This Royal Caribbean drink package workaround saves so much money if you're not a heavy drinker

26 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

One cruise fan discovered a great trick for being able to enjoy alcoholic drinks on their cruise without a costly drink package.

Liquor bottles instead of a drink package

A Royal Caribbean drink package is a very popular add-on, but they are not cheap purchases. You could pay anywhere from $60-100 per person, per day for the Deluxe Beverage Package.

While drink packages do offer a cost-savings opportunity to cruisers, not everyone will find that value.  

On the Royal Caribbean Dining Facebook group, Mandi King shared a hack she found that is a good middle ground between buying a drink package and paying for your drinks individually.

The lesser-known liquor bottle option

Bottle liquor

Ms. King shared that she came across this idea because she doesn't drink enough to justify buying a drink package.

"I know this won't apply to many of you, but I don't drink enough to justify the drink package so I thought I would share my little cruise hack for those of you in the same boat (pun intended)," she said in her post.

She discovered 375 ml bottles of alcohol available for purchase from the Royal Caribbean gifts website.

Liquor packages

Each bottle comes with a few sodas, but she admits she'll give the sodas to her children.  Instead, she will bring different drink mix flavors with her onboard to mix with water and her vodka purchase.

"I purchased two vodka/sprite packages for $88, which sounds expensive for essentially a fifth of vodka but it will make 16 drinks with 1.5oz pours - that's just $5.50 per drink so will save me a ton compared to buying drinks at the bar"

Fruit at the buffet

To make her DIY cocktails better, she leverages the complimentary fruit on the ship.

"I also like to grab some fruit from the buffet to add to them - add a little watermelon, strawberries, orange, and/or pineapple and it becomes a fancy drink!"

Cocktail mixers

Another idea is to bring drink mixers with you so that the alcohol you choose can be better enjoyed.  A reader suggested taking Skinnies cocktail mixers as something that works well (Link contains affiliate link, which costs you nothing extra to use!).

There is a caveat to this hack, it’s not available on all sailings.

Liquor and wine

Combine this hack with the added ability to bring one bottle of wine or Champagne per adult in a cabin onboard your ship, and Ms. King feels she has a cost-effective strategy to enjoy drinks on her Royal Caribbean cruise.

Every adult (21 years or older) is allowed to bring, in a carry-on, one bottle (750 mL) of wine or Champagne. There is a $15 corkage fee if you consume your bottle in a dining room.  Sorry, you are not allowed to bring beer or liquor. 

Cruisers love this idea

Rum and cokes

"I did this and it was absolutely perfect for me!" is what Becky Weaver commented on the post, and a lot of other people have embraced the idea.

LeeAnn Freiburger added, "We did the same. Order 2 of these plus a bottle of champagne , 2-6 packs of Truly and will carry on two bottles of champagne. No way could we drink $1,200 worth so this was a no-brainer for us."

Marcia Tivoli agreed, "I purchased a bottle of whiskey for hubby one sailing -- totally worth it!"


It's not a perfect option for everyone, but it seems to fit the needs of casual drinkers.

"If you only want 2 cocktails per day (assuming 7 nights) and don't mind going back to your room to get one, it's a good idea," Tom Hoffman wrote.

Lj Castillo said, "That's what we do now that we're diamond. Makes no sense to buy the drink package when you can get those and sodas."

Other ways to save money instead of buying a drink package

If this hack has you contemplating skipping a drink package, there are other ways you can enjoy alcoholic drinks without splurging for an all-included beverage package.

Drink card

Ryan Southworth commented to keep an eye out for the 10 drink punch cards sometimes offered on ships.

In recent months, we've seen the drink card make a comeback on many cruises.  Essentially, it's a pre-paid card for 10 drinks that you can use (and share with anyone else) for a fixed price.  

The "catch" with the drink card is there's no way to know in advance if it will be offered on your cruise.  If it is offered, it may not be available until the end of the sailing.

Still, it's a great value and shareable.

Bar in Mexico

If you have a port intensive itinerary, it might be more cost-effective to do your drinking while in port.

Royal Caribbean's drink prices are probably higher than what you'll find in the places your ship visits, especially in the Caribbean.

Finding bars or vendors selling inexpensive beers, cocktails and more is not usually difficult. You can usually find a few right in the pier area, with more in the town or city your ship visits. 

Suite lounge

If you're booked in a suite, then take advantage of the free cocktails offered in the evening.

The Suite Lounge or Concierge Lounge offers beers, wine, and cocktails each evening for guests in a Grand Suite or higher.  Pinnacle Club members are allowed in too, although sometimes this is capped if there are a lot of Pinnacles onboard.

It's available for a few hours each night, so speak to the Suite Concierge host for more information.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

Get our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with cruise news & advice

    We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy