Why You Should Dig Into The Details Before Buying A Beverage Package On A Cruise

When buying a beverage package for your cruise, it is important to check the fine print to make sure that you will get the most out of your deal. Buying expensive drinks when on your cruise can quickly mount up, which is why so many liners provide packages to help you avoid a hefty bill. Costs can really vary from $10 per day for soda packages to $138 per day for the most deluxe packages that include alcohol.

It is important to check the terms and conditions of your liner's deal, as the amount of beverages you can have is not necessarily "unlimited," and you could be cut off after a certain number. One company that sets limits is Carnival Cruise Line, which will only serve you 15 drinks in a 24-hour period. There are also other things to consider, such as what brands are included or excluded. If your favorite tipple is not a part of the package, it may be pointless to buy the deal. Before buying a cruise drink package, it is important to make sure it's the right one for you.

What do beverage packages include?

Cruise beverage packages often have differently priced tiers, ranging from a basic deal that includes bottled water and fizzy drinks, to ones that include alcoholic cocktails and barista-made coffees. If you're looking for a truly unlimited package on the number of drinks you can order in a day, they are offered by Royal Caribbean Cruises, MSC, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, but they tend to be more expensive. That said, if you are visibly intoxicated, then they will stop serving you as a matter of policy, regardless of the tier of package that you've bought.

Certain specialty drinks are, for the most part, not included in beverage deals due to the high cost of importing them. These can be specialty beers, top-shelve spirits, or anything particularly unique or expensive. There also may be a limit on the price of the drink that you can order, with beverages over a certain threshold, like $15 to $20, excluded from the deal. Some drinks packages will automatically include a gratuity charge that can be as high as 18%, so check whether that is a part of, or separate, from the overall cost.

More things to know about drinks packages

Unfortunately, beverage packages cannot be shared, which means that every person who wants to drink has to buy their own. There are also liners where everyone sharing a cabin or reservation must purchase a drinks package so that you can't split it without them knowing. Some drink packages must also be bought for the entirety of your trip, so you may not be able to pick and choose the days you would like to drink.

Packages may also be specific to certain bars or restaurants on the ship, so check where they can be used before you buy. Room service or minibar beverages are usually not included, so don't get caught out by drinking them. Any specialty restaurants on a cruise will also likely be excluded, so keep that in mind if you make a reservation. While the restrictions of a drinks package may tempt you to sneak your own alcohol onto a cruise, it is not worth the problems it can cause on your trip of a lifetime.