Travel Hacks – Cruise Ship Drinks Package – Are They Worth It?

You’re about to book a cruise, does your cruise even offer drinks packages? If so, do you buy it? Is it worth it?  There’s a few things to assess first before signing up to all you can drink booze.

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I’ve done a few short cruises of late and one cruise line, Princess, doesn’t offer a drinks package for under 8 nights. The other I cruised on, Royal Caribbean, does. So did I save money with the all you can drink package?

Drinks on board Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

They were all pretty much booze cruises so you betcha I did! We were not in port and at sea all day. For the Princess Cruises trips I did, I spent $300+ for the 2 nights and 1 day without the drinks package. For the Royal Caribbean, I purchased the drinks package and I spent a total of $150 for the same amount of time. Both are large amounts of money – still both are cheaper than 2 nights out in Sydney!

Tradewinds Bar on Golden Princess.

Prices of the drinks packages varying between cruise lines but start at around the AU$70 mark per person per day. While AU$70 may seem great to be able to have unlimited drinks just remember a 2 week cruise will add a bill of AU$1960 to your cruise fare for a couple as usually both people in a cabin need to take out the package. Also, there is gratuities to add to that! Still, when you consider the lead in price for a bottle of wine is around $35……

Lick, Sip, Suck on board Voyager Of The Seas.

The number one thing to think about is is the cruise port heavy or sea day heavy, meaning are you spending most days in a port or a lot of days at sea. For example if you were on a Mediterranean Cruise and in port all day each day are you really going to drink the cost of the package in the evening after a tiring day sightseeing and another in the morning and where you wont be having lunch on the ship?

Long Island Ice Teas On Board Sea Princess.

Of course if your cruise line is giving you a drinks package as part of the deal, take it! If its one of several options, weigh up what will be a better option. For example. Oceania Cruises usually have their OLife promotion giving you a choice of shore excursion credit, or on board credit or a drinks package but their drinks package is only beer, wine and sparkling with lunch and dinner, so if it is a port heavy cruise, you are only going to drink a couple of glasses at dinner, maybe the on board credit is the way to go where you can still put it towards those few glasses with dinner.

Voyager Of The Seas in Sydney Harbour

For my next cruise, I am heading on Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Millennium on a 15 night trans-Pacific cruise that has about 10 days at sea – Am I going to buy the drinks package? For sure! While I have worked out its going to cost around $1200 including the gratuities, I’m thinking of all those days at sea – wine with lunch, cocktails by the pool in the afternoon, pre-dinner drink, dinner drink, pre-show drinks… oh boy thats a lot of drinks though, but pre-paying may be better than getting hit with a large bill on disembarkation day.

My top three tips:

✈ Check whether your cruise line has a drinks package – some only offer it on longer cruises.
✈ Check the prices with the cruise line before you book, each cruise line varies, what is the added gratuities? Is it really going to be a bargain?
✈ Is your cruise port heavy or sea days heavy? Are you really going to drink AU$60 a day when you are in port each day?

Have you been on a cruise and bought the drinks package? Do you think it was worth it?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ooh good info to consider! I guess that makes sense that both people in a room have to take up the package too 😀

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