Cruise line drink packages are a big deal. That’s because when it comes to taking a cruise, people like to have a good time. And that good time usually involves alcohol flowing freely. No wonder there are so many bars on a modern cruise ship.
That’s why many people are interested in “all you can drink” packages that cruise lines offer. The appeal of these packages is easy to see. You pay one set amount, and then you don’t have to worry about running up a huge bar tab.
Instead, you simply head to the bar, order whatever you want, and get back to the fun. Want a beer? A glass of wine? A cocktail? You only need to flash your room key and you’ll get it. (Drink packages also include things like soda and water.)
But before you rush out and buy the drink package, there are some things you should know. We’ve rounded up some of the biggest questions — and answers — about the cruise line beverage packages to help you get a better idea of if it’s the right thing for your next cruise.
In This Article...
How Much Do Beverage Packages Cost?
You would think that the cost of the beverage packages would be straightforward. Unfortunately, the cruise lines like to give people a lot of different options, which make things a little more complicated. Below, we’ve listed the recent prices of specific packages to give you an idea of what you’d pay.
Carnival offers the CHEERS! Package, which covers nearly every beverage -- alcoholic or non-alcoholic -- on the ship, up to $20 per drink. The price is $59.95 per person, per day if bought prior to your cruise or $64.95 per person, per day if bought on the ship.
Note that both prices will have an 18% gratuity tacked on. The final price per day is $70.74 if bought before the cruise and $76.64 if you wait to buy on the ship.
See our complete guide to the Carnival CHEERS! Drink Package here.
Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package covers pretty much any beverage on the ship, up to a $14 per drink limit. Prices vary for this package, depending on your cruise and the ship that you sail.
At last check, the package costs between $63-$89 per day (Royal Caribbean charges different prices depending on the specific cruise), plus an 18% service charge. That comes out to a total of around $74-$105 per day.
One thing to note is that once you book your cruise, Royal Caribbean will often have large discount offers if you pre-book the drink package, which brings the cost down considerably. For example, during a recent cruise we saw an offer of 20% off the drink package if bought beforehand.
See our complete guide to the Royal Caribbean Beverage Package here.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian offers the Unlimited Open Bar Package, which covers just about any drink up to $15. The cost is $109 per person, per day, plus an additional 20% gratuity, for a total of $130.80. Norwegian often offers "free" drink packages as a perk on some sailings, but you have to still pay the gratuity.
The cruise line also has a higher-end beverage package called the Premium Plus Beverage Package. This covers all drinks served by the glass on the ship, no matter the cost. It runs $138 per person, per day. With the 20% gratuity, that comes to $165.60 each day.
See our guide to Norwegian's drink packages here.
Princess Cruise Lines
Princess offers its Plus Beverage Package covers any available beverage up to $15 per drink. The package costs $64.99 per person, per day or $76.70 with the required 18% service charge.
They have also added a Premier Beverage Package that offers drinks up to $20 per glass. This package runs $84.99 per day, plus and 18% gratuity. That comes to a total of $100.29 each day.
Note: Princess offers drink packages as part of their Princess Plus and Princess Premium deals. These programs include the drink package, wi-fi, gratuities, and more, for less than the daily cost of the drink package. If you plan to purchase a drink package, you'll save money (and get more perks) with these offers.
Celebrity offers different drink packages, billed as the Classic and Premium packages. Prices and what's included will vary depending on which package you purchase.
The highest-end offering is the Premium Package, which gives you practically any drink you could want up to $17 per glass. The price starts $109 per day, with an additional 20% service charge, for a total of $130.80.
There is also the Classic Package, which offers fewer options and drinks by the glass up to $10 each. It starts at $89 per night. Including gratuity you will pay $106.80.
Note: Celebrity now offers an "Always Included" program, where all passengers have gratuities, the Classic Package, and wi-fi included with their cruise.
In late 2021, MSC updated its drink package offerings with a new lineup. Now the cruise line offers the Easy Package ($38 per person, per day, with select drinks), Easy Plus ($49 per person, per day, with drinks up to $9 each), and the Premium Extra ($69 per person, per day, with drinks up to $15 each).
In addition, MSC charges a 15% service charge on the package pricing if booking on the ship. If you book before your cruise, then this charge is waived.
See our complete guide to MSC drink packages here.
Do I Have to Buy a Drink Package?
Absolutely not. Drink packages are completely optional. In fact, most people simply pay for each individual drink. When you do that, you'll be charged each time you get a beverage and don't forget the extra gratuity -- usually around 18% -- that's tacked on.
Just know that if you buy the package, you can't change your mind later and get your money back. So be absolutely sure you want it before you purchase.
What Is Included in the Drink Package?
To start, you should know that each drink package on each cruise line is a little different. There will be slight variations on what all they include.
But in general, if you get a drink package then you'll get alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine, and cocktails up to a certain dollar limit per drink. This limit is normally around $15, depending on the cruise line and package. This covers most drinks on the ship, but some high-end beverages may still be an extra cost.
Most drink packages also include a number of non-alcoholic drinks including soda, bottled water, and juices. There are usually no price limits and few restrictions on non-alcoholic drinks included with your package.
What Is Not Included?
Even if you have the drink package, that doesn't mean everything on the ship is available to you. While rules will vary among cruise lines, usually all the following are excluded from drink packages:
- 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
Most drink packages also have limits on the cost of the drink they will cover.
So if there is a $15 per drink limit, it will cover drinks up to that amount. If you want a beverage that's more than $15 per glass, then you'll pay extra for the amount over $15. So an $18 drink would cost you $3.
The one outlier is MSC. At last check, your drink package only covers drinks up to the price limit. Anything above that and you have to pay for the entire drink. So if your drink package is only good for drinks up to $9, a $12 drink will cost you the full amount, not $3. (Keep in mind that policies like this can change.)
Are There Limits in How Many Drinks I Can Get?
The only cruise lines we know to have any limits on the number of drinks you can order are Carnival and Princess (which is owned by Carnival Corporation). They have a 15-drink limit on alcoholic beverages during the 24-hour period that runs from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. Non-alcoholic drinks aren't included in the 15-drink total.
So if you have 15 alcoholic drinks, you can't order another until the next day, but you can have all the waters or sodas that you want.
While other cruise lines may not set explicit limits, if you are obviously intoxicated, then don't be surprised if you are cut off from ordering any more drinks.
As well, there are often waiting periods (normally around five minutes) between drink purchases.
Do I Have to Buy Beverage Packages For Every Day of the Cruise?
Yes. You can't simply decide you are going to go wild one day and buy the package for that single day. Nor can you pick and choose the days you want to buy it.
If you purchase the package, it is charged for every day you are on the ship. It doesn't matter if you are in port for a day, you are still charged. This is one of the main drawbacks of the beverage package.
Also, keep in mind that the drink package is sold on the first day or two of the cruise. You can't decide halfway through the trip that you want it. You'll need to buy it early.
Does Everyone in the Cabin Have to Purchase the Beverage Package?
Often yes, if one person in a cabin buys the package, all adults will need to as well. That said, the rules do vary depending on the cruise line you are sailing.
Carnival requires that each adult in a stateroom purchase a drink package if one person does. So if a husband purchases the package but the wife doesn't drink, she must still purchase the drink package as well.
Royal Caribbean requires adult passengers in a cabin to all purchase the package if one person does.
Norwegian Cruise Lines requires each adult in the stateroom (and additional staterooms if you are traveling under the same payment method) to purchase the same drink package.
Princess does not specifically say that all passengers in a cabin have to purchase the drink package.
Celebrity Cruises spells out detailed terms of their drink package, including age restrictions, and that "all guests wishing to purchase a Drink Package to do so for ALL guests of legal drinking age in the same stateroom."
