(2:30 p.m. EDT) -- The "beverage package" trend continues to gain traction in the cruise industry, with MSC Cruises becoming the latest line to offer its passengers a variety of packages to suit their drinking needs.
Five different Allegrissimo packages are on offer, allowing cruisers access to unlimited wines, cocktails, sodas and other beverages. They range in price from a meal-only version at $24 to a premium unlimited option at $61 for adults and $31 for children.
All packages are available on select departures in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe and must be booked before departure. Similar to other lines with beverage packages, like Celebrity Cruises, Allegrissimo packages must be purchased for the entire cruise, though they differ in that passengers on Celebrity cruises can purchase packages up to two nights before the end of the cruise at pro-rated prices. Unlike Celebrity's offerings, however, the package must be booked by all passengers occupying the same cabin or traveling together and wishing to eat at the same table.
Not only must all adults in a cabin or traveling party purchase beverage packages, but minors (from ages 3-21) also are required to purchase the children's version of the package, which costs $31 per day for the premium package or $13 for the meal-only package. That version gives kids access to unlimited soft drinks, fruit juices, hot drinks, virgin cocktails, smoothies and milkshakes.
Allegrissimo packages can be reserved through travel agents or on the MSC Cruises Web site. Packages can be reserved up to three days before departure.
The package options are:
Allegrissimo Premium Adult (all-inclusive 24 hours): This includes unlimited wine (from the "by the glass" menu), draught and bottled beer, soft drinks, mineral water and all drinks from the bars and mini-bar (except on MSC Melody). Also offered are all items from the Gelateria menu, Chocolate Bar and pastry Shop, plus mineral water in the cabins. It's priced at $61 per person, per day.
Allegrissimo Premium Child (all-inclusive 24 hours): This features unlimited soft drinks from the bar, including energizers, fruit juices, virgin cocktails, hot drinks, smoothies and milkshakes. It also includes nonalcoholic drinks and snacks from the mini-bar (except on MSC Melody); all items from the Gelateria menu, Chocolate Bar and pastry Shop; plus mineral water in the cabins. It's priced at $31 per person, per day.
Allegrissimo Adult (unlimited 24 hours): This will get you unlimited wine by the glass (choice of two whites, one rose, two reds, two sparkling wines), draught beer, soft drinks, mineral water and a wide selection of drinks and cocktails from the bar, as well as takeaway ice cream in a cone or cup. The price was not immediately available from MSC Cruises.
Allegrissimo Child (unlimited 24 hours): You'll have access to unlimited soft drinks, mineral water, fruit juices, hot drinks, virgin cocktails, smoothies and milkshakes, as well as takeaway ice cream in a cone or cup. Pricing was not immediately available from MSC Cruises.
Cheers! Adult (unlimited mealtime): Unlimited wine (choice of two whites, two reds and one rose), draught beer, soft drinks and mineral water in the main dining rooms only during lunch and dinner. (Alternative restaurants do not apply.) In addition to Mediterranean and Northern Europe itineraries, the Cheers! Package also is available on cruises to Abu Dhabi and The Emirates, the Caribbean and North and South America. This package is priced at $24 per day; a $13 per person, per day, option is available for children, as well.
Other cruise lines that offer alcoholic beverage packages include Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line -- both of which offer discounts on pre-purchased bottles of wine -- and Celebrity.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor