Worth It? Complete Guide to MSC Cruises Drink Packages

Sailing on MSC and ready to really go on vacation? Then you might start with a drink package. Instead of worrying about the price of your bar bill, you can pay one set daily fee and get your drinks included for the entire cruise.

MSC ship at Ocean Cay with lighthouse
MSC Divina docked at Ocean Cay. Drink packages extend to the cruise line’s private island.

On the surface, the MSC drink packages are pretty simple. You pay the cost, and you get to drink your fill of whatever you want. However, with any drink package there are always a lot of options, fine print, and caveats.

To help you sort through the details and make sure you get the right deal for you, we’ve covered all the ins and outs of MSC’s drink packages below. This includes how to figure if the package is worth it for your cruise.

What Drink Packages Are Offered on MSC?

Following a revamp in late 2021, MSC has a total of five drink packages. Of these, three are alcoholic packages and two are non-alcoholic.

Alcoholic Packages
MSC offers several different options for those wanting to drink their fill of cocktails and beer on the ship. This includes the Easy Package, the Easy Plus Package, and the Premium Extra Package.

Easy Package: This deal offers selected drinks aboard the ship. Your options are somewhat limited, but it does include some beers, well cocktails, house wines, soft drinks, juices, bottled mineral water, and coffees. (A sample of the included drinks is shown later in this article.)

Easy Plus Package: A step above the Easy Package is the Easy Plus Package. This package offers drinks up to $9 per glass. Here you’ll find a much wider selection with cocktails, wines, and beers, as well as sodas, juices, energy drinks, and more.

Premium Extra Package: MSC’s top-of-the-line package is called Premium Extra. With this package (which is also the most expensive) you get drinks by the glass up to $15 each. This package is the most similar to drink packages found on other lines where you have the widest number of options across the ship. If you want a beer, cocktail, wine, specific brands of liquor, water, coffee, energy drinks, juices, and more, it’s almost surely included in this offer.

Non-Alcoholic Packages
MSC also has two non-alcoholic packages that feature drinks across the ship that don’t have alcohol. This includes non-alcoholic cocktails, soda, energy drinks, juice, water, coffees, tea, and even ice cream. They are known as the Alcohol-Free Package and the Minors Package. These appear to have the same beverages offered, but a cheaper price for those under 21 sailing from the United States. 

How Much do MSC Drink Packages Cost?

Each of the packages has a different cost, ranging from as little as $17 per day to $71 per day. Note that prices can change at any time.

  • Easy Package: $38 per person, per day
  • Easy Plus Package: $51 per person, per day
  • Premium Extra Package: $71 per person, per day
  • Alcoholic-Free Package: $26 per person, per day (21+ years old); $17 per person, per day (3-20 years old)

As well, you receive a 15% discount if you purchase the package before sailing. That means you can save a substantial amount if you simply pre-purchase the package ahead of time versus waiting until on the ship. 

One note: If sailing a cruise of under four nights, then the drink package isn’t available to be purchased beforehand. Instead, you have to wait until on the ship to purchase and seemingly won’t be able to take advantage of the pre-booking discount.

Is Gratuity Included? Do I Need to Tip More?

Yes, gratuity is included in the cost of the package, according to MSC. So the price you see is the price you’ll pay.

And once at the bar, you don’t have to worry about additional charges or gratuity. It is already taken care of. You can tip more if you feel generous, but it’s not expected or required.

You should note that if you use the package to buy a drink while in port, you may be charged tax on the purchase.

Do I Have to Buy the Package For Each Day of the Cruise?

Yes. MSC requires guests who want the package to buy it for every day. You can’t purchase for single days.

So if your cruise is a week, you’ll be charged for seven days, whether you have 10 drinks in a day or don’t drink anything at all.

Keep this in mind when considering the drink package. If you have a cruise with several days in port, you’ll still pay for the package even if you are off the ship and don’t use it (with the exception of Ocean Cay, where the package works on the island).

Also note that the package is not charged for debarkation day when your cruise arrives back home.

Does Every Person in a Cabin Have to Buy It If One Person Does?

Yes. MSC says that all guests sailing in a cabin must purchase the drink package if one person does. According to the terms posted on MSC’s website:

“Packages must be booked by all guests occupying the same cabin, traveling together and wishing to dine at the same table. This includes minors, for whom the Minors Package must be booked. Packages are not obligatory for infants under three years of age.”

This is likely designed to limit sharing (one person buying the package and then getting drinks for someone without the package).

It’s important to note that this extends to kids as well. So if you are traveling with a minor that is three years or older, then you will have to purchase the non-alcoholic beverage package for them. There is a $17 cost for those under 21 years old. 

Kids under three don’t have to get a drink package.

What’s Included/Not Included in the Packages?

Each package is different in what it does and does not include. You can view the complete list of what’s included for each package on MSC’s website.

Here’s a breakdown for each:

Easy Package (select drinks)
Includes one brand of draft beer (Heineken) and/or bottled Miller Lite, well cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails, house wines, soft drinks, juice, bottled mineral water, coffees, and hot chocolate.

