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Celebrity Cruises is adding a customer loyalty lounge on weeklong cruises

27 Oct 2023
Allie Hubers

Celebrity’s top-tier loyalty members will soon have their own dedicated lounge space on longer sailings.

In an email sent to Captain’s Club members on Wednesday, the cruise line announced that it would start designating an existing lounge space onboard its cruises for Elite, Elite Plus and Zenith members. The lounge space will be used “to gather on board during the daily Elite Cocktail hour,” said CEO Laura Hodges Bethge in the email. 

According to Celebrity Cruises, the lounge space will be available twice per cruise on sailings between 5 nights and 7 nights. For longer sailings of 8 nights or longer, the lounge will be available three times. The cruise line said the lounge space will be available from 5pm to 7pm, which aligns with the Elite Cocktail Hour that already takes place onboard. 

Those who have earned Elite, Elite Plus or Zenith Captain’s Club status with Celebrity Cruises are eligible to enter the dedicated lounge space. The email sent to Captain’s Club members indicates that the concierge team on each cruise will inform members of the specific days and locations when the gatherings will take place. 

Thanks to Royal Caribbean Group’s status reciprocity program, anyone with Crown and Anchor Diamond status or above will be eligible to visit this new lounge. This is because Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members automatically earn Elite status when cruising with Celebrity Cruises.

Finally, the announcement clarifies that complimentary drinks for Elite, Elite Plus and Zenith members are still available at bars and lounges throughout the ship. Those who qualify for the nightly happy hour will need to present their Seapass card if they do not prefer using the dedicated lounge space. 

Based on the email, it sounds like the change was made to allow like-minded guests onboard to gather in a dedicated space. “I have heard from many of our loyal Captain’s Club members, such as yourself, that one of the program’s most gratifying aspects is the opportunity to be part of a community of like-minded travelers with whom you can share your experiences on board,” said Celebrity Cruises' CEO in her email. 

Parallels with Royal Caribbean’s Diamond Lounge

Because Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are owned by the same parent company, Royal Caribbean Group, there are many similarities between the two cruise lines. 

Royal Caribbean has always offered a Diamond Lounge onboard its cruise ships, which is one of the lucrative benefits of being a top-tier loyalty member. The lounge was once the only place that Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members could receive complimentary drinks on a daily basis. As such, having access to the lounge was a highly coveted benefit of earning Diamond status through the Crown and Anchor society. 

Royal Caribbean has since adjusted their loyalty drink policy, instead allowing Diamond members and above to receive daily drink vouchers. Vouchers can now be used anywhere onboard Royal Caribbean’s ships and are no longer limited just to the Diamond Lounge. While many guests welcome this change with more flexibility, others were disappointed that the loyalty drink perk is no longer unlimited like it once was in the Diamond Lounge. 

Matt with a drink in Schooner Bar

However, Celebrity Cruises continues to operate its loyalty drink perks in a different manner. Captain’s Club members with Elite, Elite Plus and Zenith status have access to a nightly happy hour with unlimited drinks from a set menu. Drinks are available from 5pm to 7pm onboard, with many bars participating in the Elite Cocktail Hour.  

Now, guests will have access to a dedicated loyalty lounge during the happy hour where they can mingle with other top-tier members. Since many top-tier loyalty members share a similar passion for cruising and traveling, the lounge provides an opportunity to cultivate a more community feel onboard. 

It’s important to note this change does not imply that Celebrity Cruises is adding a new lounge onboard. Instead, the email states that an existing lounge onboard will be used to host the Captain’s Club Elite Cocktail hour. This is different than Royal Caribbean, which has always had a dedicated lounge space onboard called the Diamond Club. 

Regardless, this is a nice change for cruisers looking to mingle with other Captain’s Club members.

Captain’s Club reciprocity with Royal Caribbean’s loyalty statuses

Status Match

With both cruise lines being operated under the same company, Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor society members can enjoy similar benefits and perks when sailing with Celebrity Cruises. Similarly, those who have earned status with Celebrity Cruises’ Captain’s Club can also take advantage of the reciprocity program when sailing on Royal Caribbean.

With the status reciprocity program, members of each loyalty program can still enjoy similar benefits and perks regardless of which cruise line they are sailing with. Although the benefits are not exactly equal, the cruise line says they are "comparable."

For example, guests who have earned Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle status on Royal Caribbean automatically earn Elite status on Celebrity Cruises. This is the highest status you can earn through reciprocity on Celebrity Cruises. If you wish to earn Elite Plus or Zenith status, this must be earned on your own.

In the same way, those with Elite, Elite Plus and Zenith status with Celebrity Cruises’ Captain’s Club can earn Diamond status on Royal Caribbean. This is the highest level of status that can received through the reciprocity program, meaning Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members must earn their own status. 

In the spring, I sailed with Celebrity Cruises as a Diamond Plus member on Royal Caribbean. My sister and I enjoyed trying out the status match ourselves with our Elite status. Some of these perks included the nightly happy hour, access to the thermal spa, free gelato, discounts on internet packages and access to a morning coffeehouse-style breakfast. I was impressed by the status match, which allowed me to have high-tier status without ever stepping foot on a Celebrity ship prior to this cruise. 

Allie Hubers has been cruising since she was a tiny toddler. What started as a yearly vacation with family quickly turned into a passion for travel, cruising and adventure. Allie's been on nearly 30 cruises all over the world. She even studied abroad on Semester at Sea, sailing the world on a ship while taking courses for college and visiting 4 continents.

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