Matt

Unlimited alcohol package: Convenience or value?

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The package is definitely worth it to us, but I also prefer to pay for everything up front and not have to worry about budgets and money while I'm on a vacation.  It also prevents a big bill at the end which would end the vacation on a sour note.

Another thing I like about the package is it encourages us to try things we might not if we were paying per drink.  If I wind up not liking something, it's no big deal.  It's not like I'm out $10 this round, I can just order something else without worrying.

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We got the Deluxe package for us and the Refreshment package for our teens during a recent 25% off sale.  My husband, daughter and I are all particular about our coffee and will probably drink at least 2-3 each every day.  Our 16 yo son doesn't like coffee, but he drinks Red Bull and we have successfully gotten that before under the Refreshment package.  We all drink a lot of bottled water.  We'll be busy in port/touring most days, but DH and I are sure to drink at least 3+ alcoholic beverages a day in the evening (and the kids are sure to enjoy plenty of virgin frozen drinks.)

I also like not having to worry about a bill at the end (or ordering something less expensive just because it is less expensive because I am thrifty by nature).  Plus, the unlimited package allows us to try drinks we've never had before.  If you don't like it--no big deal.  Just order something else.  🙂

 

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Buying in advance at $45 pppd, it is definitely value for me. Took full advantage of the espresso drinks at cafe promenade and park cafe as well. Enjoyed trying new cocktails that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I am perfectly content with drinking wine, beer, and whiskey, but it is nice every once in a while to try new things and not have to worry about breaking the budget. 

 

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Sure can. Some wines are available by the glass, but others only by bottle, which would obviously incur a cost if you were using the drink package. There appears to be 1 or 2 wines of each type (pink noir, merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio etc.) that fall at $13 or less mark at most restaurants.

To be clear though I don’t think any specialty restaurants include wine in the cover charge. Maybe Chefs Table? 

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1 hour ago, Alex S. said:

To be clear though I don’t think any specialty restaurants include wine in the cover charge. Maybe Chefs Table? 

Yes, the Chef’s Table includes 5 wines that are paired with the various courses. At least in my case, we were allowed to have extra glasses of our favorites from the meal at no extra charge, as long as we had them before we left the meal.

1 hour ago, Disneynorth said:

Can you get wine by the glass at dinner, with the dining package and what is the selection like?

Absolutely! Alex covered all the key points. Only thing I’ll add is that they take your SeaPass card for scanning when you order, even if the per-glass price falls within the drink package limit. Other thing to note is that it might take a fair while for it to show up, so you may want to get a glass of something from a Vintages and bring that with you into the MDR to have while you wait.

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17 hours ago, JLMoran said:

 

Absolutely! Alex covered all the key points. Only thing I’ll add is that they take your SeaPass card for scanning when you order, even if the per-glass price falls within the drink package limit. Other thing to note is that it might take a fair while for it to show up, so you may want to get a glass of something from a Vintages and bring that with you into the MDR to have while you wait.

We always stopped every night ay vintages pre dinner and ordered the next glass right away.   It usually came with the entree...it takes a very long time sometimes!   Though a couple years ago the wine steward saw I had a 2nd glass every dinner and just brought it right away without swiping... it saved him a bunch of time!   Jane

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like so many others, i'm of the mind set that if i can prepay for anything before the cruise,, that's my preference.    First cruise we took we didn't do that and while i knew i was going to have some charges at the end of the cruise, i sort of got sticker shock.  we planned for it financially so it wasn't an issue.   however to me couple hundred bucks for odds and ends, no problem. Now spending an extra 600-800 AFTER the cruise for drinks, spec dining etc sort of tarnished the after-effect for me.     

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I'm really debating the drink package for my October cruise. It was a no brainer for my July one since I'm with a very large group of people and we plan on a lot of activities which I'm sure include drinking. My October cruise is just me - unless I get a ridiculously cheap sale I'm not sure it's worth it. I do drink a lot of water and coffee and will definitely have a drink or two with dinner but not sure it's worth the $$ for me on my own. I may just purchase the coffee card and pay by the drink for everything else.

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For me, it's rarely a value. At most, I think I break even especially on longer cruises. After all, how many specialty coffees can one consume per day. 🙂 However, for my wife, she's content with bringing her own non-alcoholic drinks on. Even on cruise lines the openly allow for it, that's just one additional thing that I don't personally want to lug at check-in.

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1 hour ago, ellcee said:

I'm really debating the drink package for my October cruise. It was a no brainer for my July one since I'm with a very large group of people and we plan on a lot of activities which I'm sure include drinking. My October cruise is just me - unless I get a ridiculously cheap sale I'm not sure it's worth it. I do drink a lot of water and coffee and will definitely have a drink or two with dinner but not sure it's worth the $$ for me on my own. I may just purchase the coffee card and pay by the drink for everything else.

Keep an eye out for 10 drink cards, or 10 draft beer cards mid-cruise.  Saves a few bucks.  The 10 beer cards have limited draft choices so make sure you like the beer before going this route.

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3 minutes ago, DocLC said:

Remember, though, that there's no guaranty when or if the 10 drink punch card will show up. Typically, it will not show up before the 4th day, although that policy may have changed.

Great point.  And don't they not even show up sometimes on shorter sailings?

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My first cruise was in 2015, and when my TA told me about the drinks package, I went home, calculated the price and then worked out how much I'd need to save per week to pay for it! 😁

Second cruise coming up in March 2019, so no idea yet what the package is going to cost - but I've high-balled a number and yep, saving up for it as we speak.

When I was married, I NEVER got to drink when we went out - the ex didn't drive, so I was always the designated driver and had to stay sober. Now I'm single, I'm still the designated driver, but I've been known to indulge and catch a cab home (the ex disapproved of that - can you see why he's now the ex?) 😉

For me, my cruise vacation will be just that - a vacation. Away from always being the driver, away from (much) responsibility - the drinks package allows me the freedom and convenience to enjoy speciality coffee (the free stuff is pretty dreadful, and I'm no coffee snob), to take bottles of water on shore excursions, and to laze away the day by the pool with lovely waiters bringing me drinks with umbrellas in them. Isn't that the stereotypical vacation ideal?

Plus, my experience on Independence back in 2015 was brilliant - I glimpsed a cocktail in the wine bar (before the ex dragged me away because he didn't want to stay there) that had elderflower liqueur in it. Couldn't remember the name, just that it was champagne and elderflower. When I asked the bartender in the MDR for this vaguely described drink? I got it. And it was beautiful.

So the unlimited alcohol package is an indulgence, but one which I am sure I will get value for. It's also a convenience. I should mention I'm cruising alone, so there's no requirement to purchase a second package for another party, which certainly adds to the affordability.

I can't wait for March next year to enjoy some fabulous Royal cocktails again!

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2 hours ago, June May said:

I should mention I'm cruising alone, so there's no requirement to purchase a second package for another party, which certainly adds to the affordability.

I can't wait for March next year to enjoy some fabulous Royal cocktails again!

Cruising solo does offer its advantages.  I've done some great excursions that as a family or even a couple would break the bank. 

If the drink package works in your favor, having to buy only one certainty makes a big difference and a care free vacation without thinking about it when you feel like a drink.

Cheers!

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