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Old 11-14-2012, 08:33 PM   #1
jnweinmann
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Castaway Club

Does anyone think the time has come for DCL to create another level above Platinum for the Castaway Club? Should they do this or should they leave it the way it is? Just wondering what people are thinking.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jnweinmann View Post
Does anyone think the time has come for DCL to create another level above Platinum for the Castaway Club? Should they do this or should they leave it the way it is? Just wondering what people are thinking.
No. Wow, that sounded harsh! I mean the current levels are so unequal (those cruisers that have gone on 5 3 night cruises [15 nights] get the same perks as a cruiser who has done 5 14 night cruises [70 nights]), that I think they need a complete revamping of the program.

Now, I've really opened a can of worms! .

JMO, folks!

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Old 11-14-2012, 08:54 PM   #3
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My feeling is that the whole program needs to be revamped so that it incorporates some combination of number of cruises and number of nights (currently a 14 or 15 night cruise counts the same as a 3 night). They might also incorporate "extra credit" for concierge bookings. In conjunction with the total revamp, another level would be appropriate.

Frankly, IMHO this should have been rolled out last May in conjunction with the changed in benefits.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:11 PM   #4
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My feeling is that the whole program needs to be revamped so that it incorporates some combination of number of cruises and number of nights (currently a 14 or 15 night cruise counts the same as a 3 night). They might also incorporate "extra credit" for concierge bookings. In conjunction with the total revamp, another level would be appropriate.

Frankly, IMHO this should have been rolled out last May in conjunction with the changed in benefits.
I too believe they need to revamp and look at a new level. I am sure many of you have heard that the number of cruisers now at the platinum level has ballooned and DCL has cut back their perks in response.

I too hear all those that believe that the number of nights on the ship should be taken into account. It is right that someone that has taken 10 three night cruises gets the same perks as someone who has taken ten 15 night cruises, but when you look at the price that was paid for those cruises the difference isn't that dramatic. For example, a Cat 5a on the EBTA for a family of 4 (2a/2k) is $5800, a Cat 5a for a 3day Bahamas is $3700. So, Disney is actually making more money per day for the 3 day cruises. Also, many cruisers can't do the longer cruises because they just can't get their kids out of school for that long.

Just showing both sides of the argument... BTW we have done 27 DCL cruises of all lengths.. not the med yet though.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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I too believe they need to revamp and look at a new level. I am sure many of you have heard that the number of cruisers now at the platinum level has ballooned and DCL has cut back their perks in response.

I too hear all those that believe that the number of nights on the ship should be taken into account. It is right that someone that has taken 10 three night cruises gets the same perks as someone who has taken ten 15 night cruises, but when you look at the price that was paid for those cruises the difference isn't that dramatic. For example, a Cat 5a on the EBTA for a family of 4 (2a/2k) is $5800, a Cat 5a for a 3day Bahamas is $3700. So, Disney is actually making more money per day for the 3 day cruises. Also, many cruisers can't do the longer cruises because they just can't get their kids out of school for that long.

Just showing both sides of the argument... BTW we have done 27 DCL cruises of all lengths.. not the med yet though.
My only comment on the above is that you've chosen to compare the least expensive long cruise (trans-Atlantics are always low cost) to a relatively costly 3 night Bahamas cruise. I just priced a 3 night 5A, family of 4 for $2100--it just depends on dates.

SOME long cruises cost a lot more--our Panama Canal cruise went up $800 from the time I saw it on line till a CM answered the phone! And the NEW 12 night Meds are over $15K for a family of 4 in a 5B (there are no 5As for comparison). It honestly depends on what dates and cruises a guest selects.

I do understand that not everyone had the ability to do all types of cruises or chooses to do so. But those are our "choices," and shouldn't influence the structure of the loyalty program.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:11 AM   #6
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We finally reached gold status earlier this month -- took us a mere 51 nights to do it, so we commiserate! A two-day cruise to nowhere should not count the same as a 14-day Hawaiian cruise! They need to do a point system -- one point per each day on ship.
Agree I wish it would be based on number of nights. If they had that policy, they may not have had to take away rewards.

The longer cruises should at least count for 2 under current system.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:14 AM   #7
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I too think the system needs some changes. I'm hesitant about the per night because you have to remember how it all started and for some length of time only 3 and 4 night cruises were available. (some may say that was only a year or two but in a cruise line that is only 14 years old, that's a big percentage of the time they've been in business and it affects the most loyal customers -- the ones who were with them from the very beginning.)

I don't sail shorter cruises if I can avoid it. (we're doing the 5 nights from Miami next year because it was the only way to work cruises on the Magic into our schedule since there will be no WBTA -- but to do our two week vacation, we had to book a b2b2b2b.) But I don't think people who only do 3/4/5 day cruises are less loyal to DCL than someone who only does 7/10/14/15 day cruises are.

I do think they need another level if they have to stop what I consider "cost-less" perks (platinum experiences, behind the scenes tours) just because they have too many platinum cruisers on a particular cruise. (I know it happens on the really special cruises like Hawaii, but we haven't really had a platinum experience since right after the Dream started sailing.) I'm heading out on my 30th DCL cruise in a week and I don't even believe that I should be in their top level. There should be something that is exclusive and getting in should be difficult enough that it remains exclusive for some period of time -- not for two years before it is seriously top heavy and needing to cancel perks.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:08 AM   #8
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I am happy they have a loyalty program at all!!!!!!! I have taken over 90 trips to WDW since 1974, and they still don't have a loyalty program. It bothers me when I hear about upgrades to first time guests when many of us disney fans can't even get a room location we request for a category we paid for. If we complain too much, they just may end the program. I am happy to get any perks they are willing to provide.

