Drink Packages

In-depth look at Royal Caribbean's Royal Refreshment Drink Package

In:
16Apr2018

Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise does not mean you have to "break the bank" to enjoy as many non-alcoholic beverages as you care to enjoy.  The Royal Refreshment drink package offers guests a variety of on-alcoholic drinks for one fixed price.

The Royal Refreshment package includes juices, premium coffees, bottled water and virgin cocktails.  By purchasing the Royal Refreshment package, it ensures you not only get to enjoy as many of these drinks as you like, but it also allows you to lock in the price of your preferred drinks.

What does the Royal Refreshment package include?

Guests can choose between unlimited fountain sodas, non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails, bottled water (500ml), sparkling water (375 ml), fresh squeezed juices, premium coffee and premium tea.  

Guests who purchase the Royal Refreshment package will also receive a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, which can be used with the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on select Royal Caribbean ships.

How much is the Royal Refreshment package?

The price of the Royal Refreshment Package is $26.00 per guest (not including gratuity) per night of your cruise.

When you purchase the drink package, a one-time gratuity (referred to as a service charge) will be charged as well. 

This means the daily price you pay covers all the drinks covered in this package, as well as gratuity.

Is there ever a discount offered on the Royal Refreshment package?

On occasion, Royal Caribbean does offer a pre-cruise discount on certain drink packages purchased prior to your cruise via the Cruise Planner site.

We usually share Cruise Planner sales on this site, which tend to occur once every few weeks or so.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook for notifications when there is a new sale.

There is no risk in purchasing a drink package now and taking advantage of a price drop later. If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

Does the Royal Refreshment package include espresso-based coffee?

Royal Caribbean defines "premium coffees" as cappuccinos, espressos, and lattes. Thus, espresso based drinks are included with the Royal Refreshment package at any restaurant, bar, or cafe that serves espresso beverages.

On non-Oasis class ships, the Royal Refreshment package does include Illy or Starbucks beverages from locations like Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-Tudes.

On Oasis-class ships (Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas), the Royal Refreshment package does not include any drink from the free-standing Starbucks kiosk.  Instead, guests can enjoy premium coffees and teas from Cafe Promenade or Park Cafe with their Refreshment package.

Does the Royal Refreshment package include milk shakes?

No, none of the drink package includes milk shakes.

Who is the Royal Refreshment package best for?

We believe the Royal Refreshment package is a great choice for guests who are not interested in (or are not old enough to purchase) alcoholic beverages, but still want to have premium non-alcoholic beverages while on their cruise.

Typically, this package is popular with guests that enjoy premium coffees, virgin cocktails and soft drinks. Teenagers especially gravitate towards the Royal Refreshment package, because they can enjoy the lots of drinks without fear of a large bill later.  Adults also find the package worthwhile, for the premium coffee and fresh squeezed juices option.

Essentially, it tends to resonate as a good choice for guests who are not interested in alcoholic beverages, but want to still enjoy many drinks that cost extra.

What is the difference between the Royal Refreshment package and the Classic Soda Package?

The Classic Soda package only includes soft drinks and a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, whereas the Royal Refreshment package includes soft drinks, a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, and many other varieties of drinks.

Instead of just sodas, the Royal Refreshment package includes virgin cocktails, premium coffee, fresh squeezed juice and more.

Can I purchase the Royal Refreshment package and share drinks with someone I know onboard?

No, sharing beverages on any of Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages is strictly prohibited.

If I buy the Royal Refreshment package, are others in my stateroom required to purchase the same drink package?

No, unlike Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage package, Royal Caribbean does not require other guests in the same stateroom to purchase a Royal Refreshment package.

6 alternatives to a Royal Caribbean drink package

In:
Category: 
06Mar2018

A lot of people going on a Royal Caribbean cruise find the idea of getting a drink package quite attractive, primarily due to the convenience and potential value offered by the drink package. However, a drink package is not an option for everyone, and there are some great alternatives to getting a drink package that will not break your budget while still allowing you to enjoy your favorite drinks onboard.

Don't get us wrong, a Royal Caribbean drink package works for a lot of people who really enjoy the options it provides. But we also hear from a number of readers who like to enjoy a few drinks, but fear a drink package will not be financially viable for them.  As a result, we came up with some strategies to enable those people to enjoy drinks onboard without feeling like they are overpaying for drinks.

If you are considering if a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth it, or are looking for other options, here are some good strategies we have used on past cruises.

Drink in port

Within a few minutes of visiting any port your cruise ship goes to, inevitably you will start seeing advertisements for inexpensive alcoholic drinks.  Many ports of calls drink prices are far cheaper than what you may find onboard your ship, and that means you can take advantage of the lower prices on shore.

Finding bars or vendors selling inexpensive beers, cocktails and more is not usually difficult.  Drinking on shore is quite popular, and so, bars and restaurants are usually abound with great drink specials.

Obviously drinking on shore does not help with enjoying a drink onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, but on itineraries that are port intensive it can be a great stategy for offsetting the need to drink onboard in the first place.

Take advantage of drink specials onboard

In this "age of the drink package", it is often lost in discussions that Royal Caribbean runs a lot of drink specials onboard throughout the cruise.  Even before drink packages became a popular choice, drink specials were an option offered for years.

The key to finding a drink special is to spend a little time seeking them out.  Drink specials are most often advertised via two means: a sign on a bar, and/or an ad in the Cruise Compass.  Some drink specials are for certain times, while others are offered for part of the cruise.  The key is to seek them out and take advantage of the drink specials to ensure out of pocket costs are low(er).

One of the oldest, and yet most well-known drink special, is the drink of the day.  This is a cocktail picked out daily that is reduced in price, usually about 25% or so off the normal price.  The drink of the day is a great choice for saving on drinking costs, and something offered throughout the day at all bars.

Hope for a drink card

Have you heard about something where you can pre-purchase 10 drinks for a set price? Usually the price is somewhere between $75-85 and you can share the drink card with anyone you want. That means a $12 cocktail would cost you really about $7.50-$8.50 each with the drink card.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, the drink card is not available on all ships or sailings.  It is something Royal Caribbean can offer, but there is no way to know if it will, nor can it be pre-purchased.  It is a sort of gamble that you need to hope for to become available on your sailing.

If the drink card is available, it usually becomes available around half way through your sailing, so on a 7-night cruise, it might show up on day 3 or 4.  

Again, there is no means of which to know if a drink card will be available on your cruise with any kind of certainty.

Diamond Drinks

This tip only applies to guests that are at least Diamond level in Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society.

Diamond members and above are entitled to complimentary drinks each evening of the cruise.  Primarily, you get unlimited drinks for a few hours in the Diamond Lounge, although Royal Caribbean does allow Diamond members to get an additional 3 drinks per evening at any bar or lounge during the same time period.

The drinks available to Diamond members is somewhat limited, but you cannot beat the price. Usually there is a three hour block of time for Diamond drinks, taking advantage of this perk means not having to pay out of pocket for drinks in the hours leading up to dinner.

Concierge Lounge

If you happen to be a suite guest, you are entitled to take advantage of complimentary drinks in the Concierge Lounge.  Similar to the Diamond Lounge, this is an exclusive area for suite guests, where you can enjoy a variety of complimentary drinks.

Just like the Diamond Lounge, the complimentary drinks are available for a few hours each evening.

Keep in mind you are free to take drinks out of the Concierge Lounge and venture out around the ship (same with the Diamond Lounge).

Bring wine

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on their Royal Caribbean cruise?

Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size and should be brought on in the luggage you carry onto the ship. Do not put the wine in the luggage you hand over to the porters on embarkation day.

Wine lovers will be able to bring a couple of bottles of their favorite wine on their cruise at a savings compared to purchasing the wine onboard.  Moreover, bringing your own wine means you will save money on your total bar tab during your cruise.

My favorite aspect of bringing your own wine is if you do not finish the bottle of wine, Royal Caribbean can store the wine for you and deliver it another restaurant at that time.

It is important to be aware that Royal Caribbean will charge you a corkage fee for personal wines opened at any restaurant or lounge onboard.  Even with the corkage fee, you will still save a significant amount of money compared to purchasing a bottle of wine onboard.

Avoid these 4 Royal Caribbean drink package mistakes

In:
Category: 
10Oct2017

Many Royal Caribbean guests swear by the convenience and value that the Deluxe Beverage Package offers them, but you might be missing out on some key advantages to the package.

While the unlimited beverage package seems like an easy enough service to enjoy, there are at least four ways we often see guests missing out on maximizing the package value and unlocking some great benefits.

