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Would you pay more than $100 per day for a drink package on a cruise ship? That's the regular onboard price now on Royal Caribbean ships

23 May 2024
Matt Hochberg

Having unlimited drinks on your Royal Caribbean cruise isn't as cheap as it used to be.

Bamboo room drinks and crowd

Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink package that includes alcohol is now priced regularly at least $100 per person, per day when purchased onboard. The cruise line uses dynamic pricing, so it's not a standard fleetwide price, but our team has consistently observed that the advertised onboard price is regularly in triple digits.

On Freedom of the Seas this week, the price for the Deluxe Beverage Package was listed at $110 per person, per day for the 4-night cruise. On this week's Liberty of the Seas 5-night Bermuda sailing, it's at $105.

Drink package price
Freedom of the Seas
Drink package price on Liberty
Liberty of the Seas

On Icon of the Seas, the price was recently $115 per person, per day for a 7-night sailing.

Drink package prices
Icon of the Seas

That price is before the automatic 18% gratuity that is added on top of the drink package price which covers the bartenders that serve any drink ordered with the package.

Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package includes almost every drink served onboard, minus super top shelf liquors. This includes a fruity cocktail, beer, some wines by the glass, premium coffees, sodas, smoothies, bottled water and sports drinks, milkshakes, and fresh squeezed juices. It's pretty much any beverage that is $14 or less.

Drinks on Icon of the Seas

You can even choose from top shelf liquor, like Buffalo Trace, Jack Daniel's, Johnnie Walker Black, Grey Goose, Captain Morgan, and Patron too. 

It also comes with 40% discount on bottles of wines under $100 and 20% discount on wines over $100.

While it does not  include drinks from in-room minibars or room service, they do work at its private destinations of Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee, Haiti.

It's also important to note that when you buy a drink package, you must buy it for every day of your sailing. You cannot "cherry pick" days you want to use it.  

In addition, Royal Caribbean has a rule in place if one adult purchases the Deluxe Beverage Package in a cabin, all other adults in the same cabin must buy it too.  This rule is prevent sharing drink package benefits with friends or family.  This rule doesn't apply to kids, or if you opt for the non-alcoholic drink packages.

Read more: 9 Ways That People Cheat The Royal Caribbean Drink Package

National Beverage Day sale

To be fair, the onboard price is a bit misleading because Royal Caribbean offers a significant discount of half off for the second person.  There are also Crown and Anchor Society discounts offered to some tiers to help with that price as well. In short, you can pay much less for a drink package by pre-purchasing.

There are two other Royal Caribbean drink packages that do not include any alcohol, the Royal Refreshment Package and the Soda Package.

Enjoying a cocktail

Royal Caribbean's drink packages have been quite popular since they first debuted, and the price has steadily climbed over the past few years. It's likely that strong demand for drink packages is a factor in driving up the price. Royal Caribbean Group executives have repeatedly pointed to strong demand by its customers for add-ons, such as the drink package, in its quarterly reports.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Jason Liberty said in April 2024 the significant uptick in onboard spending was a factor for the company's success., "Strong ticket and onboard revenue and favorable timing of expenses contributed to the better-than-expected earnings performance."  

How to save money on a drink package

Drink package cost

If a $100 per day price tag gives you pause, the good news is there's no reason to pay that price.

Royal Caribbean regularly offers pre-cruise discounts on its drink package when you buy it before the cruise begins. In fact, the line just kicked off it's Memorial Day sale on pre-cruise purchases. Guests can expect up to 35% off savings on purchases.

Drink package table

Depending on the promotion offered, you can usually get the Deluxe Beverage Package for around $60-$80 per person.  It varies from sailing to sailing, but the price offered in the Royal Caribbean app or website is always cheaper than buying it onboard.

Read more: When is the best time to purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package?

For example, on the Icon of the Seas June 29 sailing, the Deluxe Beverage Package is on sale for $76.99 instead of $110 per person, per day. Royal Caribbean says its 30% off savings.

Moreover, you can always re-price the drink package in the months leading up to your cruise by cancelling and rebooking if the price drops.  Its a significant advantage for consumers.

It's my recommendation to never wait to buy the drink package on the ship because of the higher price tag.

It's all about convenience

No matter the price, the top reason many cruisers buy a drink package is for the convenience of having a fixed price for all their vacation drink needs.

While not cheap, an often cited reason for buying a drink package is to not have to worry about running up a big bar bill during their cruise.

A cocktail can cost $14, plus gratuity.  After 3 or 4, you've already spent over $50 that day, and that doesn't include specialty coffees or juice.

Cove pool

RoyalCaribbeanBlog user WAYNO wrote, "The drink package is so convenient.  And I was able to experiment with drinks that I normally would never buy.  Or if a drink became warm or stale, or even boring, I could push it aside and order another."

aubtfan added, "Having drinks prepaid is worth it to us. So convenient."

FrogFanatic wrote, "I love the feeling of freedom knowing that if I chose to try something that I wouldn't try at home and don't like it, then no big deal, just order something else. It's the peace of mind that is part of what I am paying for and that is big for me."

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.

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