March 15, 2011
(9:35 a.m. EDT) -- Taking a page from sister cruise line Celebrity Cruises, whose all-you-can-drink cocktail and wine packages have clearly been appealing, Royal Caribbean confirmed to Cruise Critic that it too will offer the program onboard some ships.
First reported by Cruise Critic's community, this new addition includes three possible packages to purchase once onboard:
For $39, the beer and wine package includes all brews, house wine by the glass and a 25 percent discount on other liquors and wines.
The "classic," which costs $49, expands on that to include all cocktails and premium and specialty liquor.
And for connoisseurs, the $59 Premium Package builds on the classic, but also offers wines by the glass up to $10, and more premium liquors.
Note that these prices are per person, per day.
Just as notable as the package itself are the three ships chosen to offer the program -- all of which cater predominantly to non-U.S. cruisers. The three-option program was made available from March 13 on Grandeur of the Seas, and from March 14 on Independence of the Seas and Legend of the Seas. Independence is based year-round in the United Kingdom and sails out of Southampton. Grandeur divides its time between South America (cruises from Colon, Panama, and Cartagena, Columbia) and the Mediterranean (from Palma De Mallorca, Spain). Legend is Royal Caribbean's year-round Asia-based vessel.
The big question: Will Royal Caribbean roll the package out fleetwide? According to spokesman Harry Liu, there are currently no plans for the all-you-can-drink program to be available on any of RCI's other 19 ships. Liu did, however, note that, "Royal Caribbean may consider deploying the program to other ships in the fleet if it is successful." (Interestingly, when we called RCI's U.S.-based customer service department for information, the representative told us she had never heard of the packages.)
There are some differences to Royal Caribbean's offerings. For instance, on Celebrity, the premium package includes $12 glasses of wine rather than $10, which can make a difference if you, like me, are picky. But we won't know all the ins and outs until Cruise Critic members try them out.
Now it's your turn. Tell us: Will all-you-can-drink packages encourage people to drink to excess, or simply offer a convenient and money-saving option for those with big bar bills? Share your opinion with 600,000 Cruise Critic members. --by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Cruise Line Alcohol Policies