

    My wife and I have traveled with many cruise companies but for the past few years, we have only been traveling with RCCL. Let me tell you why, they are simply the best overall cruise provider. We started cruising quite a few years back when all of the things that so many miss today were included and what all of you forget is the price, ….today we cruise for less than half of what we paid back in 1998. It’s true that we don’t have some of those extras, but we don’t pay for them either. I personally think that they really did not make me take any more cruises…but I bet the price does…we all want to pay less for cruises today but we all still want that VIP treatment. Therefore, if you really need that chocolate on your pillow, get a suite and you get a nice top grade chocolate on your pillow every night and you get access to the concierge lounge too….I think you get to go to a few cool parties too.

    We recently got off 5 back to back sailings on the Navigator of the Seas and let me just say they we had a blast, that staff are more attentive than ever, the ship was in tip top shape, the food was great and the ice show is always amazing. The best part was that it was a consistent quality of service, each one of the cruises was as good as the last and after 23 days aboard, we were sad to leave her.

    For us RCCL provides the best all around cruise experience, we love the ships, we love the crew, we love the food, we love the experience and we are hooked….”maybe they put something in the water”…ha ha ha, we will be back…and soon! Please keep up the good work and thanks for providing such a great service and at such a reasonable price!

    Robert and Ana

  • http://royalcaribbeanships.net Royal Caribbean Ships

    In regards to the changes for the Diamond customers:

    Why can you not grandfather the current members in on the policy change. I think that’s a little more than unfair.

    Especially since these people have paid to be Diamond members.

    Anyway, I wish you luck with the new policy changes.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Thank you for your suggestion, Royal Caribbean ships. Regarding the Crown and Anchor program, I have mentioned previously that we would do our best to address any changes in this forum. On that front I can tell you that we look at all of our programs regularly and should we decide to make any changes, we will keep you updated.

  • JOhn Perone

    I am glad I read this BEFORE pushing BUY RCL on Schwab’s page. It is quite short sighted not allowing both stock holders and advance deposit discounts. We generally put our $200 on deposit for RCL to hold till we decide our next cruise. I am NOT going to buy RCL stock without receiving additional cruise benefits. We are now Diamond members and quite disappointed seeing all the shortcuts being taken. Is charging for baggage or lifejackets next? John & Laura

  • DHolobaugh

    As a travel agent, (and owner of several other businesses) it is troubling to me anytime a company takes measures which negatively affects the CUSTOMER SERVICE extras which are the source of most “word-of-mouth” business.

    Southwest Airlines is one of the BEST examples of GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE and results are as Gary C. Kelly, CEO, stated: “In what has been, perhaps, the most difficult revenue environment the airline industry has ever faced, we are extremely proud to report our 2009 earnings, which represents our 37th consecutive year of profitability…” (source-SWA.com) When all the other airlines are making sure that every little thing comes with an additional charge, SW still lets your “bags fly free” (among many other great customer-service perks).

    My point is, some cut-backs will cost you way more than any dollar amount you’ll ever be able to measure. Loyalty can only built when the company stays true to it’s base-core values and realizes that the “little” things are not little to those who are going to spend their money somewhere.. A negative comment/report to a friend (or a few hundred of our customers, etc.), goes farther to drive away business, than any positive experience takes to “win them over” if they are loyal to another cruiseline already. I have many loyal RCL customers. RCL is still one of the greatest values with great service and lots of FREE fun on board. I just hope RCL doesn’t forget the #1 goal in any business, should be to EXCEED customer’s expectations.