Drinks

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.

Friday Happy Hour: Margaritas at Sabor on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
23Sep2016

Looking for an unique margarita? Well, look no further than Sabor Modern Mexican!

Located on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas, this contemporary take on Mexican cuisine is something of a hidden gem.  Word is getting around about Sabor among Royal Caribbean fans, but guests new to Royal Caribbean may not yet know about the frankly amazing food and drink at Sabor.  

Sabor Modern Mexican has earned itself a solid reputation for its fresh, authentic food that boasts an impressive selection of Mexican dishes across their menu (including some amazing tuna tacos), and a staff with a passion and knowledge about what they serve.

When you talk about a Mexican meal, margaritas may quickly come to mind and if you have a reservation to dine at Sabor on your next Royal Caribbean cruise, then you need to need to treat yo self and indulge in their margarita list!

So, join me as I try the various margaritas found on the Sabor Modern Mexican menu.

Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas

Once seated at Sabor for lunch or dinner, your waiter will provide you with a menu of the available margaritas.  Some of the margaritas are hand crafted at your table, while the others are freshly made behind-the-scenes.

Margarita list

Featured margaritas are made table side

Of course, for "research purposes," we have no choice but to try all the margaritas from the margarita menu.  Across various Royal Caribbean ships, we have tried these great cocktails and it is easy to find a favorite.

We will begin with my personal favorite, the Avocado Margarita.  It is smooth, flavorful and has (a lot of) smooth Patrón tequila.

The Avocado Margarita consists of Patrón Silver tequila, orange liqueur, avocado and lime juice. Rimmed with Aleppo pepper/lime salt.  I dare you not to like this one.

If you are more of a traditionalist, there are two good choices for you.  First up, is the Sabor Grand Margarita.

The Sabor Grand is great for anyone who is either new to margaritas or prefers a fruitier taste to their fine Mexican beverages.  It is made of Patron Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier and Cedilla Acai liqueurs with lime juice.  The Cedilla Acai is what gives this drink its red color, and also adds a pleasant flavor.

The Simply Perfect Margarita is very similar, but more of a classic look and taste.

With a name like Simply Perfect, there are some high expectations set and I am happy to report it does not disappoint.  Unlike many conventional margaritas, there is no compromising on the tequila or flavor of the drink.  Patrón Reposado tequila, Patrón Citrónage liqueur with lime and orange juice makes for a very solid beverage.

If you fancy yourself a more adventurous margarita drinker, there are two margaritas that are great for you.

First up is the Sweet and Spice Margarita.  As the name implies, it starts off with a sweet, traditional margarita taste but once the drink passes by your lips, your mouth will be left with a little kick to it.

The Sweet and Spice Margarita is definitely a different kind of drink, and perfect for anyone that wants something different from the usual kind of drinks one might get a restaurant.  Different does not have a negative connotation, rather, it means there is little like this unique margarita.

Speaking of spice, if you prefer a little less sweet and a little more spice, go for the Jalapeño-Cucumber Margarita.

When you have bits of jalapeño floating in the drink, rest assured that this is not a wimpy drink.  It is made of Don Julio Plata tequila. Cointreau liqueur, cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and for fans of spicy, this is the perfect margarita to compliment the food that can also be ordered spicy.  A good tip is to ask your waiter to make the table side guacamole extra spicy too, and you are sure to destroy many of your taste buds by the end of the meal!

You might note that we have included all of the margaritas from the menu, but we have a bonus margarita to share!  While dining at Sabor Modern Mexican a third time during our cruise (I'm only human!), our waiter inquired if we wanted to try a margarita that is not listed on the menu, the Mezcal Margarita.  Not being one to shy away for hard-hitting "research," I bravely ventured forth into this brave new margarita world.

Our waiter explained that Mezcal is agave-based liquor. Tequila must be made from the Blue Agave. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from more than 30 varieties of agave, including the Blue Agave. What you need to know is that Mezcal has a smoky flavor to it, and it is unlike any other margarita on Sabor's menu.  I really enjoyed it and only wish I knew about it earlier!

I cannot be certain the Mezcal Margarita will be available on your sailing, but if you want something different, there is no harm in asking for it. 

Since Sabor Modern Mexican opened on Navigator of the Seas, the restaurant catapulted to the top of my favorites list and I look forward to seeing (and tasting) whatever come up with next!

What is your favorite margarita flavor? Please let us know with a comment below!

5 ways to save money on drinks if you are not buying a Royal Caribbean drink package

In:
Category: 
18Aug2016

Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages have never been more popular and you might find yourself considering one for your next cruise.  But if the prospect of drinking enough every day of your cruise to "break even" on your drink package investment leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed, then here are some easy ways to skip the drink packages but still save money on your bar tab.

While Royal Caribbean's drink packages are quite popular with guests, they do require a moderate amount of drinking every day of your cruise to make the investment worthwhile financially. For those that do not want to drink quite that much every day, there are a number of alternative strategies to the drink package that can still save you some money.  Here are our top five ways to skip the Royal Caribbean beverage packages and still enjoy plenty of cocktails on your cruise.

Buy a drink card

As popular as drink packages have become, the newest unlimited drink package option that has been popping up on Royal Caribbean cruises is the drink card. On many (but not all) sailings, a drink card offer will appear for guests to purchase, which allows them to buy a punch card for 10 beverages at a fixed price.

What is great about the drink cards is that they are shareable with other guests, and can additional cards can be purchased later during the cruise.  Drink cards afford greater flexibility than the drink packages and less of an upfront cost than the drink packages.

The "catch" with the drink cards is you cannot pre-purchase them for your cruise, and there are no guarantees they will be available on any particular sailing.  Generally, it will be offered on the third to fifth day of a 7 night cruise.

Bring 2 bottles of wine onboard

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 your carry-on luggage. Do not put the wine in your checked luggage.

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.

Look for drink specials onboard

When looking at Royal Caribbean drink prices, many guests base their math of whether a drink package makes sense off the regular price for drinks, but in reality, there are drink specials all around the ship that bring that price down.

One of the best ways to get a deal on a cocktail is to order the drink of the day.  The drink of the day is a select cocktail that changes every day, which has about a 20% discount on it and is available from most bars onboard.  You can just ask the bartender or waiter what the drink of the day is and take advantage of those savings.

In addition, individual ships will run their own bar specials, like 2 for 1 deals, drink combo deals and other happy hour discounts.  The exact details of a drink special will vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing, but it is important to understand that they exist.  

To find drink specials, consult the Cruise Compass for some advertised deals, as well as walk around bars and look for posted signs.

Drink in port

In our experience, Royal Caribbean's drink prices are about what we pay for drinks at many restaurants on land, but there is no question you will save money by drinking at the ports of call you visit compared to onboard.

Bars and restaurants at the ports your Royal Caribbean ship will visit regularly offer cheaper drink prices for beers and cocktails and that can mean big savings if you can wait to enjoy some drinks when on land, compared to on your ship.

Depending on your itinerary, this strategy may be more lucrative than others, but it is a good way to indulge in your favorite mixed drink or cerveza for a lower cost.

Get free drinks

Free drinks on Royal Caribbean? Yes. Seriously!

Believe it or not, there are ways to get free drinks on your Royal Caribbean cruise.  Granted, there is no way to effectively drink all day like this, but any free drinks you can get are less drinks you have to buy!

One of the best ways to get free drinks is by being a Crown and Anchor Society member.  Diamond level and above members are eligible for three free beverages per evening from 4:30 to 8:00pm, in addition to the unlimited complimentary beverages in the Diamond Lounge during those hours.

All Crown and Anchor Society members will have special coupons pre-loaded on their SeaPass account that provide deals like Buy One, Get one beer, wine or soda by the glass.  In addition, Royal Caribbean holds Crown and Anchor Society events onboard for members, with complimentary cocktails served.

Free champagne can also be found at select events, including art auctions, Captain's Welcome and during holiday celebrations.

Your thoughts

What is your best tip for saving money on drinks when not using a drink package? Is there one that we missed? Share your top tips in the comments!

Spotted: Specialty coffee beverage card on Serenade of the Seas

In:
Category: 
01Aug2016

You may have heard about Royal Caribbean's drink packages and even the drink cards, but here is a new drink card especially for those that enjoy a little "pep" in their day.

On Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas, guests were able to purchase a specialty coffee drink card, where if 6 coffee drinks are pre-purchased, they get one for free.

Photo by Dr. Kris L-C

These pre-paid punch cards area available at three different price points, so you can choose one that is right for you.

  • $24 for 7 coffee drinks priced at $4 or less
  • $30 for 7 coffee drinks priced at $5 or less
  • $36 for 7 coffee drinks priced at $6 or less

There is no indication that this kind of a drink card will be available on any particular sailing or ship. Royal Caribbean has experimented greatly with the concept of pre-paid drink cards that did include specialty coffees over the last 12 months or so, but this is the first we have seen of a pre-paid card specifically for coffee.

Would you buy one of these coffee cards? If so, which one appeals to you? Tell us in the comments below.

7 tropical drinks you must try on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
21Jul2016

It may not be 5:00pm yet, but that does not mean you cannot start planning which tasty drinks you can enjoy on your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

At the many bars and lounges throughout Royal Caribbean's fleet, guests can enjoy a wide range of drinks, but there are a handful of drinks that we think are quintessentially a Royal Caribbean drink and something we look forward to sampling on every cruise we go to.

Check out our list, and get that drink order ready for your next cruise.

1. Lava Flow

2. Labadoozie

3. Mojito

4. Coco Loco

5. Sabor Margaritas

6. Cucumber Martini

7. Pineapple drink

Drink costs

If these ice cold refreshments look like the perfect beverage to enjoy on your next sailing, you might also be curious how much they cost.

Most of the drinks in this post cost about $12 (before gratuity), not including any souvenir and/or fruit cups.

Nearly all the drinks are also included in a Royal Caribbean drink package, which allows guests to enjoy an unlimited amount of beverages for a fixed daily cost.

Your favorites

What are your favorite drinks to enjoy on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Share them in the comments below!

5 Royal Caribbean drink recipes for your summer party

In:
Category: 
04Jul2016

Whew, boy! Hottest Fourth of July we've had in years, and that means it is the perfect excuse to enjoy some great Royal Caribbean drinks in the comfort of our home.

Having a cocktail on a Royal Caribbean cruise is something many guests relish doing every cruise, and if you cannot be on a cruise this summer to enjoy one, then do the next best thing and make one at home.

Here are a few of our favorite Royal Caribbean drink recipes that are sure to "hit the spot" during your summer.

Across the Universe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. Tanqueray No. 10 Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Aperol
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • Splash of Prosecco
  • About 1 ¼ cups watermelon juice

At least a few hours in advance (preferably overnight), pour watermelon juice into an ice cube tray and freeze. Combine gin, Aperol, St. Germain, lime juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well until chilled and pour into a glass over watermelon ice cubes. Optional: Garnish with an herb, slice of watermelon or lime or an edible flower.

Coco Loco

Ingredients (Makes one cocktail):

  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice Concentrate
  • 1/2 oz Papaya Juice Concentrate
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Cream
  • 3/4 oz Dark Rum (Or make it a virgin Coco Loco without the rum)
  • 3/4 oz Coconut Rum
  • 1/4 oz Grenadine
  • Crushed ice

Toss all the ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. Then pour the potion into a cocktail glass and dress it up with a fresh wedge of pineapple.

Anchors Away

Ingredients (Makes one cocktail):

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curaçao
  • 1/2 oz Blackberry Brandy
  • 11/2 oz Orange Juice
  • 1 oz Sweetened Lemon Juice

Blend all the ingredients above. Strain and pour into your favorite glass. Then garnish with a fresh slice of orange and a cherry. 

Mango Cooler

Ingredients (Makes one cocktail):

  • 1 oz Sweetened Lime Juice
  • 2 oz Mango Juice
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 3/4 oz Triple Sec

Blend all the ingredients together with crushed ice, transfer to your favorite frosty glass and toss in an orange slice and a cherry.

Punchless Piña Colada (for the kids)

Ingredients (Makes one cocktail):

  • 1 1/2 oz Coconut Cream
  • 3 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 2 cups Crushed Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Then pour in a tumbler, garnish with a fresh wedge of pineapple, and top with whipped cream and a cherry.

For the adults, you can add rum!

Video: Bourbon flights at Michael's Genuine Pub on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class cruise ships

In:
29Dec2015

Royal Caribbean has released a new video with Chef Michael Schwartz, as he talks bourbon flight tastings at Michael’s Genuine Pub, onboard Quantum class ships.

Royal Caribbean Classic: BBC

In:
Category: 
15Oct2015

Some aspects of a Royal Caribbean cruise are experiences that become forever associated with being onboard one of these amazing ships and certain drinks onboard are among those moments.

Guests who enjoy a tasty, creamy cocktail that is almost like a dessert, often order a Banana Baileys Colada, better known as a BBC on their Royal Caribbean cruise.

Photo by Steve Crofts

The BBC is a creamy drink that combines bananas with always pleasing Baileys liquor.

Some of the bartenders will swizzle some chocolate syrup around the inside of the glass before they fill it, which is sometimes referred to as a Chocolate BBC.

Photo by Mary ND

BBC's have become a fan favorite across Royal Caribbean ships and we are including it in our list of Royal Caribbean classics!

If you need a BBC fix between cruises, here is the full recipe for how to make one (or more) at home.

BBC Recipe

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bailey's Irish Creme
  • 1 1/2 oz. Creme of Coconut
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • Half a banana (or banana liqueur)

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and blend well. Add crushed ice and blend until smooth.

Royal Caribbean Classic: Lava Flow

In:
Category: 
27Sep2015

Some aspects of a Royal Caribbean cruise are experiences that become forever associated with being onboard one of these amazing ships and certain drinks onboard are among those moments.

Many Royal Caribbean guests look forward to indulging in one particular cocktail on each sailing, the lava flow.

The lava flow is a creamy drink mixed with a berry (usually strawberry) that when presented, resembles the way lava from a volcano might descend down a mountain.

It is pretty darn tasty and often finds its way onto the drink of the day menu.

Lava flows have become a fan favorite across Royal Caribbean ships and we are including it in our list of Royal Caribbean classics!

If you need a lava flow fix between cruises, here is the full recipe for how to make one (or more) at home.

Lava Flow Recipe

  • 1.5 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. Malibu coconut rum
  • 2 oz. coconut cream
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana

Directions

  1. Mix strawberries and rum in blender and blend until well mixed.
  2. Place contentsat bottom of a tall glass.
  3. Mix rest of the unused ingredients with crushed ice in a blender until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into glass. The strawberry and rum mixture will creep up the sides of the glass, giving the drink its name.
  5. Serve with straw.

How to save money on drinks while on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
22Sep2015

These days, everyone is talking about Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages because they are a simple way to lock in the price of drinks for your cruise but not everyone drinks enough to warrant purchasing them.

The good news is, there are lots of ways to save money on your drinks without opting for a package.  

Royal Caribbean entices its guests with discount offers and benefits that reduce the total cost of drinks, but you will need to know how to find them all.

Drink of the day

A Royal Caribbean staple is the Drink of the Day, where one drink each day of your cruise is selected to receive a 20% discount.

Your Cruise Compass will list which drink is the Drink of the Day, although you can always ask any waiter or bartender and they can fill you in.

The discount for the Drink of the Day helps cut down on the cost of drinks and is a great way to try new drinks without much financial risk!

Bar specials listed in Cruise Compass

In order to drum up business, many bars and lounges will offer drink specials throughout the day and you can find all of them listed in the Cruise Compass.

In the morning, drinks such as Bloody Mary's and Mimosa's are sold at a reduced rate.  

Later in the day, select bars will offer drink specials. As an example, Michael's Genuine Pub on Quantum of the Seas offered 2 for 1 beer specials and the On Air Club on Freedom of the Seas had some great margarita specials.

The key is to check your Cruise Compass for when and where these drink specials will be offered.  Some are available throughout the cruise while others are only available at select times.

Crown and Anchor Society coupons

Members of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society, will receive coupons for free drinks.

The exact coupon you get will depend on your status in Crown and Anchor society, but you will want to check the list of coupons that are listed in your stateroom on embarkation day.

As an example, for Platinum members there are coupons for

  • Buy any wine, beer or soda by the glass and get a second free
  • Purchase any glass of wine, beer or soda and receive a 10% discount

Remember that everyone in your stateroom gets their own set of discounts, so be sure to use them all!

Diamond level free drinks

Guests who are Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club Crown and Anchor Society members also receive vouchers for complimentary drinks on each day.

Three drink vouchers per day will be applied to each eligible Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members corresponding SeasPass card to be used to get a free drink at bars on the ship that can be used between 4:30pm and 8:00pm.

Diamond and Concierge club lounges

Speaking of Diamond members, Royal Caribbean provides free drinks to guests that have access to the Diamond Club and/or Concierge club lounges.

These lounges are specifically for guests that have attained at least Diamond level status in Crown and Anchor Society or guests staying in a suite onboard the ship.

There is food to be enjoyed in these lounges as well, but complimentary alcoholic beverages are also on the menu.  

Free drinks at Crown and Anchor Society events

Each cruise, Royal Caribbean will hold "welcome back" parties for its Crown and Anchor members.

At each event, complimentary alcoholic beverages are served and it can be a great way to enjoy free drinks while hearing about what is new and exciting about Royal Caribbean.

Be sure to show up a little early to the events, because the complimentary drinks start flowing as soon as the doors open.

Free champagne

There are a few times during a Royal Caribbean cruise where guests can get free champagne.

These events will be listed in the Cruise Compass and are most often

  • Art auctions
  • Captain's Welcome
  • Holidays such as New Years Eve

What is your best way to save money on a drink while cruising? Share them in the comments!

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