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I wonder if there are any Club Royale members out there who have received any information on the new casino rewards program ?  What little information I have received has been both contradictory and fuzzy.

 

I understand the new program will have a tiered rewards hierarchy. That's about all I know for sure.  I have heard that it was going to start in March but was delayed.  I've heard lots of conflicting information on what is being retained from the old program and what is new.  I have heard that there is a rather nebulous process by which we are all being "grandfathered" into some appropriate (according to what criteria...who knows) tier level based on past wagering history over some arbitrary period of time (1 year, 2 years ???).  I've heard that they are retaining the existing cruise discount reward policy (basically 20% off) for some period of time but may eliminate it in the future.  I've been told that waiving the 5% convenience fee for getting money at the table (or at the cage) would be retained regardless of your tier level (that came directly from a Club Royale representative on the phone). All or none of these things may be true.

 

Does anyone know anything ?

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Well, as luck would have it, my husband and I both received letters from Club Royale in yesterday's mail (the same day I posted my original comment - Mar. 16) with a little bit of additional information.

 

As I had "heard" before, the "rebate benefit" (rewards earned during your play on a cruise that is granted to you as a cash rebate on your next cruise) has been extended through March 15, 2016. That means that if you have earned a rebate benefit on a cruise you have already taken, then you can still redeem that cash rebate on a subsequent cruise through March 15, 2016. Originally, we had been told that as of March 2015 we would lose whatever rebate benefits we had accrued from any previous cruises. It looks like they have extended the time to use that rebate...which is a good thing.

 

The letter also included the following line - "If you're setting sail soon, we also want to remind you that your tier level in the new program is based on play, and the evaluation period is still underway for a few more weeks, through March 15, 2015". I received this letter on March 16, 2015. So much for "...underway for a few more weeks...". The letter also said - "And, as an added bonus, when you book and sail by March 31, 2015, you'll get an extra 20% on your rebate". WOW...they gave us a whole 15 days to book and complete a cruise so that we can take advantage of this awesome 20% bonus rebate benefit !!!!!

 

The letter goes on to assure us that correspondence is coming our way in April that will detail the "exciting new program". As I have said in previous posts, whenever RCCL tells you that they have an "exciting new program" that generally means they are reducing or removing benefits that you previously had. Whatever.

 

So....the new program is coming...slowly...in dibs and dabs...guess we'll know sooner or later what we're in for.

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Ok so I am on Quantum now and have been bugging the Casino Staff like crazy to give me an answer but they say the same stuff... They know as much as you got in the letter... I Will say this I just booked a 10 night on Anthem for January 2015 and got Casino rates and got to use a rebate so like you said that is still intact until March 2016.. I plan to call in April and have them give me a full explanation about this tiered benefit stuff.. I saw that NCL runs their casino this way.. Maybe they are trying to copy them with this? Who knows.. But If I get any more info I will post...

PS. Quantum is sooooooooooo Fantastic!

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Yeah, they are pretty closed-mouth about all of it. I have a couple of the casino host/hostesses that are good friends and with whom I communicate outside of the cruise line and they tell me they really don't know anything either, so bugging them isn't going to get you much...at least, that has been my experience so far. I think they are kinda making it up as they go. One thing is for sure...you are going to have to requalify periodically - so gone are the days when you can automatically qualify for the free drinks in the casino, rebates, casino discounts on staterooms and waiver of the 5% convenience charge (even though I have been told that the waiver of the convenience charge will remain regardless of tier level....won't hold my breath on that one). I think this totally stinks.

 

I agree that they are probably modeling their program after the NCL program. To be honest, I have found the NCL program to be far more responsive in a number of ways than the RCCL program. For instance, after being a member of the NCL program for only 1 cruise, I was given a "free" cruise. Now, as we all know, a "free" cruise is far from free...there are plenty of hidden costs that are tacked on...nevertheless, I was given a free cruise on NCL and RCCL has NEVER offered me a free cruise of ANY kind. As for the downside of the NCL program, they never waive the 5% convenience fee except for the very HIGHEST tier levels (which I will NEVER be on any cruise line !) and their "free" drinks in the casino are very hit and miss. So I guess there are upsides and downsides to both programs.

