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After nearly 900 cruises, Royal Caribbean's biggest fan just hit a milestone that may never be matched

Aug. 11, 2022
5 min read
Royal Caribbean Super Mario
After nearly 900 cruises, Royal Caribbean's biggest fan just hit a milestone that may never be matched
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Mario Salcedo has finally done it.

The Royal Caribbean super fan, known in cruising circles as "Super Mario," has crossed the 10,000-point level in the line's Crown & Anchor Society — a never-before-achieved milestone that many had thought impossible to reach.

Crown & Anchor Society members earn just a single point for every night they spend on a Royal Caribbean ship, with an additional point per night for staying in a suite or cruising solo in a cabin meant for two. So hitting the 10,000-point mark in the program requires a passenger to spend many thousands of nights on a ship.

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Or, to put it another way, you would have to sail nonstop on Royal Caribbean ships for well over a decade in most cases to hit the 10,000-point level. Maybe two decades, depending on your cabin category. Maybe more.

Salcedo, who is a bit of a legend in the cruise world, has done just that.

The 70-something investment manager has lived (and worked) nearly full time on Royal Caribbean ships for more than 20 years. In a typical year, he spends just a few nights shoreside. The only major break he's had from cruising in the past two decades was when Royal Caribbean stopped operating ships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salcedo hit the 10,000-point milestone over the weekend while aboard Royal Caribbean's 3,286-passenger Explorer of the Seas. The ship departed Miami on Saturday on an eight-night voyage to the Southern Caribbean.

Top Royal Caribbean executives, including leaders of the company's Crown & Anchor loyalty program, joined Mario Salcedo (center, bottom row) in a celebration aboard Explorer of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Several of Royal Caribbean's top executives — including senior vice president for hotel operations Sean Treacy and senior vice president for marine operations Greg Purdy — joined Salcedo on board Explorer of the Seas over the weekend for a "10,000 points party" to celebrate the milestone. Also on hand were vice president for food and beverage Linken D’Souza, vice president for hotel operations Raimud Gschaider, and director for entertainment activity programming Ken Rush.

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Related: A beginners guide to cruise line loyalty programs

Salcedo rarely talks with the media and could not be reached for comment by TPG. But Royal Caribbean told TPG Salcedo had sailed on 870 cruises with the line. The company said he spent about 50 weeks a year on the line's ships.

No other cruiser has ever come close to the 10,000-point mark in the Crown & Anchor Society, where even accumulating a few hundred points is considered a major milestone for most people.

Royal Caribbean fans reach the highest tier of the Crown & Anchor Society program, the Pinnacle Club, after accumulating 700 points. For most people, that requires taking 100 seven-night cruises. Salcedo has been at that level for many years.

As a Pinnacle Club member, Salcedo is lavished with special perks, including access to a special seating area in shipboard theaters, access to shipboard concierge lounges and suite lounges, daily breakfast at a specialty restaurant that is open for Pinnacle Club members only and a flexible arrival time for boarding.

Related: The ultimate guide to picking a cruise line

Perhaps the biggest perks that Salcedo gets as a Pinnacle Club member are regular free seven-night Caribbean cruises for two. Pinnacle Club members get a free cruise upon reaching the tier and then an additional one every time they accumulate another 350 points.

Like other Royal Caribbean cruisers who reach the Pinnacle Club tier of the Crown & Anchor Society, Salcedo will remain a Pinnacle Club member for life. In a major difference from the way most airline loyalty programs work, most cruise line loyalty programs, including the Crown & Anchor Society program, do not make cruisers requalify for status every year.

In the Royal Caribbean program, your point totals never expire and only grow over time.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees