Norwegian Cruise Line’s alcoholic drinks packages can be a little difficult to understand! It is easy to be talked into the fact that you “need” a drinks package by the cruise line – but they can be quite costly.
Drinks packages often don’t include all drinks -and you need to factor in the extra cost of the service charges on top of the advertised price.
You need to work out whether a drinks package will offer good value for you or not. I don’t drink much alcohol, so wouldn’t really consider buying any type of alcoholic drinks package for myself.
Norwegian’s drinks packages are also some of the most expensive I have seen. If you add a drinks package to the price of your cruise fare, it can, in some cases double the cost of your cruise holiday.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Beverage Package
During this post, we will explore what is included in the “Premium all-inclusive” drinks package by Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian has now also introduced a Premium Plus Beverage package, which we will also look at.
Premium Beverage Package
The Premium Beverage Package is often offered as part of promotions, you can also add it to any cruise.
The package includes a variety of spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to and including $15 USD and unlimited fountain soda and juices at all bars, lounges, restaurants and the private NCL island, Great Stirrup Cay.
I had this package when I took a Caribbean cruise on board the Norwegian Getaway. I really enjoyed having cocktails by the pool and prosecco with lunch. You can drink all day every day and still not need to try the same drink twice.
The package can be used at Norwegians Private Island, Great Stirrup Cay, but cannot be used at Harvest Caye or on sailings that are two days long or less.
In addition to beer/wine/cider/cocktails/spirits, the Premium Beverage Package includes all fountain sodas and juices from the bars.
NCL’s Premium Beverage Package Includes:
- Wine (by the glass)
- Bottled/Draft beer
- Fountain soda
** Up to a value of $15 **
Do you have to pay the full price when buying drinks over $15?
No. If you want to buy a drink which is over the $15 limit you will pay the difference between $15 and the value of the drink. For example, if you buy a drink costing $18 you would pay $3.
The Cost of the Premium Drinks Package is $109 per day.
Things NOT Included in the Premium Beverage Package
- Premium brands of alcoholic drinks
- Bottled water
- Freshly squeezed fruit juices
- Lavazza or Starbucks coffee
- Energy drinks – Red Bull etc
- Beer buckets
- Bottles of wine
- Drinks in vending machines
- Drinks over $15 each
- Anything from the Minibar
- Room service drinks
Premium Plus Beverage Package
The NCL “Premium Plus” Package is available for guests that enjoy specific drinks which aren’t included in the standard drinks package.
This upgraded drinks package is available for an extra $29 per person, per day compared to the Premium Package.
The Cost of the Premium Plus Package is $138 per day.
The Premium Plus Beverage Package Includes Everything in the Premium Beverage Package plus:
- Bottled water
- Speciality coffee, for example, Lavazza and Starbucks
- Energy drinks like Red Bull
- Ultra-premium spirits
- Some wines by the bottle at meal times.
On my recent trip onboard Norwegian Prima, they offered “Sustainable Cocktails” made from leftovers – like banana peels, pineapple skins and day-old croissants!
To find out all about the wonderful Norwegian Prima, watch this video next:
How old do you have to be to buy the Premium Beverage Package on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise?
You must be 21 to buy the package if the ship is sailing in the USA. This is a little annoying if you’re between 18 and 21 from the UK, and used to be able to drink alcohol in pubs or bars.
In some cases (outside of the USA) they will allow those over 18 to buy alcohol if their parents have signed a “Young Adult Alcoholic Waver form.”
The rules of European sailing are different:
Do All Passengers in the Cabin Need to Purchase the Package?
- Yes. All people in the same cabin must purchase the same beverage package if one does.
Other things to note:
- You are allowed two beverages per person per transaction.
- You cannot buy the package on sailings which are two days long or less.
- If you order bottles of wine you’ll get 20% off. Not sure why you’d do this really though as you could just order a lot of glasses.
As well as the daily cost of the drinks package, a 20% gratuity and beverage service charge will be added to all package purchases.
“Free At Sea” Is it Really Free?
If you live in the USA and choose the free drink package as part of the NCL “Free at Sea” promotion, you will get the package for free – but you will still be charged for the gratuities.
That is an extra 20% on top of what the drinks package would have cost, had you paid for it.
If you live in the UK and you get the Free at Sea drinks promotion, you will not be charged the 20% gratuity. That seems very unfair to Americans…
How much does the Premium Beverage Package from Norwegian Cruise Line cost?
- Premium Beverage Package – $109 per day + 20% service charge = $130.80
- Premium Plus Beverage Package – $138 per day = $165.60
Drinks I’d recommend:
- Mango Meltdown Slushy! This was served at the bars on the decks and was so yummy. It is refreshing and perfect for a sunny day. (I think I’d still drink it even if it was cold though!)
- Raspberry Mojitos – I definitely had too many of these…
- Angry Orchard Cider. I’ve never had this brand before but it was a very nice apple cider. It sometimes came in a can and sometimes a bottle – depending on where I got it from.
Before You Go!
I recently took on a cruise on the Norwegian Prima. The cabin I had was possibly the best balcony cabin I have had at sea! Find out all about that here:
Find out all about the amazing food I ate, both in the main dining room and speciality restaurants here:
Norwegian are one of the best cruise lines for solo travellers and has specifically designed solo cabins and solo lounges so that you can meet your fellow cruisers. Find out all about cruising solo, and which lines cater for solo travellers best here:
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