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About JohnUK

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Near Southampton, UK
  • Interests
    Photography, walking, sightseeing.

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625 profile views
  1. I have just received another message from Concierge with regard to the D+ BOGO. It reads: Good morning John, Just wanted to inform you that you can still use the BOGO voucher from CAS, let me know how you would like to use it. We have had a few past loyalty ambassadors which made a bit of a mess. We have one now, she came yesterday and confirmed that we are still offering the CAS BOGO. Great news! This contrasts with the original message: I will take care of your dining room request no problem, however please note that the BOGO voucher from the CAS has been discontinued. Whilst this is great news (and I apologise for inadvertently propagating "fake news"), it gives more evidence of the lack of consistency and the prevalence of misinformation within Royal. I am surprised that individual loyalty ambassadors can mess things up to the point that perks are denied to people, as implied in the message above. The trouble is that, as @Mljstr reported, C&A don't seem to be able to apply a common policy, reliably, across the fleet. So I quite understand the desire to find someone - anyone - to resolve, what should be, a simple question. And, as it turns out, Concierges aren't always provided with correct information. I think I will have a chat with the loyalty ambassador next week and try to understand what is going on.
  2. This is an ongoing debate as to who is more entitled: Suite guests or Pinnacle. I think the answer is both are entitled to their own set of privileges. I don't particularly have a vested interest as I have taken around 30 cruises with RCCL, mostly in Grand Suite or above, and am currently just 50 points away from Pinnacle. I have been happy to receive Suite level perks but will also expect some meaningful perks when I reach Pinnacle. It is quite an achievement. After all, the revenue that Royal has had from me (or from anyone in non-suite rooms taking 60 plus cruises) is just as real as the amount generated from a person taking one cruise in a Suite. Privileges are always paid for one way or another. I agree that the number of people in the upper levels of the loyalty programme is a problem and some privileges have been removed over time, accordingly. Nevertheless, one of the differentiators between Royal and other cruise lines is the quality of that loyalty programme. To reduce that too far may well be counterproductive. So I hope they can find a balance that retains the equivalent value of loyalty privileges whilst addressing the overcrowding issues.
  3. Hi - I found this link a long time ago that is pretty good but never 100% accurate: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Pz4Im5qh4cqd1zE5A9srLm3wGd0_SNZwTdbLTa59EF4/edit#gid=0 I don't think a Concierge is duty bound to respond to requests in advance other than to Suite guests, who they usually contact in the week leading up to sailing to elicit requests. However, they usually do respond out of courtesy. It also helps if you know the Concierge from a previous voyage. Even so, I would not presume too much upon them - for courtesy's sake on my part. For the same reason I would not try and contact a Concierge more than a week in advance of a sailing. It may be more appropriate to contact C&A directly to ask these questions as they should be able to give answers that cover all ships. I hope that helps.
  4. No - technically you may be correct. We have never purchased the standard BOGO. Effectively, the Concierge is only making a reservation ahead of time for us, which could be for any sort of booking. We always tell him/her we will be using the D+ BOGO but it is not really relevant until we arrive at the restaurant. This time he informed us that the D+ BOGO was no longer available and asked, therefore, if we still wished him to make the reservation. Last year we sailed on Vision around the Mediterranean and did have access to the Concierge lounge. I am hoping the same holds true this year as the itinerary is similar. I think there tend to be fewer Pinnacle and D+ on European cruises so the Concierge lounge is not quite as crowded.
  5. We are due to board Vision next Tuesday and have just discovered (via Concierge) that the BOGO benefit for speciality dining is no longer being offered. We usually ask the Concierge to make a reservation for us before we board which is how we found out. I am rather disappointed that a worthwhile perk for D+ has been withdrawn. This is very recent as we certainly had the perk available on our last cruise on Explorer in June this year.
  6. Thank you for the information. That is very useful - sounds like you had a great cruise.
  7. Yes, these are great books. My personal favourite is Lord of the Rings (not the films so much - too many illogical changes). In the Narnian chronicles, I particularly enjoyed The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle, which tend to be overlooked. I wonder if we will ever get a Dawn Treader of the Seas? Unlikely - although it could be powered by an infinite improbability drive (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - a more humorous series of books - again, forget the film). Back on topic, I have never seen Cats so do not have an opinion.
