Royal Caribbean Shifts Timing of a Popular Loyalty Benefit

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Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests about another change to its free loyalty drink vouchers for Crown and Anchor Society members, this time in a way guests will undoubtedly appreciate. Now, the time frame to use vouchers is being shifted, which will give guests more peace of mind when enjoying late night drinks.

Time Change for Drink Vouchers

Royal Caribbean guests who have reached the Diamond, Diamond Plus, or Pinnacle level of the cruise line’s Crown and Anchor loyalty program have long enjoyed daily drink vouchers as a special perk for their loyalty.

A problem, however, is that the time to reset the voucher use window has always been midnight. This means that vouchers redeemed after midnight would count toward the following day’s total, though many guests consider a late night of karaoke, comedy, or hanging out past midnight to be technically part of the previous day.

Now, Royal Caribbean has shifted that time to 5:00 a.m., which permits guests to use each day’s drink vouchers anytime from 5 a.m. in the very early morning to 4:59 a.m. the following very late night.

Royal Caribbean Drink
Royal Caribbean Drink (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

“We want to make sure you’re getting the most out of this benefit!” Royal Caribbean explained in a letter to loyal guests. “Your daily complimentary vouchers will now reset at 5:00 AM every morning allowing you to get more out of this benefit during prime hours of each day, including your after-midnight drinks.”

This change takes effect for all sailings departing on or after Friday, December 16, 2022.

It should be noted, however, that the overall number of drink vouchers each guest receives is not changing. Diamond guests (minimum of 80 cruise points) receive four vouchers per day, Diamond Plus guests (minimum of 175 cruise points) receive five drink vouchers per day, and Pinnacle guests (minimum of 700 cruise points) receive six vouchers each day.

Guests at the lower loyalty levels – Gold, Platinum, and Emerald – do not qualify for any complimentary drink vouchers.

The loyalty drink vouchers are good up to a certain dollar amount for a drink of the guest’s choice, with the exception of Starbucks beverages, which cannot be purchased with the vouchers.

But Is the Time Change Good?

While many guests will appreciate their free drinks for one day being available through the late night window, other guests may see this as a curbing effect to minimize overindulgence and prohibit guests from drinking too much in a single night.

With the previous midnight redemption window, guests could have enjoyed one day’s free drinks prior to midnight, then immediately imbibed on the next day’s vouchers after the stroke of twelve.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

This could mean excessive drinking on one rowdy night, though admittedly any guests who did so would be out of vouchers for the remainder of the second day, until midnight came again, so there would be less drinking the following day.

Now, because the redemption window has been shifted five hours, guests will largely be unable to “double up” on any one night, as the ship’s bars typically close prior to 5 a.m.

This could be a subtle way for the cruise line to work to limit excessive alcohol consumption and minimize the risk of unruly incidents or poor behavior.

Paperwork Change

In addition to changing the timing of when complimentary drink vouchers reset each day, Royal Caribbean is also emphasizing that guests will receive a receipt with each drink that shows an updated “tracker” of their voucher count. This will ensure guests are aware of when vouchers are redeemed, and how many are remaining each day.

This is an update to a change implemented in early November 2022, when the cruise line began having guests sign their receipts even for complimentary beverage redemption.

By signing, guests had the opportunity to immediately review whether or not the drink in question had been a complimentary one, in order to resolve any disputes or miscommunications more quickly.

Now, the tracker at the bottom of the receipt will immediately and clearly indicate how many free drinks a guest has had within that day’s redemption window, and how many remain for the rest of the day according to their loyalty tier.

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