Royal Caribbean makes major changes to its Crown & Anchor program

Royal Caribbean International has made some changes to its Crown & Anchor Society guest loyalty program. Instead of getting credit for each cruise, guests will get a Cruise Point for each night onboard. They’ve also added two new membership tiers and enhanced the member’s website.

The new system to earn tier status when sailing with Royal Caribbean is based on one cruise point for every night spent aboard one of the cruise line’s ships. Additionally, Crown & Anchor Society members can earn double points when they pay for suite accommodation.

The two new status levels being introduced are Emerald, between the current Platinum and Diamond status levels, and Pinnacle Club, the new top tier. The new progression of Crown & Anchor Society member status is Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club. The new Emerald status level will provide all the Platinum level benefits in addition to some new benefits on their way to Diamond status, such as higher member savings for balcony and suite category staterooms and a personalized welcome gift on every cruise.

Pinnacle Club members will be further recognized with all the benefits of the entire program and complimentary cruises at certain cruise-points milestones. Guests who have a minimum of 100 cruise credits before Jan. 21, 2011, will be the first to be invited to join the new top Crown & Anchor Society member tier. Moving forward, Pinnacle Club status can be achieved with 700 Cruise Points, equivalent to 100 seven-night cruises.

“These latest enhancements to the Crown & Anchor Society will further help recognize our loyal guests when they sail with us,” said Betsy O’Rourke, senior vice president of marketing. “We continuously listen and respond to our members’ feedback and have updated our loyalty program to provide a more equitable way for our members to advance to the next level. It’s important to understand that Crown & Anchor Society members will continue to enjoy all of their current program benefits and status, plus having the opportunity now to advance to the next tier even faster than before. For this one-time conversion, we have grandfathered everyone’s status in the program.”

The enhancements to the Crown & Anchor Society take effect for sailings on or after Jan. 21. Member guests will continue to enjoy the many Crown & Anchor Society benefits, such as the exclusive privilege to book their next Royal Caribbean cruise onboard and enjoy an Onboard Booking Bonus of up to $200 onboard credit.

The Crown & Anchor Society website is being re-launched to offer greater personalization. Members can now easily keep abreast of the latest news and offers that are available to them according to their status level and messages that are exclusively for them. Additionally, members can establish custom settings for items such as automatic upgrades for when a higher category stateroom becomes available. Emerald- and higher-level members with a booked sailing also can use the new member site to select new program benefits, such as a choice of beverages as part of their new Welcome Aboard gift basket.

To celebrate the incredible loyalty of program members, Royal Caribbean is introducing a limited time offer: ‘Bring a Friend’ and receive $25 to spend onboard. Members will be rewarded for introducing new guests to Royal Caribbean for new bookings made between Jan. 12 and April 30, 2011. The promotion will offer a $25 onboard credit per stateroom to Crown & Anchor Society members when sailing with their ‘first to Royal’ friends or family, for up to five staterooms per sailing, depending on the length of their cruise. Full details, terms and conditions and registration for promotion can be found online at RoyalCaribbean.com/BringaFriend.

Follow us on the Disney Dream and Allure of the Seas this week

Cruise News Weekly staff will be boarding the two newest cruise ships in the water this week and you can follow along on our social media sites.

We’ll be boarding the brand new Disney Dream on Wednesday, Jan. 19 for a two night preview. And starting Sunday, Jan. 16, we’ll be on Royal Caribbean’s brand new Allure of the Seas for a week cruise. The Allure trip will also include a concert by top recording artist Taylor Swift on Friday, Jan, 21.

We’ll be posting live photos, information and videos (Internet connection willing) right from the ships as we check them out. Look for a full review of the Disney Dream and a follow-up story to our Review of the Allure of the Seas in the coming weeks.

Here’s where you can find our updates.
Twitter: Twitter.com/cruiseguide
Facebook: Facebook.com/cruisenews

In addition to our coverage of the Dream, you can watch the christening event live on Disney Cruise Line’s Facebook page.

