Cruise drink packages: A line-by-line guide

It’s no secret that ordering alcoholic drinks on a cruise ship can quickly add up. With the cost of cocktails being quite high, those who enjoy multiple drinks a day can find themselves with a hefty bill at the end of their trip. However, there is a way to save money and still indulge in your favorite drinks ā€“ by purchasing a flat-fee drink package.

Most major mass-market cruise lines offer drink packages that allow you to order as many drinks as you want for a set price. These packages replace the need to pay for individual drinks, making it easier to budget and avoid any surprise expenses. While Disney Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages don’t offer drink packages, they do provide alternative ways to save on beverage purchases.

So, what exactly is included in a cruise ship drink package? And how much do they cost? Let’s dive into the details and explore the ultimate guide to cruise drink packages.

Cruise ship drink packages come in various tiers, depending on the cruise line. The basic tiers usually include sodas and bottled water, while more inclusive packages add alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, wine, beer, and specialty coffee drinks. Some cruise lines even offer multiple tiers of all-encompassing plans. Additionally, there are coffee cards available for discounted fancy coffee drinks, as well as wine-specific packages.

The cost of drink packages varies widely among cruise lines. For example, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America offer packages that include all types of drinks for around $60 per person per day. On the other hand, Norwegian Cruise Line charges up to $138 per person per day for their top-tier package. Soda packages, which don’t include alcoholic drinks, are much cheaper and often cost under $10 per person per day. It’s worth noting that some cruise lines offer discounts on drink packages when purchased online in advance, and they may also have periodic sales on their packages.

While drink packages are a convenient option, it’s important to know that you can still buy drinks individually on a cruise ship. All major cruise lines allow passengers to purchase drinks on an a la carte basis without the need for a drink package. This gives you the flexibility to choose how you want to enjoy your beverages.

When it comes to sharing a drink package, most cruise lines have rules in place to prevent multiple people from sharing a single package. For example, Carnival, Holland America, and MSC Cruises require all adults in a cabin to purchase the drink package if one adult orders it. Princess Cruises and Windstar Cruises are exceptions to this rule. While technically you’re not supposed to use your package to buy drinks for others, these cruise lines offer more flexibility in sharing.

Now, let’s address a common question: are drink packages on cruise ships truly unlimited? The answer depends on the cruise line. Some lines, such as Carnival, limit the number of alcoholic drinks you can order with a package to 15 per day. While this may seem like a lot, it’s more than most people would consume in a day. It’s always a good idea to check the specific limitations of each cruise line’s drink package to avoid any surprises.

Drink packages on cruise ships can be used at various locations on the ship, including bars, lounges, and eateries. However, they usually do not apply to room service orders or drinks from cabin minibars. It’s important to read the fine print of your chosen cruise line’s drink package to ensure you understand where it can be used.

To provide a comprehensive overview, here is a breakdown of the drink package offerings from several major cruise lines:

1. Carnival Cruise Line
– Package name: Cheers! Beverage Program
– Cost per day: $64.95 when purchased on board, or $59.95 when purchased in advance (plus gratuity charges)
– Inclusions: Beer, wine, mixed drinks, specialty cocktails, soda, juices, non-alcoholic cocktails, energy drinks, specialty coffees, teas, and most bottled water
– Limitations: Cannot be used for drinks priced over $20, limit of 15 alcoholic drinks per person in a 24-hour period

2. Celebrity Cruises
– Package name: Premium Drink Package
– Cost per day: $109 (plus gratuity charges), complimentary for passengers staying in premium Retreat areas
– Inclusions: Beer, wine, mixed drinks, specialty cocktails, Coca-Cola products, juices, non-alcoholic cocktails, energy drinks, specialty coffees, teas, and premium bottled water
– Limitations: Cannot be used for drinks priced over $17

3. Holland America
– Package name: Elite Beverage Package
– Cost per day: $59.99 (plus gratuity charges)
– Inclusions: Beer, wine, mixed drinks, specialty cocktails, soda, juices, non-alcoholic cocktails, energy drinks, specialty coffees, teas, and bottled water
– Limitations: Cannot be used for drinks priced over $15

4. MSC Cruises
– Package name: Premium Extra Package
– Cost per day: $85 for 7+ night sailings (booked in advance), $100 for 7+ night sailings (booked on board)
– Inclusions: Beers, wines, spirits, liqueurs, cocktails, soda, juices, non-alcoholic cocktails, energy drinks, hot chocolate drinks, specialty coffees, teas, and bottled water
– Limitations: Cannot be used for drinks priced over $12

These are just a few examples of the drink packages available on cruise ships. Each cruise line has its own offerings and pricing structures, so it’s essential to review the details before making a decision.

In conclusion, if you’re someone who enjoys multiple alcoholic drinks a day while cruising, a drink package can be a cost-effective option. By paying a flat fee, you can indulge in your favorite beverages without worrying about the individual costs adding up. However, it’s crucial to understand the limitations and rules of each cruise line’s drink package to ensure you make the most of your purchase. Cheers to saving money and enjoying your favorite drinks on your next cruise!

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