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So I'm 290 days out from my Eastern Caribbean cruise on Freedom of the Seas, and I see that the beverage packages are now available for me to buy on the Cruise Planner. Since I just missed the last Sip and Stream offering, and I've got so much time before embarkation day, I'm gong to bide my time and keep an eye out for either a 20-30% off sale or another Sip and Stream offer. Maybe around 4th of July week?

This is kind of nuts, I'm still a little over 9 months away from my trip! At the rate things are coming up on the Cruise Planner, I'll have all of our excursions, drink packages, and internet booked and paid off at least six months ahead of time. At that point I'll just be making the monthly cruise fare payments until final payment in December.

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Spacing out purchases as @Matt says it's good for budgeting purposes. The two things I jump on are gratuities and drink packages to lock in the price in case of an increase. Also, sometimes excursions are priced rediculously low and I'll purchase them. For example, on our Baltics cruise, the bus trip to Berlin was $11.50 when it should have been at least $100 more. And while it was most likely an error, Royal honored the price for everyone who booked it before the price was changed.  

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Of course now that I said that, the website is now displaying drink packages for my cruise.  Deluxe is $55 a day ($454.30 total) so needless to say will wait for a sale.  I got the impression there should at least be a black Friday sale before my cruise.

 

So here is a kind of weird question:  After comparing the soda package ($70.21) vs. the next package up ($214.76) there is no way to justify the extra cost for me.  My question is two part:  Can I just hand a bartender my coke cup and have them fill it with ice & water?  How much does bottle of water cost? (already plan to buy a case for each room but know there may be times while on deck that I want a water)

 

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@jce2 They'll happily provide you with ice water. Keep in mind, though, the next package up that you quote includes bottled water, specialty coffees, and non alcoholic cocktails, so you might be able to get the value out of it if you drink a coffee, a virgin cocktail, and a Coke of waters per day in addition to your soda. 

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True, but I am actually buying these packages for young adults who tend to drink water, and the occasional soda.  I don't think a virgin cocktail holds much interest.  Those that do drink alcohol are light drinkers and I will just pay for their drinks on the fly.  On the other hand,I WILL be buying the deluxe package for myself as I really want to try all the beer based cocktails at Hoof & Claw

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20 hours ago, Matt said:

These days, I wait and space purchases out.  I used to jump on buying things early, but unless there's a weekend sale going on, I bide my time.

That's what I've been doing, buying one thing each month on top of my monthly payment for the cruise fares. Definitely helps with managing the final cost!

20 hours ago, DocLC said:

Spacing out purchases as @Matt says it's good for budgeting purposes. The two things I jump on are gratuities and drink packages to lock in the price in case of an increase.

Normally, I'd do this, but...

19 hours ago, jce2 said:

Deluxe is $55 a day ($454.30 total) so needless to say will wait for a sale.  I got the impression there should at least be a black Friday sale before my cruise.

And that's the same price I'm seeing, which is the regular price for buying onboard. I'll acknowledge there's some risk the price might go up by the time of my cruise, but I'm willing to gamble it won't go up before Fourth of July week, when I'm guessing there will be another big promo. If nothing shows at that point, I'll buy our drink packages after my next billing cycle starts and lock in the price until a promo does come along.

In the meantime, for the current billing cycle, I'm booking my wife and kids' slots on the Dragon's Breath zip line in Labadee. Already got the cabana and coaster tickets there (for a crazy discount!), but getting the zip line tickets at the same time would have put too much on my card in one month.

14 hours ago, Orange Crush said:

Also watch for drink & internet combos on the drink package page.  I had booked the $48/day Deluxe Drink packages and then saw a deluxe + surf & stream combo for $52/day pop up later.  I wasn't going to pay full price for Internet, but $4/day was hard to pass up.

I'm definitely keeping an eye out for this, but I'll have to see how it compares with the regular VOOM pricing at the time and whatever discounts I might have already found for the deluxe and refreshment packages. I need to get VOOM for four devices so we can all stay in touch as we wander around the ship as well as be able to keep in touch with folks on the mainland; so the sip+stream package, plus 3 regularly priced devices, plus 3 refreshment packages at the current price would need to at least break even with whatever price I've paid at that point for everything separately.

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Update: So it appears if I want to use my OBC to purchase drink packages for my other linked reservations I will have to call.  When I go through the website it only lists the people on the particular reservation I click on and only shows their OBC.  Unlike MTD which allows me to search for names on other reservations

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54 minutes ago, DocLC said:

I got the email earlier today saying that I could save up to 30% on my Oct sailing on Oasis so logged in to see how much I could save. Amazingly it would now cost 15% MORE to book the same package, must have got a great deal when I booked. :10_wink: 

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Thanks for the heads-up, @DocLC! Unfortunately, I got nothing when I logged in. Based on a comment from the blog post that linked to an RCI doc listing all the eligible sailings, mine is still too far out.

The list document went to the end of 2017 for each ship, so hopefully there will be another such offer in 3 months that will include my sailing that leaves at the end of March.

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4 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Thanks for the heads-up, @DocLC! Unfortunately, I got nothing when I logged in. Based on a comment from the blog post that linked to an RCI doc listing all the eligible sailings, mine is still too far out.

The list document went to the end of 2017 for each ship, so hopefully there will be another such offer in 3 months that will include my sailing that leaves at the end of March.

I'd say just keep checking. I know that the refreshment package that I booked has been on sale twice since I originally booked mine in Feb for our Oct cruise.

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On ‎6‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 9:52 AM, jce2 said:

Alas, I am 204 days out of my January cruise and still no drink packages.  In fact half the time I click on it, the website crashes with some cryptic programming error.  As a software developer myself, it amazes me how bad their website is

I have the same problem!! Mine is 1/13 and I can't book anything yet. :(

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On ‎6‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 11:45 AM, JLMoran said:

Thanks for the heads-up, @DocLC! Unfortunately, I got nothing when I logged in. Based on a comment from the blog post that linked to an RCI doc listing all the eligible sailings, mine is still too far out.

The list document went to the end of 2017 for each ship, so hopefully there will be another such offer in 3 months that will include my sailing that leaves at the end of March.

Yes--we are too far out.  I got all excited til I saw it was only 2017 cruises.  So I will wait...I could book at 55/day now, but I'm looking at a cuba cruise too, so I need to pace the spending!  Too many options, so little money lol!  Jane

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On ‎6‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 0:18 PM, HighlandBoy said:

I got the email earlier today saying that I could save up to 30% on my Oct sailing on Oasis so logged in to see how much I could save. Amazingly it would now cost 15% MORE to book the same package, must have got a great deal when I booked. :10_wink: 

I have been a member of C&A for 5-6 years and never gotten any emails from them or RCI except 1 to tell me that my departure time changed.

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