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Opening Magic Kingdom

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Disney Cruise Line Flat Lines Castaway Club Level On Board Credits For Future Cruises

We will be sailing again soon, with Disney of course.  It will be our 5th Disney Cruise, making us Silver Level Castaway Club Members. . . for the last time!  For the cruise after that one we would be Gold Level Members and therefore in line to receive a larger on-board credit for our cruise, until today. 

Word on the web is that Disney Cruise Line is flat lining the on-board credit for rebooking your next cruise while sailing to the same for all. . . no matter the Castaway Club Level.

Castaway Club, which Disney Cruise Line guests are a part of after their first sailing, is a 3 tied system with Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  The more cruises, the higher guests climb on the tiered system and the benefits increase with the climb as well.

Previously, the on-board credits for booking your next cruise while sailing on your current one went like this:

Silver Members
Sailing of 6 Nights or Less = $100.00
Sailing of 7 Nights or More = $200.00

Gold Members
Sailing of 6 Nights or Less = $150.00
Sailing of 6 Nights or More = $275.00

Platinum Members
Sailing of 6 Nights or Less = $200.00
Sailing of 7 Nights or More = $350.00

I was planning on booking our 6th cruise for the Disney Fantasy, which would be a 7 night sailing and looking forward to the $275.00 on board credit for the cruise.

But now, all on board credits for future cruise sales while on the ships, will be at the Silver Member Level of $100.00 or $200.00 depending on the length of your cruise regardless of a guest’s Castaway Club Membership level.

I’m disappointed.  I don’t often say that when it comes to anything Disney, but this is, for lack of a better word, a bummer.  I put on board credit amounts into our cruise budget to offset costs for shore excursions, photo packages, adult beverages, purchases in the ship’s shops, etc. 

Now, this info comes from a source other than Disney Cruise Line, so maybe, just maybe, there is an off chance that the info is wrong and we will be pleasantly surprised, but I doubt it.  Typically this type of info doesn’t make it into the world for public consumption without a large bit of truth behind it. 

So, why would Disney Cruise Line making this change?  Well, the on board credit for a future cruise isn’t technically a Castaway Club Member benefit. . . more of an incentive or bonus, if you will.  Most likely, it’s a cost savings measure.

And, maybe Disney Cruise Line no longer feels this incentive is needed to increase the amount of future cruise sales on the ship.  I mean, we’re usually “sold” by the time we reach Gold or Platinum level anyway.

Even more bad news, guests who have previously booked a cruise on board with the previous tiered on board credit levels, will lose the credits if they move the date of their cruise--and will get the flat lined on board credits instead.  Guests sometimes make a "dummy" cruise reservation by selecting a date, paying the deposit, getting the on board credits for the booking, then change the date of their cruise once they hit land.  Some guests change the date multiple time still keeping the incentives from the on board booking. 

Will this change keep me from rebooking our next cruise while I’m sailing?  Most likely, no.  But it may keep me from spending as much money as I might have before.  Time will tell if this change makes a difference for Disney Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line guests.

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