Royal Caribbean wants to make it clear why top-tier members aren't allowed inside loyalty lounges on some cruises.
Royal Caribbean members have reported incidents on certain sailings when Diamond members haven't been allowed in the Crown Lounge, which is a dedicated space for top-tier members.
Those reports have compelled Royal Caribbean to respond to its members in a newsletter update.
Royal Caribbean sent out an email announcing that on sailings with a high number of top-tier members, Suite, & Pinnacle Club guests, access to the Crown Lounge, Suite/Concierge Lounge, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen will be limited.
However, this is not a fleetwide policy change for all sailings.
(Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog reader OCSC Mike for the above picture of the Crown Lounge logo on Allure of the Seas)
If there are a lot of Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club cruisers on your next sailing, you may find that access to the Crown Lounge will be limited at certain hours of the day.
"On sailings with a high number of top-tier members, the Crown Lounge will be reserved for Diamond Plus & Pinnacle Club members during the evening, with beverage service from 5 - 8 p.m," read the email.
"However, the lounge and its services will remain fully accessible to all Diamond and above members at all other times. This includes continental breakfast in the morning, snacks throughout the day, and entry during dedicated concierge service hours."
There are no changes to the number of daily drink coupons that eligible Crown & Anchor members will receive. Diamond members will still get four complimentary drinks per day, while Diamond Plus will get five and Pinnacle six.
Diamond members unable to go to the Crown Lounge between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. can still use these coupons at other bars throughout the ship, whether it's Boleros, Schooner Bar, etc.
These changes will only apply to sailings with a high number of top-tier Crown & Anchor members
At this time, Royal Caribbean is not making any other changes to its Crown & Anchor program. Additionally, the above adjustments are not permanent; they're based on the number of top-tier cruisers on each sailing.
Possible sailings that could be impacted include but are not limited to charters, crossings, repositioning cruises, inaugurals, and President's Cruises.
Suite and Concierge Lounges, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen
When a sailing has a high number of Suite & Pinnacle Club guests, access to the Suite/Concierge Lounge, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen will be limited to guests staying in qualifying Suites, as well as to our top Pinnacle Club members onboard, based on cruise points," the email said.
"Access will also extend to the guests in their stateroom. The number of top Pinnacle Club members granted access will vary depending on space and availability."
More members than ever
The top tiers of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor loyalty program have increased by 30% within the last year, according to Royal Caribbean International's CEO, Michael Bayley.
The result has been overcrowding in loyalty and suite lounges.
Royal Caribbean is not the only company seeing overcrowding in lounges. Recently, Delta Airlines has made changes to who can access their Sky Clubs in order to combat the issue. American Express Platinum cardholders, for instance, will no longer have unlimited annual visits. Instead, they'll be limited to ten per year.
Rather than completely ban certain loyalty members from accessing the onboard lounges, Royal Caribbean sent out an email announcing that on sailings with a high number of top-tier members, Suite, & Pinnacle Club guests, access to the Crown Lounge, Suite/Concierge Lounge, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen will be limited.
News comes just weeks after Royal Caribbean announced that the Diamond Lounge will be renamed
Courtney Brant, Director of Loyalty for Royal Caribbean announced that "...over the next few weeks, the Diamond Lounge — beloved by our Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members — is being specially renamed as the Crown Lounge across our fleet."
When this change was announced, Royal Caribbean Blog readers had numerous theories as to why they were implementing this fleetwide change.
"Seems like a no brainer to me that this is the first step to ultimately removing Diamonds from having lounge access," wrote Margaret.
Reader Rackham said, "I'm speculating that with the name change, Diamond access could be determined on a cruise-to-cruise basis depending on how many Diamond and up C&A members are aboard."
While just a theory at the time, his prediction ended up becoming reality within a month!
It is important to keep in mind that Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members will still have access to the Crown Lounge on every sailing.
If the lounge ends up being reserved for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club passengers between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m each night, Diamond guests will still be able to access it at any other time. It may be the case that one sailing you're on sees a temporary adjustment, with the next having no restrictions whatsoever.