Carnival’s All-Inclusive Drinks Package: In Vino Veritas?

August 22, 2012 | By | 21 Comments

all-you-can-drink-alcohol-carnival-victory-cruise
There’s been no shortage of sober feedback about Carnival’s trial all-you-can-drink package, which is currently in beta on Carnival Victory. For about $50 a day, My Awesome Bar Program opt-ins — and all occupants of a cabin 21 or older must opt in — can order beer, wine, spirits, cocktails and certain nonalcoholic drinks priced under $10 (before tip).
The most vociferous commenters have decried the program, saying that too many inebriated passengers will make a mess of the ship. “Oh goody, more drunks on the ship,” wrote Steve Fuller on the original news story. “Some people will drink themselves silly just to get their money’s worth. Just a terrible idea,” added Fred Couch.
But a Cruise Critic poll found a near-even split between the ayes and the nays. As of press time, nearly 50 percent of 1,666 polltakers would consider purchasing such a package, 22 percent thinking it represented good value and more than 25 percent saying they might opt in — if the mandatory 100 percent cabin participation clause were excised.
“I would definitely sign up for this!” exclaimed bananaface on the message boards. Others, like silvercrikhix beseeched Carnival to roll out the program fleetwide. “It may not work for everyone, but for those that it does work for can actually have a CHOICE, an adult choice!” she wrote on the message boards.
The other half of poll respondents said they simply don’t drink enough to make it worthwhile. “I like to have a few sober days during a cruise, and the package expects that you’ll be drinking every day,” posted Tom Burke in the comments. The package would cost nearly $700 for two adults on a weeklong cruise.
Many readers were curious, but with caveats. “I would do it if you could buy it a day at a time — no way we could drink that much on port days! Now, at-sea days — entirely do-able!” wrote Amy McKee Fisher in our original story’s comments section.
Indeed, the problem of port days surfaced repeatedly — Victory sails what’s considered a destination-heavy Caribbean itinerary, with only one full sea day and five port calls in the mix. Message boards member Kstofflet felt that passengers wouldn’t have enough time on the ship to make the financials work.
There’s no indication at this time if the program will be introduced on other ships.
What’s your take?
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    Comments

    21 Responses to “Carnival’s All-Inclusive Drinks Package: In Vino Veritas?”

    1. Kit
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 9:18 am

      While some days we may spend over $100 on alcohol that would consist of an umbrella drink (or two) by the pool, then a nice bottle of wine with dinner and maybe a cocktail during the show after dinner. Drinking $50 each in beer/cocktails (we almost never get wine by the glass) might happen once in a cruise – and that depends upon the beers offered. As mentioned previously, when you consider port days this simply is not a value unless you’re in frat-party mode while onboard.

    2. Sean
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 9:32 am

      I would do it but I would never be on a regular Carnival cruise. The entertainment sucks and those ships are blah! If it were a charted cruise through Atlantis I would totally do it!

    3. Cindy Ballard
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 9:35 am

      I think the price is a little excessive since you have to pay that for everyone in your room. They should take that into consideration. I know I couldn’t drink that much in a day, my husband maybe could, so maybe they could have it be 50.00 for first person and half price for the rest. Certainly during port days no one drinks that much. Also, how is the tip figured on this?

    4. Brian Hill
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 9:41 am

      It would cost more to drink than the cruise itself…no thanks!

    5. OceanGoingGal
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 9:41 am

      Would this be seperate from the cruise fare? I mean would it be like the tonic card that you can purchase seperate? I drink so little that I do not want to be funding anyone else drinking. I also think it may encourage way too much drinking by too many people. They worked so hard to shed the drunk ship reputation. I do not understand why they want to bring it back again.

    6. Jackie ferguson
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 10:08 am

      Being a diamond member on RCI, My friends and I get free drinks from 5 thru 8:30 every night. Not good for us..

    7. Scott
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 10:39 am

      Back in 2005, I won a 5 day NCL cruise from a radio station in Chicago. There were actually about 300 people on the cruise that all won it. The radio station and NCL arranged a $30 per day liquor package for mixed drinks, all but a few imported beers, and most shots were included too. That was a great price and well worth it!!! Unfortunately, the ship actually was running out of alcohol by the time they reached the first port, and they restocked there! Something we were told had never happened before. I don’t think I would pay $50 per day, but $30 was definitely reasonable. And I will say, a good time was had by all!

    8. Kathy
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 10:44 am

      I do like the idea…and yes on days at sea a great idea…but on port days…could be a waste. I would definitely do this if it could be done on a day by day basis. But I suppose this is not really what carnival has in mind…heck they gotta make momey!

    9. Paula Winchester
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

      I think the drink package is a great idea! 5 drinks a day per person would make it cost effective. That would be bloody Marie’s in the a.m. and the cocktails by the pool in the afternoon, not to mention all of the cokes. Those of you saying it would cause too many drunks? Really? Those people are already drinking on the ship with or without the package. It would also cut down on a lot of the attempts to smuggle booze on board..(not me but other people ;) lol

    10. Sweettea
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

      I suppose Carnival had to do something to try and conduct a promo for an otherwise abysmal cruise line

    11. Jess
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

      to Cindy’s comment above. the package costs like 41 or 42 bucks and they add 15% gratuity to the card purchase. So in my mind you dont have to tip for your drink at the bar it was already included in the purchase of the package.

    12. IrixGuy
      August 22nd, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

      It’s not a good deal but I high-five Carnival for the attempt. This video breaks down why it is not a good deal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phaAcHoKSr4

    13. David Lee
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

      I would definitely consider doing this and I hope they roll it all to all of the ships so that cruisers have the option to choose. But can you confirm whether or not there is an actual 15/day drink limit on this package? And if so, what is all included in the limit? Or was this just a rumor?

    14. John
      August 25th, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

      It’s about time, this should have happened years ago, all of the cruise companies should do something similar. Only downside is it’s a bit too pricey.

    15. elaine
      August 25th, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

      OKAY QUESTION TIME….

      YOU PAID FOR THE FULL CRUISE DRINK CARD, THEN THE HOME PORT IS CLOSED LIKE TAMPA IS SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WEEKEND (ON SAT OR SUN OR MAYBE EVEN BOTH DAYS DUE TO STORMS…) WILL THAT INCLUDE THESE DAYS AS WELL? AND IF THE SHIP RUNS PUT OF WHAT YOU DRINK WILL YOU BE REFUNDED BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T GET YOUR DRINKS?

      DOESN’T SEEM FAIR IF THEY DON’T HAVE WHAT YOU PREFER THAT YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY FOR IT ..

      AND YES CAP LOCK IS STUCK AGAIN. SO SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS

      JUST ASKING!!!

    16. kim
      August 25th, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

      I do not drink, my husband does, why should i have to purchase this plan just because he does…this is carnival trying to screw passagers and make themselves big bucks. The one thing about a cruise its affordable, but if they keep doing crap like this i can do anything for the same price. It should be optioal for whoever wants it, not the whole cabin.

    17. Flandry
      August 25th, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

      A desperate act, from a desperate cruise line, and just another reason NOT to book a cruise on Carnival. Too many drunks.

    18. doctorbill
      August 26th, 2012 @ 10:48 am

      Bartenders are generally required to cut off a patron who is inebriated. Such patrons often resent this. They will resent this even more if they’ve already paid for the drinks and feel that the cruise line is trying to rip them off.

    19. disan
      December 2nd, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

      who cares if the ship makes more money . the value is in line +/- but the main thing is it just makes the experience a little more mindless and isn’t that what a cruise all about ? more fun and less to think about. nice job carnival.

    20. Lorna Rivard
      July 4th, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

      Wow! What an awesome idea. I have cruised 10 times with Carnival and tried others….only to come back to Carnival. I would love the “Cheers” program to be introduced fleet wide.I have a 16 day cruise booked in the new year, and already have my money saved to purchase the plan. So please Carnival make this available on all ships.
      Guests have the option not to purchase, don’t spoil it for the rest of us.
      Happy Cruising!

    21. Valerie Harvey
      December 6th, 2013 @ 4:06 am

      I would be all for it. But how can you make my boyfriend buy such a package too. He has a pacemaker and does not drink alcohol. A package for him to buy cokes would be fine to buy. But why punish me when I want it but he can’t but you will make him buy it too. Come on have a little sense! Of course I am not going to drink any where near what is included in the package, just would be nice not to have to shell out $10-13.50 per drink which would just make me feel quilty and ruin my time.

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