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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Ormesher

Should You Purchase The Drink Package On A Cruise?

“To get the drink package or not to get the drink package. That is the question.”


Although that isn’t exactly what Shakespeare said, it is a very important question. Should you get the drink package when sailing on a cruise or should you skip it?


What is a drink package?

Bottles of Moet Champagne and glasses

A drink package allows you to pay one flat price and enjoy all you care to drink for the length of the cruise. For the most part there are two types of packages: Non-alcoholic and Alcoholic.


Non-alcoholic drink packages include things like soda, bottled water, and specialty coffees.


The alcoholic variety includes everything that the non-alcoholic packages include and adds beer, wine, and specialty cocktails. Typically, this package includes up to 15 alcoholic beverages per day. If you want more than that, the drinks will not be covered in the package and you will pay out of pocket for them.


These packages are cheaper when purchased prior to your cruise, however, the cruise lines will be very happy to add their packages to your tab once you are onboard. Keep in mind, the package doesn’t work retroactively and won’t cover any sodas or mojitos you have already enjoyed.


Each cruise line has its own packages with its own subtle nuances. Be sure to check with your line for specific information.


Here’s why you should get the drink package...


Four friends raising their cocktails to say cheers!

You will know your drink tab before you board the ship. When you purchase the drink package, gratuities will be added automatically. This helps with planning and will allow you to make the most of your vacation dollars.


You have the freedom to be adventurous. Order a drink you’ve never tried before. You might find your new favorite concoction! If you try it and don’t like it, no problem. Set that one down and order a new one.


You know you will be drinking a lot! Sodas and coffee or beer and margaritas, if you enjoy sipping on something throughout your day the drink package may be a perfect fit.


Here’s why you should not get the drink package...


You’ve heard the saying, “The house always wins.” It counts on a cruise ship too. They wouldn’t be making this offer unless they were going to come out ahead.


If you'll be tempted to "beat the house" and overindulge too many times, it may be best to skip the drink package. Moderation is best, even when you're on vacation.

three people holding beer with pizza in the background

Drink packages cannot be shared. Additionally, if one person in the cabin opts to purchase a drink package at any level, everyone in the cabin must purchase it. This can be rough if you are traveling with someone who drinks much more or much less than you. While you may only want the soda package, your partner may enjoy raising a glass multiple times a day. Keep this in mind and have a conversation with your travel buddy before you get on the ship.


You'll be paying for the drink package even when you're in port. That's right! Even on the days you explore on dry land, you'll be paying for the drinks.


Do all cruise lines offer a drink package?


For the most part, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Princess have similar drink package offerings.


There is one outlier though... Virgin Voyages.


They have the "Bar Tab". When sailing with Virgin, you'll prepay your bar tab and can use it however you like while on the ship. Order multiple drinks at the same time or buy one for a friend.


Should you get it?


Two heavy glasses with a blue rim, filled with margaritas

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Based on how and what you drink, you may think a drink package is the best thing since the frozen margarita machine or you might think it’s a complete waste of time.


Still not sure? Check out this Drink Calculator to see if a cruise drink package would be a good fit for you or not.


In either case, we do have one recommendation. Bring a straw! Cruise lines no longer serve plastic straws with drinks.


Ready to raise a glass and toast all a cruise has to offer? We’re here to help. Start by scheduling a consultation today!

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