  8. We will be sailing on Summit towards the end of next year (through the Panama Canal). It will be our first Celebrity cruise, so we would be grateful for any feedback you might care to give, when you return, about Summit and the general Celebrity experience.
  9. We love sailing from San Juan - the guest complement is more diverse, which is great. The ABC islands are amongst our favourites and we don't mind the lower number of sea days. Air fare is not a big issue for us as we are flying from the UK so the price difference between flying to Miami or San Juan is not significant. We always fly to San Juan at least one day early so we can see a little more of the area; hotel prices are not cheap but we have never been disappointed (even in the season following the hurricane). The only aspects that have been less than ideal both concern the airport on the return journey. There is a bit of an anomaly concerning pre-screening of all luggage when entering the airport. The signs do not make it clear that all luggage has to be screened and then re-collected before checking in. It is easy to bypass this screening but then you will be sent back when checking in. But this was minor. More serious was when our son flew back from San Juan on United. The queue (line) wound through the whole terminal and out of the door. It took him over 4 hours to check in! He would have missed his flight had it not been seriously delayed.
  10. Hi, We will be flying from London Heathrow to San Juan via either JFK New York, Philadelphia or Miami or Toronto. We have done all of these in the past and prefer Miami (if we are not leaving the airport) as the flights tend to suit us better (a long international and a short local along with lower risk of impact from adverse weather in the winter season). In the past we have used Air Canada, Delta/Virgin, and BA/American. Our son used United but never again after his experience with them in San Juan. I hope that answers your question. I cannot be more precise until we decide once airline schedules are available for 2021.
  11. I agree with Twangster with regard to the "Meal with an Officer" as we have always had good food and good conversations, although, on a couple of occasions, we had an officer who obviously considered he/she had drawn the short straw. Mostly we have found that just listening to the officer describe their duties and responsibilities was very instructive. Sometimes they also managed to enlighten us with useful insights into RCCL's plans and intentions (but not often). In all cases we were asked to tick boxes on a card left in our stateroom as to which perks we wished to take advantage of - bridge tour, galley tour, entertainment tour, meal with an officer - and return the card to the loyalty ambassador by a certain day and time. This is a great benefit and one I would miss if it were to be withdrawn in the future. As others have said, I have seen no material impact on my C&A benefits since the introduction of The Key. Perhaps I have been fortunate so far. I will take particular note when we board Explorer next week of any meaningful delays to embarkation.
  12. We were booked on the same cruise to Norway next year and very disappointed that it has been cancelled, particularly as we had planned to take our 4 year old granddaughter with us. To make the situation worse the Norwegian fjords itinerary from Southampton will not exist at all next year. And, as others have said, prices for Anthem are much higher. My wife has received her FCC (sent to my email) and I don't expect to receive mine as, for some reason, Royal refuse to send to me at my email address. The FCC states that expiry is the 31st May 2021 so you should be ok. If under performance of the UK market was a contributory factor to the change, it might have been better for RCCL to reduce capacity by sailing 2 smaller ships from Southampton, say one Voyager class and one Vision class, rather than Anthem by itself. By the way, we are sailing on Explorer to the Norwegian fjords at the end of this month - and that sailing seems to be full, which means it can't be that unpopular.
  13. Yes, I had to book very early for this cruise - Panama Canal crossing seems to be popular - so the current promotion wasn't available. Thank you.
  14. Thank you for the information - that is very helpful. We will be in a Sky Suite (so bottom rung) which means, if I have got this right, that we will have access to the Retreat lounge but the premium drinks package is only included from the next level up. I hope reason prevails and the workload for butlers is reduced. I have seen on RCCL that more work is being covered by fewer staff now compared to a few years ago. As a result, a lot of staff end up very tired. Despite this, they are always pleasant, helpful, and efficient, with only a very few exceptions that we have encountered.
  15. Thanks for the update - I suppose a small area is better than nothing. I hope Royal doesn't go the same way. By the way, we were on Grandeur in February and had a great cruise. The ship may not be the biggest or best but all of the crew are first rate; it seem to be a genuinely happy ship. I wish you a fantastic vacation.
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