Everything you need to know about Celebrity Cruises’ Captain’s Club loyalty program

Jan 29, 2021

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Showing loyalty to Celebrity Cruises can get you some great rewards.

Like many frequent cruiser programs, the line’s Captain’s Club doesn’t offer all that many truly valuable perks at its lower tiers. But as you rise through the status levels, you’ll quickly reach a point where you’re getting all sort of discounts, freebies and special access — from complimentary laundry service (a real boon on longer voyages) to savings at specialty restaurant meals and a standing invitation to a private breakfast lounge.

At the very top tier of the program, the Zenith level, the Captain’s Club also brings one of the truly spectacular rewards in the cruise loyalty program universe: A free cruise for two.

Note that a few of the longstanding perks of the Captain’s Club program (discounted internet and drinks packages, for instance) aren’t quite as valuable now that Celebrity has switched to an “always included” fare structure that includes basic internet, drinks and gratuities with all bookings. But they still have some value.

The discounts on internet service and drinks packages that come with the various tiers noted below still can come in handy when buying premium internet and drinks packages on ships (which still come with extra charges). In addition, with the change to “always included,” Celebrity did sweeten the entire program a bit by offering better spa and photo discount benefits at various tiers and adding some onboard events for members.

Celebrity also is known for running some major booking promotions for members. Most recently, since October, members have been able to earn double points when they book a balcony cabin or higher on any sailing. Members also have been able to qualify for up to 10% off 2021 cruise fares since mid-December.

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Ways to earn points

The number of Captain’s Club points you earn for cruises will vary depending on both the length of the sailings and the type of cabin you book.

When staying in the most basic cabins, such as windowless “inside” cabins, you’ll earn 2 points for each day you sail. When staying in a top suite, you can earn as many as 18 points per day.

Staying in balcony cabins, which the line calls Veranda cabins, will get you 3 points a day.

Here, a breakdown of the point structure:

As you can see, you’ll earn far more points by staying in a suite than by staying in a less pricey regular cabin. The Captain’s Club program is designed to reward Celebrity’s biggest-spending customers the most.

There’s also one more way to earn Captain’s Club points. In 2020, Celebrity launched a new program called Power Up Points that lets Captain’s Club members get bonus points by filling out online surveys, participating on social media or booking specific promotions.

Taking part in such activities will get you Power Up Points, which then can be converted into Captain’s Club points at a ratio of 10 to 1. That is, for every 10 Power Up Points you get, you’ll get one additional Captain’s Club point.

If you want to play along, be sure to subscribe to Celebrity’s email list so you get notified about Power Up Points activities. You can start the process by visiting celebrity.com/powerup. If you’re already a Captain’s Club member, click on the “Subscribe for Emails” button. If you’re not yet a member, click the “Enroll Now” button. 

Program tiers and benefits

The Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Apex. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

There are six tiers to the Captain’s Club program:

  • Preview (at 0 points)
  • Classic (2 to 149 points)
  • Select (150 to 299 points)
  • Elite (300 to 749 points)
  • Elite Plus (750 to 2,999 points)
  • Zenith (3,000 points or more)

The good news here is that you can be recognized at the program’s first tier (Preview) before you even take a single cruise. All you have to do is sign up for the program. At the Preview level, you gain access to the online Captain’s Club newsletter and the Loyalty Desk. You also can book Captain’s Club promotions once you’re on board your first cruise.

The next level up, Classic, brings:

  • An invitation to a Captain’s Club welcome event
  • Access to exclusive events on specialty sailings (like the President’s Sailing)
  • One pre-cruise category upgrade to AquaClass (based on availability)
  • 5% discount on beverage package upgrades (if booked prior to the sailing)
  • 10% discount on internet package upgrades
  • 10% off laundry service
  • 25% discount on any digital or print photo package
  • $100 off The Studio photo packages
  • One free scoop of gelato

The Select tier adds bigger discounts on internet and photo packages (25% and 30% off, respectively) and priority status for the shore excursion waitlist. You’ll also get 10% savings at the spa, two garments pressed for free and, if your cruise is 12 nights or longer, a discount on a standard bag of laundry (wash, dry and fold). Finally, you’re invited to a free wine seminar event.

Related: A beginner’s guide to cruise ship loyalty programs

Reaching the Classic level takes just one cruise, no matter what type of cabin you book. Reaching the Select level can be done in just one cruise if it’s a longer sailing and you’re staying in a top suite. But a more typical cruiser sailing seven-night trips in standard balcony cabins (worth 3 points a night) would need to take eight cruises to get to the Select level.

The elite level that makes a difference

The Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Solstice (photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Being loyal to Celebrity really starts paying off when you reach the Elite and Elite Plus levels.

