If you choose the Classic Beverage Package package as a promotional perk when booking a cruise with Celebrity, brace yourself to pay a little more than you thought.
Starting October 10, your promotional drink package will now come with a $14 per person per day surcharge, according to a report from Cruise Critic. During a 7-day cruise, that cost would mean an extra $196 for a couple that selected the drink package perk.
Celebrity had offered the $59 per person, per day drink package as a free promotional item, along with other choices like included gratuities, unlimited high-speed Internet, or onboard credit.
Cruzely reached out to Celebrity for comment. The cruise line told us the following:
“The Celebrity Cruises brand is synonymous with exquisite food and beverage offerings, which is why we have been awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for seven consecutive years. In order to continue offering our guests the very best in wine and spirits, effective October 10, 2019, when selecting “Beverage” as one of the perks on offer, the total cruise fare will slightly increase.
Why now? Since we began offering perks, we have not increased package pricing for our guests. We’ve been absorbing the increased cost and utilization of beverage perks for some time, and are now updating the fare to reflect this.”
The new charge only applies to Celebrity guests who choose the beverage package as a promotional perk. The cost of standalone drinks package is not affected by this change.
We did go to the Celebrity website and found no mention yet of the increased cost. As well, when booking a sample cruise the charge didn’t appear yet when the beverage package perk was selected.
So if you want to book the drink package perk without seeing this extra charge, then we suggest doing so before October 10.
One thing to note about Celebrity and other “perks” offers is that it can be more expensive to book a cabin with these specials.
For instance, during our search we found a sample Celebrity cruise that was $699 per person for the Veranda (balcony) stateroom without any freebies, but the same room was $959 — $260 more per person — if you wanted to choose two free perks and have a refundable deposit.
Meanwhile, the practice of adding an extra charge to free perks is not unique to Celebrity.
Norwegian Cruise Line charges guests who select a Premium Beverage Package as part of their “Free at Sea” deal a 20% gratuity on the value of the package. That comes out to about $20 per person, per day.
Skift’s Marie Lenhart recently wrote how “low base fares and promotional offers often don’t come close to reflecting what the actual cost of the cruise will be.” As a smart cruise buyer, it’s important that you weigh all your options to find the best value for you. A deal without the promotional perks may actually end up being cheaper for you.
What do you think of Celebrity’s new policy regarding surcharges added to the drink package perk? Let us know in the comments below.