GUEST POST: Jase
We’ve been on four Royal Caribbean cruises and we started using the drinks packages on the first cruise. Back on our first Royal Caribbean cruise (2012), they had two alcoholic packages, the select and premium packages. They have since simplified things and the only alcoholic package they have is the Deluxe Drinks Package.
During this post we will talk about:
- Deluxe Beverage Package
- Refreshment Package
- Soda Package
- 8 tips for making the most of your drinks package.
Deluxe Beverage Package
If you enjoy a having a few alcoholic drinks per day on your Royal Caribbean cruise, then the only choice to consider is the Deluxe Beverage Package.
For the person that wants it all, the deluxe beverage package includes virtually unlimited combinations of beverages on their Royal Caribbean cruise. It includes
- Cocktails / Spirits / Liqueurs / Beer
- Bottled still and sparkling water
- Wines by the glass
- Fresh squeezed juices
- Non-alcoholic cocktails
- Premium coffees and teas
- Fountain sodas
- Coca-Cola® souvenir cup and Coca-Cola Freestyle® beverages
- Milkshakes at Johnny Rockets
How much does it cost?
The cost of the Deluxe Beverage Package varies from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. That means there is no fleet wide price of the Deluxe Beverage Package, so exact pricing will depend on which sailing you book. At the time of drink package purchase, a service charge (18%) will be added that will cover gratuity on all drinks ordered with the drink package.
NOTE: It is important to note that Royal Caribbean requires if one person in a cabin purchases a Deluxe Beverage package, all others in the cabin aged 21 and over must purchase a package.
Drinks package discounts!
It is worth noting that the Deluxe Beverage Package is very commonly discounted when purchased prior to the cruise, via Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner. Discounts of 20-30% off are regularly seen, and anyone considering a drink package would be well served to pre-purchase the package instead of buying them on-board.
We often had our drinks package as part of the cruise deal. The travel agent will often say it’s part of the deal but I feel the cruise price is usually inflated to cover the cost of the package.
To give you an idea of the cost it usually starts at £49 UK per person per day but if you shop around I’ve seen it as low as £32 PP per day.
With the Royal Refreshment package, you will get premium coffee, premium tea, bottled water (sparking or still), fresh squeezed juice, non-alcoholic cocktails and a Coca-Cola souvenir cup. This package especially appeals to coffee drinkers because of the premium coffee and tea benefit.
How much does it cost?
Refreshment Package – $26.00 (Approx. £20) per person, per day (plus gratuity)
The cost of $26 may not sound like a lot, but for a 7-night cruise, it’s still a few hundred dollars. Just like the alcohol packages, it is ideal for those that enjoy having a number of drinks per day.
Classic soda package
The Classic Soda package is simple; it is all the soft drinks you can drink during your cruise. Coke, Sprite, root beer and all the other carbonated drinks that are available from the self-serve machines; restaurants and bars are at your disposal.
How much does it cost?
Classic Soda Package – $8.50 (Approx.£6.50) per person, per day (plus gratuity).
To purchase a can of your favourite soft drink on-board otherwise, will cost you about $2-3, so the package requires the least commitment to get your moneys worth.
8 tips for making the most of your drinks package:
1 – Get to know your cruise ship.
Certain bars do special cocktails that you can only get in that bar, the same for certain beers.
2 – Pace yourself.
We’ve fallen foul of this, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
3 – Coffee!
We love taking advantage of the coffees during the day. So we find it easy to get one to go and find a quiet place away from coffee shop, as they are often very busy.
4 – Staff
Get to know the staff, I always make sure I get to know the staff in my favourite bar; it’s amazing how quick you get served with good manners.
5 – Wine
When in the Main Dining Room and you are ordering a wine by the glass with a meal I always asked for a large glass to reduce the number of times the wine waiter had to keep coming back as they are very busy.
6 – Excursions
Make the most of the package when you’re going off for excursions we use to get a couple of bottles of water each to take with us.
7 – Treat yourself!
One of the big benefits of a drinks package is the ability to try something new – so don’t be shy.
8 – Pay the extra.
You only pay the difference for a splurge so if there’s a drink you like that is over the limit then you’ll just pay the difference. I did treat myself to a couple of $20 glasses of wine which as a treat only cost me an extra £5.
Why I choose to have a drinks package:
One of the big drivers for us enjoying the drinks package is not worrying about what the drinks are costing and just enjoying our cruise. I totally understand this is not for everyone, but our last bill for our recent cruise was only about $500. That was mainly because I couldn’t keep the wife out of the shops lol.
I hope this review has been informative and if I can help with any other questions then please ask.
Thanks for this Jase! I’ve really enjoyed seeing everybody’s photos of their lovely drinks. Thanks to all of the members of our Facebook community that volunteered their pictures. It’s making me thirsty! I’ve only been on one Royal Caribbean cruise onboard the Independence of the Seas but I’d love to do more!
About Jase: I’m Jason 48 married to Lucy and we’re from Wilshire, we started cruising by chance, I was in the Royal Air Force for 27 years and was lucky enough to win a cruise voucher in a Mess Christmas Drawback in 2010. We had never thought of cruising as we were only 39 and it’s not something we’d ever thought of doing. Well, we put a bit of money to the voucher and booked a Caribbean Cruise on P&O Azura . 14 Cruises later we are totally hooked.
I’ve cruised with P&O, Cunard, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We have recently concentrated on RC mainly because they often do a deal that includes the drinks package. We feel this is an excellent value for money and allows us to know what the main costs are upfront. I hope you enjoy our review.
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DRINKS PACKAGES, DO THEY SAVE YOU MONEY? – PAUL AND CAROLE LOVE TO TRAVEL