After several recent changes to onboard exclusive lounges have led to confusion about which guests can access which lounge at which time, Royal Caribbean International has issued more clarification on the loyalty lounges.
While there are no further changes at this time, the clarification can help travelers better understand which spaces are available to enjoy.
Lounge Access Clarified
The Crown & Anchor Society Director, Courtney Brant, has reached out to members of Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program to clarify exclusive onboard lounge access.
The ability to enjoy an exclusive space with dedicated service and special events is a popular perk of the upper tiers of the Crown & Anchor Society, but more crowded ships and more passengers reaching top tier status is requiring some adjustments to who is able to access which lounge at different times.
“I know many of you have questions about a new policy we recently implemented on a small number of sailings, which makes temporary adjustments to the access of certain venues, such as the Crown Lounge, Suite and Concierge Lounges, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen,” Brant acknowledged.
Each of these spaces is reserved for certain cruisers, either depending on their loyalty status or what type of stateroom they have booked.
The Crown Lounge – formerly known as the Diamond Lounge – will only be available to Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members during the evening hours, with beverage service from 5-8 p.m.
Brant stresses, however, that “the lounge and its services will remain fully accessible to all Diamond and above members at all other times.”
The morning continental breakfast, daily snacks, and concierge service hours will still be available to all qualifying travelers.
Points May Determine Access
Similarly, the Suite Lounge or Concierge Lounge, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen will be limited to only guests in qualifying suites along with top Pinnacle Club members onboard, which will be determined based on cruise points.
This may mean that not all Pinnacle Club members on the same sailing may have access, depending on overall occupancy and how many points individual guests have accrued.
Royal Caribbean’s Pinnacle Club is the elite of the elite, and travelers must have a minimum of 700 cruise points to join those ranks. A guest with 900 points, however, would be granted Suite Lounge access before a traveler with 725 points, however, despite both being members of the Pinnacle Club with the same overall benefits.
Access will also depend on how many suite guests are onboard each individual sailing, and how many total guests are in each Pinnacle Club guests’ stateroom. All guests in the room – even if they have not all achieved the same number of points – will be extended lounge privileges.
Changes Not Universal
All loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers should note that these restrictions to lounge access are both intermittent and temporary, and will vary greatly between individual sailings. On cruises with fewer suite staterooms or fewer top-tier loyalty members, for example, it may not be necessary to restrict access at all.
The cruises most likely to be impacted are those aboard the line’s newer vessels, particularly Wonder of the Seas and the two upcoming ships in 2024, Icon of the Seas in January and Utopia of the Seas in July.
Brand new ships always attract great interest from experienced cruisers who are eager to try out a new vessel and see what changes and innovations it brings to the fleet.
Similarly, certain sailings – maiden voyages, transatlantic crossings or transpacific cruises, holiday itineraries, etc. – are also more popular with experienced cruisers and may need more lounge access restrictions to compensate for that increased popularity.
Depending on how restrictions must be invoked, travelers will be notified either in the days before they set sail or else with a welcome aboard letter onboard as to any changes in lounge access or other loyalty benefits for their specific cruise.