Hate paying individually for drinks on a mainstream cruise ship -- or perhaps you've been known to run up a huge bar tab onboard? You might be the ideal candidate for an alcohol-inclusive drinks package, offered by the majority of mainstream cruise lines.
Found somewhere between the ubiquitous soft drinks packages and the included-in-your-fare booze of most luxury lines, these packages let cruisers pay one base price that covers most -- if not all -- of their nonalcoholic and alcoholic drinks onboard. Of course, while high prices and annoying fine print may persuade some travellers to go it a la carte, for others, the freedom to sample a variety of cocktails and wines of unknown provenance can be too appealing to ignore.
See below for a line-by-line guide to available drink packages, followed by some Cruise Critic reader reactions to the programmes.
Package Details: Although Azamara includes most nonalcoholic beverages along with select standard spirits, beers and a changing daily selection of red and white wines by the glass in its cruise fares, the line also has four for-fee beverage and wine packages.
Options include the Premium Package (featuring 20 types of beer and cider and liquors and liqueurs; $16.95 per person, per day), and the Ultimate Package, which builds upon the Premium Package with more offerings for liquors and liqueurs, along with a Champagne and selection of wines by the glass, premium waters ($23.95 per person, per day).
There are also two wine packages: the Wine Lover Package (choose from more than 80 bottles of wine valued at $50 or less; $180 to $350 for five-, seven-, 10- and 12-bottle packages) and the Wine Connoisseur Package (more than 50 bottles of wine valued at $51 to $75; $315 to $630 for five-, seven-, 10- and 12-bottle packages). All packages feature more choices and more premium brands than the complimentary offerings.
Fine Print: Packages can be pre-purchased (through Azamara or your travel agent) or bought onboard throughout the length of your cruise. Charges begin on day one or the day you purchase the package. Packages are not refundable once purchased and cannot be downgraded to a lower-tier package. You can only order one drink at a time. Drinks through room service are also permitted, during hours in which shipboard bars are open.
Ships: The Cheers! beverage program is available on all ships in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, with the exception of any ships sailing Australia voyages.
Package Details: On cruises of three or four days, the cost for the Cheers package is $53.95 per person, per day (plus gratuity) if purchased pre-cruise and $59.95 per person, per day (plus gratuity) if purchased onboard your cruise ship. On sailings of five days or longer, the price is $51.95 per person, per day (plus gratuity), when purchased in advance and $56.95 per person, per day (plus gratuity of 18 percent), if purchased onboard your cruise ship. The package includes spirits (including cocktails), as well as beer and wine by the glass with a $20.00 or lower menu price, sodas, zero-proof frozen cocktails, energy drinks, specialty coffee, hot tea, 500ml bottled water and other non-alcoholic bottled beverages.
Carnival's Bottomless Bubbles program is a strictly soda package, priced at $6.95 per day per child and $9.50 per adult per day, including all-you-can-drink soda and juice for the full length of your cruise.
Fine Print: Packages can be purchased in advance online or by phone, until the evening prior to the cruise departure, or at bars once onboard. If one adult in a cabin purchases the Cheers! package, all adults over 21 years old in that cabin must also purchase it. Participants can order only one drink at a time, there is a five-minute wait time required between drink purchases, and all bottles and cans are served opened; there is a limit of 15 alcoholic drinks per person within any 24-hour period. The package does not apply to drinks in souvenir glasses or via room service.
Due to state laws, the Cheers! package is not available until the second day of all sailings leaving from ports in New York and Texas. Cheers! applies to onboard beverages only; it cannot be used at Princess Cays. The package must be booked for the entire duration of the voyage.
Package Details: In Australia, the Cheers! package is only available on cruises of seven nights or longer. The price is AU$111 per person, per day if purchased pre-cruise and AU$119 per person, per day if purchased onboard your cruise ship. The package includes spirits, cocktails, beer and wine by the glass with a $20 or lower menu price, as well as soft drinks, mocktails, energy drinks, energy drinks, packaged water and other non-alcoholic bottled beverages.
