Our Guide to Alcoholic Drink Packages

by Fran Golden

Our Guide to Alcoholic Drink Packages

by Fran Golden

One of the biggest expenses you’ll encounter on a cruise besides the cost of the cruise itself is alcoholic drinks. Most cruise lines offer all-you-can-drink packages as an alternative to paying as you go. Before you sign on, though, it helps to ask a few questions to determine if purchasing a package is right for you. Will it be a cost saver or a bank breaker?

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Crush Bar / Celebrity Cruises
Beer by the pool
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How much booze are you going to drink?

Standard adult beverage packages run from around $44 to $55 per person, per day; premium packages may also be available for a higher price. Do the math: If you're going to drink a beer bucket at the pool, have pre-dinner cocktails, do dinner with wine pairings, and club-hop through the night, a package may turn out to be a good value. If you’re a moderate drinker, however, then it might be a mere convenience.

Standard adult beverage packages run from around $44 to $55 per person, per day; premium packages may also be available for a higher price. Do the math: If you're going to drink a beer bucket at the pool, have pre-dinner cocktails, do dinner with wine pairings, and club-hop through the night, a package may turn out to be a good value. If you’re a moderate drinker, however, then it might be a mere convenience.

Disney Magic's Keys Piano Bar
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What does the package actually cover?

The packages typically have limits on how much you can spend per drink, usually $10 or $11, which won’t cover things such as fine cognac or grand cru wines.

The packages typically have limits on how much you can spend per drink, usually $10 or $11, which won’t cover things such as fine cognac or grand cru wines.

Carnival Breeze's RedFrog Rum Bar
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What other rules are there?

For one, you can't use your package to buy your pals' drinks, and some lines only sell packages by the cabin, meaning both people are obligated to sign on. In addition, there may be a cap on your "unlimited plan." For instance, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line cut you off after you reach 15 drinks per day.

For one, you can't use your package to buy your pals' drinks, and some lines only sell packages by the cabin, meaning both people are obligated to sign on. In addition, there may be a cap on your "unlimited plan." For instance, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line cut you off after you reach 15 drinks per day.

Carnival Sunshine's Havana Bar
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Are gratuities included?

Typically no, and 15% to 18% will be charged each time you order a drink. 

Typically no, and 15% to 18% will be charged each time you order a drink. 

Cosmo
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Do I need to book in advance?

Some lines require you to reserve drink packages in advance and even offer a discount to encourage you to do so. But carefully consider your consumption beforehand. The packages are too hefty of an investment — several hundred dollars — for them to go unused.

Some lines require you to reserve drink packages in advance and even offer a discount to encourage you to do so. But carefully consider your consumption beforehand. The packages are too hefty of an investment — several hundred dollars — for them to go unused.

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