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I have been diamond for a number of cruises now. Always visited the diamond lounge for a few complimentary drinks and some canapés mainly before the show. We also had a few free drinks to use at any bar. 
 

Diamond members now have 4 drinks to use at any bar, but they are also counted in the diamond lounge. No more happy hour. 
 

i haven’t really felt any benefit from being diamond this time. The coffee isn’t worth going for, there was no speedy line for embarkation, we had one invite to a entertainment tour but bar that nothing. 
 

is diamond essentially being cancelled? 

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Many people including myself prefer the new approach of any drink,  at any bar, at any time of day, including the private destinations.

The nightly happy hour event had to change.  It wasn't scalable with the growing number of Diamonds and during a pandemic it is a super spreader event.  Yes, the virus is still with us and impacting cruising.  

Personally I love the new approach.

Diamond is not being cancelled.  It is still one of the best loyalty levels on any cruise line.  The any time, any drink four voucher drinks made it even better.

If you have grown weary there is nothing wrong sailing with other lines.  NCL doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  Carnival doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  MSC doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  Despite that if the grass is greener somewhere else for you, by all means go there.  It's always good to try something different if for no reason than to remind yourself why Royal is still the best.  

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1 hour ago, Royale said:

I have been diamond for a number of cruises now. Always visited the diamond lounge for a few complimentary drinks and some canapés mainly before the show. We also had a few free drinks to use at any bar. 
 

Diamond members now have 4 drinks to use at any bar, but they are also counted in the diamond lounge. No more happy hour. 
 

i haven’t really felt any benefit from being diamond this time. The coffee isn’t worth going for, there was no speedy line for embarkation, we had one invite to a entertainment tour but bar that nothing. 
 

is diamond essentially being cancelled? 

On our 18 June Mariner cruise, here is what we observed.  First, we were allowed to board just after Diamond + but before "scheduled times" were called.  So at Port Canaveral, we boarded about 11 AM, and our check-in was 11-11:30.   The coffee/cap machine was broken, so I used my coffee card for espresso drinks.  Between the two of us, we had 64 or more vouchers (not sure what happened day 9) and used 38 of them on wine, sodas, and mixed drinks.  So we couldn't use all of the vouchers although some days I did.  The top tier party was brief, but we got to hear the orchestra play for 30 minutes.  Live music for me is a perk, especially at 10;15 AM.   The lounge wasn't crowded - must people got food and moved outside to the night club for a great view.  On formal nights, the lounge was busy, but we always found seats in the night club.  My only complaint (other than the broken espresso machine) was that one bartender was conservative in making the drinks, but elsewhere we got decent-sized glasses of wine.  I think the voucher system worked great -- folks got their drinks at multiple locations. No, Diamond benefits aren't being cancelled, and we benefited a great deal.  We even used our two free days of Voom (one day each).

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

Many people including myself prefer the new approach of any drink,  at any bar, at any time of day, including the private destinations.

The nightly happy hour event had to change.  It wasn't scalable with the growing number of Diamonds and during a pandemic it is a super spreader event.  Yes, the virus is still with us and impacting cruising.  

Personally I love the new approach.

Diamond is not being cancelled.  It is still one of the best loyalty levels on any cruise line.  The any time, any drink four voucher drinks made it even better.

If you have grown weary there is nothing wrong sailing with other lines.  NCL doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  Carnival doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  MSC doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  Despite that if the grass is greener somewhere else for you, by all means go there.  It's always good to try something different if for no reason than to remind yourself why Royal is still the best.  

To add to that, you can try Celebrity, your Diamond status will equate to Captain's Elite status there, and drinks are included.

Personally, I didn't make Diamond until 2020 so I don't know what the happy hour was like, but I love having the 4 free drinks per day! Fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast, a glass or two of wine with dinner, maybe a cocktail at the show. It's great!

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5 hours ago, Royale said:

I have been diamond for a number of cruises now. Always visited the diamond lounge for a few complimentary drinks and some canapés mainly before the show. We also had a few free drinks to use at any bar. 
 

Diamond members now have 4 drinks to use at any bar, but they are also counted in the diamond lounge. No more happy hour. 
 

i haven’t really felt any benefit from being diamond this time. The coffee isn’t worth going for, there was no speedy line for embarkation, we had one invite to a entertainment tour but bar that nothing. 
 

is diamond essentially being cancelled? 

You should gamble some money in the casino and get to Prime status because if you want free drinks then this is your golden ticket. Forget Diamond status and the 4 free drinks, Prime is drinks on the house ALL NIGHT LONG. 

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5 hours ago, Royale said:

I have been diamond for a number of cruises now. Always visited the diamond lounge for a few complimentary drinks and some canapés mainly before the show. We also had a few free drinks to use at any bar. 
 

Diamond members now have 4 drinks to use at any bar, but they are also counted in the diamond lounge. No more happy hour. 
 

i haven’t really felt any benefit from being diamond this time. The coffee isn’t worth going for, there was no speedy line for embarkation, we had one invite to a entertainment tour but bar that nothing. 
 

is diamond essentially being cancelled? 

As has been said above, being diamond (or D+) is, in my opinion, more valuable now than ever.  The value of your Diamond vouchers is $364 on a 7 day trip and includes selection AND flexibility that was missing under the prior "happy hour"concept.

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1 hour ago, AlmondFarmer said:

Only If in Casino correct? 

Only from the roaming servers in the casino or the casino bar. Sometimes the casino bar is open before the casino is and if that's the case, not free.

Hitting prime was worth it to me, but I was able to spread out the casino time over about 8 cruises. I wouldn't have the patience or risk appetite to go after it all in one shot.

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1 hour ago, tonyfsu21 said:

It still works out pretty well considering sea days when the casino is open. It’s certainly a worthy benefit. 

I have never spent a dime in a casino; but I am curious and hope not to come off nosey.  Ballpark, what do you think the casino spend is to achieve Prime status?

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10 minutes ago, TXcruzer said:

I have never spent a dime in a casino; but I am curious and hope not to come off nosey.  Ballpark, what do you think the casino spend is to achieve Prime status?

Prime Level is 2500 points minimum. I can’t really say for sure what it costs because on the machines you can extend a win streak for a long time with some decent wins and thus add points. Let’s say you put $1000 in the machine (and get really lucky) and cycle through wins and losses for 4-6 hours it’s highly likely you will get that 2500 points and Prime. The key is obviously winning and winning for a long time. As far as the tables go and the point calculations, that’s a whole other mess. If I had to peg a number for the machines I would say you would cycle through $5000-$7500 in a night.

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49 minutes ago, TXcruzer said:

I have never spent a dime in a casino; but I am curious and hope not to come off nosey.  Ballpark, what do you think the casino spend is to achieve Prime status?

I will share that it cost me about $500 to end up Prime with the reduced threshold this year. You only needed 1500 instead of the 2500 because cruising didn't start back until July 2021. But my guess is depending on how conservatively you play it will be between $1400-5000. Also, beside all the casino drinks you get a guaranteed free cruise and offers for other free/reduced cruises. 

On the diamond front, I think the C&A loyalty program is actually really good. I made diamond in Jan of this year, I was able to use my internet discount and get my 4 drinks anywhere. 

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9 hours ago, twangster said:

Many people including myself prefer the new approach of any drink,  at any bar, at any time of day, including the private destinations.

The nightly happy hour event had to change.  It wasn't scalable with the growing number of Diamonds and during a pandemic it is a super spreader event.  Yes, the virus is still with us and impacting cruising.  

Personally I love the new approach.

Diamond is not being cancelled.  It is still one of the best loyalty levels on any cruise line.  The any time, any drink four voucher drinks made it even better.

If you have grown weary there is nothing wrong sailing with other lines.  NCL doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  Carnival doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  MSC doesn't provide a nightly open bar for loyalty tiers.  Despite that if the grass is greener somewhere else for you, by all means go there.  It's always good to try something different if for no reason than to remind yourself why Royal is still the best.  


As an Emerald member, we are looking forward to becoming Diamond at the end of this year.  For us it’s all about the drink vouchers. Being as we don’t typically drink alcohol,we buy the refreshment package for the sodas, mocktails, and speciality coffee.  Once we become Diamond we most likely will not need to buy the refreshment package, saving us approximately $300 on a  night cruise.  We’ll have to figure out our sweet spot, maybe it’s the soda package plus vouchers , maybe it’s not. Maybe I get a coffee card to go with my vouchers.  Either way we will enjoy the benefit.  Maybe we’ll still get the refreshment package and use the vouchers to try some of the alcoholic drinks that look interesting, but we’re too cheap to try 🙂

We’re not opposed to alcohol, but we both worked grocery stores in our younger days and have friends in the restaurant industry so have a good idea of the markups that occur.  We also started dating before drinking age, so it was just never a part of our entertainment.

 

 

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5 hours ago, TXcruzer said:

I have never spent a dime in a casino; but I am curious and hope not to come off nosey.  Ballpark, what do you think the casino spend is to achieve Prime status?

I earned prime the week of April 3, which is in the new casino year to establish your 2500 points for the following casino year and the benefit is also granted for the remainder of this casino year (casino year is April 1-March 31.)  I play 3 card poker and spent many an hour playing,  the casino was good to many of us.  I earned prime and came home up $800, so essentially it cost me time, not money.

for slots you earn 1 point for every $5 played,(whether it be your cash or the winnings on the machine) for video poker it’s 1 point for every $10 played, and for the tables it’s size of bet and the amount of time played to earn your points.  I played on Adventure recently and it was abysmal, lost $600 earned 180 points….I barely had play time.  ($40 a hand)  I don’t consider myself a big gambler.  If my goal was to be prime and this was the associated cost I wouldn’t continue to try, that would be a huge investment!

another benefit of prime is the annual tier benefit of a free cruise (up to 7 days) anywhere they sail, subject to availability and you only pay taxes/port fees and can bring a guest who also only pays taxes/port fees.   Prime members free cruise is an interior stateroom, the other levels have other categories. You can pay an additional fee to upgrade the cabin. 

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They still have the happy hour canapés in the Diamond lounge and I understand there’s a continental breakfast as well, but have never gone.   I do understand your concern about the perks changing. I hit D+ and no special line for entry (I remember when all the levels had them) nor any ability for free upgrades (thanks to royal up).  There are still the C&A gifts, which are limited due to supply chain issues.  Adjustments were made due to Covid  maybe in time there will be some things that go back to the old ways.  I could see perhaps where they would allow the online check in yo open gif Pinnacle  Diamond+, Diamond etc a day early snd then the rest the next day.  

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56 minutes ago, Pattycruise said:

They still have the happy hour canapés in the Diamond lounge and I understand there’s a continental breakfast as well, but have never gone.

It's just an assortment of pastries, muffins, croissants, yogurt parfaits, etc. Stuff you will see elsewhere on the ship but a nice quiet place to enjoy with a beverage from the coffee machine. Can also take your coffee and pastries to-go of course.

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1 hour ago, Pattycruise said:

I hit D+ and no special line for entry (I remember when all the levels had them) nor any ability for free upgrades (thanks to royal up).

D+ upgrades disappeared long before Royal Up came around.  I was D+ in that era and have never been upgraded.  It wasn't Royal Up that killed the upgrade fairy, it was sold out cruises.  Two decades ago there were cabins empty to move guests into.  Over the last decade they used casino comps and other last minute rates like Going, Going, Gone to fill ships.  There were no cabins to upgrade people into before Royal Up became their tool of choice to ensure the ship sails full.  Royal Up has displaced Going, Going, Gone if anything has been lost due to Royal Up.  

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Royal Up is great until the moment that they make a mistake and you are forced to contact customer support. The only way to resolve a RoyalUp issue is to send an email to the vendor which is located on the RoyalUp page. If you make the mistake of calling RC thinking they can resolve a RoyalUp issue then you have just successfully wasted time from your valuable life. RoyalUp is an RC vendor and handles their own customer service (not very well either). If you have a travel agent then they can use their secret phone numbers to resolve royal up issues as well (preferred method). 

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Two things. 

First the D+ terminal entrance line.  That was never a published or official perk.  

I recently told a story in another thread about how an unpublished benefit was lost when folks complained when the event wasn't offered on all ships.  HQ didn't know it was occurring until people complained.  The truth is the event was not supposed to occur, just some HD's were trying to be extra nice.  That is how D+ lost Port Canaveral and Baltimore terminal entrance privileges.  People complained that <insert name of other terminal here> didn't have a D+ entrance like Port Canaveral/Baltimore.  HQ said "What D+ entrance line?  That is not a published benefit for the CAS"  and so they laid down the law and instructed all terminals not to offer this unpublished perk.

Secondly, CAS priority queues at check in.

As far as priority check in queues for the CAS that was on the way out before the pandemic hit us.

Royal was working on frictionless check-in.  The app was central to that effort.  In 2018 at a tech event they vowed 15 minutes from curb to ship.  A side effect was that priority check in queues for CAS would become unnecessary.  You showed the app barcode to a terminal worker with a tablet and boom you were on your way.  That was occuring in places like Miami Terminal One and it was rolling out across the world to all terminals before the shutdown.

Keep in mind check in queues are different than getting into the terminal and going through security.  Check in queues are found after security in most terminals.

Aside from Port Canaveral and Baltimore, few terminals ever gave D+ priority entrance to the terminal or security.  Everyone queued for security except Suites and Pinnacle.  That hasn't changed minus Port Canaveral and Baltimore losing D+ entrance rights which were never a published perk for D+ (see above).   However with expedited boarding that didn't matter.  

Once past security is where the CAS queues were placed.  Back in the days of paper everything before the app existed those CAS queues were an important perk.  Those were the queues where you could wait 30 minutes or more.  The app changed all that as it streamlined the entire check in process.  The pandemic and the CDC threw a wrench in the machine because of the need to show test results and proof of vaccination but that occurs before check in and so the CAS priority queues have no bearing on that aspect of the current experience. 

With the app priority check in queues for CAS are obsolete and would provide no value if implemented.  Priority entrance to the terminal and for security was never a CAS perk so nothing is lost even with the newly imposed CDC protocol delays to enter the terminal.

Since boarding is now delayed a bit for extra cleaning time they are still commencing the boarding process with top down CAS priority just like olden days.

Back in the days when CAS queues were in place it wasn't unusual for the Diamond queue to be longer than the Gold and Pre-Gold queue.  I recall looking at the Diamond queue and saying forget that.  I chose the gold queue and was through check in faster than the entitled Diamond who chose to use the longer Diamond queue.  

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1 hour ago, tonyfsu21 said:

Yep, it’s important to note you would actually have to enjoy gambling to be happy with the amount of time and money spent to get free drinks. 

YES !  This is so important.  If you weren't going to gamble anyway, don't try and gamble your way to free drinks in the casino.  It will not be worth your time.  Only pursue this rating if you would be gambling anyway.

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36 minutes ago, twangster said:

In 2018 at a tech event they vowed 15 minutes from curb to ship.

That's rich! Guess they don't count the time it takes to get from the curb to your initial interaction with a check in agent. On Ovation in May, THAT was only 40 minutes having arrived 10 minutes early for the FIRST assigned check in time. Obviously it got worse as the day went on.

They haven't even achieved 15 minutes from starting to work with a check in agent to ship in many cases.

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6 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

I earned prime the week of April 3, which is in the new casino year to establish your 2500 points for the following casino year and the benefit is also granted for the remainder of this casino year (casino year is April 1-March 31.)  I play 3 card poker and spent many an hour playing,  the casino was good to many of us.  I earned prime and came home up $800, so essentially it cost me time, not money.

for slots you earn 1 point for every $5 played,(whether it be your cash or the winnings on the machine) for video poker it’s 1 point for every $10 played, and for the tables it’s size of bet and the amount of time played to earn your points.  I played on Adventure recently and it was abysmal, lost $600 earned 180 points….I barely had play time.  ($40 a hand)  I don’t consider myself a big gambler.  If my goal was to be prime and this was the associated cost I wouldn’t continue to try, that would be a huge investment!

another benefit of prime is the annual tier benefit of a free cruise (up to 7 days) anywhere they sail, subject to availability and you only pay taxes/port fees and can bring a guest who also only pays taxes/port fees.   Prime members free cruise is an interior stateroom, the other levels have other categories. You can pay an additional fee to upgrade the cabin. 

You get 10 points roughly for playing at any table for an hour at $10 a bet. Im working on my status now. LOL! When me and my boyfriend play, we start off with Minimum tables, and as we win, we start increasing our bets to $25 a hand. Last cruise he accumulated 280 points on a 3 night cruise playing black jack for 2 hours a night. All in all did not lose any $.

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3 hours ago, OCSC Mike said:

Free coffee machine in the Diamond lounge for cappuccinos, lattes, espresso, etc. One of my favorite D perks.

This is great to know!  When we are on our crusie that puts us over the points, I was going to ask the Loyalty Ambassador on the ship if we could get a tour of the Diamond lounge so we can be prepared 🙂  

 

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, HeWhoWaits said:

That's rich! Guess they don't count the time it takes to get from the curb to your initial interaction with a check in agent. On Ovation in May, THAT was only 40 minutes having arrived 10 minutes early for the FIRST assigned check in time. Obviously it got worse as the day went on.

They haven't even achieved 15 minutes from starting to work with a check in agent to ship in many cases.

2018 was pre-pandemic. Back then there weren't gatekeepers requiring you to show documents just to enter the terminal. The current choke points to the embarkation process are different from what they were pre-pandemic.

The technology has evolved to where the check-in process is very, very quick provided folks are using passports and have uploaded everything prior to sailing.  Getting to that check-in person with the tablet currently is what takes time since the port workers have to manually look at every COVID test and vaccination card.

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28 minutes ago, Reigert2008 said:

This is great to know!  When we are on our crusie that puts us over the points, I was going to ask the Loyalty Ambassador on the ship if we could get a tour of the Diamond lounge so we can be prepared 🙂 

Thanks!

 

By all means, ask them. You can also find videos of pretty much every DL on every ship on YouTube. And you're very welcome.

A related tip is to bring a travel mug if you drink a lot of coffee. I usually fill mine with cappuccino early every morning and take it back to our cabin to enjoy before breakfast (wife & I get up early).

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30 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

The technology has evolved to where the check-in process is very, very quick provided folks are using passports and have uploaded everything prior to sailing.  Getting to that check-in person with the tablet currently is what takes time since the port workers have to manually look at every COVID test and vaccination card.

Even that wasn't true in Seattle in May. It took us more than 15 minutes once we reached the check-in person - with everything already loaded and passports in hand.

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