Last edited by cathie13; 11-15-2012 at 08:10 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
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I think the program is pretty weak... particularly compared to other loyalty programs which include things from photo credits to discounts on 3rd or 4th cruisers. With that said, still crusing with DCL and hitting Gold level after next cruise.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:58 PM   #10
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Red face Still only a Silver level cruiser

So we've taken 3 Disney cruises so far.
A 14-night Panama Canal cruise, a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise, and a 3-night Bahama cruise. That totals 24 nights (3 cruises).

If those 24 nights got totaled up by doing 3-night cruises, we'd be at a higher level by now (just by the number of cruises - 8)
The Florida residents have it so good! They have the opportunity to drive to the port, not fly, and they get resident discounts on cruises (or at least they did...not sure if that's gone now). So not only can they sail easier, they usually spend less doing so.
(Yes! I'm jealous of the Floridians! )

We're in Wisconsin (brrr!) so we have the added expense of a flight and at least one resort night before the cruise. So we naturally cruise less.

When I look at my account on the Castaway Club page on DCL it says... "You are 2 cruises away from becoming a Gold Castaway Member!" So only after our 5th cruise will we move up. Our next cruise is another 7-nighter... so we'll total 31 nights and still not move up a level.

I agree that restructuring is in order. Either simply the total of nights cruised - or - give more points for a 14 or 15-night cruise, less for a 7-8 night cruise, and even less for a 3-4 night cruise. Or what about points according to the cost of the cruise? It would be more fair that way don't you think? I'd like the perks of a Platinum level cruiser too some day. Gosh, we've sure spent enough money with them over the years!
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:34 PM   #11
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I am probably in the minority here, and don't really care to get flamed, but we personally do not cruise for the "perks" of the Castaway club. Sure, it's nice to get a few "dodads" in your room, but that is not really important to us. We have also been to Disney MANY times, and have never gotten any perks for the time and thousands upon thousands of dollars we've spent there. As someone else stated, we can barely get a room request honored. OOps, wait a minute, during an impromptu visit and short stay at POP one year we did get "family of the day" and got a rubic cube -and a certificate in our room, which did not make or break our vacation.
Granted, we are not yet platinum, but even if we were, and got a Palo dinner, it would be nice, but not a deal breaker. We cruise DCL for the enjoyment of the cruise, the ship amenities and the wonderful staff. Any gifts are just that - gifts and we would not change our cruising preferance if those gifts were absent.
As a side: We are booked on a cruise next September and it looks like that is being taken away for a DVC cruise. DCL hasn't contacted us to let us know that they are cancelling our plans and we have to change or abort our vacation. Now, that makes me more angry than getting or NOT getting any in- room gifts. Maybe they should take a look at that end of it with regard to "customer loyalty" perks.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:56 PM   #12
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Red face

The gifts in the stateroom for return cruisers are wonderful and useful.
It also really makes DCL more special to me than the other cruise lines.

But I'm really talking more about things like... earlier booking for dining, spa appointments & child care (I think), and excursions. You may have your heart set on an excursion only to find out that it is sold old already. The Platinum members can book excursions at 120 days prior to sailing... I can do this at 90 days prior to sailing. They can also book the newly announced cruises before me too. (I'm booking with the general public even though I've sailed with them already!)
They get an on board reception and special merchandise offerings (well Gold members too).

And I really like the priority check-in at the cruise terminal for Platinum members - that would be cool! As well as the complimentary dinner at Palo... which has gone up in price since we've done that.

If they have member levels and member benefits, I just think they should be more evenly thought out. Based on nights of sailing or cost of sailings perhaps. I can see becoming a Gold Castaway Club member after your first sailing, but I think that should also entitle you to book newly announced cruises before the general public. They need to reward their repeat customers better.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:58 PM   #13
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I want first chance at spa appointments.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:06 PM   #14
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I have to say I was very happy that they introduced the whole levels concept and added some perks. I do think that they do need to maybe add a new level, as long as they don't take away any more of the perks for those who have already hit existing levels. I'm finally platinum and appreciate what is offered thus far, especially priority boarding! But if there are too many plats to do the extra special things, then go ahead and add a new level with some new exclusive cool perks. Again, just don't strip away any more of the exiting benefits.

As the fleet has expanded and may continue to expand, we may see more rewards for keeping loyal customers, but that won't happen when they have a pretty good demand for the product as it is.

I don't have much of an opinion on how they determine the levels. They have do come up with something and it should be easy to keep track of and know, hence the number of cruises.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All Things Simba View Post
The gifts in the stateroom for return cruisers are wonderful and useful.
It also really makes DCL more special to me than the other cruise lines.

But I'm really talking more about things like... earlier booking for dining, spa appointments & child care (I think), and excursions. You may have your heart set on an excursion only to find out that it is sold old already. The Platinum members can book excursions at 120 days prior to sailing... I can do this at 90 days prior to sailing. They can also book the newly announced cruises before me too. (I'm booking with the general public even though I've sailed with them already!)
They get an on board reception and special merchandise offerings (well Gold members too).
I'm not saying the gifts aren't nice, just not something I personally must have. The early booking of excursions is a perk, but only if you book DCL's excursions. Booking Palo early is a perk, but I've found that if we can't book early, they hold back about 1/2 of their ressies for on-board booking, and I've normally been able to book when we board. We didn't get to the reception on our first Gold Member cruise, and it did not put a damper on our trip. We sail in April/May, or November, so we don't have to jump the gun to book early to get what we want. We book about a year out and haven't missed getting our preferred stateroom yet. I'm just saying that if they did away with the Castaway Club all together, it would not detur us from sailing DCL. Now, if they want to give discounts on rates according to your Castaway Club level, that would be a valuable "perk" to me.
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