Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Is The Beverage Package Worth It On A Cruise?

The husband and I like to enjoy ourselves while on vacation--especially on cruises. When we were planning our honeymoon cruise back in 2014, we really contemplated whether or not the beverage package would be worth it for us. In case you don't know, if you are wanting the beverage package on a cruise, everyone in the room has to pay for one. You can't just have one person get it and mooch drinks off of them. (That would be too good to be true)

You may be wondering if it would be the right choice for you. It can be confusing going through the many details of the different variations of packages.  You may be asking yourself The Classic Package? The Premium Package?  Shelling out all that money all at once may seem really expensive, especially considering you’ve already put out the money for the cruise itself. 

 You need to keep in mind that not all cruise companies offer the same packages, and some companies do not offer them at all if you are cruising less than 5 days. You also need to decide what drinks you normally will have on-board. Are you more of a wine drinker or do you like to mix it up and have some cocktails and mix in a glass of wine for dinner?  Some cruises offer beer and wine packages which are cheaper than the premium packages that offer both mixed drinks and beer and wine. Also keep in mind that most cruise ships allow 2 bottles of wine per guest to bring on board. (You can also be sneaky and put your favorite vodka in a wine bottle and sneak it on.)

Check the price lists and compare. Most cruise websites will show you the price list. A glass of wine could be $12, cocktails $12, Beer $6. Keep in mind that does not include gratuities if you are purchasing as you go. A lot of the time, the beverage package includes the gratuities. In fact, I do not know a cruise that does not include the gratuities in the beverage package price. Those $1 tips could add up fast (As we learned on our honeymoon).

Most of the drink packages include bottled water. This was the most requested item. I always had a bottle of water on hand when exiting the cruise for our excursions and the amount of water I drank alone would have costed well over the daily drink package price.
Obviously the drink package price differs per cruise, but it was worth it for us.  We would have paid a lot more at the end of the cruise if we were to have paid as we went. For us it was well worth it to not have to limit what we wanted. The drink package include the sodas and juices as well so we were able to enjoy fresh orange juice whenever we wanted.

Cruises also offer Non-Alchoholic packages that include juices, bottled water and sodas. This may be the best for you if you prefer to stay away from alcohol or if you have children who would take advantage of the soda, water and juice. (You can always get a soda and bring it off the ship to enjoy during the day so you don't need to purchase any off ship)

It may seem difficult to shell out the money before hand (Although they do offer to add on the drink package on board) but for us it was well worth it and we ended up saving a lot of money in the long run. We were also able to try new drinks without the worry of "wasting" money on them if we did not like them. It's also more relaxing knowing we didn't have to worry about budgeting for drinks. We just hand over the card and it was taken care of.

If we were to break it down, we would have spent $30 more dollars or so per day if we were to pay per drink without the drink package. 

Additional Thoughts (Thanks to Savored Journeys for pointing these out)

  • Something to think about when deciding if a drink package is worth it is the gratuity that is added to each drink without the package. An 18% service charge will be added to waters, sodas, and wine when you purchase. Most package prices either include the 18% service charge when you buy-- not per drink
  • It’s a good idea to consider how many sea days and port days you have. If you are having a lot of port days, you may be better off paying for drinks as you go. Unless you want to bring a few bottled waters or sodas off the ship every day.
What are your thoughts on the benefits of purchasing a drink package? Do you think buying the beverage package is worth it on a cruise? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I totally needed to read this post because I'm going on my very first cruise in April for my mom's birthday and have no idea when it comes to the drink packages. I have some telling me do it, others telling me it's a waste of money. You gave some good tips that I will keep in mind :)!

  2. On our last cruise (which was also our first cruise), we didn't get the drink package because we couldn't justify paying an extra $600 CAD on top of our cruise price. However, despite the fact that we probably wouldn't have drank that much money in drinks, we both agreed that we would never do another cruise without it. The cost of two drinks + gratuity ended up costing around $30 each time and that was a hard pill to swallow, which meant that we didn't drink very much. There were so many different cocktails that we would have liked to try though! For our next cruise, the drink package was included as one of the "free" perks, but we do have to pay the gratuities ourselves (a one-time fee). I'm looking forward to trying a variety of drinks this time!


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