8 best drinks to order with a cruise ship beverage package (and 3 to avoid)

If you’re planning on spending anywhere from $60 to $140 per day for a cruise ship drink package, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. Ordering the right drinks can definitely help you get your money’s worth, while choosing the wrong ones may result in unnecessary spending. In this article, we will discuss the best drinks to order with a beverage package to maximize your alcohol budget, as well as three drink types that may work against your goal.

The most cost-effective option is to get a cruise line drink package for free as a booking perk. However, if that’s not possible, there are still ways to make the most out of your beverage package. Let’s take a closer look at the best drinks to order:

1. Expensive cocktails: One of the best value drinks you can order is the most expensive cocktail that falls within your plan’s limit. For example, if your plan includes beverages that cost $20 or less, prioritize drinks that are close to that limit. This way, you can enjoy pricey specialty cocktails without worrying about the high cost.

2. Name-brand liquor: When ordering a drink, ask for your favorite brand of liquor to get the nicer, more expensive drink and the best value from your beverage package. Just make sure that the brand you’re requesting is included in your package, as some cruise lines offer multiple tiers of drink packages with different inclusions.

3. Weirdest drink on the menu: With a beverage package, you can experiment with different drinks without the fear of wasting money. Try new drinks, such as fruit-infused vodka, crazy-colored shots, or spiked cappuccinos. If you don’t like a particular drink, you can always order a replacement at no extra cost. Use this opportunity to discover your new favorite drink.

4. Specialty coffee: Many cruisers have a love for specialty coffee and often visit the extra-charge coffee cafes onboard. However, with a beverage package, you can indulge your caffeine addiction with the good stuff at no extra charge. Enjoy your morning latte, chai tea, or iced coffee without worrying about additional costs.

5. Bottled water: If you don’t enjoy the taste of the ship’s tap water, bottled water is a great beverage package buy. Grab a sealed bottle from the poolside bar to stay hydrated while sunbathing or collect bottles from the onboard bars to drink later. You can even order sparkling water with dinner without any second thoughts when you have a beverage package.

6. Embarkation day drinks: Don’t feel awkward about heading straight to the bar as soon as you step inside the cruise ship on embarkation day. The beverage packages are priced by the length of your cruise, and embarkation day counts as well. Enjoy a celebratory glass of bubbly or a relaxing glass of wine to start your vacation right and get the most out of your drink package.

7. Frozen drinks on private islands: Cruise lines price their beverage packages by the day, so it can be challenging to break even on the package cost on port days when you’re hardly on the ship. However, some cruise line private islands allow you to use your drink package ashore. Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a refreshing frozen drink, like a pina colada, against a beautiful palm tree backdrop.

8. Other nonalcoholic beverages: Some cruise lines limit the number of alcoholic drinks you can have per day, making it harder to break even on the package cost. To make your plan cost-effective, intersperse your bar drinks with nonalcoholic options like soda, energy drinks, freshly squeezed juices, or other bottled beverages. If possible, purchase resealable or unopened bottles or cans to take off the ship in port, maximizing the value of your drink package on days when you’re mostly off the ship.

While there are many drinks that can help you make the most of your beverage package, there are also a few drinks that may not be as useful for maximizing value:

1. Beer: Beer is usually the cheapest alcoholic drink onboard, and it can be filling. If you only drink beer, it might be more difficult to reach the break-even point for your drink package. Consider checking if your cruise line offers a cheaper beer-and-wine-only package that might be more suitable for you.

2. Well drinks: With a beverage package, you have no incentive to order cheap well drinks when you can get name-brand liquor for the same price. Always specify which vodka or rum you want, as the bartender will default to the most basic option if not specified. This is especially important if you’ve paid for the priciest, most inclusive drink package offered by your cruise line.

3. Bottles of wine: Although you may receive a discount on bottles of wine with most drink packages, remember that you’re still paying extra for alcohol when you’ve already paid for wine by the glass, beer, and cocktails. Filling up on extra-fee wine might prevent you from ordering additional drinks and potentially keep you from breaking even on your package price.

In conclusion, when it comes to getting the best value from a cruise ship drink package, it’s essential to choose the right drinks. Expensive cocktails, name-brand liquor, and unique or experimental drinks are great choices to make the most of your package. Additionally, taking advantage of specialty coffee, bottled water, embarkation day drinks, frozen drinks on private islands, and other nonalcoholic beverages can help maximize the value of your beverage package. However, it’s important to be mindful of drinks like beer, well drinks, and bottles of wine, as they may not provide the most value for your money. With these tips in mind, you can ensure that you’re getting the best value from your cruise ship drink package.

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