You’ve booked your perfect cruise now it’s time for the good stuff in that all important Cruise Planner on the website. The very first thing cruisers consider next is whether or not they should purchase the drink package. Is it worth it? Every cruise line is different so it’s a good idea to review what packages they offer and what’s included for the price.
A couple of things first:
- The price in the cruise planner will be better than if you wait to purchase on board (they only offer on board purchase of the drink package on embarkation day and they know they’ve got you once you start feeling that FOMO.)
- Don’t forget they’re going to add on the gratuity to that base price.
OK…Here we go…
SAY YES TO THE PACKAGE…
- …if you like the idea of ordering drinks, specialty coffees, sodas, juices, and bottled waters to your heart’s content without a worry or a care of a shocking bar bill due at the end of the cruise.
NOTE: those fancy drinks served in a monkey’s head carved out of a coconut are usually not included in the drink package.
- …if you’re sure to order caramel macchiatos in the morning, need bottled water throughout the day, might have a soda with lunch, and going to have at least 6 alcoholic beverages each day.
- …if the itinerary is not port heavy where you will be spending a lot of time OFF the ship and hence not using your drink package. Meaning there are plenty of sea days or you’re not on all-day excursions in port.
SAY NO TO THE PACKAGE…
- …if you are a light drinker and are fine with the water, lemonade and iced tea included in the fare which is typical of mass market cruises)
- …if your cruise is stopping at a port everyday with few sea days. An example is a Western Mediterranean Cruise I took where 5 of the 7 days were in port and it’s Rome, Florence, Amal Coast, Marseilles and Mallorca….we were gone all day everyday and had only 2 sea days.
- Alternatives to the drink package:
- Check with the cruise line to see if they allow a bottle of wine per person per stateroom to be brought on and/or waters, six pack of soda etc.
- Depending on the cruise line you can order waters to be delivered to the room and I have found the pricing quite reasonable.
- You may also be able to order a bottle of wine or two if you prefer not to purchase your own and lug it onboard.
- You may call the cruise line and ask how much each category of drinks cost and they will break it down for you.
NOTE: If you are on a luxury cruise line, beer and wine may already be included in addition to sodas and juices. Virgin Voyages doesn’t have drink packages at all and their drinks are priced very well –
NOTE: The cruiselines will typically require you to purchase the package for both passengers but if one of you doesn’t drink then you can call the cruise line to see if they will waive it.
I weigh out my options this way each time I cruise and with each cruise line I travel. I hope this helps you to determine whether or not to purchase the drink package. As always….