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Cruises With Free Drink Packages

Be Nice To The Bartender

7 ways to get free drinks on a Royal Caribbean cruise

“My husband and I have always found that if we frequent the same bar staff during the majority of the cruise, and be sure to tip generously, we get excellent service,” writes Cruise Critic reader Linda. “May not always be free, but the bar staff tend to be more generous.” Linda also recommends asking your favorite barkeep where he or she is going to be when. Tim agrees. “They will treat you right with strong pours and drinks that never find their way to your tab,” he says.

Loyalty Pays In Booze

When it comes to gratis pours, cruise lines can be generous with their past passengers. Sail just once with Holland America and you can attend the complimentary Mariner Society Brunch, complete with sparkling wine. Amass 75 days at sea, and you’ll also get 25 percent off mini-bar purchases and drinks at Explorations Cafe. Those with 200-plus days under their belts will enjoy half off the aforementioned offerings, plus a complimentary wine tasting. Royal Caribbean ups the ante by hosting nightly happy hours for its Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members on select ships with Diamond Lounges. On other ships, these highest-tier loyalty members receive complimentary drink vouchers each night in lieu of the happy hour. Read more about cruise line past passenger programs to find out what liquid perks you’re entitled to on a variety of lines.

Can You Bring Your Own Drinks On A Princess Cruise

Princess permits passengers to carry on one 750 ml bottle of wine per guest. The cruise line charges a $15 corkage fee if you drink the wine in a bar or restaurant. They permit additional bottles, but will charge the $15 fee regardless of where guests drink that wine, including in your stateroom.

Princess doesnt restrict carrying on non-alcoholic beverages, but they do restrict the size of any cooler used to transport beverages to a maximum of 12x 12x 12.

For all other beverage packages, Princess terms and conditions specifically prohibit sharing with another guest. If youre caught sharing, they could terminate your beverage package for the rest of the cruise, without any refund.

However, some cruisers get away with discreetly sharing a drink or twobut you do run the risk of losing your expensive beverage package if youre caught by the crew.

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Have Cheap Drinks On A Cruise But Dont Miss Out On The Fun

Part of the fun of drinking on a cruise is the social element, hanging out at the numerous bars, lounges, and clubs on these awesome ships. The nightly parties can be a blast. Drunken karaoke sessions are hilarious. Late night clubs can get interesting.

Yet some of the aforementioned cruise tips for cheap drinks may confine passengers to drinking in their staterooms. Thats boring. Youre on a cruise go out and have fun!

Be sure to utilize those cruise happy hours, daily drink specials, tasting activities, and beverage package deals in order to truly make the most of your vacation, as you drink your way across the open seas!

Worth It Everything About Cruise Line Drink Packages

Princess Cruises Announces Free Beverage Package Offer (With images ...

Cruise line drink packages are a big deal. Thats because when it comes to taking a cruise, people like to have a good time. And that good time usually involves alcohol flowing freely. No wonder there are so many bars on a modern cruise ship.

In fact, over 20% of cruisers report spending more than $200 on alcohol on their trip.

Thats why many people are interested in all you can drink packages that cruise lines now offer. The appeal of these packages is easy to see. You pay one set amount and then you dont have to worry about running up a huge bar tab.

Instead, you simply head to the bar, order whatever you want, and get back to the fun. Want a beer? A glass of wine? A cocktail ? You only need to flash your room key and youll get it.

But before you rush out and buy the drink package, there are some things you should know. Weve rounded up some of the biggest questions and answers about the cruise line beverage packages to help you get a better idea of if its the right thing for your next cruise.

In This Article…

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How To Sneak Alcohol On A Cruise Ship

Whilst many cruise lines are very generous in allowing guests to bring a certain amount of alcohol on-board with them, many people still want to know how to sneak booze on a cruise.

Smuggling alcohol on a cruise ship is not allowed and cruise lines use scanners to x-ray your luggage to look for prohibited items. Cruisers have been coming up with seemingly ingenious ways to sneak alcohol onto cruise ships, but nothing is foolproof.

What will happen if youre caught? The best-case scenario is that you have your alcohol confiscated and returned to you at the end of the cruise. However, some cruise lines retain the right to refuse boarding to anyone attempting to smuggle drinks on board. Would you take the risk?

Read more:How to sneak alcohol on a cruise ship

Princess Cruises Drink Packages Faq

If you have questions about drink packages for your upcoming Princess cruise, youve probably been scouring Princess website looking for answers. I know I did before my very first cruise with Princess!

Ill answer the most common questions about Princess Cruises drink packages belowits a combination of the questions I spent hours looking for answers to before my first Princess cruise, and questions from readers.

Hopefully Ill save you some time with my Princess Cruises drink package FAQ. If I dont have the answer to your question, pop it in the comments at the end of this post. I respond to every comment!

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Buy The Package Before Boarding For A Big Discount

The easiest way to save on a drink package? Buy it early. Just about every cruise line will offer the ability to book the package at a discount before boarding. You can either call the line or purchase through your online account after booking the cruise.

In return for booking early, you can save a decent chunk. For instance, weve seen Royal Caribbean offer 30-50% off a second drink package when one is bought ahead of time. And Carnival charges $57 per person, per day for their CHEERS! Package. But if you buy it before boarding, then the price is just $52.

If you know that youre going to be buying a drink package, then its a no-brainer to save some cash by simply buying beforehand.

Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Prices

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Before discussing the beverage packages options, it is essential to consider the prices of drinks on a Norwegian cruise. You can find the average drink prices below, based on recent menu prices:

Large Water Bottle $6

When deciding whether to purchase the drink package, it is a good idea to run the numbers on how much you would be spending if you bought individual drinks. But, more on that later.

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Is There A Limit To How Many Drinks You Can Get Per Day With A Carnival Beverage Package

Youre allowed to drink an unlimited amount of non-alcoholic drinks with both Bottomless Bubbles and the CHEERS! package.

However, you can only have 15 alcoholic drinks per day. That sounds like a lot, but lots of cruisers can reach that cap. Bartenders and servers track drink orders on their POS system, so you can always ask how many drinks youre up to if you lose track!

Once you hit the 15 drinks, youre not allowed to order more alcohol, even if you try to pay out of pocket. The 24-hour period resets every morning at 6 AM.

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Disney Cruise Bar Menus

You will see at the bottom of the French Quarter Bar Menu that there is a Sommelier Bin. This is a great way to save money on wine if you are prepared to take a bit of a gamble on what you will get.

Each glass of wine in the Sommelier Bin is $10. You ask your Server for a glass of white, red, or sparkling wine.

They will choose one for you based on which bottles they already have open.

You could really get lucky and get a much more expensive wine for a bargain price.

This is how I realized I particularly enjoyed Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.

I would never usually order a $24 glass of wine, but I managed to score this win a number of times!

Make sure you Tip your Disney Server well as this certainly helps!

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What The Premium Beverage Package Does Not Include

The Premium Beverage Package does not include room service, package sales, daily cocktail specials or buckets of beer. Also not included are the designated Super Premium brands , bottled wine, mini bar purchases, bottled water and fresh squeezed juices.

Lavazza coffee beverages, energy drinks and drinks from vending machines are also not part of the package.

Guests are allowed to buy two beverages per person per transaction.

The good news is that you can take advantage of this package at all restaurants, lounges, bars and Great Stirrup Cay.

If you buy an item over $15 USD, the overage plus 20% gratuity and service charge will be applied to your onboard account.

COST: $99 per person per day plus 20% gratuity and beverage service charge.

Package cost for a seven-day cruise: $831.60 per person out the door.

Upgrade Your Drinks Package From Classic To Premium

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The first way to upgrade your beverage packages is to upgrade only your drink packages from the Classic Beverage Package to the Premium Package.

The cost of upgrading your drink package is $12 per person per day.

After you make the upgrade, you will receive all of the benefits of the premium package.

But, there is another way to upgrade that may save you more money in the long run.

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Free Drink Packages Are Rare

Generally speaking, Royal Caribbean does not offer its drink packages for free, but it does regularly offer discounts on them.

If you book a Star Class suite on an Oasis or Quantum Class ship, complimentary Deluxe Beverage Package is included for every guest in the room. Star Class staterooms are the highest category of suites available on any Royal Caribbean ship, and usually come at a high cost.

The cruise line used to include a complimentary soda package if you booked a Boardwalk Balcony stateroom on its Oasis Class ships, but discontinued that program on January 1, 2020.

In select countries , occasionally a new promotion will offer an “all-inclusive package”, where the drink package cost is included with the cruise fare cost. Whether or not the drink package is free, or simply paid for as part of the cruise fare, is debatable.

Another way to get a free deluxe beverage package is if you reach a high enough tier of the Casino Royale program, which rewards guests who gamble a lot on Royal Caribbean.

As previously stated, a free drink package is nearly non-existent, and when it is “included” for free, you are usually paying for it in the grand scheme of things.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy A Beverage Package On A Princess Cruise

Theres no age requirement to order any of the non-alcoholic drinks packages on Princess .

To purchase the Premier or Plus Beverage Packages, guests must be age 21 or over. On sailings in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Singapore, the drinking age on board is 18, and in Japan its 20. However, on these cruises, guests under 21 cant purchase a Premier or Plus Beverage Package even if theyre allowed to buy alcohol on a per-drink basis.

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The Cheapest Drinks Package

Fred. Olsen Cruise Line offers the cheapest cruise drinks package at just £19 per person per day. Thats less than a quarter of the price of Norwegian Cruise Lines package. So, why is it so cheap?

For one thing, Fred. Olsen and Norwegian Cruise Line attract very different crowds.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Line attracts British pensioners who tend to enjoy half a bitter, a small sherry and then head off to bed at 9 pm.

At the other end of the scale is NCL. This trendy cruise line is popular with millennial cruisers who love to drink cocktails all day and stay up late in the on-board bars and nightclubs.

As well as attracting different clientele, these polar opposite cruise lines also have large differences in the prices of individual drinks. On Fred. Olsen cruise ships, drinks when bought individually are around half the price as on NCL ships. Youre looking at £4.35 for a glass of wine rather than $10.

What this means is that whilst some drinks packages are cheaper than others, to work out which drinks package is the best value, you also have to think about how many drinks you need to break even.

You Prefer A Bottle Of Wine At Dinner

NCL Beverage Package Breakdown

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Most cruise line drink packages apply to wines by the glass. That’s great if you’re someone who likes to match wines with your appetizers and entrees, or if you like a different type of wine than your dining companions. But if you prefer to order a bottle of wine or want a larger selection, keep in mind that while some drink packages offer discounts on bottles, many don’t.

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When To Buy Your Drinks Package

Should you buy your drinks package when you book your cruise, before you sail or on-board the ship? Youll probably see that different prices are available depending on when you purchase the package.

The best time to buy your drinks package is after you book your cruise but before you sail. Buying it on the ship is almost always more expensive.

After you book your cruise, you may receive emails with special offers on drinks packages which can include a discount of up to 30%. Cruise lines may also offer drink package promotions to encourage you to get one, particularly at times such as Black Friday.

When you board the ship, you may see offers such as buy one get one half price on drinks packages. But look closely at the original price. Youll see that its much higher than it is if you pre-book before you cruise. So, even with these offers, youll still get a better price if you buy the package before you set sail.

Exploit Cruise Ship Happy Hours

Many cruise lines offer a happy hour at certain bars and at certain times, so passengers can enjoy reduced-priced drinks. Sometimes these cruise happy hours are stated in the daily newsletter. In other instances, cruise happy hours are simply listed on the bar menus themselves or on tabletops.

Sometimes cruise happy hours are only subtly advertised. Passengers must be observant and seek out these money-saving cruise drink deals. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for happy hour promotions on tabletop signs at cruise bars.

Tip: find cruise happy hours on Day 1. Whenever we board a cruise ship, we tend to scout out each bar to sleuth around which bars on our ship do indeed have a happy hour. After getting on a ship, take some time to go on a little bar crawl to determine if any of the ships bars have happy hours. It can be a fun way to figure out the happy hours at the start of your voyage. Then you can then plan your drinking accordingly to save!

Know that cruise happy hours vary greatly by cruise line, ship, and even each sailing. Cruise happy hours change constantly. Cruise happy hours even change from bar to bar on the same ship.

Despite ongoing changes, here are each cruise lines happy hours:

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Can I Carry Alcohol And Beverages Onboard The Cruise Ship

The simple answer is almost always no. However, that doesnt deter hundreds of cruisers every year from trying to sneak bottles of scotch, rum and vodka aboard in a variety of creative ways. A quick browse of YouTube will find dozens of videos promising success with their sneaky booze smuggling hacks, but the simple fact is the cruise lines are aware of every trick out there. The penalty for getting caught? First up the embarrassment factor of being treated like a naughty school child is perhaps not the best way to kick off a cruise vacation. The illicit bottles will be confiscated until the end of the cruise and quite possibly you may never get them back. In the worst case scenario, there is even the threat of getting kicked off the ship which is perhaps unlikely, but worth keeping in mind before you hatch your smuggling plan.

There are some exceptions to the no-booze in bags rule. For many people, a cruise trip is a special occasion perhaps an anniversary, birthday or even a honeymoon. A bottle of wine or Champagne is permitted on some lines to toast the occasion, although you may be liable for the corkage fee if imbibing in one of the shipboard restaurants. Bringing your own bottled water, soda and juice is allowed on some cruise lines although quite strict limits are set.

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