Passengers with this package are entitled to a 25 percent discount on selected spirits or wines outside of the program, as well as bottles of wine in Fahrenheit 555, and beverage seminars and classes.
The package does not include specialty coffee and tea, fresh pressed and squeezed juices, drinks in souvenir glasses or via room service, and bottles of liquor.
Carnival also has a Bottomless Bubbles program, priced at AU$7.50 per day per child and AU$9.95 per adult per day, including unlimited soft drinks and juice for the full length of your cruise.
Fine Print: Packages can be purchased in advance online or by phone, until the evening prior to the cruise departure, or at bars once onboard. If one adult in a cabin purchases the Cheers! package, all adults over 18 years old in that cabin must also purchase it. The package must be booked for the entire duration of the voyage.
Participants can order only one drink at a time, and drinks cannot be shared with others. All bottles and cans will be served opened. There is a limit of 15 alcoholic drinks per person within a 24-hour period, and once this limit is reached you cannot purchase any more alcohol in that period.
Ships: All ships except for Celebrity Xpedition, Celebrity Flora
Package Details: Celebrity Cruises moved to an all-inclusive offering in 2020, with its "Always Included" packages, which include classic cocktails, wines by the glass, beer, sodas, specialty coffees and teas, juices and bottled water (as well as Wi-Fi and gratuities) when booking certain cabin grades, such as The Retreat or Aquaclass.
For passengers sailing on non-All Included packages, there are five drinks programs to choose from.
Classic package at $69 per passenger, per day, including an array of liquors, wines, beers, plus drinks up to $9. Wines by the bottles are discounted by 15 percent.
Premium package is $84 per person, per day. It includes all classic package items including specialty coffees and teas, craft and artisan beers, spirits, cocktails, frozen drinks, Coca Cola products, premium bottled water and wines by the glass up to $15 per serving. Passengers also get a 20 percent discount off all bottles of wine.
Classic Non-Alcoholic package is $18 per person, per day. This base nonalcoholic drinks package includes Coca Cola brands, juices, premium coffees and teas, bottled water and unlimited fountain soda.
Premium Non-Alcoholic package is $25 per person, per day, includes all Classic Non-Alcoholic items, plus non-alcoholic frozen drinks and smoothies, Evian and San Pellegrino bottled water, specialty coffees and organic teas, Red Bull energy drink, coconut water and Vitamin Water.
There’s also the Unlimited Fountain Soda package for $9 per person, per day.
In Australia there are 3 different package prices:
Classic package: from US$89 per day
Premium package: from US$109 per day
Zero Proof Drink Package: $30 per day
Fine Print: All packages are plus 20 percent gratuity. Packages are sold on a per cruise basis, and not on a per day or any other basis. No refunds will be issued for unused credits. Packages may not be shared, and do not include beverages sold in gift shops, mini-bar, or room service. Purchased packages may be modified up to four days prior to sailing by canceling and reordering the package. Cancellations or refunds will not be issued onboard the vessel after embarkation day. Availability of drink packages varies by ship. You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase any alcoholic package and to consume alcohol. See the terms of our guest alcohol policy. Other terms and conditions apply.
Package Details: Costa Cruises offers two supplementary beverage packages: My Drinks ($265 per seven-night sailing, per person), which is included as part of Costa’s all-inclusive fare, and My Drinks Plus ($360 per seven-night sailing, per person). The My Drinks package includes wine by the glass with meals, draught beer, specialty coffee, hot chocolate and tea, soft drinks and fruit juices, spirits, cocktails, mocktails and one bottled water per day. If you’re traveling with little ones, they can tap into your My Drinks package for sodas.
My Drinks Plus includes all of the above, plus a wider selection of draught beers, sodas, cocktails, liqueurs including more top-shelf brands, unlimited bottled water and mini bar drinks.
Fine Print: Package prices are inclusive of a 15 percent service charge. Drinks are available at all bars onboard, excluding themed bars. The package must be purchased by all passengers on the same reservation number and/or traveling in the same cabin. The package for children and teenagers aged 4 to 17 does not include alcoholic beverages. Top-shelf brands and cabin minibar items are excluded from the My Drinks package.
Package Details: Cunard offers five drinks packages. The basic is the Soft Drinks option at $10 per person per day, including unlimited draught soft drinks and selected fruit juices. The Speciality Hot Drinks option is also $10 per person per day, including unlimited illy specialty coffees, Tea Forté infusions and Godiva hot chocolates. The Premium Soft Drinks option is $29 per person, per day, including all soft drink and hot drink inclusions, plus bottled water, nonalcoholic cocktails and 20% discount on any nonalcoholic drinks not included.
The line’s Beers, Wines, & Spirits Option is $69 per person per day and includes drinks up to value of $12, including draught beer, and wine (served in 150ml measures), spirits and liqueurs (served in 1oz measures) and cocktails by the glass. This package also includes all beverages available in the Premium Non-Alcoholic package.
Passengers can also choose from the line's two sommelier-selected Wine Collections -- Commodore’s Collection and Captain’s Collection -- to create a tailormade selection of six or 12 bottles, from $299.
Fine Print: Up to 15 alcoholic drinks can be ordered per day, excluding room service and mini-bar beverages. Packages can be purchased on sailings of five nights or more and they can be used in all restaurants, bars and cafes onboard. Packages should also be purchased in the first two days of sailing. Included in the package terms, passengers are only allowed to order one drink at a time, with a minimum of 10 minutes between orders. A 15 percent gratuity charge is also included. Drinks packages should be purchased during the first two days of the cruise.
Package Details: For $54.95 per person, per day, Holland America's Signature Beverage Package allows cruisers to indulge in a variety of wine, beer, spirits, cocktails (including non alcoholic), sodas and coffee for an entire sailing. Each drink must cost no more than $11.
The Elite Beverage Package will buy you premium spirits, cocktails, wines, beers, coffees, nonalcoholic beverages, bottled water and sodas, up to a value of $15 each. The price for the Elite Beverage Package is $59.95 per person, per day if purchased in advance or onboard.
The line also offers a Cellar Master Package, which includes a choice of five wine bottles, a standard and a premium wine-tasting, one Pinnacle Grill dinner, a wine accessory gift set and a Holland America Line commemorative bottle of wine, starting at $273.74 per person.
There is one fleetwide non-alcoholic package; Quench is $17.95 per person per day for sodas, including Coca-Cola products, premium coffee, juices, mocktails and bottled water.
On Rotterdam, Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, Let It Flow, at $8 per person per day, is also available for unlimited fountain sodas and Packages are limited to 15 per day.
Fine Print: Prices reflect an included 18 percent service charge. If one passenger in a cabin opts for a Signature or Elite drinks package, anyone who is 21-plus years old in the same cabin is required to purchase it as well. Items from the mini-bar, in-room dining and beverages on Half Moon Cay are excluded from packages. Passengers can only order one drink at a time, and no sharing is permitted.
Package Details: MSC Cruises offers multiple beverage packages, starting with the Easy Package, which is available for $35 per person, per day, and includes drinks priced up to $6 including house wines by the glass, one brand of draft beer that varies by sailing and Miller Lite bottled beer (on Caribbean itineraries only), select spirits and cocktails (including non-alcoholic cocktails), soft drinks, fruit juice by the glass, bottled water, and classic hot drinks (espresso, cappuccino, cafe latte, hot tea and hot chocolate). This package is valid in all onboard bars, as well as the buffet and restaurants, but not in specialty restaurants.
The Easy Plus package, at $62 per person, per day, includes everything in the Easy package, plus a variety of frozen and classic cocktails, spirits, liqueurs, 10 percent off bottles of wine and a wider selection of draught and bottled beers. It can also be used in specialty restaurants.
The Premium Extra Package includes all drinks by the glass, including more premium brands and Champagne, and it costs $79 per person, per day. It is available everywhere, including room service, and offers a 25 percent discount on purchasing wine and Champagne by the bottle.
