Earlier this year I reached the top level of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, and the added benefits have made a difference already.
Pinnacle Club is the highest tier you can get in Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor program, which requires 700 points to reach.
There are six tiers in the program:
- Gold: 3 points
- Platinum: 30 points
- Emerald: 55 points
- Diamond: 80 points
- Diamond Plus: 175 points
- Pinnacle Club: 700 points
While I don't cruise for the benefits you get from being a loyal customer, I certainly don't mind taking advantage of them.
When I reached Diamond, I was blown away by how lucrative those benefits can be, and since then, it's changed my core cruising experience.
It may seem like getting to 700 cruise points is impossible, and I thought the same thing too. However, a few years later, I made it and you might get there too.
In considering what stands out the most about being Pinnacle, I thought about which benefits had the biggest impact on me.
Checking in early matters less now
Getting an early check-in time is so important to be able to get to the cruise terminal sooner and subsequently board sooner, but Pinnacle status provides a major workaround.
Pinnacle Club status guests can board with the suite guests, and that means a more flexible check-in window and a shorter line too.
Because I can check-in via the suite line, it's like getting in an express lane on a highway or boarding an airplane before anyone else.
I still get my check-in time, but because we can board with suite guests, I feel less pressure to try to try to get the earliest time possible.
I stopped buying internet packages
Pinnacle Club guests get free Wi-Fi for the length of any cruise, and that means I never have to buy it again.
I always bought internet packages because I not only have to stay connected for the purposes of this blog, but also because I enjoy being on the internet.
My wife gets the free internet perk too.
This single perk will save me hundreds of dollars per year, and with Royal Caribbean's now faster internet, it's such a lucrative benefit.
Make a point of meeting the Loyalty Ambassador
As I started cruising more, I became aware of the Loyalty Ambassador's importance and at Pinnacle, it's become a regular stop on every sailing.
Crew members always work so hard to ensure guests have a good time, and the Loyalty Ambassador is no different.
I've found having the Loyalty Ambassador change your Crown and Anchor amenities is so much easier than calling in (plus I never remember to call in to do it until I get onboard).
They're also a good source of information on what's going on during the sailing, rumors, and good to know information.
I encourage anyone, regardless of loyalty status, to seek out the Loyalty Ambassador and speak to them. Even just a quick chat, you never know what you might get out of it.
I stopped (mostly) buying a drink package
Royal Caribbean provides complimentary drinks each day to its Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle guests.
Guests who are at a lower tier of Crown and Anchor Society (Gold, Platinum, or Emerald) do not qualify for the drink vouchers.
- Diamond: 4 beverage vouchers valid all day at any bar (except Starbucks)
- Diamond Plus: 5 beverage vouchers valid all day at any bar (except Starbucks)
- Pinnacle: 6 beverage vouchers valid all day at any bar (except Starbucks)
At six drinks per day for both me and my wife, that's a lot of drinks. Plus, I've also reached Prime in Casino Royale's customer loyalty program and that gets me free drinks in the casino bar.
I have not completely cut off the drink package purchases, because if I'm sailing with a group of friends, I'll still get it. I enjoy the convenience factor of not having to think about how many drinks I have left for the day, especially when visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay.
While I mostly got the drink package at Diamond or Diamond Plus, that extra drink per day has me totally reconsidering the decision now that I'm at Pinnacle.
Eating at Coastal Kitchen
On Oasis and Quantum Class ships, Pinnacle guests are able to dine at the suite restaurant, Coastal Kitchen.
With the rising prices of specialty dining, having free access to a different restaurant that feels elevated compared to the Main Dining Room is a great perk.
While it's possible reservations could be limited for Pinnacles to get into Coastal Kitchen, more often than not it can work out and I like the option being there.
Plus, Pinnacle Club members on these ships also receive a $25 dining voucher per member, per sailing to enjoy at any specialty restaurant. That's a great extra to have too!
I love having more choices, and now we have a new consideration when we go on Royal Caribbean's bigger ships.