Note: The Easy Package can’t be used in specialty restaurants.

Easy Plus Package (Up to $9 per drink)
The Easy Plus Package includes everything in the Easy Package above, but has more options given the higher price ceiling. You’ll find a wide array of beers (around 20 beers, compared to two in the Easy Package), more cocktails, more wine by the glass and liquors. Specialty coffees, energy drinks, and canned soft drinks are also included. As well, drinks in specialty restaurants are available with this package.

Premium Extra Package (Up to $15 per drink)
If you want the traditional drink package experience where you get your run of practically anything on the ship, then the Premium Extra Package may be ideal for you. It covers drinks on the ship up to $15 per glass. So you get any beer on the ship, most liquor brands, cocktails across the menu (including high-end cocktails), specialty coffees, juices, mineral water, and more.  

Alcoholic-Free/Minors Package
If alcohol isn’t your thing or you are sailing with kids, then you might be interested in the non-alcoholic package. It offers non-alcoholic cocktails, sodas, energy drinks, juices, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

This package doesn’t apply to the specialty restaurants, unless it’s for a minor whose group purchased the Easy Plus or Premium Extra alcoholic package.

Does the Drink Package Work on Ocean Cay?

Coconut drink on MSC's Ocean Cay

Ocean Cay is MSC’s private island (see our complete guide to the island here), and yes, the MSC drink package works on Ocean Cay just as it does on the ship.

Since cruises aboard MSC from Florida typically include a stop here, it’s an extra day that you can get your money’s worth from buying the drink package. Simply head up to any of the numerous bars on the island and place your order.

One thing to keep in mind is that the menu on the island may be slightly different than what’s found on the ship.

Is There a Daily Limit on How Many Drinks I Can Get?

There is no mention of a daily limit on drinks mentioned with the packages. That said, if you appeared overserved, then don’t be surprised if the cruise line decides to refuse service.

Be sure to mix in some waters with those margaritas during your cruise!

What Drinks Are Available With the Easy Package? What About Drinks Under $9 for Easy Plus?

While the Easy Package is attractive at just $38 per day, many people wonder what alcoholic drinks are available. This used to be for drinks priced $6 or under. Now MSC labels the package as including “select drinks.”

According to the chart on MSC’s website, this includes a “draft beer” and Miller Lite, house wines, well drinks, as well as classic cocktails, mixed drinks with well spirits.

To give you a better idea, of what that means, below is a menu with low-priced simple mixed cocktails like a Moscow Mule, Long Island Iced Tea, Bourbon and Coke, and more that would be available. These are the sort of drinks that would be included. Take a look:

Menu of drinks under $6 on MSC Cruise LinesAs for beers, most are priced slightly above $6, but you can get Heineken and Miller Lite with the Easy Package. 

Your options are much greater under the Easy Plus Package that includes drinks up to $9. Here you get a much wider selection of beers and cocktails, as well as the ability to get drinks with name-brand liquors. For example, beers like Budweiser, Dos Equis, Sam Adams, and Bud Light are included (along with many more).

As well, while the Easy Package offers well whiskey, the Easy Plus package offers brands like Crown Royal, Jim Beam, and Johnnie Walker. You also get more cocktail choices, like Contemporary Classics:

Contemporary Classics on MSC

As for the $9 limit, that seems to have the largest impact on the cocktails and wines by the glass. There, the limit does come into play on some more unique/high-end cocktails and more expensive wines. For instance, the cocktails shown below would not available with the Easy Plus Package, but are with the highest-end Premium Extra Package:

MSC Tropical Treasures drink menu

Who Is Each Package Best For?

Not sure which package is right for you? The three options are very different, which can make things a little confusing.

Easy Package: The most restrictive package, we’d suggest this offer for people who don’t mind a smaller number of options. The unique, fancy cocktails aren’t included, but you can get classics like Rum & Coke, or a Moscow Mule. House wines, fountain sodas and premium coffee are also included. So if you aren’t a big alcohol drinker or don’t need a lot of variety, then this package might be good for you.

Easy Plus Package: This package is best for beer drinkers and those who favorite mid-tier liquors. One of the biggest differences between the Easy Plus and Easy Packages is the beer lineup. The lower-tier Easy Package has only two alcoholic beers included. The Easy Plus offer has more than 20 included. 

As well, there are more name-brand liquors available for drinks, including Jameson, Tito’s, Captain Morgan, 1800 Reposado, and dozens more. However, some menu options (specifically cocktails) are over the $9 per glass limit, restricting choices somewhat. Even so, you’d still be able to find something that you like given the number of choices.

Premium Extra: If you’re looking for the classic drink package experience where you have nearly everything on the ship included, then you’ll want the Premium Extra. Not only do you get what’s included in the Easy Plus Package, but there are also more liquor brands included. As well, you have the greatest number of cocktail options included, as well as the most wines by the glass. It definitely offers the most options.

As well, the cost for MSC’s highest-tier package ($71 per person, per day) is in line with what most other cruise lines charge for their packages.

Is the MSC Drink Package Worth It?

For some people the drink package is a great way to save money. For others, it can be a waste as you’ll spend more than you would otherwise. In general, we think many people that buy an MSC drink package will get their money’s worth due to the relatively affordable cost.

But before you buy the package, it’s important that you do the math and think about how you will use it.

The first thing to do is figure out what sort of drinks you’ll want on the cruise and how many per day.

Beer drinker? Most beers run about $7 each. If you plan to drink five a day, then that’s $35, compared to the $49 per day for the Easy Plus Package that’s needed to purchase them.

Cocktail prices vary widely, with some well drinks being $6, but many more options available in the $9-13 range.

But you also don’t want to forget other drinks that you might have, including non-alcoholic drinks. To give you an idea of what things cost, we have general prices below that we’ve seen:

  • Beers: $6-7 (most $6.50 or above)
  • Cocktails: $6-13 
  • Soda: $2.25-$3.25
  • Juice: $2.95-$4.25
  • Energy Drinks: $4.95
  • Bottled Water (Spring & Sparkling): $2.75-$5.50
  • Coffees: $2.50-$4.25

Beyond considering how much you will drink each day, consider the number of ports of call on your cruise. Remember that you can’t use the package while off the ship, unless you are visiting Ocean Cay, MSC’s private island. There, you can use the package on the ship while it is in port.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to get out and explore, then that’s a lot of time that you won’t be able to use the package.

Finally, remember that if one person buys a drink package, then everyone in the cabin has to buy it. So if you are a couple and one person drinks and the other doesn’t, then it’s going to be much harder to get your money’s worth.

The drink package rule also applies to kids that are three years and older. Be sure to add in these costs when making your decision on if the package is worth the money.

Have more questions about MSC’s drink package? Let us know in the comments below.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. This was really helpful, thank you! I was wondering can one person in the room get the easy package and the other person get the easy plus package? Or do they both have to get the higher option?

  2. hi, great read thank you just a few questions
    if you buy a drink either water coffee or beer can you bring to your room?
    how do they know what package you are on do you have a card?
    if you buy no package and just buy as you go do you have to tip?
    is water free any where on the ship with out any package or is it only by bottle and has to be paid for ? surely they have to supply water ?
    thanks again

    • – Yes, you can bring drinks back to the room
      – Your card may have a sticker on it, or when they scan it, the drink package will show up
      – If you buy as you go, a gratuity will automatically be applied to the menu price
      – You can get water around the ship. The easiest place is the buffet, but you can also get a glass from the bars.

      • Would it be easier to either bring a refillable bottle with you or just purchase a bottle of water and then refill it? Also, I read that the water is mineral water. So, wouldn’t that be different from distilled or spring? Would kids balk at the taste?

        • I’d suggest just bringing a refillable bottle. Holds more than the little cups you get at the buffet and you don’t have to head to a bar for a bottle each time.

  3. I read that the kid’s package also includes soft server ice cream. Is that true? Also, when can you choose the drink packages (how many days after you reserve your cruise)?

    • Yes, it included soft-serve ice cream.

      Are you not able to reserve? How long is your cruise? I’ve had the same issue and a call to MSC told me that you couldn’t buy a package before if the cruise was under 4 days long. (Mine is 3 days).

      • It’s not showing up, but maybe it’s because the cruise isn’t until March of 2024. So, they are probably waiting to publish the packages closer to sailing.

  4. Thanks a lot for this complete review on the drinking package. Just realized they are not worth it. Saved me a lot of money. =)

    • I think the biggest part that may not make it worth it is having to get a drink package for the kids. My kids don’t drink soda or energy drinks. I don’t think it’s worth it for us, but we have until May to figure that out.

  5. There are 3 of us sailing, The Mrs with me and the Grand daughter.We are not interested in the drinks packages for ourselves but can we purchase the kids one just for the Grand daughter. T.I.A

  6. This is the most detailed and probably up-to-date breakdown of MSC drink packages I have seen. Makes a lot of sense now and I know what I’m getting myself into now. Thank you!

    • Our understanding is that MSC charges the full price for a drink over the package limit. So in your example, you’d be charged $10.

    • You’ll want the higher package. The drinks on the Easy Package largely consist of simple two ingredient cocktails like rum and Coke, Cape Cod (cranberry vodka), etc.

  7. Hello, so i know that each person in the cabin has to order a drink package. Will my husband be able to buy the Premium drink package, myself the Easy drink package and our daughter (19) the soda package?
    Regards, Rhonda

    • I believe you and your husband will need to get the same level drink package. Since your daughter is under 21, she can get the soda package.

    • When I was looking at ordering the drink package, it made me select the same drink package for me and my wife. They kids had to get the minors package.

    • Great question. I just looked through all the photos of menus taken onboard and don’t see a wine list anywhere.

      I do notice that MSC makes no mention of wine in the Easy Package, but they do in the Premium Package. It could be that you need to have the Premium Package to have wines included.

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