Cruise industry poised for stellar 2011

Cruise industry officials, travel agents and an industry trade organization believe 2011 will be the best year on record for cruise lines and their passengers despite a slow rebounding global economy. Regent Seven Seas Navigator is shown here recently departing from Sydney, Australia. Image courtesy Brian O’Brien

By Michael Coleman

Twenty five of the world’s top cruise lines, all members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), are poised for a record-setting year in 2011.

A December survey of CLIA member travel agents found that 2010 was stronger than 2009 and that 93.6 percent are optimistic about travel sales in 2011 and beyond. Eighty-six percent of agents anticipate cruise booking increases in 2011. Eighty-five percent expect the 2011 Wave Season (the top cruise selling months of the year between January – March) to surpass last year by 16 percent on average. Agents also predict that cruises will outperform other types of travel in 2011 and in the coming years.

Driving the industry’s enthusiasm is the expected impact of 14 new ships in the CLIA member line fleet, continued diversification of global itineraries and new shipboard experiences, and the knowledge that, according to consumers’ perceptions, cruising offers exceptional value. In the December survey, agents reported that cruising has earned the #1 ranking in consumer interest compared to other types of travel largely because of perceived value, past cruise experience, price and excitement generated by new ships.

When final figures are tallied, CLIA expects to report that member lines, carried 15 million people in 2010, including 11.1 million North Americans. The forecast for 2011 is 16 million passengers, an increase of 6.6 percent, with 73 percent of guests, or 11.68 million, coming from North America, and 27 percent, or 4.32 million, sourced internationally.

Since 1980, the average annual passenger growth rate for CLIA member lines has been more than 7.5 percent. In 2010, 12 ships representing an investment of $5.9 billion, ranging in capacity from 101 passengers to 5,400 passengers, joined the CLIA fleet. Between 2011 and 2012, an additional 22 ships are on order, including 14 in 2011, among them:

– Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Magic (3,652 passengers)
– Costa Cruises’ Favalosa (3,502 passengers)
– Celebrity Cruises’ Silhouette (2,850 passengers)
– Disney Cruise Line’s Dream (4,000 passengers)
– Oceania Cruises’ Marina (1,250 passengers)
– Seabourn Cruise Line’s Quest (450 passengers)
– Pearl Seas Cruises’ Pearl Mist (210 passengers)
– Avalon Waterways’ Panorama (166 passengers)
– AMA Waterways’ Amalotus (124 passengers), Amaverde (162 passengers), Amakaterina (212 passengers)
– Uniworld Grand Boutique River Cruises’ Douro Spirit (128 passengers), SS Antoinette (164 passengers) and River Victoria (206 passengers)

In late December, CLIA surveyed its cruise line members to determine 2011 trends and compared them to the predictions made by member travel agents. Both groups agreed that among the “hot” destinations of 2011 will be all regions of Europe, including European rivers, which are currently enjoying increasing consumer interest through a new CLIA product category, river cruising; the Caribbean, South America, Asia, and the Pacific. 

Other trends reported by the cruise lines include:

– Globalization of itineraries, including shorter cruises in Europe and elsewhere.

– Increased choice in dining experiences, with more specialty restaurants, guests chefs and local sourcing of food.

– Continued evolution of onboard spas, including top-branded spa partners.

– A focus on personalized cruise experiences both onboard and on shore, with private or exclusive shore excursions, activities targeting specific demographics, including families, children, sports, active vacationers and special interest itineraries and programs.

– Strong interest in theme cruises, particularly food and wine, music, culture and art.

– Passenger growth among baby boomers, families/multigenerational groups, first time cruisers and corporate/meeting groups.

CLIA is North America’s largest cruise industry organization. It represents the interests of 25 member lines and participates in the regulatory and policy development process while supporting measures that foster a safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environment. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise vacations and counts as members 16,000 travel agencies and agents.

