Like airlines and hotel chains, cruise lines invite repeat customers to join their reward programs. Points are scored for each cruise (or cruise night) a passenger books on the same line; as points accumulate, the value of the perks rises — from exclusive cocktail receptions and loyalty club lapel pins all the way up to free cruises. Joining an elite program is free. Nearly every operator has its own version, including the top premium and luxury lines, but how much sailing does it take to reap a sought-after reward?
In any frequent-cruiser program, the emphasis is firmly on frequent. Most reward programs kick in (often automatically) on a passenger’s second cruise, but in these early stages, the perks are rather slim. Members of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ loyalty program, Seven Seas Society, for example, qualify for a members-only cocktail reception after seven nights sailed. On Cunard Cruise Line, which originated a program rewarding its loyal passengers in the mid-19th century, two voyages or 20 nights sailed convert to two free hours on the Internet and a special cocktail party for its World Club members. Members of the Viking Explorer Society are feted at a members-only cocktail party on their second and all subsequent voyages on Viking River Cruises.
While no frequent-cruiser program offers points for dollars spent on your credit card, three lines allow for some reciprocity. Benefits accrued through Royal Caribbean International’s loyalty club, The Crown & Anchor Society, can be claimed aboard Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. All three lines have their own reward clubs, each with multiple tiers and some unique awards along the way (such as behind-the-scenes tours), and all top out with what frequent cruisers prize most: a free cruise. On Royal Caribbean, a free seven-night cruise is reached at the 700-point level (350 nights sailed in a suite, 700 in other classes), while on pricier Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, the threshold for a free cruise requires slightly fewer days at sea.
Oceania Cruises’ rewards program, Oceania Club, includes a free seven-day cruise after 20 cruises. Members of Silversea Cruises’ Venetian Society qualify for a free week’s cruise after 350 sailing days. Perhaps the quickest way to a free cruise for frequent sailors on any luxury cruise line is offered by Crystal Cruises, which awards members of its Crystal Society a complimentary seven-day cruise after as little as 13 extended voyages (of 16 days or more each).
So while it’s clearly a long stretch from free cocktails to free cruises, frequent-cruiser programs do pay off, albeit only with a sweet perk or two for all but the most frequent passengers.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.
European hotel brand Kempinski is expanding into the Americas with a new luxury property in Dominica. Slated for an Oct. 14 opening, the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski will be Dominica’s first 5-star hotel on the island and the brand’s second in the Caribbean.