 

Knowing how RCCL operates though, I anticipate that the new program will be harder to qualify for than the old one, have less generous benefits and just, overall, to be less beneficial than the old system. That's just the way things are going with RCCL. Charge more...get less.

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I am under the distinct impression that the Casino and Gaming is subcontracted out; just like the Spa, Park West and the Art Gallery, and the Shoppes Onboard.

 

And like the Spa, the company that actually operates the Casino and it's employees; probably does so for all the cruise lines. 

 

So, what we see as changes in RCL policies may really be changes in the policy from the Casino operator. 

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To be honest, I have found the NCL program to be far more responsive in a number of ways than the RCCL program. For instance, after being a member of the NCL program for only 1 cruise, I was given a "free" cruise. Now, as we all know, a "free" cruise is far from free...there are plenty of hidden costs that are tacked on...nevertheless, I was given a free cruise on NCL and RCCL has NEVER offered me a free cruise of ANY kind.

I agree with you. I sailed with NCL once thanks to a local casino's free cruise offer with NCL, and from that cruise, I earned a comped cruise in a balcony cabin that I'm using on the new Norwegian Escape next year. Plus, NCL's current promotion is also giving us free beverage packages so we can get free drinks anywhere on the ship!

 

With Royal Caribbean's Club Royale, only once did I have a rebate high enough to pay for a cruise. Most of the time, it's just a few hundred dollars.

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Well, you definitely did better than I did, Marc. I have only EVER gotten a couple of hundred dollars rebate from Club Royale...never ANYTHING close enough to cover the cost of a cruise....BUT I am also NOT a high roller. That is sweet about the NCL drink package.

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Nothing new that I am aware of. Just the same info we have been getting about cash rebates ending in March but rebates able to be applied to cruise fare through December (I think).

My husband and I were just welcomed into the club on our October sailing. Prior to that we always sailed with Mlife because we were at a platinum status. Do you know if you have to get so many points to get free drink coupons? Or complimentary speciality dining? We automatically got this since we were higher status with Mlife, but now that were sailing as club royale not sure what our benefits are anymore. Can anyone shed some light?

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The problem with the current Club Royale program has been that almost all of their onboard perks have been at the discretion of the casino host. There are no set standards to let you know what benefits you may be entitled to due to your established level of play.

 

As far as drinks in the casino, generally, all Club Royale members should get free drinks. However, on one of my cruises, the casino person (there was no host onboard) told me that I wasn't a "VIP" and I wasn't entitled to free alcoholic drinks, but I could get free sodas if I wanted.  :rolleyes:

 

I'm betting that the new system they keep promising/threatening to roll out will have discrete tiers that offer specified perks at each tier.

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I get nothing from RCCL Club Royale. I have received casino offers but they are no cheaper than the regular rates. On NCL, after my first cruise I received a free cruise, I had to pay taxes, fees, grats and insurance, not too shabby. After that I received 3 more NCL cruise offers. They are all booked, Eastern Caribbean on Escape in August, Panama Canal in September, Mexican Riviera in November and one other. I love the offers from NCL.

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firegal2539

 

I hear alot of really good things about NCL and their gaming program,i may have to look into it. I took my first cruise this year at the end of January with RCCL. Last evening aboard ship I was handed some paperwork and had to fill out some forms for RC Club Royale VIP program. The cruise i am leaving on here next week is a freebie given to me from the host of the casino, which i thought was pretty cool. I was told that the program was going thru some changes and should be completed by mid March. I was just wondering if anyone has heard any information on the new Club Royale VIP program. Hopefully it will still benefit the player and be a quality program, I guess we will see. Thanks for the info about NCL, i beleive from what i have heard that it may be the best Casino Player program overall.

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firegal2539 and usmc0311 (ooh-rah !)

 

I had the same experience as firegal with NCL.  I also received a "free" cruise after just 1 cruise on NCL.  As she indicated, we paid for an upgrade (the offer was for an oceanview cabin and we wanted a balcony), taxes, port fees and grats.  I think we ended up paying a total of right around $1K.  We had a choice of a number of different ships and a number of different months.  It was easy to find a cruise that we wanted.  It was a great cruise and a good experience.  The one thing they did NOT offer was waiver of the 5% convenience fee which I really LOVE about Royal's program.  I believe we got free drinks while in the casino.  I can't recall for sure since I'm not a big drinker.  I have gotten several more offers from NCL but nothing for another FREE cruise.  After a while, they stopped coming.

 

As you mentioned, USMC, the program is in flux and nobody and I do mean NOBODY knows exactly what it's going to look like in the end.  They have described it as the traditional land-based casino model - numerous tier levels with graduating perks.  Who knows what it's going to be in the end.  It's roll-out is well over a year overdue.  They have started implementing a few things that appear to be previews of things to come.  One of them is the "free" cruise certificate that you apparently received, USMC.  We got one on our last cruise as well.  The problem with those certificates are that they are seriously restricted.  They are good for only a few sailings and are generally only for dates in the upcoming 60 - 90 day range.  Many people (including us) cannot take advantage of a cruise that short-term.  I have heard a lot of negative comments about these certificates.  We got very lucky.  They applied the $1000 value of our certificate to our upcoming Empress sailing as OBC but they made it clear that this was not normally allowed and that it was a one-time offer that would not be repeated.  They have also stopped the cash rebate program which had been a highlight of the "old" program.  We would receive a cash rebate on the next cruise, based on our play from the previous cruise.  This was a nice perk.  Those are now gone and being replaced with the [fairly useless] certificates.

 

So.  Which is the best program ?  Who knows what Royal's is going to look like in the end.  Right now, we receive approximately 44-46% off the FULL RETAIL price of a cruise.  Everyone else is already receiving between 25 - 30% (depending on the promo that is playing that day) plus whatever C&A discount they may be eligible for under whatever rules they are playing for the promo.  We still make out better with the Club Royale discount even though we cannot combine our C&A discount with the CR discount.  As a rule, we will receive about 13 - 14 % more off the retail cost of a cruise than the perpetual BOGOHO/30% off promo...so I am happy - right now.

 

The other thing I really like about Royal's program is that they waive the 5% convenience fee for members.  That's a huge deal to us.  We don't have to take ANY [casino] money with us.  We just use casino money to play with.  If they ever remove that perk or the big cruise discount, we would probably be looking for a new cruise line b/c we cruise to gamble.  We are tied to RCI, primarily b/c of the casino program.  Of course, we love the cruise line too....but we are truly loyal to Royal b/c of the casino.  If things go too far awry we will feel free to start shopping around.

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WAAAYTOOO,

 

I think you are my sister from another mother. I cruise to enjoy the cruise but I really cruise to gamble. Texas doesn't allow gambling so if I want to I have to go to Oklahoma, a two hour trip. We really have to get to know each other.

 

So far NCL's casino program has been so good to me. After taking my first cruise with them I received my first offer. It was a choice of an Eastern Caribbean and two different dates. I took it. After that I received three more offers, they were any cruise of 11 days or less, no Hawaii, 5 days or less and Baltic cruises. I was sure it was a mistake so I called them and they told me nope I had a 9 month span to pick the dates of these cruises so I spent four days looking up every cruise and made my choices. 

 

You are right, drinks are free from the casino, which is another bonus for me. I don't drink alcohol but I drink soda, so I don't buy the soda package, take a large thermal cup in my luggage, ask the bartender for two Cokes, no ice, go to the cabin and pour them into my thermal cup and put it in the mini frig. I do that two or three times a day and I have enough soda for the whole day and to bring into the dining areas.

 

I, too, don't like the 5% fee but as an example my Panama Canal cruise was valued at over $3000 for just me and I paid a total of $556, that includes my grats, insurance, transfers and beverage package, (too long a cruise to not have one), taxes/fees and upgrade to an Ocean View. I think that is an amazing price. 80% savings.

 

I am waiting to see what RCCL will have to offer if they bring out a new program. I hope it will benefit me better because right now RCCL gives me nothing for my casino action.

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I have received a couple of invitations recently to slot tournaments on sailings later  this year that included casino rate room, free drinks in the casino, free slot tournament entry, and a welcome cocktail party. I'm just wondering if this is "Club Royale" or just a promo they have sent? First time I've received this from RC.

 

 

eric

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^^^^ I had the same question because the membership to club Royale is very confusing. The mailings you received may have been sent to you based on your gambling on a recent cruise. On your next sailing make sure you introduce yourself to the casino host and ask them to rate you. From what I have gathered you will be invited to join the club if your play meets the criteria ($25 per hand for 4 hours average per day).

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Yeah, I've been getting those too.

 

I really don't know whether you have to be a member of Club Royale to get those or not but I seem to recall Marc saying something in another post about some of his friends getting the offers when they aren't officially member of CR.

 

I agree with Tony,  On your next cruise, go to the casino host, tell them that you are interested in becoming a member and ask him/her what you need to do to qualify.  For us, it was very simple (we were on the Allure).  Get (at the time, anyway) 2100 points.  We both did, we got in and we have been reaping the benefits ever since.  At least for now, it has been a godsend for us, particularly this mess with Empress-Gate.

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I, too, have received offers. I called on this one because I liked the July cruise. I did a mock reservation online to see how much the cruise was, with grats, transfers, taxes/fees, insurance and the cruise it was around $1200. Then I called RCCL reservations and gave them the cruise offer, same exact room type, and all the extras added on the cost was $1255. It was more! Forget those deals.

 

Candie

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The Club Royale Casino VIP Program is a JOKE!!! I just finished my first 7 day cruise aboard the Harmony of the Seas. The ship is SPECTACULAR! However, I was extremely disappointed with the casino. I usually sail on the 5 day cruises. Again, this was my first seven day cruise and because of Hurricane Irma, the cruise was extended to 10 days. The lowest reward I have ever received from Casio Royale was $500 on a five day cruise. After cruising for 10 days and gambling twice the amount of money I would have on a 5 day cruise, I was rewarded with a mere $300 certificate. As an added slap in the face, my fiance, was rewarded with a $400 certificate for playing slots. She was wagering $1 - $2 per spin; where I was wagering an average of $100 per roll of the dice. The program rewards the slot players only. The slots are so tight that it was the consensus of the gambling population on the ship to continually complain about it throughout the casino and the dining room. There are no real benefits to the program! Do not fall for the "FREE DRINKS SCAM" in the casino. The majority of gamblers on the cruise already purchased the drink package. No benefit there! And the rating system sucks at best. My certificate was issued the morning prior to the supposed last day of the cruise. We still had one night of gambling to go before we were to disembark. Normally, we receive the certificates later in the evening. On top of that, I approached a Casio Host to express my concern. First and foremost, my first impression was that he really had no concern for my request. I attempted to apply logic to the situation by explaining the 5 day, 10 day, twice the money and length of cruise and that had no effect. I then persisted and explained that the certificates were issued early and we still had three days of gambling to go. His response was, " I will consult with Freddie (or Frankie) and I will get back with you. That obviously didn't happen. SO, DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE WHOLE VIP THING!!!

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO BENEFITS TO THIS PROGRAM! I had a friend that I ran into on the ship. He used an outside source to book his cruise. They set him up in an "Owners Suite". He paid less than a $1000 more than I did for and Outside Stateroom with a Balcony. His room included a drink package and a concierge. He is going to send me the company's information and I will post it on the fourm as soon as I receive it. It is definitely something to look into.

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