Are Cruise Drinks Packages Worth the Money?

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Once something of a fad, all-inclusive drinks packages are now the norm for a lot of cruise lines. And with good reason: they let passengers pay one price up front that covers most – if not all – of the cost of their drinks onboard –  one less thing to worry about while they enjoy their cruise.

But are they worth it? It’s easy to be put off by fine print and red tape, but at the same time, they offer plenty of freedom and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love relaxing in the sun with a refreshing drink that’s already been taken care of? Here, we raise a glass to our favourite cruise lines’ drinks packages offering the best deals.

Drinks Guide

The following tables show the prices

Prices of drinks without packages

  Bottle of Beer Glass of Wine Spirit Coffee/Tea Soft Drink Bottle of Water
Azamara Cruises $2.50 $2.50 $4.50 – Litre
Carnival Cruises $4.95 $5.75 $4.95 $0.95 $1.95 $1.95
Celebrity Cruises $6.00 $9.00 $8.00 $4.50 $2.50 $3.50
Cunard Cruises $4.75 $6.25 $8.25 $2.50 $2.75 $2.50
Holland America  $4.75 $6.00 $5.95 $1.20 $1.95 $1.95
MSC Cruises $1.70 $2.25 $2.80 $1.25 $1.90 $1.50
Norwegian Cruise Line $5.25 $7.00 $6.00 $1.75 $2.10 $4 – Litre
P&O Cruises £2.95 £5.50 £3.00 Free £1.95 £1.50
Princess Cruises $4.95 $7.25 $6.25 $1.25 $2.25 $2.00
Royal Caribbean $5.50 $6.00 $5.75 Free $2.25 Free

Packages prices per cruise liner

Royal Caribbean

What do they offer? Royal Caribbean’s inclusive beverage selection, available on all their ships, starts with their Fountain soda package. For just under $7 a day, you can refill on soda, including Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite, as much as you like.

For something stronger, their Beer package affords beer by draft, can or bottle and house wines by the glass from $39 per day, while the Classic package steps up the selection with a variety of premium beers and house wines, as well as spirits and cocktails from $49 per day. After that, the Premium package, from $59 per day, includes all the premium brands to be found on RCI’s Independence, Grandeur and Legend of the Seas ships.

What else? Gratuity is included, so no need to tip. You can purchase any package as long as there are at least four days of your trip to spare, but please be aware that you cannot use any of their packages to pay for mini-bar drinks.

Celebrity Cruises

What do they offer? Non-alcoholic drinks packages start at $9 per day, which includes the premium brands you’d expect. From here, the premium water package, from $16 a day, features unlimited Evian and Pellegrino, while the Classic non-alcoholic package, features soda, freshly squeezed fruit juice and bottled juices, as well as tea, coffee and non-premium bottled water for $16 a day. The Premium non-alcoholic package features everything mentioned so far in addition to premium bottled water, frozen drinks, smoothies, Red Bull and Vitamin Water from $20.70 a day.

For $50.60 per day, the Classic alcohol package is the same as the Classic non-alcoholic package with the addition of beers up to $5, and spirits, cocktails and wine up to $8. Bottles of wine and liquor are not included. Next up, the Premium alcohol package adds beers, spirits, cocktails and wines up to $12 per glass from $62.10 a day, while the Classic wine package offers up Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and Malbec from Argentina, from $114.

What else? All drinks include a 15% service charge. The price does not include drinks bought from your room’s mini-bar. 

Norwegian Cruise Line

What do they offer? The Children’s soda package includes unlimited soda for $4.95 per person, while the adult soda package will cost you $6.95. The Corks and Caps wine & beer package comes in at $49 per day and includes some premium brands and only includes drinks by the glass. Finally, the Ultimate Beverages package offers a wide selection of soft drinks, beers, wines, spirits and cocktails by the glass and bottle at $64 per day.

What else? All drinks packages include 15% gratuity. The Corks and Caps package includes gratuities but must be bought within the first two days of sailing, while the Ultimate Beverages package includes draft beers up to $15.

Cunard Line

What do they offer? Cunard Line offers a soft drinks package for $8.50 per day and includes Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, lemonade and soda water, along with orange, apple, grapefruit, pineapple tomato and cranberry juices, (although this includes poured juices only).

What else? A 15% service charge is not included in the price.

Princess Cruises

What do they offer? Princess Cruises’ basic soft drinks offer, the Unlimited soda package, will cost you $5.18 per day and includes unlimited soda by the glass in any on-board venue. The Unlimited soda and more package costs $8.05 per day and adds mocktails, juices, shakes, floats and hot chocolate into the mix, while the Unlimited Beverage package includes any drink up to a value of $10 at a price of $56.35 per person, per day.

Their Premier Beverage package affords guests a wide array of cocktails, wine, beer, bottled water, specialty coffee, smoothies, fountain sodas and more for just $59.99 per day.

What else? Australia is exempt from the $15 service charge that comes with every package, though the Premier Beverage package excludes gratuities.

Carnival Cruise Line

What do they offer? Carnival Cruise Line’s drinks packages start on the pricey side, but they are exceedingly well stocked. Their My Awesome Bar package includes spirits, beers and wines below $10 per glass, along with soft drinks and non-alcoholic frozen cocktails at a total cost of $42.95 per day and includes selected premium brands. The 5 Wine Package includes a 5-bottle selection from 10 wines including Brut Cuvee, Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and more from $131.

If you really want to push the boat out, the Cheers! Package includes all spirits, including cocktails and frozen drinks, as well as beer and wine by the glass as long as they’re $10 or below, in addition to sodas and non-alcoholic frozen cocktails. Guests who buy this package also get a 25% discount on bottled water, spirits or wine above $10 per drink, as well as wine and champagne by the bottle. 

What else? Aside from the 5-wine package, all of Carnival Cruise Line’s drinks packages must be bought for the full duration of the cruise.

P&O Australia

What do they offer? P&O Australia’s Soft Drinks Package will set you back $7.50 per person per day and includes unlimited glasses of Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Sunkist orange, Lemonade, Solo, tonic water, soda water and ginger ale. Their Refreshment Drinks package adds tea, coffee, juice blends, mocktails, bottled water and costs $25 per person per day.

Their Premium Beverage package also includes beer and cider, as well as wine, spirits, cocktails up to $12, while The Lot! Beverage package moves the limit of wine, spirits, cocktails up to $15 and includes energy drinks too.

What else? All drinks packages can be paid for in advance at discounted rates. Please note, drinks can only be purchased one at a time with regards to the latter two packages, if multiple drinks are purchased, the most expensive drink will count towards the package, while the other drink(s) will be charged to the guest’s onboard account.

Which package suits you?

If you’re not a big drinker, the good news is that whatever cruise line you go for, there’ll be something for everyone. And remember, none of these packages are compulsory. Also, while some of these might look pricey on paper, especially per day, consider that you’ll often be paying the same if not more, for a day’s worth of drinks with tips as well. It all evens out in the end.

P&O Australia’s packages are great for value and selection, while Carnival Cruise Line’s are great for treating you and your fellow cruisers, whether it’s friends or families. If tipples aren’t your thing, Cunard Line’s is a cheap and cheerful choice, while Royal Caribbean’s packages are handy if you end up changing your mind halfway through a cruise and decide to treat yourself. 

Looking to raise the bar with your cruise holiday? For a full range of fantastic cruises and deals, visit the Cruise1st homepage or call our dedicated team on 1300 857 345.

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About Author

Alyssa Beit

Alyssa lives in Sydney, NSW. Born on the 14th October and is a Social and Human Service Assistant at Cruise 1st Australia. She is in her early 40’s and loves tranquility on luxury cruises.

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