Worth It? 15+ Questions & Answers About the Carnival CHEERS! Package

If you’re taking a cruise aboard a Carnival ship, then chances are that you’ve seen mention of the CHEERS! beverage package. And you’re likely wondering if it’s worth the money.

Put simply, this package is like an “all-you-can-drink” plan that covers alcoholic and non-alcoholic purchased aboard the ship. So instead of having to pay each time you get a beer from the bar, you simply pay one flat rate and your drinks are included.

Carnival Valor

While the price may seem high to some (more than $50 per day), it easy to see that it could also offer a lot of value to those who plan to drink regularly on their cruise.

Still, there is a lot of fine print that comes along with the CHEERS! package and many people have questions about it and whether it’s a good deal for them. Below, we run through more than a dozen of the most important questions regarding CHEERS! and help you decide whether it is worth it for your next trip.

What is the CHEERS! Package?

As mentioned above, the beverage package is like a buffet for drinks on the ship. The “regular” way to purchase drinks on the ship is to buy them individually — so you pay the menu price for every beer or cocktail or soda that you drink. For some people that can put a damper on the fun. Instead of enjoying their drink, they are thinking of the bar tab that awaits their account at the end of the cruise.

CHEERS! allows these people to instead pay a flat daily fee per person to enjoy all the drinks they would like. They pay the same amount each day whether they have two beers or if they have ten cocktails. It makes it much easier to budget for the cruise and enjoy yourself without worrying about how much you’ve spent.

The package covers a wide variety of drinks, including everything from bottles of water to sodas to energy drinks to beer and cocktails. Basically, if you can drink it, it’s likely included in the CHEERS! package.

How much does CHEERS! Cost?

As of 2020, the CHEERS! package aboard Carnival costs $51.95 per person, per day — if bought ahead of time. If your cruise is for three or four days, the price is $54.95 per person, per day if bought prior to your cruise.

On top of that, the cruise line charges an 18% gratuity charge. Therefore, the actual total cost is $61.30/$64.84 per person, per day for people who buy the package before boarding the cruise.

If you wait to purchase the beverage package until you board the ship, the price rises to $56.95 per day, plus 18% gratuity (or $59.95 for three or four-day cruises). The total cost is $67.20/$70.74 for those who wait.

You are charged this amount every day you are on the cruise — no matter if you are in port or at sea. It also doesn’t matter if you drink nothing on a certain day, or have 15 drinks. Each day is charged.

Is gratuity included in the price?

An 18% gratuity is automatically included when you purchase the package for a total of $61.30 per day (ahead of time) or $67.20 (once on the ship).

The $51.95/$54.95 or $56.95/$59.95 “headline” price that’s advertised doesn’t include gratuity, but it will be included on your final charge.

When you get a drink from the bar, you are not charged an additional gratuity when you have the package.

Cost of a Cheers! drink package on Carnival

How old do you have to be to buy the CHEERS! package?

Passengers must be 21 years old to buy the package. Even though the drinking age may be lower in the ports you visit, Carnival goes by the 21 year age limit that’s the law in the United States.

Does everyone in the cabin have to purchase the package if one person does?

Yes. All adults over 21 must purchase the beverage package if one person does. This requirement is likely to help stem the incentive for people to share the package by only purchasing it one time.

We’ve heard stories of Carnival relaxing this requirement if there is some sort of extenuating circumstance (such as the other person in the cabin is pregnant). However, if the other person doesn’t drink or simply doesn’t want the package, they will still have to buy it.

How do I buy the CHEERS! Package?

The easiest and cheapest way to purchase the package is to book it online through the Carnival Fun Shops after you’ve booked your cruise. You can also call them at 1-800-522-7648 and request the package be added to your account. Remember, booking the CHEERS! package ahead of time gives you a cheaper rate.

If you wait until you board the ship, you can head to a bar and request to purchase the package. There are also tables set up the first day advertising the package.

Carnival Cheers beverage package
Fancy “umbrella” drinks are included with the beverage package.

What’s included in the package?

The good news is that most drinks served on the ship are included in the beverage package. According to the cruise line, all “spirits, including cocktails, cognacs, whiskies and other spirits, as well as beer (including self-serve beer stations – PYOB) and wine and champagne by the glass, with a $20 USD or lower menu price per serving” are eligible.

In addition, you can drink the following with your package:

  • Virgin frozen cocktails
  • Sodas and juices
  • Specialty coffees
  • Milkshakes
  • Energy and sports drinks
  • Bottled water

There is also a 25% discount off the menu price for wine and champagne by the bottle and drinks over $20 per serving.

What’s NOT included?

While pretty much any drink from a bar is included, there are some exceptions that you will still be charged for, even if you purchase the CHEERS! Package:

  • Drinks in souvenir glasses
  • Alcohol by the bottle (except beer)
  • Drinks offered at the gangway (welcome beverages)
  • Room service alcohol or mini-bar drinks
  • Shareable drinks like buckets or pitchers
  • Fresh-squeezed orange juice served in the Havana Bar

In other words, stick with drinks served at the bar if you want to keep from spending extra.

What about liquor rules in Texas and New York?

If you are sailing from Galveston or New York, you might have heard there are strange laws affecting alcohol sold on cruise ships. Due to state laws, Carnival can’t activate the CHEERS! package until the second day of the cruise.

If you purchase the package when sailing from one of these ports, you won’t pay for the package on the first day of the trip, but you also will have to purchase drinks instead of having them included. The package will activate at 6:00 a.m. on the second day of the cruise. For more on alcohol rules on a cruise from Texas, click here.

Can I share the package?

No. Sharing of the package is expressly prohibited. In fact, stopping passengers from sharing of the package is likely why Carnival requires all guests in a stateroom to purchase the package if one person does so. If caught sharing, you can lose your package privileges.

Do I have to buy the package for the entire cruise?

Yes. The package is sold only for the entire trip. You can’t pick and choose dates that you want to purchase nor can you purchase it halfway into the cruise. That means you will pay for the CHEERS! package even if you are in port or don’t feel like drinking one day.

How many drinks can I buy at one time?

You can only purchase one beverage at a time. There is a five-minute waiting period between drinks. This is likely to discourage sharing. If you want to purchase more than one drink, you can charge one to your drink package and simply pay for the other on your onboard account. Or just wait five minutes

Is there a daily limit to how many drinks you can have?

Yes. Carnival allows up to 15 alcoholic drinks per day (6:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.). After that, the guest will not be served any additional alcoholic beverages.

There is no limit on non-alcoholic drinks, so drink all the bottled water and sodas that you want!

Can I order a “double”?

Want to spice up your drink with an extra shot? You can’t do it on the beverage package. According to Carnival, a double shot is the same as ordering two drinks and is prohibited. 

How will the bartender know I have purchased the CHEERS! Package?

When the bartender swipes your card, your account will let them know that you’ve purchased the CHEERS! package. As well, they place a sticker on your card that identifies you as having purchased the package.

Does it work on Carnival’s private islands or in ports?

No. Even though Carnival runs private islands, the drink package doesn’t work there. It also doesn’t work in ports of call like Cozumel or Nassau. That doesn’t mean you are out of luck on port days.

As long as you are on the ship, you can use the CHEERS! package from the ship’s bars. So if you decide to hang out on the ship during port days when you return, you can still be served.

What about Buying a Round of Drinks?

If you are enjoying time with friends, you might want to buy everyone a round. In that case, you can. The first drink will apply to your drink package, but the rest of your drinks will go on your onboard account.

Is the CHEERS! drink package worth it?

That depends on your personal preferences. Remember that the CHEERS! package from Carnival has to 1) be purchased for every day of the cruise and 2) be purchased by every adult member of the cabin. Including 18% gratuity, the price per day is more $60 per person.

For reference, the price of alcoholic drinks are roughly:

  • Beer: $6-8 per drink
  • Cocktails: $8-14 per drink
  • Wine: $8-14 per glass

Meanwhile, you can only use the package on the ship, so if you are out exploring ports of call, you’ll need to pay for drinks out of pocket.

How much you plan to drink will help you decide if the CHEERS! package is right for you.

To help you figure things out, we’ve put together the Drink Package Calculator to make it easier to estimate whether you should purchase the package.

Have more questions about the package? Let us know in the comments below…

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Worth It? 15+ Questions & Answers About the Carnival CHEERS! Package

95 COMMENTS

  1. Where can I take my personal bottle of wine I bring on board with me? Do I have to stay in my room with it or may I take it on to the deck?

  2. Can I get myself and my wife a drink if we both have the package and I bring her card with me? Or would each of us have to go to the bar?

    • Not 100% sure, but we’d guess yes. At worst you’d have to wait 5 minutes for a second drink or both go to the bar. We’re sure it happens all the time, however.

    • they never would let us bring two cards up. we switched to another cruise line and they would let you bring up 4 if you could carry them. we’re in havana this year so i’m hoping we can do it cuz they should be able to see us!

  3. This article is incorrect. You cannot even purchase a double even if you want to buy it. You cannot purchase a bucket of beer even if you elected. This is not allowed with the Cheers package. It was extremely frustrating and felt like we dis something wrong by buying this package.

  4. Are the drinks watered down for this program? We just went
    To an all inclusive in Mexico and the drinks had little to no alcohol in them. Is it the same on this cheers program?

    • NEVER . . and we’re NOT lightweights. they take care of you. we usually find our favorite bartender, tip them well, and we’re taken care of the whole time.

  5. I did not feel drinks were watered down and I also found I could request wine by the glass of better wines (not layer cake, etc). Also, there is value in being able to get bottled water at every meal and coffee, iced coffee, spiked coffee :). I feel it work for us. Thank you,

    • According to the rules we’ve seen, yes — if another adult in the cabin buys the package. Even so, we suggest giving them a call and seeing if they might give you a break given the age.

    • We don’t believe it does. In fact, we’ve never noticed a bar be open on debarkation morning. You also don’t pay for the debarkation day in the package price.

    • We’ve always gone into the Main Dining Room for breakfast on departure and have been able to order mimosas and bloody marys for breakfast without paying anything other than the tax (just like the first day of the cruise).

  6. Daughter is 20 she plans on drinking after we leave port , do I have to get her cheers package, she is in same room as wife and I whom do have cheers. 2nd if I dont have to get it for her can I?

  7. Can you bring more than wine unboard? Does the Sunrise Cruise offer a soda package? I drink about 2 drinks a month, cheers not for me but it would be for my husband.

    • Wine, champagne, and a small amount of non-alcoholic drinks are allowed. No beer or hard liquor. Carnival does have a soda package as well.

  8. If I don’t buy the cheers program is there a limit to what drinks I buy. ie can I buy 16 or 17th drink if I get to that number or is 15 the maximum package or no package

  9. Hi I got the bottomless bubbles and someone said this is a better deal – can I change and get the cheers card and pay the difference in price – I thought you could only get alcoholic drinks that’s why I went with the other card

    • We’d need to know more details for your specific situation. The CHEERS! package includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. If you aren’t going to drink alcohol, then we’re not sure how it would be a better details because the CHEERS! package is much more expensive.

  10. How serious are they about this whole room has to purchase the cheers package? We are going on a bachelor party soon and I wanted To get it but two other guys in my room don’t? If I wait To purchase it when I board Will they sell me the cheers package to just me?? How will they know how many people are in my room and how many don’t purchase the cheers package? Can or will they look it up before they sell me the package? Thx

    • It’s always worth a shot. We haven’t tried to purchase in the different scenarios that you’ve mentioned.

      They should be able to tell how many people are in your cabin when they scan your card.

    • They know how many people are in your room and they know who they are so they will charge you that way. If you have a couple of other buddies who DO want to purchase the package, you should room with them, that way you’re all covered/paying for it and the other guys aren’t. Otherwise you won’t be able to cover the price of the whole package unless you either A. Pay for everyone else in your room to have it too, or B. Force them to pay for it, even if you don’t.

  11. Can my friendAnd I pay for one cheers package together seen that we are not heavy drinkers And won’t be drinking every day. Please let me know
    thank you

  12. Will alcoholic drinks at dinner be covered by the Cheers! package? We purchased Bottomless Bubbles last year and sodas at dinner were NOT covered by the package and we ended up paying extra for them, even though we’d paid about $10/day for the package.

    • That’s surprising to hear about the soda not being covered. Your dinner drinks should be covered. If you are worried about it, stop at a bar on your way into dinner just to be sure.

  13. Great article, thank you! 2 questions- do you get a “soda cup” if you buy the Cheers program and does anyone know anything about taxes charged per drink on an Alaska sailing from Seattle?

    • No, the cocktails are full-sized. They come in full-sized glasses. We’ve never seen them fill passenger’s cups, likely due to health rules. There’s nothing stopping you from pouring it from the glass they serve into your Yeti.

  14. How much is soda pckg? And do they limit the amount you can have? Can you not purchase alcohol pckg and pay for drink? What if the people in cabin want 2 different packages?

  15. I’m very picky about what wines and liquor I will drink. Is there a way to see which liquors and wines will be in the bars? For liquor I’m specifically wanting to know if amaretto is available and for wines I’m wondering which if any moscato’s (undeveloped palate) they have? Thanks!!

    • What’s available can vary from bar to bar and there are lots of choices. We don’t have a list of every alcohol served, but it’s likely they will have something you’ll like!

  16. Do you have to purchase cheers prior to boarding? And do you pay for it prior to cruising or once you disembark the ship at the final destination you pay your final provisions?

    • You can buy it cheaper if you buy online ahead of time. It’s slightly more on the ship to purchase. If you wait to buy it on the ship, you’ll pay for it at the end of the cruise.

  17. Just wondered if you are on a cruise that embarks 3/21 and disembarks on 3/29 – are we charged for 8 days of Cheers or only 7 – as you miss a lot of drinking on the first day you board the ship.

    • So it’s listed as an 8-day cruise? In that case, it’s a charge for eight days. The first day counts. The day you get off the ship does not.

  18. BY Chance does anyone have a working promo code for the Cheers package? there is a space to put a code in but not sure if they even have one. would be awesome if someone could hook it up with a discount code.

  19. I have a question about the one drink at a time purchase rule.

    Does that apply to the non alcoholic drinks as well? Or would I be able to go up to a bar and get a frozen alcoholic drink and a coke at the same time without being charged?

  20. Can we use our Cheers Program in all areas such as all restaurants, pool, casino, bars? We went on Oceana and restaurants weren’t included.

    • Yes, it will be included. The last bar menu we saw had San Pellegrino and Perrier aboard, but that was before the switch to Pepsi. You can also bring a dozen cans of anything non-alcoholic if you have a favorite brand.

  21. Hi, when having purchased the Cheers package – can we then go directly to the bar after bording? Or do we have to wait until the ship has left the port?
    Thank you in advance.
    Otto

    • Depends on where you sail from. For most ports you can use it on the first day while the ship is in port (but you will be charged state tax if still ported). Texas and New York don’t allow drink packages, so your package will start the second morning.

    • No, Carnival keeps the prices steady. There’s the discounted rate before you sail and then the higher rate on the ship.

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