An alcohol free adults package and a children's package is available for $17 per person, per day -- including sodas, soft serve ice cream and mocktails. The children's package cannot be used in specialty restaurants.
Fine Print: If one person in a cabin purchases a package, all others in the cabin must purchase a package; same goes for family or friends traveling together and wishing to share a dinner table. Passengers 21 or older (18 or older on cruises not departing from the United States) can only select an alcohol package; passengers older than 3 but younger than 21 (younger than 18 on non-U.S.-based sailings) can choose between the equivalent children's package or a soda package. Packages must be purchased for the entire duration of each voyage.
Only one drink may be ordered at a time. The above listed packages do not include drinks in souvenir glasses. All-inclusive drink packages are not available on shorter one- to three-night sailings, except for South American cruises where no minimum nights are required.
Ships: All ships, but note that Pride of America has its own package.
Package Details: Norwegian has five beverage packages available on all ships, except for Pride of America. The Corks and Caps Wine and Beer Package costs $65 per person, per day, and includes a selection of fountain soda and juices, beer (draft and bottles) and wines by the glass ($15 or less). A 20 percent discount applies toward the purchase of any bottle of wine.
The Premium Beverage Package costs $99 per person, per day and $109 from January 1, 2023. The Premium Beverage Package is included in fares booked on the Free at Sea promotion. The package includes everything in the Corks and Caps Package, plus liquor and cocktails (all drinks $15 or less). You can use your beverage package at all onboard bars, lounges and restaurants, and on the line's private Bahamian island, Great Stirrup Cay.
The Premium Plus Beverage Package costs $128 per person, per day and $138 from January 1, 2023, and it covers all drinks by the glass, with no price cap; still and sparkling bottled water; specialty coffee; energy drinks; select wines by the bottle at restaurants; and 40 percent off all other bottles of wine, flights, tastings and other experiences.
On Pride of America there’s only one program, the Hawaii Beverage Package. For $109 per person, per day, the package covers alcoholic beverages (up to $15), soda, freshly squeezed juice, still and sparkling bottled water, nonalcoholic beer and specialty coffee in the ship's dining venues.
The Unlimited Starbucks Package is $12.95 per person, per day, plus 20 percent gratuity and beverage service charge. The Soda package, including cola, diet cola, lemon lime soda, ginger ale, tonic water and orange soda is $9.95 per person, per day.
Fine Print: All packages are subject to a 20 percent gratuity charge. Two drinks are allowed per passenger, per order. Packages must be purchased for all guests 21+ on the same cabin or reservation (i.e. if one person in a cabin on the same reservation opts for a Premium package, both passengers are required to purchase it).
Packages may not be shared and are non-transferable and non-refundable. Packages do not include room service, mini bar purchases, vending machines, or pre-cruise wine bottle purchases. Package can be used in onboard restaurants, lounges, bars and Great Stirrup Cay, though not on Harvest Caye, nor sailings that are two days or less.
Package Details: Oceania Cruises offers two beverage package options. House Select, which costs $39.95 per person, per day, includes unlimited Champagne, wine and beer with dinner and lunch. The second package, Prestige Select, is pricier -- $59.95 per person, per day -- and includes spirits, beer, wine and Champagne in bars and restaurants. Both packages entitles the purchaser to 20 percent off wine-pairing dinners at La Reserve (aboard Marina and Riviera).
The line also has a Wine by the Bottle package of seven bottles (selections can be made from a set list, which varies by ship and voyage), with each bottle priced at $47.50, including gratuity -- a good savings, considering most bottles retail in the $60 to $100 range. Oceania already includes items like soft drinks, bottled water and specialty coffees within its cruise fares. Note that passengers booking the line's ongoing OLife Choice promotional fares can choose a complimentary House Select beverage package as part of the deal.
Fine Print: Package prices include gratuities and can be pre-booked online or through a reservations representative. They can also be purchased onboard at any time during the cruise (with prices prorated for days remaining). You can upgrade from the House Select to Prestige Select during the voyage, but you can't downgrade. Refunds aren't permitted.
