If you’re taking a cruise you may be wondering how much drinks cost on average onboard.
There are a number of factors that affect the prices of drinks and which drinks are included in the cruise fare, the biggest of these being the cruise line that you cruise with.
That said, most cruise lines have drinks prices that are similar to each other.
How Much Do Drinks Cost on a Cruise Ship?
On a cruise, a beer will usually cost around $7, a glass of wine $10, a cocktail $10, a soda $3, and a speciality coffee $4.
Drinks prices vary between cruise lines and gratuities (tips) may be added on top of the menu price as standard.
Below are examples from some of the largest cruise lines
|$9 – 15+
|Norwegian Cruise Line
Cruise lines alter their drinks prices regularly, so the above table is meant to be a guide only.
As you can see the prices do vary although not very dramatically.
On some cruise lines like MSC and Costa, you’ll find the prices on the menus in Euros. (€)
With British cruiselines like Fred Olsen and P&O Cruises, you’ll find that the menu is in Pound Sterling. (£).
With the majority of cruise lines, you’ll find the prices in US Dollars, ($) even if the cruise isn’t sailing out of the US.
Gratuities Are Often Added On To The Price
It’s important to remember that gratuities may be added to the prices of the drinks on the Menus.
This is a very common practice and is added by most of the American Cruise lines. British Cruiselines like P&O don’t do this.
The gratuity automatically added to drinks is usually around 15% of the price listed on the menu.
The gratuities go towards the tips for the staff and are designed so that passengers don’t have to tip in cash. That said, many people still prefer to tip in cash.
Gratuities that are automatically added to the price of drinks cannot be removed.
When i sailed on Celebrity Edge a can of Coke cost around $5. (The cost of the Coke was $4, and then they added a 20% charge for leaning into the cooler and giving it to you!)
Find out about that Amazing – but costly cruise here:
On a lot of cruise lines, you’ll also find that a daily gratuity is added to your cabin account per person per night.
This is usually upwards from $15 per person per night and goes towards paying housekeeping, waiters, bartenders, and various other behind-the-scenes roles such as the laundry.
It is usually possible to remove this but I would strongly encourage against it as many crew members rely on this source of income.
On many British Cruiselines like P&O and Marella gratuities are included in the cruise fare. If you book an MSC cruise from the UK, this is also the case.
I recently took a trip on MSC’s newest and biggest ship, World Europa. Find out what I thought of her here:
To learn more about gratuities, including how they also affect drinks and spa treatments, check out this post so that you don’t have any nasty surprises on your cruise:
The below gratuities are added to all drinks. The prices on the menus don’t include gratuities.
|Norwegian Cruise Line
|Disney Cruise Line
Drinks Package or Pay as You Go
There are two ways that you can pay for drinks on a cruise. You can either pay as you go, like you would on land or buy a drinks package.
A drinks package usually allows you to have an ‘unlimited’ amount of certain drinks although there are a few different types of drinks packages available. The most comment types are:
A soda package usually provides unlimited fountain Soda, cans may cost extra. Not all cruise lines offer this package which I find annoying as it’s always my go-to.
If you’re not a big drinker of alcohol getting a soda package and buying the odd alcoholic drink on top can work out to be much better value.
How Much Do Soda Packages Cost On A Cruise?
Cruise ships offer several drinks packages, with different drinks included. Typically, you will be able to choose a :
- Soda package
- Soft drinks package
- Classic drinks package
- Premium/Deluxe Drinks package
A soda-only package on Royal Caribbean costs £13.95/$17.50 a day. A Deluxe drinks package costs around £83/$105.
On Norwegian Cruise Line, a soda-only package is around £8/$10 and a Premium drinks package is £108/$138 – that can add up to a lot of money very quickly!
A soda package onboard the British Cruiseline P&O costs around £10/$12.50. The Deluxe drinks package onboard is a far more reasonable but still expensive £50/$63 a day.
Cruise Lines change prices and offer discounts regularly, so the above amounts – although correct at the time of writing – will only offer a guide.
Soft Drinks Packages
Almost all cruise lines will have some form of soft drinks package. This will usually include soda, speciality juices, teas, coffees, and sometimes mocktails.
If you don’t drink alcohol a soft drinks package can be a great option. I go for this when a soda package isn’t available and it is very nice to be able to try all of the mocktails on the menu.
Some soft drinks packages will also include things like milkshakes.
How Much Does a Soft Drinks Package Cost on a Cruise?
The price of soft drinks packages varies dramatically because each cruise line includes different drinks in the package.
The average cost of a soft drinks package with a mainstream cruise line in $23 with prices varying from around $16 to $38 per person per day.
Alcohol packages vary dramatically and what is included varies too.
On most cruise lines you’ll find that there are different ‘levels’ of alcohol packages. This may be called something like a ‘basic’ and ‘premium’ package.
Alcohol packages usually have limitations and one of these may be that you can only order drinks up to a certain value.
To find out more about whether it is worth buying a drink package, read this article next:
How Much Does an Alcoholic Drinks Package Cost on a Cruise?
The price of alcoholic packages varies dramatically and there are usually different packages available within each cruise line.
All-inclusive alcohol package ranging from around $62 with P&O to $138 with Norwegian Cruise Line.
There are many cheaper options than these alcoholic packages, and they are not right for everybody.
There may be multiple tiers between the soft drinks prices mentioned above the alcohol prices mentioned below. It’s very important to do your research into the specific cruise line.
Other Types of Drink Packages
There are other types of drinks packages available on cruises but these vary by the cruise line.
On some, you can buy beer or wine-specific packages and are able to buy a certain amount of drinks for a certain price.
For example, you may be able to buy ten bottles of wine for a reduced price.
Terms and Conditions
There are usually some terms and conditions placed on drinks packages:
- There may be a limit on the number of drinks you can have in 24 hours.
- You may be only to order on drink at a time, with limits set on how often you can order them.
- There may be a price limit on the drinks that are included.
- If one guest buys the package all others in the stateroom may have to.
- Drinks packages cannot be shared.
- The majority of drinks packages exclude bottled water.
How do you book drinks packages on a cruise?
Most drink packages can be bought online before the cruise.
It’s often cheaper to do this if you can. Most cruise lines will have an online portal that you can log into after you’ve booked the cruise, this is where you can look for things like drinks and excursions.
If you are unable to buy before the cruise this isn’t a problem, there will be plenty of people onboard trying to sell you a drinks package when you embark.
*Virgin Voyages and Disney cruiselines don’t sell drinks packages. All drinks are paid for individually, as you would at a bar on land.
How to Pay For Drinks on a Cruise
Cruise ships are completely cashless societies. You cannot buy a drink on a cruise using cash.
All drinks bought will be added to your cruise account via you card, which is given to you at check-in.
This is linked to your credit/debit card and you’ll be charged after the cruise for everything that you’ve spent. This makes spending money INCREDIBLY easy but it’s very important to remember that you’re still spending money!
To learn more about why you can’t use cash on a cruise, check out this post:
Find Free Drinks on a Cruise
There are several places where you can find free drinks on a cruise if you know where to look. Good places to look are:
- Welcome parties
- Meetups (Cruise Critic, groups, etc)
- Loyalty status meetups
- Product seminars (For example in the spa)
- Art auctions
It’s important to remember that although you can buy tea and coffee in the bars onboard at an extra charge, there is free tea and coffee available in the buffet on most cruise ships. Some cruise lines will even provide tea and coffee-making facilities in their cabins.
To learn more about which expenses you can avoid paying for on a cruise, check out this video:
Bringing on Your Own Drinks
On some cruise lines, it is possible to bring your own drinks onboard at embarkation.
The majority of cruise lines do charge a ‘Corkage Fee’ if you want to drink in the bars or restaurants onboard.
This isn’t anything to do with the actual corking on the drink so you can’t get around it by corking it yourself!
Norwegian Cruise Line charges a “Corkage Fee” as soon as you bring a bottle onboard, regardless of whether you drink it in a restaurant, or in your own cabin.
Which cruise lines have a ‘corkage fee’?
- Azamara – YES
- Carnival – YES
- Cunard – YES
- Celebrity – YES
- Disney – YES
- Fred Olsen – NO
- Holland America – YES
- Hurtigruten – NO
- Marella Cruises – NO
- MSC – NO
- Norwegian Cruise Line – YES
- P&O Cruises – YES
- Princess Cruises – YES
- Royal Caribbean – YES
- Viking – NO
Click on the links above to learn more about the specific cruise line policies in regard to bringing alcohol on board.
It’s also worth noting that some cruise lines will let you bring on drinks in ports other than the embarkation port.
If a cruise line does this can be a great way to buy a cheap bottle of wine in port, come back to the ship, and enjoy it on your balcony.
Below you’ll find menu examples from many of the biggest cruise lines showing the drinks available.
Cruise Lines change prices and offer discounts on drinks packages regularly. The costs shown below will only offer a guide only
To learn more about Costa Cruises drinks and to learn why I always recommend you buy a Costa cruises drinks package, check out this post: Costa Cruises, Drinks Package Guide
(Costa are the only cruise line where I think everybody should book a package)
For more Cunard menus check out the full post here: Cunard Drinks Package Guide and Menu With Drink Prices
To learn more about MSC’s drinks check out this drinks package guide: MSC Drinks Packages: Prices, Menus & Offers
Before You Go
On the British cruise line Marella, drinks are included within the cruise fare. Find out exactly what you will get for your money here:
Many river cruises include drinks with meals when you sail with them. Find out about the value river cruise I took with Tui here: