(9:15 a.m. EDT) -- At a time when cruise lines are increasingly removing complimentary perks (earlier this year, Royal Caribbean took heat for limiting Concierge Lounge access on most ships to only its highest tier of repeat guests), one is bucking the trend.
Celebrity Cruises announced this morning that it is rolling out enhancements to its past-passenger program, Captain's Club, beginning this month -- with additional perks to be announced and implemented throughout the year.
So what's new now for Celebrity's loyal guests? We'll cut right to the chase:
Every ship (except Celebrity Xpedition) will host a once-per-cruise Captain's Club Celebration for all Captain's Club members. The party will include meet-and-greets with the captain and his senior officers, interactive cooking demos and "CC Jams" -- performances by shipboard musicians.
All Select and Elite members will receive expanded laundry benefits. Select members have access to free pressing of two clothing items and discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or longer. Meanwhile, Elite members receive one free item of dry cleaning, a complimentary bag of laundry (wash, dry and fold) and additional discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or longer.
Elite members and their stateroom companions will now have access to an exclusive onboard lounge. Michael's Club will transform into the members-only Captain's Club Lounge at certain times of the day. From 8 until 10 a.m., the lounge will serve as a coffeehouse, with complimentary espresso, tea and menu items; reading materials; and Wi-Fi access (Celebrity Solstice and Equinox only). From 4 until 6 p.m., Elite members can return for a complimentary drink or an optional wine tasting event.
Elite members will also receive complimentary 90-minute Internet packages. Select members will receive a 25 percent discount on any Internet package.
As for what's next ... well, you may actually have some say in that. Celebrity is actively reaching out to its customers for input via a new Captain's Club Advisory Board, an online panel the cruise line says it has created in order to continue to provide new and useful perks to its best repeat passengers.
How does this work? Spokeswoman Tavia Robb tells us that the line has already recruited some members, representing all tiers, to participate -- and used their feedback as part of the program design process. "We will now add more members to their ranks," she says. "We will seek those who are active in the program and who have recently sailed with Celebrity. New invitations to join will go out later this month. We'll be looking to have around 500 members on the board and will interact with them on a monthly basis."
Celebrity currently divides its repeat guests into three tiers: Classic (1-4 credits), Select (5-9 credits) and Elite (10+ credits). One credit is awarded per cruise, but passengers on cruises of 12 nights or longer and those who book certain cabin and suite categories can earn additional credits per cruise. Prior benefits remain in place.
To learn about all of Celebrity's past-passenger perks, read our article on Past-Passenger Programs.
What do you think about the new added benefits? Join the discussion here!
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Celebrity Cruises Perks Up Past-Passenger Program
July 8, 2009