One of the great perks of Elite status is gaining access to the Captain’s Club Coffee Lounge, where you can enjoy a coffeehouse-style breakfast each morning. This is a particularly big deal on shore excursion days, as it means you have a relatively quiet and uncrowded place to grab a quick breakfast before heading out for a tour.

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Elites also get unlimited free drinks from the Captain’s Club menu each day between 5 and 7 p.m. at most bars and lounges across the ship. All you have to do is present your Sea Pass card. As noted above, this isn’t quite the perk it used to be, since a basic drinks package is included with all bookings now as part of the line’s new Always Included fare structure.

And if you’re sailing on a Solstice Class or Millennium Class vessel, reaching the Elite tier will get you free access to the Persian Garden spa zones on the ships — home to steam rooms, saunas and heated loungers — on one port day of your choice.

Elite level also brings:

  • 30% off internet package upgrades
  • 40% off a digital or print photo package
  • $200 off The Studio photo packages
  • 10% discount at the ship’s spa
  • 10% discount on a Premium Beverage Package upgrade (if booked before the sailing)
  • Complimentary dry cleaning for one item
  • One complimentary bag of laundry on every sailing
  • Access to a private lounge on departure day serving continental breakfast

Elite Plus kicks things up by offering a lot of the same benefits Elites get but adding another free bag of laundry; additional discounts for onboard services (including a 15% discount on specialty dining cover charges); and free cappuccinos, lattes, espresso and tea throughout your sailing.

Reaching the Elite and Elite Plus levels can be done in just a few cruises if you’re partial to the longer sailings Celebrity offers and stay in top suites. But for a more typical cruiser sailing seven-night trips in standard balcony cabins, it would take 15 sailings to reach Elite level and a whopping 36 sailings to reach the Elite Plus level.

Best elite perk

The ultimate perk for Captain’s Club members comes when you reach the top Zenith tier. You’ll get a free seven-night Bermuda or Caribbean cruise in a balcony cabin. Yep, that’s right: a free cruise. Not bad, right?

Of course, you’ll need 3,000 points to reach the Zenith tier — a number so high it’s out of reach for most cruisers. For someone who always stays in balcony cabins and prefers seven-night sailings, it would take an almost inconceivable 143 cruises to reach the Zenith tier. Put another way, you’d have to spend 1,000 days at sea with Celebrity to hit the Zenith mark.

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Still, for those who always stay in top suites, getting to Zenith after just a few years of heavy cruising is not out of the question. For those travelers in Penthouse and Reflection suites, it would require 167 days at sea. Take a few long sailings of 20 or 30 days, and you’ll be well on your way.

Once you hit the Zenith level, you’ll get another free Bermuda or Caribbean cruise after every 3,000 points you accumulate. And there’s an added twist for your second free cruise and any you accrue after that: These additional free sailings will be in an upgraded AquaClass cabin.

In offering its top-tier Captain’s Club members free cruises, Celebrity is in the company of just a handful of other lines — most notably Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.

The Zenith tier also brings several other big-deal perks. For example, you’ll get priority seating in ship theaters, priority embarkation while ships are in port and the ability to stay on ships longer on debarkation day.

Zenith members also enjoy a bevy of freebies, such as laundry, automatic premium beverage upgrades and automatic premium internet upgrades. Round that out with discounts on specialty dining (25% off), spa (20% off) and photo packages (50% off) as well as nice little touches like upgraded bath amenities in your cabin, and you can see why it pays to attain Celebrity’s top status.

As is often the case with cruise line loyalty programs, Celebrity customers do not have to requalify for status each year. Captain’s Club members keep their points at the end of each year and continue to accrue points indefinitely. That means that someone who hits Zenith status will remain at that top tier level forever (or until Celebrity makes a change to the program).

Such “forever status” is one of the great allures of cruise line frequent cruiser programs. Most airline frequent flyer programs, by contrast, require loyalty members to requalify for status each year.

Insider tip: Higher-tier members of Celebrity’s Captain’s Circle get reciprocal benefits when sailing with sister line Royal Caribbean. The reciprocal benefits start once you reach the Select level in the Celebrity program, which will bring you Platinum-level benefits in Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society. Captain’s Club members at the Elite, Elite Plus and Zenith level will receive reciprocal benefits in the Crown & Anchor Society at the Diamond level.

Bottom line

Celebrity may have one of the better cruise line loyalty programs. Like many others, it’s a bit stingy on the truly valuable perks at its lower tiers. But as you rise through the six levels, you’ll quickly reach a point where your status gets you a lot of interesting perks, discounts and freebies. We’re especially fond of the access to a private breakfast lounge that comes with Elite status. There’s nothing like having your own private hideaway in the mornings. And, of course, nothing competes with the free cruise benefit that comes with top-tier Zenith status.

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Featured image of courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

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