One of the most frustrating aspects of cruising is that alcoholic beverages are never included in the package price, leading to frighteningly high bar tabs at the end of your trip. However, many cruise lines offer all-inclusive drink bundles that you may or may not be aware of. These are the top ten companies to sail with if you’re interested in boozin’ and cruisin’ affordably.
1. Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian offers its guests the choice of two beverage packages: the “Corks and Caps Package”
and the “Ultimate Beverage Package.” The “Corks and Caps” costs $59 per person per day and includes a selection of soda and juices, beer and wines by the glass ($15 or less). The “Ultimate Beverage Package” costs $79 per person, per day, and includes everything in the “Corks and Caps Package” plus liquor and cocktails (all drinks $15 or less). Both packages require an additional 18% gratuity.
2. Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises only offer one all-inclusive beverage option. Cruisers can pay $49 per day plus gratuity and indulge in all cocktails, spirits, beer and glasses of wine less than $10. All non-alcoholic drinks served in cans or bottles, as well as mocktails and shakes coffee, tea, espresso and specialty drinks are included.
3. Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean has three different beverage packages available for guests. At $39 per passenger per day the Select Beverage Package includes beer, wine by the glass, sodas with a souvenir cup and a 20 percent discount for bottles of wine. At $49 per person per day, the Premium Package includes everything that the Select Beverage bundle offers in addition to house and premium cocktails, frozen cocktails, premium wine by the glass, nonalcoholic cocktails and bottled still water. The Ultimate Package costs $59 per passenger per day and seems to satisfy all imbibers by including premium coffee and tea, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh-squeezed orange juice, house and premium cocktails, frozen cocktails, beers, premium wine by the glass (up to $12 value), nonalcoholic cocktails, fountain sodas with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup and a 20 percent discount on wine bottle purchases.
4. Holland America Line
The Seattle-based cruise line’s Signature Beverage package allows cruisers to enjoy up to 15 beverages a day including wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, sodas and coffee for the entire trip. The service is offered fleet-wide and if one passenger in a cabin opts for the package, all others in the cabin who are 21-plus are required to purchase it as well.
5. MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises provides guests with a number of different beverage packages to chose from. The Premium Allegrissimo Adult package includes just about everything from wines and beers to sodas and mineral waters as well as unlimited bar and mini-bar cocktails for $57 per day, per person. A step below the Premium package is the Allegrissimo Adult bundle for $44, which includes unlimited wine by the glass (choice of two whites, one rose, two reds, two sparkling wines), draught beer, soft drinks, mineral water and a selection of cocktails from the bar. The Cheers! Adult package is available only during mealtimes and includes unlimited wine (choice of two whites, two reds and one rose), draught beer, soft drinks and mineral water in the main dining rooms during lunch and dinner.
6. Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises offer two all-inclusive beverage package options for passengers. The first package costs $34.95 per person, per day and includes house wine and beer with dinner and lunch and is available when ordering room service. For $54.95 per person, per day guests are entitled to beer and premium house wine, most cocktails on the bar menu and room service beverages during regular operating bar hours.
7. Carnival Cruises
Carnival Cruises offers its guests an all-inclusive beverage package for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, known as the CHEERS! program. The CHEERS! program costs $49.95 USD per person, per day and includes all spirits, as well as beer and glasses of wine, juices, sodas and energy drinks. There is a 15-drink maximum per day for alcoholic beverages, while non-alcoholic drinks are unlimited. The package also offers a 25 percent discount on bottled water, bottles of wine and Champagne.
8. Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity was one of the first cruise companies to introduce the option of all-inclusive beverage packages which began in 2009. Celebrity Cruises offers a number of packages for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The two most popular choices are the Classic Package and the Premium Package. The Classic bundle costs $55 per person, per night and includes soda, fresh squeezed and bottled juices, premium coffees and teas, non-premium bottled water, all beers, spirits, cocktails, frozen drinks and wines by the glass up to $8 per serving. The Premium Package includes sodas, premium bottled water, specialty coffees and teas, non-alcoholic frozen drinks and smoothies, Red Bull, Vitamin Waters, all beers, and spirits, cocktails and wine by the glass up to $13 per serving. The Premium bundle is priced from $65 per person per night.
Windstar’s beverage package is unique in that it is sold by the cabin, meaning all persons sharing a cabin or suite are entitled to unlimited cocktails, regular and sparkling wines by the glass (priced at $12 or less), beer, mini-bar selections and room service drink orders. Windstar includes non-alcoholic beverages, such as coffee drinks and soda, but wine and Champagne are not included in the $116/per day package.
10. Costa Cruises
The Italian-based cruise line offers passengers a beverage package that includes both a selection of alcoholic beverages, beers, wines, soft drinks by the glass and coffee. The cost is 19.50 euros per person, per day, including service charges, and is available to all adults 18+. A non-alcoholic beverage bundle is also available for underage travelers.