For those looking to sail off on the perfect cruise vacation, a Mai Tai by the pool or evening nightcap is an essential part of the experience. But while these drinks bring pleasure, they also come with a hefty price tag – adding up fast and leaving you in a tight spot.

On the typical 7-day cruise, it’s estimated that each passenger drinks an average of 4.7 alcoholic drinks per day.  With the average cocktail costing around $10, you could be spending upwards of $50 a day on drinks.

Are you looking to save money, while still enjoying a variety of drinks? Consider getting a drink package and know the exact cost of your beverages before you go. Whether you prefer soda, specialty coffee drinks, or fancy bottled waters it’s all included in the package price.

Do I Have to Buy One?

No, you don’t have to buy one. The best way to determine whether it will cost you more or less with a drinks deal is to calculate how much you’d usually spend on your drinks order. Remember, once you purchase the drinks deal, you won’t be able to change your mind and get a refund.

How Much Does It Cost?

On average, the standard drink packages cost 55 to 65 dollars per person, per day. Cruise lines offer packages with different drink options. The cheapest package may have limited options with maximum per-drink prices, while the more expensive packages include more options, including more premium liquors.  Drink packages are often more affordable before arriving on the ship.

What if I Don’t Drink Alcohol?

On most cruise lines, you’ll be charged for almost all drinks besides tea, coffee, lemonade, and tap water. If you enjoy drinking soda, freshly squeezed juices, or want to kick back with a mocktail, you’ll still be able to get your money’s worth from a drink package. There are indeed nonalcoholic drink packages available for you too.  These packages are generally less expensive.

What are the General Rules of a Drink Package?

  • Drink packages are per person, not per family or stateroom.
  • The package only applies to beverages purchased on board the ship (and the cruise line’s private destinations)
  • The package may exclude room service and in-room minibars.

Can You Share Drink Packages on a Cruise?

No, guests who are caught sharing a drink with someone who doesn’t have a drink package can risk having their drink package benefits revoked with no refund. In many cases, all adults in the stateroom have to purchase the same package. More and more cruise lines are moving towards this policy.

What’s Included

Each drink package varies by cruise line.  Royal Caribbean has one package offer that’s between $63 and $89 per person, per day. It includes cocktails, wine by the glass, sparkling water, soda, and discounts for wine bottles. Some cruise lines even offer “unlimited drinks,” but read the fine print. Carnival and Princess limit you to 15 alcoholic drinks per day with unlimited nonalcoholic beverages.

So, Is it Worth it?

That depends on your needs. If you plan to have just a drink or two each day or your voyage includes multiple ports where drinks are readily available, then paying for each drink separately may be more advantageous for you.

If you plan to consume a lot of juice and have intentions to try various alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages during your vacation, you’ll realize that it’s more cost-effective in the long run. To ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth, you should research drink prices online, estimate how much you’re likely to order, and consider that you won’t be ordering as much on days you’re in port cities.

Bottom’s Up!