Drink Packages On Cruise Ships

May 23, 2023

Beverage prices on cruise ships can vary depending on the package and cruise line. Most cruise ships offer beverage packages that provide access to a wide range of drinks, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. These packages are often available for purchase before the cruise or onboard the ship. It's important to carefully review the details of each package to understand what is included and any limitations or restrictions.

Here are some of the beverage packages offered by the cruise lines 

Carnival Cruise Line Drink Package

Carnival offers the CHEERS! Package, which covers nearly every beverage -- alcoholic or non-alcoholic -- on the ship, up to $20 per drink. The price is $59.95 per person per day if bought before your cruise or $64.95 per person per day if purchased on the ship.

Note that both prices will have an 18% gratuity tacked on. The final daily price is $70.74 if bought before the cruise and $76.64 if you wait to buy on the ship.

CHEERS! includes nearly all of the beverages onboard Carnival cruise ships. The price limit of $20 per drink is the highest among cruise lines.

The cost of the beverage package varies depending on the length of your cruise. If you're looking to save money, purchasing the drink package before you set sail is best. That's because the package price is $3 cheaper per person per day if purchased before embarkation day.

If you wait until you're on the ship to purchase the package, be prepared to pay full price.

In addition to its inclusivity, CHEERS! is one of the lowest-priced drink packages of the mainstream cruise lines.

Passengers who purchase the drink package should be aware that there is a limit to the number of drinks you can order in 24 hours. Carnival has a 15-drink limit on alcoholic beverages purchased between 6 am and 6 am. The limit will not be problematic for most cruise passengers.

The limit only applies to alcoholic beverages, so feel free to order unlimited soda, juice, and specialty coffee.

This could be a good deal for some passengers, but it could be a waste of money for others. If you are going for a seven-day cruise, I am not really sure if you can handle 15 drinks per day, day after day. Well, you could probably force yourself into this pace of drinking, but surely you will need one month to recover from your "vacation."

Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package covers almost any beverage on the ship, up to a $14 per drink limit. Prices vary for this package, depending on your cruise and the ship you sail.

At last check, the package costs between $63-$89 per day (Royal Caribbean charges different prices depending on the specific cruise), plus an 18% service charge. That comes out to a total of around $74-$105 per day.

One thing to note is that once you book your cruise, Royal Caribbean will often have large discount offers if you pre-book the drink package, which brings the cost down considerably. For example, during a recent cruise, we saw an offer of 20% off the drink package if bought beforehand.

Norwegian Cruise Line

 Norwegian offers the Unlimited Open Bar Package, which covers just about any drink up to $15. The cost is $109 per person per day, plus an additional 20% gratuity, for $130.80. Norwegian often offers "free" drink packages as a perk on some sailings, but you still have to pay the gratuity.

The cruise line also has a higher-end beverage package called the Premium Plus Beverage Package. This covers all drinks served by the glass on the ship, no matter the cost. It runs $138 per person per day. With the 20% gratuity, that comes to $165.60 each day.

Princess Cruises

 Princess offers its Plus Beverage Package covers any available beverage up to $15 per drink. The package costs $64.99 per person per day or $76.70 with the required 18% service charge.

They have also added a Premier Beverage Package for drinks up to $20 per glass. This package runs $84.99 per day plus an 18% gratuity. That comes to a total of $100.29 each day.

Note: Princess offers drink packages as part of their Princess Plus and Princess Premium deals. These programs include the drink package, wi-fi, gratuities, and more, for less than the daily cost of the drink package. If you plan to purchase a drink package, you'll save money (and get more perks) with these offers.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity offers different drink packages, billed as the Classic and Premium packages. Prices and what's included will vary depending on which package you purchase.

The highest-end offering is the Premium Package, which gives you practically any drink you could want up to $17 per glass. The price starts at $109 per day, with an additional 20% service charge, for $130.80.

There is also the Classic Package, which offers fewer options and drinks by the glass up to $10 each. It starts at $89 per night. Including gratuity, you will pay $106.80.

Note: Celebrity now offers an "Always Included" program, where all passengers have gratuities, the Classic Package, and Wi-Fi included with their cruise.

MSC Cruises

 In late 2021, MSC updated its drink package offerings with a new lineup. Now the cruise line offers the Easy Package ($38 per person, per day, with select drinks), Easy Plus ($49 per person, per day, with drinks up to $9 each), and the Premium Extra ($69 per person, per day, with drinks up to $15 each).

In addition, MSC charges a 15% service charge on the package pricing if booking on the ship. If you book before your cruise, then this charge is waived.

Do I Have to Buy a Drink Package?

Absolutely not. Drink packages are completely optional. Most people pay for each drink. When you do that, you'll be charged each time you get a beverage, and don't forget the extra gratuity -- usually around 18% -- that's tacked on.

Just know that if you buy the package, you can't change your mind later and get your money back. So be sure you want it before you purchase. 

What Is Included in the Drink Package?

To start, you should know that each drink package on each cruise line is a little different. There will be slight variations on what they include.

But in general, if you get a drink package, you'll get alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine, and cocktails, up to a certain dollar limit per drink. This limit is normally around $15, depending on the cruise line and package. This covers most drinks on the ship, but some high-end beverages may still be an extra cost.

Most drink packages also include a number of non-alcoholic drinks, including soda, bottled water, and juices. Usually, no price limits and few restrictions on non-alcoholic beverages are included with your package.

What Is Not Included?

Even if you have the drink package, that doesn't mean everything on the ship is available. While rules will vary among cruise lines. Usually, all the following are excluded from drink packages:

Drinks in souvenir glasses

Alcohol by the bottle (except beer)

Drinks offered at the gangway (welcome beverages)

Room service alcohol or mini-bar drinks

Shareable drinks like buckets or pitchers

Most drink packages also have limits on the cost of the drink they will cover.

So if there is a $15 per drink limit, it will cover drinks up to that amount. If you want a beverage over $15 per glass, you'll pay extra for the amount over $15. So an $18 drink would cost you $3.

The one outlier is MSC. At last check, your drink package only covers drinks up to the price limit—anything above that, and you have to pay for the entire beverage. So if your drink package is only suitable for drinks up to $9, a $12 drink will cost you the total amount, not $3.

Keep in mind that policies like this can change.