Most of the major cruise lines sell alcoholic beverage packages that include drinks for the duration of the cruise. Are they a good deal? Well, quite frankly that depends on your alcohol consumption. Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to be a heavy drinker in order to come out ahead; in fact if you just enjoy some wine with dinner, a few drinks before the show, a soda with lunch and maybe a specialty coffee in the morning, a cruise beverage package may be a more economical way to purchase your drinks.
That said, it pays to know the rules before you purchase a cruise beverage package, as some cruise lines require all passengers in the same cabin to purchase the same alcohol beverage package. Additionally, some cruise lines offer exceptions to this rule for pregnant women, people who can’t drink because of a medical condition, and folks that are taking medication that contraindicates alcohol consumption. Here’s what you need to know about the major cruise lines, if one of those exceptions applies to you.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line offers the CHEERS! beverage package, which gives passengers unlimited access to alcoholic beverages that are priced at $20 per glass and under, plus unlimited sodas, specialty coffee drinks, milkshakes, energy drinks and water. This package also gives passengers a 25% discount on wine and champagne by the bottle. The cost of the CHEERS! package is $51.95 per day, plus an 18% gratuity.
If one person in a cabin purchases the beverage package, all adults in the cabin must purchase the same package.
Holland America Line
Holland America offers several cruise beverage packages, including their Signature Package which includes unlimited soft drinks, plus wine and spirits that are priced at $11 per glass and under. This package is priced at $54.95 per day. The Elite Package includes all the benefits of the Signature Package, and also includes wine and spirits that are priced at $15 per glass and under. This package is priced at $59.95 per day.
All guests in the cabin must purchase the same cruise beverage package, with the exception of underage guests or guests with a medical condition. These guests must purchase a Quench Package (non-alcoholic drinks) for $17.95 per day.
Celebrity Cruise Lines offers three cruise beverage packages. The Standard Package is priced at $49 per night and includes select beers, wines, well brand spirits and soft drinks that are priced at $6 a glass and under. The Classic Package is priced at $59 per night and includes the same benefits of the Standard Package, with a limit of $9 a glass and under. The Premium Package is priced at $69 per night, and includes all the benefits of the Classic package, plus specialty coffees and teas, craft and artisan beers, spirits and cocktails priced at $15 per glass and under.
There is no requirement for everyone in a cabin to buy a drink package, if one passenger in the cabin purchases one.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a Premium Beverage Package for $99 per day. It includes a variety of cocktails, spirits, draft beers and wines priced at $15 per glass and under. It also includes unlimited fountain drinks and juices. This package can be used at all lounges and restaurants on board, as well as on the line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.
All passengers in the same cabin must purchase the beverage plan; however exceptions may be made for pregnant passengers, passengers who can’t drink alcohol due to a disability or medical condition, and passengers who are taking medication that contraindicates the consumption of alcohol. Inquiries about exceptions should be directed to the Guest Relations Department (800-327-7030) in advance of the cruise.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International offers a Deluxe Beverage Package that is priced from from $63 to $70 per person, per day, depending on the ship and sail date. This package includes unlimited beer, wine and spirits, as well as non-alcoholic specialty drinks and sodas.
If one person in a cabin purchases a Deluxe Package, then all guests in that cabin, that are of legal drinking age, must purchase the same package; however medical exceptions can be made to this policy on a case-by-case-basis. Passengers who are pregnant, in recovery, or who cannot consume alcohol for health reasons can request an exemption by calling (866) 562-7625, prior to their sail date. If an exemption is granted, that guest must purchase the non-alcoholic Refreshment Package.
Princess Cruises offers a Premier Beverage Package, which includes unlimited beer, wine, cocktails, specialty coffees, smoothies, bottled water and sodas. It is priced at $59.99 per day plus an 18% service charge.
There is no requirement for all passengers in a cabin to purchase an alcoholic beverage package if one person in that cabin purchases it.