(12:20 p.m. EDT) -- Celebrity Cruises is testing out a new VIP program through which it will provide perks to a select group of passengers. Currently, the line is trialing the program on Celebrity Infinity, with the goal of rolling it out fleetwide.
Who gets to be a VIP is a bit murky. On Infinity, it's a mix of passengers in the top suites and other cruisers that Celebrity has deemed VIPs (top cruisers, big spenders, journalists, special guests, etc.). The decision is at the discretion of the head office.
Perks include (but may change as Celebrity refines the program):
*exclusive use of Michael's Club every day until 7 p.m.
*a dedicated concierge
*happy hour with free drinks from 5 to 7 p.m. every night
*priority embarkation, tendering, dining reservations, possibly shore excursions
The VIP program is meant to offer a concierge lounge experience on a cruise line that does not offer exclusive areas for top passengers. On a recent Infinity cruise, Michael's Club was pretty empty during the day, with the exception of embark and debark mornings, but happy hour was well attended. The concierge was very useful, but the ship was still figuring out how to offer priority dining.
Celebrity would not offer further details on the program.
"We are in the process of testing a new programming concept," a company spokeswoman told Cruise Critic via e-mail. "There's nothing to comment on or discuss at this point, as we're gathering feedback and assessing operational aspects from similar tests on other ships in our fleet as well. In the coming months, we will be in a better position to comment on any changes coming to our Captains Club loyalty program."
--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor