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Watch Out For This Secret Ingredient Lurking in Some Cruise Ship Sodas

I’ve just disembarked a cruise sailing in Asia and while onboard I was repeatedly served a Soda with an ingredient that I definitely didn’t order.

It wasn’t listed on any menus but I was given it daily.

After a taste test, and a lot of research I’ve decided to put together this post to warn others about the drink so that if you want to, you can avoid it.

I’ll definitely be avoiding it in future.

I First Encountered The Drink on Embarkation Day

When I embarked the ship I decided to head to the bar for a drink, I ordered a Coke Zero and the waiter asked me if Coke Plus was okay. I’d never heard of the drink but it looked similar so I said sure and didn’t think much of it.

coke plus served on cruise

I did have a WiFi package on the cruise so I decided to google what the plus meant.

I joked that it would be funny if it was something strange.

It was then that I came across a news article with a title that nobody wants to see when they are halfway through a drink:

“Japan Is Losing Its Mind, And Its Bowels, Over A Legit Laxative Coca-Cola”


The extra ingredient is five grams of indigestible dextrin and it was launched in Japan as a health drink in 2017. It has a laxative effect for many, depending on how much is consumed.

What Did it Taste Like?

The drink did taste a little strange and I’m glad it did because that meant that I could tell when I was served it instead of the regular version.

The added ingredient is a dietary fibre and to me, it tasted slightly like sawdust, not that I’ve ever had a drink of sawdust!

The Independent said that:

“The fibre makes the texture of the drink much thicker than that of usual Coke, and the gooiness sticks in your throat like milk.”


It wasn’t bad though, if I didn’t know about the ingredient I would have happily kept drinking it and there is the issue…

soda royal caribbean

Is The Added Ingredient a Problem?

Coke recommends that the drink is consumed once per day, and I’m sure at that level it is totally fine.

For me, though I can easily consume 5, maybe even 10 sodas a day and I don’t want to think about what would happen to my insides if I did that!

“The Wall Street Journal reports people who weren’t aware of the drink’s not-insignificant laxative properties have complained about the aftermath, and Coke Japan’s executive vice president for marketing and new business Khalil Younes explicitly said “you may have loose bowels from overconsumption.”

Did The Crew Know What It Was?

The crew onboard seemed to have no idea that the drink was any different from normal. When I’d order a drink and they’d reach for the plus I’d ask them if they had the regular version, and if not I’d order a different drink.

This was easy to do when at a bar, but when ordering with a waiter I’d always be nervous about being given the other version without knowing.

soda royal caribbean

Key Takeaway: If you are going to be drinking multiple sodas per day, watch out for the soda called Coke Plus. It contains added fibre that causes a laxative effect if multiple are consumed.

Coke Plus wasn’t on any of the menus on the ship.

What Cruise Was I On?

I was cruising onboard Spectrum of the Seas owned by Royal Caribbean but I’m sure the drink is also served on other cruise lines sailing in Asia.

Often on Royal Caribbean cruises, they’ll have self-serve soda machines but sadly Spectrum doesn’t have any, that would have made it much easier for me to avoid the drink.

To find out why I love the soda machines so much, and what it’s like to cruise on one of the biggest ships in the world, check out this video:

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