Menu set for Silversea’s culinary arts voyages

Silversea Cruises, known for its exotic worldwide itineraries, luxurious all-suite accommodations, gracious service and gourmet cuisine, has taken the wraps off a new collection of 10 Culinary Arts theme cruises to be offered this year - featuring some of the world's most celebrated chefs and rising stars. Image courtesy Silversea Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Silversea Cruises has unveiled a new collection of 10 culinary arts theme cruises for 2011 featuring some of the world’s top chefs and rising stars. 



The cruises will showcase the artistry of award-winning chefs of top dining establishments from around the world, including the internationally acclaimed chefs of Relais & Châteaux, the distinguished international association of 500 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries.



Two of these famed chefs will soon team up to host Silver Shadow’s 30-day circumnavigation of Australia. Departing from Sydney later this month the ship will follow a counterclockwise course around the vast island continent before returning to Sydney on February 18. Joining an expansive enrichment program on this special voyage are George Francisco, executive chef of Jonah’s, one of Australia’s oldest and most iconic establishments and a Relais & Châteaux member property and Mathew Macartney, executive chef of the Yarra Valley’s famed Chateau Yering and a Relais & Châteaux member property.


On the Culinary Arts enrichment voyages, celebrity chefs will display their talents during informative cooking demonstrations where guests can taste and learn firsthand the secrets of enticing signature dishes.

These voyages also feature escorted provisioning trips to international markets (when the itinerary permits), food and wine pairings, creative regional dishes, and a five-course grand gourmet dinner. Throughout these special sailings, the featured guest chef and Silversea’s executive chef are on hand to share their culinary expertise and answer any questions. 



Aboard Silver Shadow, December 6-21, 2011 Singapore to Sydney, Silversea guests will have the chance to sample the Korean cuisine specialties of Anna Kim, a celebrity chef judge of the LG ‘Life Tastes Good’ global cooking competition. She apprenticed at world-renowned chef Joël Robuchon’s restaurant in Paris and held esteemed positions at Nobu, Gordon Ramsay and the Four Seasons Hotel in the U.S. 



And Emanuele Vallini, executive chef of La Carabaccia restaurant, Pisa, Italy, will showcase the slow food concept in a culinary program for guests aboard Silver Spirit later this month during the ship’s world cruise segment), Los Angeles to Papeete. 



Further highlighting the roster of Culinary Arts voyages are the following distinguished chefs affiliated with Relais & Châteaux properties from around the globe:



Alois Vanlangenaeker, Il San Pietro hotel, Positano, Italy 
Silver Whisper, February 5-23, Santiago to Fort Lauderdale



Jutamas Theantae, The Eugenia hotel, Bangkok, Thailand 
Silver Spirit (World Cruise), March 11-22, Darwin to Hong Kong



Alec Lomas, The Pavilions resort, Phuket, Thailand 
Silver Spirit (World Cruise), March 22-April 3, Hong Kong to Singapore 



Deepak Kumar Rai, Neeleshwar Hermitage retreat hotel, Kerala, India 
Silver Spirit (World Cruise), April 3-18, Singapore to Dubai



Yannick Upravan, Satri House hotel, Luang Prabang, Laos 
Silver Shadow, May 7-17, Shanghai to Tokyo 



Two additional voyages in 2011 will bring together an array of yet-to-be-named Relais & Châteaux chefs to host culinary festivals at sea: Silver Whisper, May 17-31, New York to Southampton; Silver Shadow, October 17-31, Tokyo to Singapore



Silversea offers guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit. With the inclusion of the line’s expedition ship, Prince Albert II, Silversea itineraries encompass all seven continents.

On the web: silversea.com

Disney’s newest cruise ship arrives at Port Canaveral with fireworks

Photos and video by Joe Moschinger

The newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Dream, sailed into her homeport of Port Canaveral this morning after a 16-night trans-Atlantic voyage from Germany, where it has been under construction for nearly two years. Beginning with a maiden voyage on Jan. 26, the Disney Dream will sail three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas, calling Port Canaveral home. Continue reading “Disney’s newest cruise ship arrives at Port Canaveral with fireworks”