Cruise lines want to keep guests sailing with them for many years – after all, there are lots of alternatives, so it can be tempting for guests to try them all.
This is why most lines offer a loyalty program, giving guests an incentive to remain with just one cruise line. Royal Caribbean has one – the Crown & Anchor Society – and one of the mid-range tiers is the Emerald level.
What does that get you, and how do you qualify? Let’s take a look.
What is Emerald Status on Royal Caribbean?
Emerald Status is one of the mid-range tiers in Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society. It unlocks a lot of perks for you to use when booking a cruise and when you’re on a Royal Caribbean ship, all of which enhance your experience in different ways – some very minor, but others more noticeable.
How Many Points You Need For Emerald
To qualify for Emerald status on Royal Caribbean, you need 55 cruise points. You get 1 point for every night you spend on a ship in a regular Interior, Ocean View or Balcony stateroom, and 2 points if you book a suite.
This means that, if you were to only book 7-night cruises, you’d need 8 of them to qualify for the Emerald tier if you stayed in a standard stateroom. In a suite, you would be able to get to Emerald in just 28 nights, or 4 cruises.
Of course, many cruises are fewer than 7 nights. It’s all based on nights, rather than number of cruises – so if you were to book cruises lasting a fortnight, you’d reach Emerald status much sooner.
Royal Caribbean Emerald Benefits
Take a look at the full list of perks you get as a Royal Caribbean Emerald member:
1. Drinks Discounts
You’ll be given four drinks coupons to use on every Royal Caribbean cruise as an Emerald-tier member. Two are for any glass of soda, beer or wine onboard, while the other two can be used for milkshakes at Johnny Rockets.
Each coupon gives you 50% off that drink, which is a pretty useful saving, though if you already have a drinks package, then only the milkshake coupons are worth using.
Once you’ve used those coupons, you’ll also get 10% off one more drink purchase for either wine, beer or soda – after that you’ll be paying full price.
Plus, Emerald members get 50% off any coffees they buy on board. This doesn’t apply to Starbucks drinks, which are never discounted as part of the Crown & Anchor Society.
And for one final drink benefit, you’ll get a free coffee drink whenever you book a speciality restaurant dinner. Again, this excludes Starbucks.
2. Private Departure Lounge Access
At most embarkation ports that Royal Caribbean uses, they’re able to provide a private departure lounge for guests of Emerald level. This lets you arrive and then relax with a pastry and a coffee or some fresh juice while you wait to board the ship.
Only, it’s not just for Emerald-tier guests, it’s for all Crown & Anchor Society members, which includes Gold-level – AKA, anyone who has cruised with Royal Caribbean at least once before. So it’s hardly likely to be a quiet, exclusive space.
Unfortunately, Royal Caribbean doesn’t specify which ports this is available in, and it can vary. So you’ll only know if it’s offered to you when you get your boarding details sent to you.
3. WiFi Package Discounts
Anyone who chooses to wait to buy their WiFi package on the ship can get 15% off if they’re an Emerald member of the Crown and Anchor Society – the same discount as you get if you’re a Platinum member.
It’s important to note that you can’t combine this with other offers or discounts, and it’s sometimes sold with a bigger discount in the weeks leading up to your cruise. Keep tabs on the Cruise Planner app, and book it if you get a better deal than 15% off.
4. Top Tier Event Invite
Anyone in the Emerald level and cruising for at least 5 nights will get an invite to a special event onboard.
It’s not quite as exciting as it sounds, really – you’ll get an hour with senior members of the crew (sometimes the Captain, the Hotel Director, or the Cruise Director – and sometimes all three) where they’ll run through the numbers of guests onboard in each tier of the loyalty programme, and thank the highest-ranking members specially.
You do get a welcome glass of Champagne, usually, and there’ll be some music from the band. It’s the kind of event that’s worth doing once but then decide how you feel for future cruises.
5. Casino and Bingo Perks
You get some small gambling perks as an Emerald member. Firstly in the casino, you get $6 of FreePlay credit to use on the slots. Obviously $6 isn’t a lot, depending on how much you wager, and you might spend it all in just a couple of minutes. But who knows – maybe you’ll win big.
Here’s how you claim it:
- Log into your casino account using the card machine in the casino and your SeaPass
- Click on ‘PERSONAL BANKER’, then ‘TRANSFER TO GAME’ and then ‘PROMO$’
- You’ll see the free credit there, so transfer it to your account and then use it on the slot machines included in the offer
You aren’t able to cash it out until you’ve used $6, but any winnings are yours to keep. Good luck!
And when you play bingo, you get extra Jackpot cards whenever you buy a package. Emerald-tier guests get six bonus cards with their package – twice as many as Platinum guests.
6. In-Stateroom Perk – Robes & Water
There are a couple of smaller perks that you get in your stateroom when you’re an Emerald-tier guest. The first of these is bathrobes, that you can use during the cruise. You can’t keep them, though – so don’t take them home with you.
The second perk is two bottles of water per adult waiting in your stateroom for you. Not a huge gift, but it’ll save you a few bucks, and it’s nice to have water to hand at night.
7. Laundry Discounts
Cruising for at least 5 nights? You might want to pack a few less items in your suitcase, since you’ll be given a $5 discount on a bag of wash-and-fold laundry, bringing the cost down to $29.99. It’s up to you – you might just prefer to bring different outfits for each day.
You also get $5 off a $25 dry-clean or press service, which is handy if you want to take part in formal night but your outfit got a little messed up in your bags.
8. Photo Offers
Emerald-level members get 25% off any single photo (print or digital), photo package or photobook bought from the photographer onboard. This perk was updated in December 2023 – previously, you had to pay for something full price, and then you’d get 50% off your second purchase.
9. Discounts on Royal Caribbean Products
Each Royal Caribbean ship has a selection of stores onboard, and while most sell designer goods, there’ll also be some branded Royal Caribbean merch you can buy. Spend $25 or more, and you’ll save 10% as an Emerald-tier member.
10. Spa Discounts
Emerald-tier members of the Crown & Anchor Society get 15% off any spa treatments they book on the ship, except for Medi-Spa services – those are never discounted.
11. Lapel Pin
Hardly a huge perk, but it’s nice to have – once you reach Emerald-tier status, you’ll get a lapel pin to show off your loyalty. It’s delivered to you on your next cruise once you reach the status.
12. Member Newsletter
As soon as you’re a member of the Crown & Anchor Society, you’ll get a newsletter emailed to you regularly, which includes special offers and details on new ships and itineraries. It’s the same newsletter you’d already be receiving for being a Gold or Platinum member.
13. Access to Exclusive Rates
All guests in the Crown & Anchor Society get access to exclusive rates for booking their next cruise. They’re not amazing – they couldn’t be, since they’re open to anyone who has cruised with Royal Caribbean before. The cruise line has to make money, after all!
And you’ll continue to get those discounted rates on Balcony and Suite rooms, just as you did when you reached Platinum level.
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14. Loyalty Match
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are sister brands, owned by the same company. Once you reach Platinum status with Royal Caribbean – and continuing into Emerald status – you are eligible for loyalty match when you cruise with Celebrity Cruises.
This means you’ll enjoy the perks of the Select tier in the Celebrity Cruises Captain’s Club. It’s not until you’re Diamond with Royal Caribbean that you move up a tier with Celebrity.
Youth Member Benefits
I’m quite impressed with how Royal Caribbean treats children who are members of the Crown & Anchor Society. It’s a very fair system.
Basically, all guests get their own membership, including little ones, and once they start cruising they’ll build up their own points.
But if you were cruising with Royal Caribbean before your kids were born, you’d be a higher tier than them – and so Royal will match their status to yours until they’re 18. If you’re Emerald, they’ll get Emerald-level benefits, and if you progress to Diamond then so will they… Until they turn 18.
Once they hit 18, they’ll revert to the tier they’ve earned with the points built up in the background. So they might drop down a tier or two, but it’s fairer than making them cruise with parents who get better perks.
1. Ice Cream Discount
Under-18s in the Crown and Anchor Society get 50% off all ice cream bought at the ice cream parlour. So if they’re bored of the free flavours elsewhere on the ship, they can save a bit of cash on the fancy flavours instead.
2. WiFi Package Discounts
Kids get the same WiFi package discounts as their parents do – so they’ll also save 15% on any VOOM package you buy for them.
3. Buy-One-Get-One-Free Movie Rentals
When kids rent a movie in their stateroom, they get a second movie for half-price if they’re a member of the Crown & Anchor Society – it’s the same perk at all tier levels.
4. Arcade Cashback
Another perk that remains constant for kids is the cashback system for arcades. If they top up $15 of arcade credit, you’ll get $5 back on your cruise account.
If they love the arcades, let them top up $50 at a time, and you’ll get $25 back – essentially rendering the arcade games as half-price.
What Does Royal Caribbean Emerald Choice Mean?
Emerald Choice is an amalgamation of two different loyalty programmes with Royal Caribbean. The ‘Emerald’ component is the regular Crown & Anchor Society tier, which includes perks for all aspects of a cruise. The ‘Choice’ component refers to the Club Royale programme which is specifically for the casino.
Club Royale rewards players who enjoy casino games on Royal Caribbean ships, although to unlock the seriously good perks you need to spend a lot of money gambling. ‘Choice’ is the entry level for that scheme.
What Level is After Emerald on Royal Caribbean?
The next tier up in the Crown & Anchor Society with Royal Caribbean, after Emerald, is Diamond. To reach this, you need to get 80 cruise points, 25 more than the entry requirement for Emerald status.
After Diamond is Diamond Plus, although it takes guests a while to get the 175 points needed to enter that tier. Then, the final tier is Pinnacle Club, which requires a massive 700 points to qualify.
Royal Caribbean Emerald Vs Platinum
The differences between Emerald and Platinum statuses in Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society are minimal – most of the perks are identical. You’ll barely notice the difference when you move up to Emerald tier, though it’s worth sticking with it as things improve considerably if you reach Diamond status.
Here are the Emerald perks that aren’t included in the Platinum tier you’ll just have been promoted from:
- $6 FreePlay at the casino instead of $4
- Six bonus Jackpot cards with a bingo package instead of 3
- Two complimentary bottles of water in your stateroom
- A lapel pin
- An extra 5% off a photography purchase
That’s it – otherwise, all other perks are exactly the same.
Royal Caribbean Emerald to Diamond
To move from Emerald status to Diamond status with the Crown & Anchor Society, you need to reach 80 cruise points – which means cruising for 80 nights in a standard stateroom, or 40 nights in a suite.
It’s only a difference of 25 points compared to Emerald status though, so you can do it with 25 nights in an Interior, Ocean View or Balcony stateroom, or just 13 nights in a suite.
Moving up to the Diamond tier unlocks a lot of extra perks:
- 20% discount on your first drink after using the 50% off coupons
- Priority seating in the Main Dining Room
- 4 free drinks per day worth up to $14 each
- A free day of VOOM internet access per cruise
- Access to the Crown Lounge with happy hour (though if there are too many Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members on your cruise, Diamond members can be refused entry)
- Priority waiting list for shore excursions and spa treatments
- $10 discount on laundry
- A free photo when you buy a package
- 10% off digital photo packages or photobooks
- 4 free non-alcoholic drinks for youth members
Moving from the Platinum tier to the Emerald tier in the Crown and Anchor Society can feel a little deflating, if you didn’t already know about the perks list. They’re barely an improvement to what you were already receiving.
But if you think of it as being a step closer to Diamond, and the great perks that unlocks, it won’t be too disheartening.
And remember, these are all just nice bonuses anyway – you’re still getting a great cruise regardless!
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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.