Not buying a drink package as soon as possible

If you decide a Royal Caribbean unlimited drink package is worth it, do not wait to buy it onboard the ship. Heck, do not wait at all to buy it.

First, if you purchase it onboard you will have to spend time buying it.  Often there are lines on embarkation day to buy the drink package, and then there is a bit of paperwork associated with its purchase.

Second, if you buy the drink package online before your cruise, it will absolutely save you money on the total cost! There are discounts offered for the drink package if purchased prior to the cruise, which means money saved for something else on your vacation.

Third, the price of a drink package could drop... or it could rise.  Buying a drink package as soon as you know you want it means you can protect against a price increase.  If the price of the drink package drops before your cruise, you can always cancel and rebook the drink package with no penalty.

Not getting a bottle of water with any order

It is easy to get a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to using Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package.  In addition to alcohol, the package provides unlimited soft drinks, fresh squeezed juices, coffees and bottled water.

The bottled water, in particular, is very useful.  Not only is it a good idea to drink a lot of water while enjoying alcohol (many of us learned that lesson in college), but stockpiling bottles of water in your stateroom means you have a supply for use on shore excursions.

When you order an alcoholic beverage, in our experience the waiters never have an issue with also providing you with a bottle of water as part of the same order.  This means you can take a few bottles back to your room for use onboard or onshore.  

While you can always just order a bottle of water to bring offshore, having a small reserve of bottled water means you can easily grab as much as you need.  This is very helpful with families or large groups.

Not specifying brand of liquor when ordering a drink

When you belly up to the bar and order a drink, often you simply ask for the drink you would like to order, often we just ask for the name of the drink.

"Can I please have a pina colada?"

What you ought to do, is instead order the drink and specify the liquor.  The deluxe beverage package includes many types of liquor, including some more desirable brands.  Choices in liquor can be subjective, but higher quality brands of liquor are typically smoother, stronger, or just plain taste better.

So when ordering a drink, be sure to specify what you want in it.

"Can I please have a pina colada with Kraken rum?"

Not trying signature cocktails at specialty restaurants

Many Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants have their own menu of cocktails that were created specifically for that restaurant and may not be available elsewhere on the ship.

Part of the appeal of the unlimited alcohol package is the opportunity to try new drinks without fear of wasting money on something you do not enjoy.  Since the unlimited alcohol package works at all specialty restaurants, you can feel free to try one of the restaurant's drinks.  You might just discover something you really love.

If the restaurant has a special cocktail, usually it is on the drink menu that also includes the wines and other beverages available.

Specialty restaurants with particularly good drinks of their own include Sabor, Jamie's Italian, 150 Central Park and Wonderland.

We want to hear from you! What is your best tip for avoiding a beverage package mistake? Leave a comment and share with us below!

Royal Caribbean requiring all adults in same stateroom to purchase unlimited alcohol package

In:
Category: 
04Oct2017

It appears guests who look to purchase an unlimited alcohol package for a 2018 or beyond sailing will be required to purchase an unlimited alcohol package for all adults in the same stateroom.

Guests who use Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site will see a new notation in the Deluxe Beverage Package description, that stipulates "each adult of legal drinking age assigned to the same stateroom must purchase this package."

Upon adding the Deluxe Beverage package to the shopping cart, the site requires all adults to purchase the package at that time.

Based on croud sourcing, thus far, the change appears to be for 2018 sailings and some late 2017 sailings.

Based on an email from Royal Caribbean to a concerned guest, there are exclusions to this rule:

  • Pregnancy
  • Recovering Alcoholic
  • Medical Reason
  • Religious Reason
  • Does Not Consume Alcohol Due to Personal Preference

Royal Caribbean announced earlier this year it was going to test this policy change on Harmony of the Seas.  The policy change would match other major cruise lines that Royal Caribbean competes with that already have a similar rule in place.

Spotted: Deluxe Beverage and Ultimate Dining Package combo

In:
16Aug2017

Royal Caribbean has a new pre-cruise purchase option on select sailings that combines the deluxe beverage package and the ultimate dining package in one.

The Deluxe Beverage and Ultimate Dining Package offers a bundle of the Deluxe Beverage Package and Ultimate Dining Package for one price.  With this package, you will enjoy

  • Unlimited beverages
    • coffee
    • juices
    • sodas
    • bottled water
    • beer, wine
    • spirits
  • Discount of 40% off bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100 while dining in specialty restaurants
  • Dine at specialty restaurants every night and
  • Dine at specialty restaurants at lunchtime on sea days

For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you will receive a $50 food credit.