MSC Cruises requires each adult to purchase the drink package if one person does. If you are traveling with a minor, then they will need to have the non-alcoholic drink package.
Bottom line: Except for a few cases, you should expect everyone has to buy it if one person does.
What If I'm Traveling With a Minor or Someone That Can't Drink?
Maybe you are traveling with someone in recovery, is pregnant, or a minor who can't drink. In that case, you'll want to call the cruise line to explain the situation.
They will make accommodations to where that person doesn't have to buy the alcoholic package. It may still be that they need to buy a non-alcoholic package. You may also have to provide some sort of proof of a medical condition that means a person can't drink.
Can You Share Drink Packages on a Cruise?
It's tempting with unlimited drinks to do what we've all thought -- one person buys the package and just gives a drink to the person they are traveling with.
Every cruise line has rules against this. If you are caught, you could lose your drink privilege.
That said, unless you are blatantly ordering drinks and then handing off to other people, it's almost impossible for you to be caught sharing drinks. If you are discreet, the chances of your being caught are minimal.
Do I Have to Pay Gratuity on the Drink Package?
Gratuity is added onto the cost of the package. So when you purchase the package, you'll see an additional gratuity charge tacked on to the total (typically around 18%, depending on the cruise line). So a $60 package, for example, will end up costing around $71 per day.
When you then use the package at the bar, you aren't charged an additional gratuity. It's already taken care of with the cost you paid for the package. There may be a line for an additional tip on the receipt if you are feeling generous.
Do Cruise Line Drink Packages Work in Port or Private Islands?
In most cases, the drink package only works on the ship. That's because most ports of call aren't affiliated with the cruise line. So when you port in Cozumel, you are headed into Mexico -- not an extension of the cruise ship.
That said, drink packages work in some private islands that are run by the cruise line. For instance, CocoCay -- Royal Caribbean's private island -- allows you to use the package while in port. MSC's Ocean Cay also allows you to use your drink package in port.
This isn't the case everywhere, however. Notably, Harvest Caye -- operated by Norwegian -- doesn't offer the use of drink packages (though NCL's Great Stirrup Cay does allow the use of drink packages). Carnival's Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays also don't offer the use of the onboard drink package.
Bottom line: Your drink package won't work in ports of call, but there is a possibility if you are visiting a private island run by a cruise line.
Keep in mind being able to use the package in port is a BIG deal. It's essentially an extra day that you can get your money's worth versus spending out of pocket when you are off the ship.
How Do I Buy Drink Packages?
If you want to purchase one of the drink packages for your cruise, the best way is to either call your cruise line or go online to book through your reservation.
It's usually better to book online ahead of time because there are often discounts for early purchases. For instance, we've seen discounts of 30-40% on some drink packages for booking early.
If you want the best rate, definitely do not wait to book once you are on the ship. Rates are often highest when purchasing on board. Even so, if you wait, you'll find tables setup around the ship offering the package. You can also just head to the nearest bar and ask about buying it.
Other Things to Know Before Purchasing
Before you pull the trigger on buying the drink package, you should know that just because you purchase the unlimited beverage package on your cruise doesn't mean you can drink anything in sight.
- Most packages have limits on what's available, excluding drinks that are above a certain price limit (usually $12-15). If you are the sort of person that only drinks the highest-end beverages, then you might want to check and make sure your particular drink is included in the package. If you go over that amount, the per-drink limit will be deducted from the cost and you will need to pay the difference.
- If you are a wine drinker, you can't have whole bottles of wine with the packages, although you can get wine by the glass. If you want to purchase the whole bottle, having the drink package usually entitles you to a significant discount (20-40%) off the purchase price.
- You can't use the drink packages to buy whole bottles of liquor in the ship's duty-free shops.
- Drink packages don't apply to drinks from your in-room mini bar. You'll be charged full price for those beverages.
- You can only get one or two drinks at a time with most drink packages. There is often a short waiting period (5 minutes) in between buying drinks.
Are Cruise Drink Packages Worth It?
Whether or not a drink package is worth it depends on how much -- and how often -- you drink. We would guess that for most people, the costs don't justify purchasing an all you can drink package.
You can use our drink package calculator to see if it's worth it for you.
Consider that a beer on the ship costs between $6-8, before gratuity. For a drink package running $60 per day, you'd have to drink about 8-10 beers each and every day -- including on days when you are in port -- to get your money's worth.
If you like more expensive drinks like cocktails, the math works a little more in your favor. A $10-14 cocktail means you'd have to drink about 5-7 drinks every day to make it worth your while.
Many people might be able to keep this sort of pace up for a couple of days, but it can be tough to do that for every day of your cruise. Also keep in mind if you have to spend more to purchase the drink package for everyone in the cabin, even if they don't want it.
There is one benefit to consider, even if you don't come out ahead financially. Some passengers love knowing exactly what they will spend with the package and not having to worry about every nickel and dime they spend on drinks.
With the drink package you aren't going to be surprised by a high bill at the end of your cruise. You'll know exactly what you're spending right upfront.
Are There Other Benefits to Drink Package Beyond Saving Money?
The biggest point of the packages is that they can save you money if you plan to drink your fill on a cruise. But there are some other benefits beyond just the potential money saved.
As mentioned above, some people enjoy that they can get the package and not have to worry about the bill. Instead of keeping a tally of what they've spent, they can just relax and know exactly what they are paying each day. That gives some peace of mind.
But there is another benefit -- the option of trying new things without worrying about the cost. Head to a bar normally to try something new, and you pay out of pocket whether you love it or hate it. With the drink package, you can try drinks you normally wouldn't order without the risk.
If you happen to not like it, you didn't pay anything extra thanks to the package. You can head right back and order something else. That's a bonus that many people don't realize.
Have you purchased a drink package before? Was it worth it? Let us know in the comments below.
- Complete Guide to Carnival's CHEERS! Package
- Everything to Know About Royal Caribbean Drink Package
- Complete Guide to Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Packages
- Complete Guide to MSC Cruises Drink Packages
I am going on a cruise in the carnival conquest in june 2023 3 days and coming home on the 4th day. Is it worth getting the cheers drink package?
That will depend on your style of cruising. In general, the shorter cruises you are more likely to get your money’s worth as keeping up the pace for a few days is much easier than an entire week.
Remember, if you are not buying the alcohol package are you going to buy the beverage package, (Royal)? If so, start your calculations with that understanding. If I’m being offered the alcohol package for 82.00, that’s a lot of alcohol per day 6-7 drinks.
Now if you take the cost of the alcohol package, minus the cost of whatever other package you would purchase, say that beverage package, (need my coffee), so 82.00-32.00 or 50.00 per day for alcohol. Now that turns out to be about 4 alcohol drinks a day, and when you factor in a bloody in the morning or wine with dinner, a cocktail while mingling or a drink by the pool, it’s much easier to see the price as realistic.
We also have two cabins because we have 3 kids so putting one adult in each cabin means we don’t have to purchase the alcohol package for both of us but of course this won’t pertain to most travelers.
Exactly, my wife and may not make up the package in alcohol purchases every day (although we often do), but we always end up making up the difference and coming out ahead when you factor in other drinks. Bottled or canned water always costs money on board, and we always stock up on those for shore excursions. We also like to go to the onboard coffee shop, which isn’t cheap, and I also like to drink seltzer water. If you’re burned out on alcohol, you can always get mocktails too. We always get our money’s worth out of a drinks package on Royal or Carnival. Though, I haven’t tried NCL, that price seems a little excessive, and I’d probably go a la carte if I ever take an NCL cruise.
First time with a Princess beverage package. Princess plus $59 plus gratuity. Is there a limit on the number of drinks Or once I order as an example four beers and four wines wines I have hit my limit?
Princess has a 15 alcoholic drink limit per day.
For those that might be interested, Princess is currently offering their “Princess Plus” package for $40 per day (for the entire length of the cruise). This package includes WiFi, all gratuities, *plus* the premier drink package. All in, that makes the drink package *much* more affordable than it would otherwise be. (I’m sure this is just part of the marketing effort to bring people back after COVID, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be the case for the long term.)
That’s right. We have more details here: https://cruzely.com/is-princess-plus-worth-it-program-details-and-what-to-know/
Hi all, the hubby and I are taking a carnival cruise in october for our honeymoon. the cruise is 15 days. we are moderate drinkers and enjoy having a good time. we typically get the drink package but wondering if it will be worth the money for such a long cruise? has anyone done the drink package on such along cruise? was it worth it? Thanks so much.
Im about to go on my first cruise (Carnival) with my future husband for our honeymoon. So I see that you cannot use the CHEERS package at port, but what if at port you are just hanging out at the beach… can you get back on the ship and drink on the ship??
Absolutely. And you just can’t use the package in port in Galveston and New York because of local laws. Other ports (e.g. Miami, Tampa, etc.) have the drink package when you get on the ship.
Apart from Galveston/New York, if you’re on the ship, you can use the package.
Yes, while in port if you’re close you can get on and off ship as much as you like to eat or drink, that’s a good idea!!
I organise groups of anything from 12 to 49 persons on board a cruise.
We understand that normally two persons in a cabin both need to purchase.
I fail to understand when some cruise companies tell me that the whole group need to purchase it or nobody can have it?
Regarding gratuities, this is not a legal obligation and they can not force that type of payment.
The gratuity is added as part of the contract, so you either have it Included or don’t get the package. That protects the bartenders from being shorted, you get many who don’t even want to pay for the package and would end up tipping NOTHING.
We’re thinking of taking a 4 day cruise with our 2 teenagers next summer on Carnival. As far as alcohol goes neither of us are heavy drinkers; 5 tops/each. I read that the drink package won’t work while at port…which we will be for 2 days of the trip. The package doesn’t seem worth it for the alcohol but I’m worried about the other beverages. If getting beverages from the buffet area what drinks are usually free there? Must they be consumed in that area as well? And are we allowed to take bottled waters off the ship while at the ports? Also, I was told we could come on board with a bottle of unopened wine. Would you happen to know if we’re free to drink this in our stateroom?
Given what you’ve said, we don’t think the drink package would be worth it for you. Carnival allows you to bring on 12 unopened cans or cartons (non-alcoholic drinks) per person, as well as a bottle of wine or champagne. With four of you, you could bring pretty much anything you might need for non-alcoholic drinks.
The buffet serves tea, lemonade, water, and fruit juices. You can take them with you around the ship. And yes, you can take a bottle of water with you into port.
Hi! I am a solo traveler on Emerald Princess February 2020. I am trying to decide on the drink package. I have called Princess trying to get the prices of individual drinks. They say they have nothing. I have ‘googled’ Princess drink prices but they are ‘fuzzy’ and not all drinks are listed. Does a scotch and soda count as two: 1 for the scotch and 1 for the soda water? Also, can I order a double, realizing that I would be charged twice? Thanks.
As a rule of thumb, we say figure about $10-12 for a cocktail. Maybe a little more. A scotch and soda would just be one drink, not two. You can order a double. You’ll likely only be charged for the extra shot, not for two separate drinks. With the drink package you may not be able to order a double.
hi… we’re going on a princess cruise, and its looking like for one drinks package this is going to cost 700 dollars.. which makes me gulp .. Any suggestions? I m unlikely to need it, but my partner likes a drink.. and having looked at the comments, it sounds like not having a package can be a pain..
Not having the package isn’t a pain at all. In fact, it’s the same exact process for getting a drink — you just have a bill at the end of the cruise and need to watch your spending. We always suggest doing the math on the packages. Figure out how much you’ll drink and then see how much that would cost without the package. Cocktails cost about $10-12 each. Beer costs $6-8 each.
Hi will be cruising for the first time in October onboard Carnival. Considering the drink package and saw nothing about shots …. are these included?
Yes, the package includes “all spirits” with a menu price under $20.
I am bringing my 13 year old granddaughter on a cruise next year, can she fill up her own water bottle with water/soda at the buffet and bring it with her? Likewise myself with tea?
Yes, although we often see signs asking people not to fill up water bottles (but everyone does anyway).
First time cruising in August in Alaska.
On Celebrity ship at restaurant and buffet, are the soda fountain and regular coffee included or not?
Don’t drink alcohol. Do I need to take a package to have 2-3 soda, 2 bottle water, orange juice in the morning and regular coffee?
Generally coffee will be included, but specialty coffee will not. Soda is normally not included. If you are sticking to sodas and waters (no alcohol) then the soda package is likely a good deal for you. It’s $18 per day and includes all the items you mentioned.
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What if I only use 10 of the 15 drinks do the other 5 roll over or is it a use it or lose it type of deal?
It’s 15 per day. There’s no rollover.
Can any one tell me the drink packages on the celebrity silhouette, do these packages include wine to your room?
Wine is included in drink package, but it’s not delivered to your room. You’ll need to go to a bar to order.
FYI, I saw a deal on NCL for upgrading our stateroom on a 13 day cruise, and get the premium drink package for 150.00. Sounded like a deal until we learned that you have to pay the gratuities on the retain price if 99.99/person, per day. So add to that 150.00, 20.00 per day multiplied by 13 days. This totals 407.00 for the 13 day cruise! Ouch!
Yes, in fact, you have to pay gratuities of 20% on the free drink package in the “Free at Sea” offer. So your free package ends up costing a bundle anyway!
I am a normal person that wants to remember my vaca, so I’m not going to drink like a fish ‘because I’m on vacation.’ Notice the stats above say that only 20% of people drink enough alcohol to actually warrant the price of the drink package, which is in line with the hard sell. That leaves 80% of the rest of us that don’t need it. The general rule of sales is that hard sells are for products that don’t sell. Anything requiring that hard a sell isn’t worth buying. I got the drink package and regretted it. I paid a premium price for goods I didn’t receive.
Good luck actually getting that bottled water if you ask for it. I had to bully the staff to even get one bottled water with my ‘unlimited’ bottled water package. Its not worth it. I originally bought the package on sale so I didn’t have to deal with the harassment of ‘you can’t have one unless you have a card” but that happened anyway. If I had no card they could’ve just charged my account for that one drink, its the same level of harassment but waaay cheaper.
I had a total of one drink per day at dinner. All other liquids I ingested were free, either tap water or flavored water juices (lots of different flavors of punch) at the buffet. I don’t generally like soda, but I indulged in a total of 3 sodas during my 7 day cruise. If I had no drink package I would have bought a grand total of 8 frozen drinks and 3 sodas; everything else was free. That didn’t come close to the $235 price tag for the package. Save your money, put that amount as a credit on the account, then the $ are returned to you if you don’t use it, (or, more likely, you can apply the remainder as a tip, or pay down the ‘gratuities’ added to the account).
I am not much of a drinker of adult beverages, but hubby likes to partake while on vacation, when we first started cruising, I used to cringe every time he bought a drink, to the point of limiting myself because I was afraid of the final bill. Once we discovered the drink packages and did the math for us, there has been no turning back…..I can relax and know it was already paid for up front. I drink lots of bottled water, and always took 4 or more off the ship on port days. I enjoy specialty coffee, a few fru fru adult drinks a day, or a cold beer once in a while, that along with virgin drinks and juices, the package paid for itself for me too.
So Ill be on Holland America in February and there prices are similar to Celebrity or Princess.. the deal of $442 for seven day premium or $361 for signature seems expensive. I am trying to see if it is worth it..I imagine my desire to drink water would be about three times a day, at least 2 cups of coffee a day, not big drinkers but we are on vacation so I imagine a couple of drinks and maybe 2 can of soda..would you encourage buying the package or pay separately?
Expect bottled water to be about $2-3. Coffee at $3-4. Cocktails will run about $10-12 and sodas $2-3. Keep in mind that water and coffee can be free in the dining room/buffet. From what you’ve described, you’d spend about $50 a day on drinks — or about $350 over a seven day cruise. You can try our drink package calculator here (https://cruzely.com/cruise-line-drink-package-calculator/) although we don’t yet have Holland America. You can still estimate how much you’ll drink.
So we just returned from cruising on the Carnival Vista. I am a hardcore beer drinker and bought the Cheers package. I hit my 15 drink limit everyday, but one thing I did not know is that once you hit it…….you are CUT OFF!!! That’s crazy! The other thing is that we qualified for free drinks in the casino, but because we had Cheers, we were not given free drinks in the casino unless they counted against our Cheers package……
How did you get free drinks in the casino??
What this article doesn’t factor are your non alcoholic drinks like coffee, tea, water and smoothies as an example. Two cocktails, a glass or wine, water and a couple coffees and your over!
They DO NOT count any non alcoholic beverages towards your 15 drink limit, that limit is only alcohol, you can drink as many coffees, teas, milkshakes, mocktaiks, sodas even bottled juices or power aides as you like with 5 min in between purchases, bottled water also covered
Love Carnival’s Cheers package. I always buy it, since I travel with my teenage son, I only have to buy for me. One advantage to Carnival’s program, is each drink can cost up to $50, so it’s high end all the way.
Cruised with Celebrity recently. Have cruised with them before and loved it. This time, we were approached preboarding to enroll in a Free non-alcoholic package as we were frequent return travellers and consierge. We were told we could obtain theses drinks in one certain bar for free. We had during our entire stay 3 bottles of water and 2 steamed milk and latte. To our shock, our final statement had a charge to another bar of over$500 CND. We have been contesting this charge for nearly 3 mos and are also informing VISA for charges for which we had no service. The push to sell booze is all too obvious now…buyer BEWARE
“Do I Have to Buy Beverage Packages Every Day of the Cruise?”
On Royal Caribbean you can purchase on board as long as there are 3 days of the cruise left.
I did this when I needed to join the ship at the first port rather than the destination.
This could be a good option if the last 3 days are at sea, as it makes it worthwhile as you are not paying for the package on port days. Or if you just want to dedicate the last 3 days to partying 🙂
While you can certainly make do without a drink package (and we did when we first started cruising), we have found the convenience of the “all-in” premium packages worthwhile for us. First, because you aren’t running between decks to the buffet to get free soda or iced tea all day. Remember that the cruise lines charge for premium waters (Smart Water, Perrier, etc as well as soda at the bars, and for Cappuccino and Expresso at the buffet, and straight fruit juice at the bars). So, for example, a cappuccino or two at breakfast, 3 or 4 Smart Waters before lunch if its hot on deck another 2 or 3 in the afternoon and maybe a latte around 4pm, a cocktail before a late dinner, a glass of wine or two with dinner and maybe an aperitif with a latte and a late night cocktail or two during the entertainment or at the dance clubs and the packages start to make a lot of economic sense. Also, the drink packages cover your drinks at the cruise ship’s “private port” beaches. Finally, we find with the drink packages, you consume what you want, rather than feeling like you must finish every drink because they are so expensive. I guess our view is that this is ‘vacation’ — which is why we opt for balcony rather than interior rooms although the later is always cheaper. We factor the drink package into our mental cost estimate for the trip…no surprises on the cruise bill when checking out.
Keep an eye out for deals on drink packages ‘included’ in the fare in some specials…and recently it seems they have been offering pre-purchase or “welcome aboard” discounts on the premium package if you buy them before they leave port.
Great points all around. Thanks for sharing!