If you're waiting on the sidelines to book a Royal Caribbean drink package, you're doing it wrong.
Royal Caribbean runs sales every few weeks on pre-cruise purchases as a means to encourage its customers to pick up a drink package, internet package, or shore excursion.
Whether each sale saves any money depends on the sailing, but generally speaking, the cost of these items tends to be less when booked prior to the cruise than waiting to buy onboard.
One mantra I see cruise fans repeat is the advice for people to wait for Black Friday to buy their cruise add-ons because they feel the best discounts are offered that week.
The problem with waiting for any one sale is you're putting a lot at risk for a potential discount that may or may not materialize.
Don't wait for Black Friday
If you're unfamiliar with Black Friday, it is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States and every retailer rolls out new sales and promotions to compel people to start their holiday shopping. The name "Black Friday" means when retails would usually "get back into the black" financially in terms of profit.
As the calendar gets closer to Black Friday, a lot of cruisers begin talking about a Royal Caribbean Black Friday sale and advocate waiting for that sale as the deal to pick up pre-cruise purchases.
There's two issues with waiting for Black Friday, or any sale for that matter.
First, there is absolutely no guarantee the price will be any cheaper on Black Friday than it is today. Royal Caribbean regularly runs sales for guests to pre-purchase certain add-ons, such as drink packages, wifi, or shore excursions. As is the case with all sales, there is not a blanket discount applied to all items.
The sale price will vary from ship to ship and sailing to sailing, meaning there may or may not actually be any discounts applied to the cruise you have booked.
The other issue with waiting for Black Friday is the price could actually go up. Royal Caribbean's prices are very fluid, and the company uses dynamic pricing for its add-ons (and cruise fare too). This means prices go up, down, and back up again. There's no rhyme or reason as to if that drink package cost will go down or up.
So if you wait for Black Friday, you may not see any discount at all and/or an even higher price.
Royal Caribbean always advertises up to a certain percentage off pre-cruise purchases, but you can ignore that figure. The base price can change a lot, making the discount percentage irrelevant.
Instead, you want to focus on what is the total price after taxes and gratuity.
When to book a Royal Caribbean drink package
Instead of waiting for Black Friday, you should book a drink package today.
If you know you want to get a drink package, the best time to book a Royal Caribbean drink package is today because the price can change at any time.
If the price goes down on Black Friday, or at any point before your cruise, you can easily go into the Cruise Planner site and cancel your purchase and re-purchase it at the lower price. There's no penalty for cancelling a pre-cruise purchase and if you used onboard credit, it will be refunded instantly so you can apply it when re-purchasing.
By booking now, you lock in the price. If the price goes up, you're guarded against it, and if there is a better sale on Black Friday, you can cancel and rebook.
How to cancel and rebook a Royal Caribbean drink package
The process is pretty simple to cancel and rebook if you do it online.
You could call Royal Caribbean and do this over the phone, but I find it much faster to do it online.
- Log into the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner at https://www.royalcaribbean.com/account/signin
- Find your sailing and click Plan my cruise
- Look for your initials in the top right of the page and click that icon
- Click Order history
- Find the purchase you made for the drink package (it will show each order you made)
- Underneath the drink package listed, click Cancel
That's it! Now you can go back to the Beverage section of the cruise planner and buy it back again.
When will Royal Caribbean announce their 2023 Black Friday deal?
We don't know exactly when the promotion details will be announced, but Royal Caribbean typically waits until a few days before the sale begins to reveal information.
Unlike Best Buy, Walmart or Amazon, cruise lines aren't quite that aggressive with their Black Friday promotions. So they typically wait to provide details.
In 2022, Royal Caribbean announced its Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on November 17, which was just a few days before Black Friday on November 25th.
Read more: Royal Caribbean's past Black Friday deals
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