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Casino Royal - New Discounts


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I just got off the phone with Casino sales department and was very disappointed.  I called last month and was quoted on 10 or so different sail dates and on average for the casino rate, was being given 40% to 50% off what the current RC online price was for a balcony and about 35% off for suites.  When I spoke to the rep today they said they had a huge change a few weeks ago (coinciding with the non-refundable deposit change) that only allows them to give 5% off of RC online rates for cruises between 12 and 18 months.  For those cruises within 12 months all of the pricing I received 3 or 4 weeks ago was $500 to $600 higher. I really wish their program was more transparent!

 Has anyone heard about these changes and know if they are true or did I just get a rep that wasn't as generous?

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Thanks for the information.  What a disappointment !  If this holds true, I will probably be looking for a new cruise line.

I have also heard that they are no longer allowing you to combine cruise certificates with casino rates so if all of these new "rules" turn out to be true, there is no reason for me to stick with Royal.

Very sad to hear.  I hope everyone is wrong about these new changes.

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I don't understand what they're doing. I would expect that any properly run business would try to be competitive, but they're so far behind the others in the business.

I've had great personal success with NCL's casino program (last cruise was a comped New Year's Eve cruise in a balcony that we got for about $5,000 off the going price at the time, after taxes and fees were paid).

With Club Royale, I'm almost left to feel as though I'm reluctantly being given a gift whenever I get casino pricing or use an earned cruise certificate.

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The guy I work with rides on Carnival.  He is like me, one cruise away from the diamond level (I believe its platinum for them).  He said he spends about 2 to 3 hundred in the casino per cruise and he just got his second FREE cruise.  The first one was last year and was a 3 day inside cabin and this one is a 8 day inside cabin (ABC cruise).  All he pays is port fees.

I spend about the same or more and never hear anything.

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The whole program is a complete slap to the face for those who spend a significant amount of time & money in the casino. The program needs to be more transparent. If I'm getting the same CR discount as someone who is popping the penny slots for .18 cents all day long then I need to reexamine everything. Since I already have 3 cruises scheduled out through mid next year via casino rate I may just stay out of the casino all together. 

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I have 6 on the books (all either at significant casino discounts or "free" as a result of certificates) so I will keep doing what I'm doing until those have been exhausted BUT if it turns out that they are no longer giving the [admittedly very generous] casino rate discounts then that will be all for me.

A number of years ago I cruised with NCL for the first time and I received a "free" cruise from them - after just ONE cruise !  Up until now the NCL casino program has not had the same lucrative benefits that Club Royale has so I stuck with Royal but if those benefits are now gone, I will certainly be looking at NCL and other cruise lines again.

I completely agree with Marc and Tony. It's like we're finding some kind of hidden treasure whenever they give you a discount or a certificate.  NEVER have I seen a PROMOTIONAL program so steeped in secrecy, ambiguity and anonymity.  I never seem to know what the rules are from sailing-to-sailing.  Maybe these latest tales are misinformation.  I certainly hope that is the case.  Only time will tell, I guess.

I will never stay out of the casino.  That's the primary reason I'm on the ship....but it may well be the casino on another cruise line or shore casino.

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I found another reason not to be satisfied with Club Royale, although to be fair, I knew about this one already.

I book my cruises far in advance, often when the schedules first open. This past March, while onboard Freedom of the Seas, we booked Symphony of the Seas for March 2019. Since booking then, the price has already gone up about $300/person.

I mention this because I called Club Royale today for a bit of booking maintenance, and I asked about any casino rates available for that cruise. Unfortunately, the casino rates are only available for sailings within 12 months or so. Realistically, by the time next March rolls around, it's likely that the base fare is going to be even higher (as they tend to be somewhat before 12 months in advance of sailing), so whatever casino rate they may have available then is likely not to be less than what I've already booked the cruise at (also factoring in the $100 in onboard credit I got from booking onboard), making that benefit of Club Royale have much less value for those of us who book so early.

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I know exactly what you're saying, Marc.  ...but I will say that, as with all things Royal Caribbean, including Club Royale, it depends on who you talk to.  I was also told that the envelope for advanced booking a CR discount was 18 months (no more than 18 months in advance).  In March 2017 I booked a cruise on Harmony for Feb. 2019 - almost 2 full years ahead and they started out telling me I could not book a casino rate that far in advance, but in the end, they did it anyway.  So the rules are never hard and fast with them, it seems.

Maybe they are getting stricter with these kinds of restrictions.  I know that, for the past couple of years, some people were having trouble applying their earned CR certificates to previously booked casino rate bookings but I was always able to get mine applied - even multiple certificates to the same already discounted cruise...until I couldn't anymore.  So they clamped down on that one, maybe they are clamping down on the 18 month advance thing, too.  So far, I have still been able to combine the casino rate and the value of the certificates but only for new bookings, now.

I'm not going to panic until I am denied combining the cruise certificate with a casino rate...or until I find that the 42 - 50% discount I have previously been getting on suites is reduced significantly.  At that point I will have to make some decisions.  I have 6 cruises [suites] booked - all with casino rates, all with refundable deposits and all with certificates of some kind added on.  This may be the end of my gravy train or it may not be.  I will find out, eventually !

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I called casino line again hoping to get someone different to see if I had better luck.  I did confirm that anything further out than 12 months they will only give a 5% discount off of current online sales rate.  I also confirmed that there are no hard and fast rules for these "new" casino rate rules.  The person I spoke thought that as soon as you got to a certain level the discount the same percentage for all of those above that level and the ship and sail date would dictate the percent.  Basically, what that means for us is all of our balcony deals (40-50% off online sale price) and 35% off suites are now 30% balcony and 20-25% off suites.  Don't get me wrong, still paying less than someone who doesn't gamble but trust me, Royal still gets my money at the casino!

Out of Royal, NCL and Carnival, Carnival has the best perks and it is fairly easy to get a free cruise.  They also offer premier cruises (if your points are high enough) where you get OBC, free drinks and are eligible for a ton of prizes.  On NCL, we didn't make the point amount we needed to (I found points added up MUCH slower on NCL) but I called casino line anyhow because we were so close and I was told they would give me 25% of the lowest sale rate.  Up until now I was very happy with the rates I was getting but we will have to see if they stop allowing cruise certificate with casino rates....

I would be interested if anyone else had called the casino department recently and received different information.

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This is off the subject, but does RC have to post the % of money returned on slots like most casinos?

I think RC like most cruise companies would try and promote casino play. There are few expenses and almost all pure profit.

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20 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I am not a slots player but I have never ever seen the "% return" posted for any ship casino on any line.  That makes me think they don't have to declare their return percentage.

Just curious, I know here in Illinois it's law that the % of returns are posted.

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Cruise ship casinos operate in international waters and don't follow any particular state's laws governing casino operation.

It's probably safest to assume that the slot machines onboard are set to the lowest value possible that doesn't otherwise scare away players.

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I just booked a Harmony cruise for October of 2018 through the CR rates. It is more than 12 months out and all I got was a 5% discount. It save approximately $110. They did take my certificate though.

I asked the rep if you wait until 12 months, the rates will be higher and the response I got was Oh well you take a chance booking 12 months or less out with the rates going up and the discount being equal to if you booked 18 months out and took the 5% discount.

It sounds to me like they are trying very hard to stop people from booking a year and a half to two years out, reserving the best cabins and then cancelling as the cruise gets closer. Just my thoughts.

Candie

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Sounds like they have definitely made some changes then.  The last time I booked they told me that the purchase window was 18 months.  Now it seems that they have cut that back to 12 months.  Yes, it sounds like they are really reigning in the parameters.  Good to hear that they took your certificate.  That one has me really worried.

I will indulge myself in a small rant (this is not aimed at you, Candie...you just happened to be the one who mentioned it !).  I really do NOT see how reserving the best cabins and then cancelling as the cruise gets closer as a losing situation for them.  #1, they have my deposit money to use for this entire time period.  #2, by the time "...the cruise gets closer"...and I decide to cancel (which rarely happens with me, BTW) the price on that "best cabin" has probably doubled as I cruise almost exclusively in suites and the prices on those NEVER go down.  I just don't see how this is a problem for them.  If I were cancelling 2 days before the cruise....maybe I could see it....but with a suite, especially, they do NOT have a problem selling them and they will end up getting top price for it where I would have sailed in it at the lowest possible price.  If these were rooms that are hard to sell....different story.  But the Grand Suite and above are always the first rooms to sell out on almost EVERY cruise.  This same reasoning also applies to the non-refundable deposit, BTW.  It makes no sense to me.

So...why do I think they are doing this ?  I believe they are trying to minimize the "casino discount compound effect".  1). The rooms are least expensive when the itins are first released. 2).  Add the effect of the casino rate (this is a cascading discount with the lowest % discounts given to the inside cabins, graduating to the largest discounts for the suites).  3).  Add the value of a certificate and you have a pretty sweet deal.  By limiting the purchase window to no more than 12 months in advance they are effectively taking away #1.  I had heard stories that they were also taking away #3 but those stories are conflicting so I'm not sure what is true at this point.

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5 hours ago, DAVE(Darkcabbie) said:

Hey all, this is the first i've heard of Club Royale and i love to hit the casino is this a US citizen only thing or can i join it in the UK ?.

Marc or Tony...maybe you know for certain but to my knowledge there is no restriction on club membership.  Just not sure about pricing since UK pricing rules are so different.  I believe that you would be eligible for all of the onboard perks such as free drinks in the casino and waiving the 5% convenience fee (so long as you qualify).  I don't want to steer you wrong though.  Anyone else ?

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Marc or Tony...maybe you know for certain but to my knowledge there is no restriction on club membership.  Just not sure about pricing since UK pricing rules are so different.  I believe that you would be eligible for all of the onboard perks such as free drinks in the casino and waiving the 5% convenience fee (so long as you qualify).  I don't want to steer you wrong though.  Anyone else ?

Thanks WAAAYTOOO , I will try to find the club membership as it would be good to get some perks in the casino as i was moaning that when we leave our time in the casino gets wiped and we get nothing for the money we have spent. Any link available to click on so we can join ?.

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To be honest, I don't even know if Royal Caribbean still has a link to information about the Player's Club.  I couldn't find it...but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

You do not have to join the Club anymore.  It is my understanding that you are automatically enrolled in the program when you insert your Seapass card into a slot machine or have a dealer swipe your card at a table. HOWEVER, I recommend that if you want to be "noticed" and seriously considered for benefits (if you aren't a high roller...as I am not) your best course of action is to make sure that you make yourself known to 1) the casino host/hostess 2) the casino manager and 3) the pit bosses, in that order.  Tell the casino host, the very first time that you enter the casino, that you want to be considered for casino rates on bookings and the other benefits that come with being a member of Club Royale.  IMO there is no substitute for being known by the management.  You will be "known" one of 2 ways (or perhaps, both) - either throw a lot of money around (make large wagers, consistently) or spend a lot of time in the casino with more modest wagering.  I fall into category #2 as I do not make big wagers. 

Undoubtedly, the casino management will tell you that is a function of accumulating points.  As Marc said above, doing that with slots is a whole lot easier than it is with table wagering.  The slot machines tally your wagers very methodically (1 point for every $5 wagered, I believe).  Tracking play at the tables is much more difficult as it is a combination of swiping your Seapass card and depending upon the dealers and pit bosses to track your wagering and win/loss patterns.  ...and in the end, no matter what they tell you, I think it's really a matter of perception - whether management believes you have played a sufficient amount of time in the casino or not.  Obviously, if you have sufficient points then you have sufficient points but there are times, I know for CERTAIN, when neither Dan nor I had sufficient points but we still retained our status.  It's really a fickle program without much structure or metrics.  They will, no doubt, recite the rules to you, but I'm not sure that they actually follow them.  Just my opinion.

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On 7/21/2017 at 3:56 AM, DAVE(Darkcabbie) said:

Hey all, this is the first i've heard of Club Royale and i love to hit the casino is this a US citizen only thing or can i join it in the UK ?.

This is not a "US Citizen" thing. Club Royale is all about spending money and time in the casino. RC does not discriminate. I ran into a couple from the U.K. On my last Harmony sailing and they were CR members. You can join w/ no problem.

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On 7/22/2017 at 3:04 PM, tonyfsu21 said:

This is not a "US Citizen" thing. Club Royale is all about spending money and time in the casino. RC does not discriminate. I ran into a couple from the U.K. On my last Harmony sailing and they were CR members. You can join w/ no problem.

Thanks tonyfsu21 , do you have a link as i can't find it on google UK

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It's not a link you sign up through, if you have cruised on RC and gambled in the Casino, you are probably a member. I was and didn't know it, just by using my Sea Pass card at the tables and in the slot machines. If you know that you have gambled on a cruise and used your Sea Pass card you can call 1888-561-2234 and they can confirm if you are a member or not.

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On 7/24/2017 at 7:00 PM, tiny260 said:

It's not a link you sign up through, if you have cruised on RC and gambled in the Casino, you are probably a member. I was and didn't know it, just by using my Sea Pass card at the tables and in the slot machines. If you know that you have gambled on a cruise and used your Sea Pass card you can call 1888-561-2234 and they can confirm if you are a member or not.

Thanks , I will give it a go. Just got to work out the area codes from the UK.

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