Thus far, we have spotted this option on Oasis class ships.

Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog reader Andrew Punch for alerting us to this new offering.

9 important things to know about Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages

In:
27Jul2017

Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages have been a home run with guests, who find the option convenient and present a great value.

Regardless if you are purchasing an unlimited alcohol package for the first time or it has become a regular part of your cruising tradition, here are some important tips to remember for when you get onboard and start enjoying all those drinks.

9. You cannot (and should not) share drink package benefits

Royal Caribbean strictly prohibits the sharing of drink package benefits with another guest.  It is against the rules that you agree to when purchasing a drink package.

If you purchase a drink package, the benefits are solely for you and only you. 

Royal Caribbean warns that guests who share a drink with someone who does not have a drink package can risk having their drink package benefits revoked with no refund.  

The package is intended for only the guest who buys the package.  If you want to buy a drink for someone else, you can do so and pay for it individually along side your drink package transaction.

8. Gratuity is included

Your unlimited alcohol package purchase includes gratuity for all the beverages you order while on your cruise.  Royal Caribbean refers to it as a "service fee", which you should see listed in the breakdown of your drink package order.

This means when you order any drink onboard, keep in mind that 18% gratuity has already been paid and you are under no obligation to provide any additional tip. Your receipt will come out to $0.00, assuming your drink is covered by the drink package.

You can, however, opt to provide additional gratuity at your discretion.

7. All adults in the same stateroom DO need to buy a package

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has changed this rule, and if one adult purchases an unlimited alcohol package, then all other adults in the same stateroom must purchase it too.

At this time, Royal Caribbean does not require all guests in the same stateroom to purchase a drink package.

6. You can use the packages at the private destinations

All of Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages can be used at the private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee.

Your drink package at these two spots can be used just like onboard the ship.  Present your SeaPass card to any crew member working on the island and they will fulfill your order.

The only caveat to keep in mind is many of the roving bar servers offering a Labadoozie or Coco Loco have souvenir cups with them, so you may have to walk to the bar to get your drinks with the package.

5. Drink packages do not include souvenir cups

You may see onboard your Royal Caribbean ship pineapple drinks, light up cups and other neat looking beverages.  There are a lot of drinks to choose from with the unlimited alcohol packages, but souvenir cups are not included with your packages.

You can always ask for the drink without the souvenir cup, or purchase the souvenir cup at a reduced rate. 

4. Deluxe alcohol package can be used for premium coffees

If you purchase the deluxe alcohol package, on Royal Caribbean ships without a freestanding Starbucks kiosk, you can use the package to get espresso-based beverages too. This includes, cappuccinos, lattes, espresso and more.

Royal Caribbean ships with a freestanding Starbucks kiosk are the Oasis class cruise ships (Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas).  On those ships, you can still get your lattes or espresso drinks at Cafe Promenade or a specialty restaurant.

For all other Royal Caribbean ships, head to Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes and show your card when ordering a Starbucks drink just like if you were ordering a beer or cocktail at the bar.

3. You can purchase the unlimited alcohol packages after the first day

Royal Caribbean heavily advertises purchasing its unlimited alcohol packages prior to your cruise and on embarkation day, but guests may still purchase any of the unlimited alcohol packages onboard their cruise after the first day.

The rule is, guests may purchase unlimited alcohol packages at any point in their cruise as long as there are at least 4 days left in the cruise.

In addition, if you purchase an unlimited alcohol package after your first day, the total amount of the package will be prorated for the remaining days of your cruise.

2. The unlimited alcohol packages include soda too

Of course everyone thinks about all the beers, wine and cocktails one can purchase with the unlimited alcohol packages but soda is included too!

Each package includes fountain soda and a souvenir Coca-Cola cup too. 

The souvenir cup can be used at a Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine onboard for when you want a special kind of soft drink (lime Coca-Cola Zero anyone?).

1. The one place onboard you cannot use the unlimited alcohol package

There is one place onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise where the unlimited alcohol packages do not work and that is your stateroom.

You cannot use the unlimited alcohol packages to pay for room service or for mini-bar drinks.

You can, however, always bring drinks back to your room that you get at a bar and enjoy it there.

Your thoughts

Now that you have heard what we think is important to know, let's hear from other people that have used the unlimited alcohol packages too.  What do you think is the most important aspects of the drink packages to be aware of before investing in one? Are you considering a drink package but have questions? Feel free to post in the comments!

Royal Caribbean testing new unlimited alcohol package rule that requires all adults to purchase a package

In:
Category: 
07Jul2017

Royal Caribbean is testing a new policy change for its unlimited alcohol package,where all adults in a stateroom will be required to purchase an unlimited alcohol package if one adult in the room purchases it.

Cruise Critic is reporting Harmony of the Seas will test out the new rule over the course of a few sailings, where all passengers 21 years old and older will be required to purchase a beverage package, if at least one other person in their cabin has one.

This pilot program will be for eight Harmony of the Seas sailings starting September 30, 2017 through November 18, 2017.

Evidently the program is being tested as a counter-reaction to too many guests sharing drink package benefits with other guests who have not purchased the drink package.

When Royal Caribbean first introduced their drink packages, they included a stipulation that all adults in the same stateroom must purchase a drink package if one did, but they dropped that requirement shortly thereafter. 

What do you think of this policy change test? Tell us in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean drink package rules overview

In:
Category: 
08Jun2017

Thinking about purchasing a Royal Caribbean unlimited drink package for your upcoming cruise?  They have the potential to save money compared to buying the same amount of drinks without a package, but it is important to be aware and understand the rules of how these beverage packages work.

The rules are not complicated, but there are a few important guidelines that anyone that purchases an unlimited drink package should be aware of first.

Sharing the package

Let us be perfectly clear: it is absolutely forbidden to share the Royal Caribbean drink package benefits with anyone else. Period.

Royal Caribbean warns that guests who share a drink with someone who does not have a drink package can risk having their drink package benefits revoked with no refund.  

The package is intended for only the guest who buys the package.  If you want to buy a drink for someone else, you can do so and pay for it individually along side your drink package transaction.

Drink limits

There is no limit to how many drinks a guest may consume on any day, or during the cruise. 

However, you can only order one drink per transaction.  Which means if you want to get a beer and another drink, you need to order each individually. 

If your group all have the drink package, you can take their SeaPass cards and place a group order.  You just need to provide proof that the amount of drinks ordered match the number of drink packages.

When you can buy the drink package

Royal Caribbean provides the ability to pre-purchase the drink package on its Cruise Planner website.  There is often a discount associated with pre-purchase, which can save money compared to waiting to purchase it onboard.

If your cruise is too far in advance, the drink package option may not be available yet.  There is no set rule when drink packages become available for sale, so keep checking back later.

If you decide to wait to buy a drink package on the ship, you can do so from any bar or lounge. On embarkation day, there are often tables set up around the ship to take just unlimited beverage package purchases.  

You do not have to purchase a drink package on the first day of your cruise.  Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages are available on all two-night or longer sailings, but as long as there are at least 4 days left in the cruise, you can purchase the package at a pro-rated amount.

Where the drink package works

Royal Caribbean's drink package covers beverages purchased at onboard restaurants, bars, and lounges.

It also works on the cruise line’s private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee.

Friends and family have to buy the package too

As of October 2017, Royal Caribbean has changed its policy and is requiring all adults in a stateroom to purchase an unlimited alcohol package if an adult purchases the package.

Gratuity

When you purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package, gratuity (18%) will be assessed on your purchase at that time, which covers all of your subsequent drink orders.

When you order a drink later on, you will not owe any gratuity.  There will be, however, an optional gratuity on your receipt where you can recognize outstanding service.

Refunds and exchanges

Once onboard the ship, beverage packages are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Before a cruise, beverage package purchases can be cancelled and/or re-purchased via the Cruise Planner

Spotted: Royal Caribbean adds soda package and internet combo

In:
25May2017

Royal Caribbean has added a new combo offer for guests to purchase, that combines the ulimited soft drink package with the unlimited internet package.

Dubbed, "Classic Soda And Voom One Device," this new offering costs $19.00 per guest, per day and can be purchased via online prior to a cruise, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.

If a guest were to purchase the Classic Soda Package and Voom one device internet package separately, it would cost them $8.50 + 14.39 ($22.89) per person, per day.

The Classic Soda And Voom One Device plan is similar to the Deluxe Beverage Package and Voom One Device plan, which has been a popular choice for guests that want to get the unlimited alcohol package and Voom internet plan together.

Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog message board reader FManke for spotting this new option.

Pages