When I took my first Costa cruise I didn’t purchase a drinks package. That was a big mistake for me.
When I took my second Costa cruise on Costa Smeralda, one of the first things I did when I got on board was buy a soft drinks package.
Costa Cruises even charges for water in the main restaurant. Tea, coffee and water are available in the buffet when it is open.
What Is Cruising With Costa Cruises Like?
Costa cruise ships are bright, loud – and offer great value for money. Every deck on Costa Smeralda was painted a different, bright colour.
Don’t expect to find tasteful, muted colours onboard!
There were lots of children and babies onboard our sailing, as Costa offers great value fares for children.
When you sail with Costa, you are considered to be a child until you are seventeen years old. For families, that can make a great deal of difference to the price you pay.
Costa certainly isn’t for everyone, but we had a great time onboard.
What Do Drinks Packages On Costa Cruises Cost?
Beverage packages with Costa Cruises start at around €27 a day for a soft drinks package.
Beverage packages that include alcohol – or premium alcoholic drinks cost up to double that amount.
If you have a drinks package but want something else that isn’t included, you will be charged for that item individually.
Why Buy a Package?
I usually do not buy drinks packages when I cruise but when cruising with Costa I would recommend getting a drinks package for a number of reasons:
- Costa does not include any drinks as standard, apart from water and hot drinks in the buffet
- Buffet access is limited – There are parts of the day when it is shut and no free drinks will be available.
- No kettles, tea or coffee-making facilities or fridges in the cabins
Costa Cruises Beverage Packages
All passengers in the cabin or on the same booking must have the same drinks package.
It isn’t possible for guests in the same cabin to have different drinks packages.
This is very common on a lot of cruise lines and it is done to deter passengers from ‘sharing’ the drinks package.
Find out more about why you can’t “share” drinks packages here:
Strictly speaking, all guests on the same booking should also have the same drinks package.
I’ve never seen this enforced though. If your party are cruising in a number of different cabins you probably will be okay for one cabin to have a drinks package and another one not.
Drinks packages include a 15% service charge
Costa has simplified their drinks packages in recent years, and prices are charged onboard in Euros.
Prices vary slightly depending on where you are booking from/exchange rates/special booking offers etc.
“My Soft Drinks” Package
This is the package I chose for my Costa Smeralda Cruise in January 2023.
I paid €27 for my package, and it included a selection of sodas, fruit juices, mocktails, teas and coffees.
This package is quite expensive compared to simple soda packages on some other cruise lines- but as I knew that you couldn’t even have free tap water in the dining room, I thought it was necessary to buy one.
I had some onboard credit applied to my cabin when I booked, so I used this to buy the drinks package once onboard.
“My Drinks” Package
The My Drinks package includes:
- Wine by the glass with meals
- Draught beers
- Hot chocolate
- Tea and Coffee
- Fruit juices,
- One bottle of water per day
The cost of this drinks package can vary but is in the region of €37 a day
“My Drinks Plus” Package
My Drinks Plus includes all of the drinks listed above and:
- A wider selection of beers
- A wider selection of Sodas
- More Cocktails
- Named, branded spirits and liqueurs
- Unlimited bottled water
- Mini bar drinks.
The cost of this drinks package can vary but is in the region of €52 a day
Costa does have compulsory ‘gratuities’ which are added onto your onboard account each day of your cruise.
To learn more about this, and the other things that surprised me about my first Costa Cruise make sure you check out this post:
Do You Need To Buy A Drinks Package?
No, you can just pay for any drinks you want and they will be charged to your onboard account.
If you don’t drink much, this could be much cheaper.
There will be a 15% service charge added to the cost of individual drinks.
Also be aware that there will be limited access to the free drinks in the buffet, as it isn’t open all the time.
Costa Cruises Drinks Package Terms and Conditions
All drinks packages are non-transferrable and you cannot share these with any other guests.
This is typical of all cruise ship drinks packages.
When I was on board the Costa Luminosa I shared a dinner table with some ladies who had drinks packages and wanted to share it with me and my family.
We had to politely decline as we didn’t want to break the rules or put the waiter in an awkward situation!
The packages only include drinks by the glass – bottles of wine are not available on any of the packages.
The drinking age on Costa Cruises is usually 18 – unless the ship is sailing in an area of the world where the drinking age is 21. (In the USA for example.)
Costa Cruises Drinks Prices
If you decide not to buy a drinks package you are able to buy drinks at prices which are similar to that of a bar or pub on land.
When you purchase drinks these will be charged to your cruise account which will be settled at the end of your cruise.
As far as cruise line drinks prices go, Costa’s drinks prices are quite reasonable.
A can of soda will cost around €3 and a bottle of beer around €5. A cocktail will set you back around €8 and a coffee will cost around €3.
When onboard Costa Luminosa, we managed to buy a water package – although I can’t find any evidence that this is a real thing on the Costa Cruises website!
Costa Cruises do not include water with meals, ‘tap water’ isn’t a thing. Your only option is to buy a 2-litre bottle of water if you want water with meals.
By buying the water package we were able to have a set amount of water for a set price. It was very strange not having your water glass constantly refilled by waiters like on most other cruise lines!
Buying a water package of 12-litre bottles of water is likely to cost you around €42.
Find out about the great value Costa Cruise I took on Costa Smeralda here. Costa certainly aren’t for everyone, but they bright, cheerful and great for families:
Costa Cruises Menus:
Examples of Costa drinks menus can be found below.
Prices and drinks available may vary from one ship to another.
Before You Go
Many people worry that if you only speak English, you may struggle on an Italian cruise line like Costa. I have never found that to be the case. Find out more about that here:
The other big Italian cruise line you may have heard of is MSC. They also offer great value cruises, and I have sailed with them many times. Find out the difference between MSC and Costa Cruises here: