Everything to Know About Royal Caribbean’s “10 Drink” Cards

If you want to drink alcohol on your cruise, you’ve historically had two options — purchase drinks one-by-one or purchase an all-inclusive drink package.

Purchasing drinks “a la carte” is perfectly fine for those who only drink a little, but the drink prices on a cruise ship can be expensive. For example, a margarita from the poolside bar on Royal Caribbean costs around $12 once gratuity is included.

Meanwhile, drink packages can offer a great value, but only if you plan to drink a considerable amount every day of the trip. At about $60 per day, you have to drink between 5-8 drinks every day of your cruise to get your money’s worth.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some sort of happy medium? A drink package that allowed you to save some money on those expensive drinks, but also didn’t mean you had to have several drinks every day of your trip to break even?

Royal Caribbean has solved that issue. The cruise line now offers a shareable “10 drink” card. The card offers you a package of 10 drinks for your cruise at a rate that can be less than buying them individually. Best of all, you can also share this package — so you can buy drinks for others — unlike restrictive all-inclusive drink packages.

This offer seemed like the perfect option for someone who wants to enjoy a few alcoholic beverages on their cruise, without having a typical drink package. That’s why on a recent cruise we tested out the cruise line’s shareable 10-drink card. Here’s everything you need to know…

Buying and Pricing

First things first, if you want to buy one of these shareable drink cards, then you need to make a little more effort than you do for other drink packages. The moment you step on the ship, you’ll see lots of advertisements for the “all-you-can-drink” beverage packages. Remember, these are the ones that charge on a per-day basis and let you drink your fill.

Royal Caribbean 10 Drink Card

However, you likely won’t see any mention of the 10-drink cards when first boarding. On a recent cruise, we didn’t even know that the cards were for sale until the Cruise Compass on day 5 (of a 7-day cruise) mentioned that they were for sale. Prior to that, there was no mention of the deal. We’re not sure if they were for sale the entire cruise, or if they aren’t available until later in the trip.

Either way, if you want to purchase the 10-drink card then you’ll need to head to any of the bars on the ship and ask. If available, you’ll get your card and charge the price to your onboard account.

How much do the cards cost? On our sailing aboard Liberty of the Seas, the card costs $79, plus 18% gratuity. That’s a total of $93.22 for 10 drinks (remember that prices can change).

How It Works & What It Covers

The card itself is nothing fancy. It’s just a card printed out with 10 circles on it. You simply present the card and the bartender will mark off each time you purchase a beverage. It’s available for use in bars around the ship, no matter where you like to drink.

You can purchase multiple drinks at one time, and as mentioned above, you can share the card. Say you are traveling with your wife and they want something to drink. Simply hand over the card and they can use it to buy what they want. Given that sharing isn’t allowed with the regular beverage packages, this is a great feature for couples who only drink a little bit.

What does it cover? The 10-drink card works much like a regular beverage package. You can use it to purchase cocktails, beer, wine, bottled water, and specialty coffees up to $12 per glass. Notably, you can’t use it to purchase canned soda or mini-bar items, however, given the price per drink, it’s doubtful you would want to use the drink card to buy these items anyway.

Getting Your Money’s Worth

Before you buy the drink card, you need to understand the math behind it. If you don’t then you could end up paying more for your drinks with the card than without.

As mentioned above, the card costs $79, plus 18% gratuity, for a total of $93.22. With 10 drinks, that means each drink costs $9.32. In other words, if you buy the 10-drink card and purchase drinks that are less than $9.32 (after adding in gratuity), then you are paying more for those beverages.

Let’s say you buy a beer on a Royal Caribbean ship with a menu price of $7. Including an 18% automatic gratuity, that comes to a total of $8.26. In this case, it’s a bad idea to use the drink package to purchase the drink.

If you buy a cocktail with a menu price of $10 ($11.80 after gratuity), then you are saving about $1.50 by using the drink card.

You’ll want to keep this math in mind when you use the card. For instance, it works on both bottled water and specialty coffees, but these cost much less than $9.32. Save the card for beer, wine, and cocktails that cost more.

It does get a little confusing trying to do the math with the automatic gratuity. To make things easy, you’ll want to stick to drinks with a menu price of greater than $8. A menu price of $8 comes out to $9.44 after gratuity is added. Just remember the rhyme “eight is great” when looking at the menu in order to get your money’s worth.

Have more questions about the Royal Caribbean “10-drink” card? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Awesome that this idea has been implemented. On the RCL facebook pages many of us have suggested it several times. Don’t forget – on the traditional all you can drink packages, they only work on the ship. So, when you are at port, you are also paying to drink in the local bars because you are off the ship. Nice to have a smaller, more manageable option.

    • We definitely liked being about to have the smaller plan. We aren’t big drinkers, but like to have a few. You just have to make sure that you are buying drinks that are worth it on the plan.

    • Never thought to ask! We saw no limit on cards. If you plan to buy a lot of drinks, you might want to look into the drink packages.

  2. Important to note that it is not a given that the drink card will be offered on every sailing. I heard it is based of sales of alcohol during that cruise. And it is not available to buy when you first board. It becomes available on about day 4 of a 7 day cruise.

      • After being given misinformation about a number of things a supervisor just informed me about the card. However, she said to get it from guest services as soon as we board. Hopefully it will be available.

        • Glad you got it straightened out with the staff. Let us know if you can get it from Guest Services when you board! We only ever heard of getting it from the bar.

  3. Does buying the 10 Drink Card for one guest qualify as the “second” Drink Package for a couple in the same cabin? We’ve had some heated discussions with RC about forcing the purchase of two Premier Packages … the best we were able to do on our last cruise was buy one Premier and one Soda package …

    Thanks for any insight you can provide …

    • Not to our knowledge. For those who aren’t familiar, Royal Caribbean requires all adult passengers in a cabin to purchase a drink package if one person does. We have found that if you call them they sometimes let one person buy the soda package as you mentioned as well.

    • Does not qualify for the 2nd person in the same cabin needing also to buy drink package.

      BUT, you can always claim “health reason” or “religious reason” that you cannot drink, then you can be exempt from the rule.

      • Somehow my initial response vanished … it requested for LL (or someone) to post where on Royal’s web site the Rules for Exclusion were posted/listed. On our most recent cruise, the RC rep stated there are no exclusions and refused to escalate our request to Supervisors up the Chain of Command … and help or insight would be appreciated … Andy

        • We’ve never seen a list of reasons, however, many of them are common sense. For instance, a pregnant woman having to buy the package just because her husband wanted it as well. We’d suggest calling back and talking to another person to see what they say. Sometimes a different representative can be more lenient. If not, you’ll need to weigh the value of having to buy two packages, even if one person won’t use it.

          • Thanks Tanner … but the cost for two packages for 7 days or longer has become prohibitive … and RC Reps are now “trained” to say NO to just about everything … and I’m even a Shareholder who can’t get an audience with a Supervisor … it’s like talking to my kids … NO … NO … but … NO … NO … LOL

          • That’s crummy. Thank you for letting us know. Looks like buying drinks the old-fashioned way is your only option? The 10-drink card would be handy if it’s sold on your cruise.

  4. Can you buy this on all Royal Caribbean Cruises! Sounds like a good ideal if the other party in your cabin doesn’t drink. I will be sailing on Rhapsody of the seas can I buy a 10 card drink pkg. in January 2019?

    • Our understanding is that it’s available only on some cruises. However, it’s pretty common so there is a decent chance your cruise will have it. Ask a bartender a couple of days into the cruise if they plan to offer it.

    • There will be a notice if your daily “Cruise Compass” that’s delivered to your stateroom. On a week-long cruise, start looking for it around day 4. You can also ask a bartender.

    • They usually aren’t offered until a few days into the cruise from what we’ve seen. Once it’s for sale and you buy it, you can use it whenever.

  5. Do you have any knowledge regarding the ability to add a deluxe drink package on day 4 or 5 of the cruise?
    I have heard some people say that you can add the drink packages later in the cruise if you do not want deluxe package for the entire time?

    • We’ve found that they drink package is usually offered only the first day or two of a cruise. After that, you can’t buy it anymore.

    • You can purchase it when your trip as at least 4 days remaining. You can get it from any bar.

      Now, something very good about RCCL is that they offer significant “pre-cruise” discounts on drink packages and shore excursions.

      An example….. my upcoming 7 days cruise…. the deluxe package with pre-cruise purchase discount ($46 per day) comes to $380 (incl. 18%), that’s full 7 days from the moment I step onto the ship until I disembark….. if I am to purchase this on the ship…. I think the current price is like $66…. so, if you buy 5 days on the cruise… it already comes out more than the $380 I paid…. so the ONLY way you can get ahead of not buying the pre-cruise deluxe package is to only buy for the last 4 days of the trip…. IMHO, if you are going to drink and enjoy yourself… just get the package, and BE SURE to purchase it pre-cruise…

  6. can I buy 10 drink pack for sailing on 4/1 vision of seas before hand or do i have to wait til on ship. my friend and i each need one.

    • Yes, but remember that you want to use it on drinks above a certain value in order to actually save money.


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