Package Details: P&O Cruises Australia has two alcohol drinks packages, available on cruises of seven nights or more (excluding Melbourne Cup and State of Origin cruises), and two non-alcoholic drinks packages, which are available on all cruises.
P&O also has a Soft Drinks Package, priced at AU$10 per person, per day, including unlimited glasses of soft drinks and soda water for the full length of your cruise. This package, which must be purchased pre-cruise, does not include bottled water, energy drinks, juice, mocktails, in-room bottled water or apply to room service.
The Premium Beverage Package costs AU$99 per person, per day, when purchased before cruising. It includes beer, glasses of wine, spirits and cocktails up to the value of AU$16, as well as soft drinks, soda water, 600ml bottled water, juice blends and mocktails.
The Lot! Beverage Package costs AU$115 per person, per day, when purchased before cruising. It includes beer, glasses of wine, spirits and cocktails up to the value of AU$19, as well as espresso coffee drinks, T2 tea, milk by the glass, energy drinks, soft drinks, soda water, 600ml bottled water, juice blends and mocktails.
The Refreshment Drinks Package is priced at AU$25 per person, per day, including unlimited glasses of soft drinks and soda water, 600ml bottled water, juice blends, mocktails, espresso coffee drinks and T2 tea. It does not include energy drinks, in-room bottled water or apply to room service.
Fine Print: Packages can be purchased in advance online or by phone, until the evening prior to the cruise departure. The package must be booked for the entire duration of the voyage. If one adult in a cabin purchases an alcohol package, all adults over 18 years old in that cabin must also purchase it. Participants can order only one drink at a time, and drinks cannot be shared with others. All bottles and cans will be served opened. There is a limit of 15 alcoholic drinks per person within a 24-hour period. Alcoholic beverages requested above this limit are charged at regular menu prices and are subject to P&O’s Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Policy.
Package Details: Princess Cruises' Plus Beverage Package costs $59.99 per person, per day, plus an 18 percent gratuity, and includes cocktails, spirits, beer and glasses of wine, valued at up to $12. Bottled water, juice, fountain soda, energy drinks, specialty coffee and tea, smoothies and milkshakes are also included. Each purchaser of the package also receives a 25 percent discount on a selection of bottled wines.
Additionally, Princess offers the new Premier Beverage Package for $79.99 per person, per day, which includes everything in the Plus package, with the addition of top-shelf spirits, reserve wines by the glass and new high-end crafted cocktails, a selection of over 75 spirits, and ‘premier wines’ by the glass including Cloudy Bay, Stag's Leap, Grgich Hills and Cattier Champagne; Private Woodford Reserve Bourbon Selection created exclusively for Princess; Personalized Jack Daniel's Whiskey Single Barrel Select, plus 25 percent discount on all bottled wine, including rare vintages.
Passengers can save on packages, including 48 percent on the Princess Plus, when purchased with Wi-Fi and crew appreciation or 52 percent on the Princess Premier.
Nonalcoholic packages include the Coffee & Soda package, for $19.99 per person, per day, including premium and specialty coffees and teas, fountain sodas, fruit juices, hot chocolate and “zero-proof” mocktails. The Classic Soda Package for $9.99 per person, per day, including all fountain sodas, fruit juices, mocktails and smoothies.
Fine Print: An 18 percent service charge is added to all package purchases, excluding Australia. Princess cruisers may purchase the package on three-night or longer cruises (seven nights for Australian itineraries). All passengers in a single stateroom must purchase the package. Package must be purchased for the entire cruise duration; prorated/partial packages are not available.
For advance bookings, the window closes three days ahead of the sailing; once onboard, it is only available on embarkation day and is nonrefundable. Only one drink may be ordered at a time and a limit of 15 alcoholic beverages per person, per day, applies to the Premier Beverage Package.
Package details: Princess ships in Australia offer both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drink packages. Plus Beverage Package costs AU$110 per person, per day. It covers drinks up to the value of AU$22 each including cocktails, spirits, beers, wine by the glass, specialty coffees, soft drinks, mocktails, shakes, juices, smoothies and bottled water. Passengers who buy the deal also receive a 25 percent discount on all bottles of wine, large bottles of water and canned soft drinks.
Premier Beverage Package costs AU$110 per person, per day and includes the same as Plus, but for drinks up to the value of AU$30 each, as well as reserve wines by the glass, top-shelf spirits, and high-end cocktails crafted by mixologist Rob Floyd.
Fine print: On Princess cruises originating from Australia, passengers must be 18 years or over to purchase or consume alcohol. The package excludes in-room drinks, mini-bar and vending machine items.
Package Details: Royal Caribbean has one alcohol-inclusive beverage package on offer. The Deluxe Beverage Package pricing varies by sailing, but is currently between $63 and $89 per person, per day (between $99 and $116 per person, per day, for cruises departing Australia), and includes cocktails, spirits, beer, wine by the glass, mocktails, premium coffee and tea, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh-squeezed juices, fountain sodas with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, a 40 percent discount on wine bottle purchases up to $100 and a 20 percent discount on wine bottle purchases more than $100.
Drinks must not exceed $12 in value. Gratuities are included in the package price, charged in a lump sum of 18 percent at the time of purchase.
Non-alcoholic packages include:
Refreshment Package, which is $29-$38/day and includes fountain soft drinks, Coke, non-alcoholic cocktails, bottled water, premium coffees and teas and fresh-squeezed juices.
Classic Soft Drinks Package is $12.99-$15/day and includes fountain soft drinks, Coke and a souvenir cup.
Fine Print: Package does not include mini-bar items, room service, drinks in souvenir glassware or specialty beers. The drinks package must be purchased on embarkation day or a minimum of four days before the cruise ends (prorated prices are available). If one person in a cabin purchases a package, all others in the cabin aged 21 and over must purchase a package. Packages may also be purchased online up to 72 hours prior to embarkation. Package users may only order one item at a time for individual consumption.
Package Details: A sailing on any Viking Ocean Cruises ship includes soft drinks, beer and a rotating selection of house wines by the glass at lunch and dinner, plus specialty coffees and teas around the clock. Spirits, cocktails and premium wines cost extra.
Passengers can upgrade to the Silver Spirits Package covers any drinks (excluding champagne) up to $15.00, including premium wines by the glass, cocktails, all house pouring wines, beers, liquors, well drinks, mixers/long drinks and soft drinks throughout the day for a flat fee per guest. Packages are $19.95 per person, per day.
Fine Print: The Silver Spirit Package must be purchased before sailing and for the entire duration of the sailing by all parties sharing a stateroom. Gratuities are included in the pricing.
Package Details: Windstar offers an all-inclusive package for $79 per person, per day for departures in 2022 and $89 per person, per day for 2023. This includes unlimited beer, wine, cocktails, Wi-Fi and gratuities.
This ultimate beverage package includes all domestic and imported beer; 33 varieties of wine or sparkling wine by the glass; cordials; liqueurs; aperitifs; cocktails and mini-bar items.
Cocktails are based on house and select brands. Passengers can choose from more than 40 liquors such as Grey Goose, Hendricks, Johnny Walker Black, Ketel One, Glenfiddich, Hennessy, and more (brands rotate and are subject to availability.)
Bottles of wine and Champagne are not included; however, package holders will get 30 percent off the cost of wine bottles (up to a retail value of $100) and will not be charged a corkage fee for any wine brought onboard themselves in port.
Fine Print: An 18 percent service charge is applied to packages. The all-Inclusive package is $79 when booked at least five days prior to departure. If booked when onboard, it’s $89. ($89 prior and $99 onboard for 2023). If one traveler in a cabin buys a package, the other is not required to purchase one, as well. Beverage packages must be purchased within the first two days of the cruise and prices will be prorated if bought on the second day. An additional 15 percent gratuity will be added to the cost of the package.