(5:50 p.m. EDT) -- In an effort to more closely align itself with industry standards, Princess Cruises has raised the prices and reworked the offerings for its alcohol-inclusive beverage package.
Formerly known as the All-Inclusive Beverage Package, the cruise add-on, now called the Premier Beverage Package, will cost US$59.99 per person, per day -- up from US$52 per person, per day -- plus 15 percent gratuity. In Australia, the new price is AU$86.99 per day including gratuity. (For more details on Australian pricing, see our note below.)
Here are the key elements:
|Old Package||New Package|
|Name: All-Inclusive Beverage Package||Name: Premier Beverage Package|
|Price: US$52 per person, per day||Price: US$59.99 per person, per day|
|Gratuity: 15 percent (not included)||Gratuity: 15 percent (not included)|
|Drink limit: N/A||Drink limit: 15 per person, per day|
|Price limit: US$10 per drink||Price limit: US$12 per drink|
|Wine discount: 40 percent off bottles US$100 or less||Wine discount: 25 percent off all bottles|
The Premier Beverage Package is more expensive by about US$8 per person, per day (or about US$56 more per person for a seven-night cruise), for those who purchase it. The line also has decreased the percentage discount on bottles of wine but has extended that discount to all bottles. Additionally, a limit of 15 drinks per person, per day, has been imposed, but the cost limit per drink has been increased from US$10 to US$12.
In addition to 15 alcoholic drinks per day, unlimited bottled water, fountain soda, juice, specialty coffees and teas, Red Bull energy drinks, smoothies, milkshakes and frappes are also included in the package.
As was the case before the change, the package can be purchased on an individual basis; Princess does not require all adults sharing a cabin to buy it if one person does.
Princess representative Negin Kamali said the line will begin rolling the Premier Beverage Package out across the fleet September 20, beginning with Golden Princess in Australia. In other regions, the new package will go into effect aboard Regal Princess and Royal Princess by the end of September, and the rest of the ships will see the new package by the end of October.
Note: The Premier Beverage Package on Australian and New Zealand voyages features the same inclusions, but due to currency conversions, the new price is AU$86.99 per day including gratuity across all Australian-based vessels. A spokesperson from Princess Cruises' Sydney office said: "In addition to keeping the unlimited [non-alcoholic] offerings, we have enhanced the value of the package by adding alcoholic drinks up to AU$16, offering 25 percent off all bottles of wine, and including a one litre bottle of water (still or sparkling) free when you dine at a specialty dining restaurant."
Passengers who purchased a package prior to September 20 for any sailings taking place after that date, as well as passengers who took advantage of the line's 2017 Sip + Sail offer, will be grandfathered into the old pricing, but the new offerings, terms and conditions will still be in effect, Kamali said.
--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor