Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seabourn Club - Luxury Past Passenger Program Expanded...Quietly

Seabourn Cruise Line has just released its revamped past passenger program known as the Seabourn Club.  I say "released" rather than announced, because Seabourn really hasn't said anything about it to anyone. 

First:  Don't Panic!  The "old" Seabourn program of earning a free seven day cruise after 140 days of sailings and a 14 day cruise after 250 days of sailings (if you don't take a free cruise at 140 days) remains as part of the new Milestone Awards.

Now a short video about the program and then the details:



The Seabourn Club (other than the Milestone Awards - discussed later) is really set up more like a frequent flyer program with multiple ways to earn "points" rather than being based merely upon days at sea.  I have two feelings about this:  It most certainly provides an earned nod of appreciation to those that sail...and spend...more, but it also eats away - if every so slightly - at the Seabourn concept of everyone is treated equally.  Overall, though, I think it is significant upgrade to what has been a stagnant program for many years.

There are five tiers: 
  • Member
  • Silver (20-69 Points)
  • Gold (70-139 Points)
  • Platinum (140-249 Points)
  • Diamond (250+ Points). 
With each day sailed, each day sailed in a penthouse or premium suite, each day on a Seabourn Escorted Journey and for every $500 of eligible onboard and pre-cruise online purchases (casino and future cruise deposits don't count), you earn one Seabourn Club point.  So, for example, if you purchase a 10 day cruise in a Penthouse and book $500 of spa treatments and shore excursions you would receive:
  • 10 Points for Days Sailed
  • 10 Points for Days Sailed in a Penthouse or Premium Suite
  •   1 Point for Purchases
for a total of 21 Points.  That would, if it was your first Seabourn cruise, make you a Silver member.  However, you would not get the Silver benefits until your next cruise; a common practice.

OK, so what do you get with your Seabourn Points?  This is where it gets a bit like a Chinese Restaurant Menu, which I think is way too complicated (and has a bean-counter feel to it), so I am providing you with a one page summary of the complete program first:


Benefits both expand as do your menu choices as your level goes up and include both Onboard and Land-based benefits.

On the ship, as a Silver Member you get ONE (that's right, only ONE) of the following: 
  • 10% off Shore Excursions
  • 10% off Premium Wines and Spirits
  • 2 Hours of Internet
  • 20 Minutes of Telephone
  • A Seabourn Signature Massage
  • A Day in the Spa's Serene Area (Odyssey-class ships only)
  • 1 Bag of Laundry
As a Gold Member you get TWO of the same items, but with a 15% Discount on Wines & Spirits, 3 hours of internet, 30 Minutes of Telephone or Laundry every seven days.  Platinum gets you THREE but with yet richer discounts and internet time.  Diamond Members get ALL benefits including, but not limited to fully complimentary internet and 25% off Wines & Spirits.

On the land, Gold and higher gets you get from 10-20% off luggage shipping services, a subscription to one of two popular travel magazines (Travel & Leisure or Conde Nast Traveler - neither of which I think are terribly good), and some fluff like variously colored luggage tags and Platinum/Diamond members receive a dedicated Seabourn Club Concierge (useful I guess if you don't have a great travel advisor like Goldring Travel).

Milestone Awards are, as I said, the free seven day cruise at 140 days or a free 14 day cruise at 250 days plus a Tiffany & Co. gift at 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 & 2,500 days.  (And, yes, there are some Seabourn guests at or near the top tier!).

OK, so you may be wondering what Iamboatman/Goldring Travel thinks of the new program.  As I have hinted, I think it is a great improvement, but far too complicated; in part because it seeks to seem more robust than it is, but also because it tries to please everyone...which is not only dangerous, but impossible.  The result is going to be hours of my time spent explaining this program to confused people and that, to be sure, could not have been much of a factor when the program was developed.

To be fair, there are many good things about the new Seabourn Club program and I have been waiting for it to be released for over a year.  The most important aspect of the program:  Seabourn has increased the benefits of sailing on Seabourn to its guests; not reduced them as many feared.

Join the conversation about the new Seabourn Club Program.  Tell us what you think on The Gold Standard Forum!