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My view on drinks package


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Response to WAAAYTOOO (and Matt),, I've suggested this topic to Matt as an interesting podcast episode. I'd love for someone from RCI to explain the best ways for their customers, the cruising public, to express their concerns, or yes, dissatisfaction, and who exactly responds to those complaints. Do they keep a tally of them to determine if they're widespread and legitimate ? It seems to me that the first and best way for RCI to enhance the experience of cruising is to determine what their customers think.

Let's say the wheels of progress are moving on this...

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  • 5 weeks later...

My wife and I are cruising in November on the Jewel. I am a drinker and don't want to be limited to what I can get so I am working toward the ultimate package. My wife doesn't drink much at all but does like her sodas from time to time. I'm leaning toward the soda package for her. With my ultimate package, would I be able to go up to the bartender and order two shots of something just in case she wants to try what I am having? What is RCI's take on ultimate package getting whatever they want including multiple shots?

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IMHO there is really no reason I can see to get the Ultimate package. There is virtually nothing you can't order on the Premium package. I think there's a handful of beers (that I've never heard of) and a few REALLY high dollar single malts and other liquors (most of which I have no interest in) that you'd have to pay a few extra bucks for. As far as "ordering two shots in case she,,," is between you and your own conscience. They would probably never know that you were getting one for you and one for her, while you would always know that you took something you didn't pay for. That's your call.

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Typically they will not give you two shots at once, it is one drink at a time. Not to say you might not find bartender that would do it anyway but that's "the rule".

 

In regards to sharing the shots with your wife, "the rule" is very strongly no sharing of drinks on the package. With that said it is up to you whether you choose to bend the rule or not.

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The big difference between Premium and Ultimate is the non-alcoholic side, they are identical on the alcoholic side.

 

My wife is a big coffee drinker so the difference between the two is about one specialty coffee a day, which is probably on the low side of what she would drink ... makes it worth the upgrade.

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My wife and I are cruising in November on the Jewel. I am a drinker and don't want to be limited to what I can get so I am working toward the ultimate package. My wife doesn't drink much at all but does like her sodas from time to time. I'm leaning toward the soda package for her. With my ultimate package, would I be able to go up to the bartender and order two shots of something just in case she wants to try what I am having? What is RCI's take on ultimate package getting whatever they want including multiple shots?

RC stipulates you cannot share any aspect of a drink package with other guests

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This scares me just a little bit.  I am wondering if there has been (or will be?) a cutback on the availability of "Free" drinks on welcome back nights, Diamond and above special events, and in the Concierge/Diamond lounges?  I do not drink Alcohol but do require a soda once in a while to balance my low sugar (I love the concierge lounge!)  Has anyone noticed a diminished service in these areas to cut back on costs and add to RCL's profit margins or to push those "Loyal To Royal" to pay for drinks.

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I just skimmed through this thread once again and hope no one has already posted this but here it is.  I was reading all of the drink packages available to me on my upcoming cruise and here is a quote from RCL site:

 

"For a limited time only, join us in celebrating summertime with Coca Cola. When you buy an Ultimate Beverage Package, you will receive a complimentary Royal Refreshment package and an additional Coca Cola souvenir cup to share with a friend.  *Guests will also receive a complimentary bottle of limited edition American Summer Domaine Chandon."

 

I do not know if all Ships are offering this deal but they are getting the idea that they need to offer something to their packages if they are going to raise the prices to possibly entice customers to purchase them. 

 

 

Edit:  I guess it would help to say that this is an offer for Brilliance of the Seas,  Transatlantic Cruise,  Sept. 3,  2015

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Karl, I have not noticed any cutbacks re: the D or Concierge Lounge. I find the service in the premium lounges to be excellent. My only compliant is that they are generally so crowded, especially in the evenings. Other than that, I am more than satisfied with the availability of drinks, snacks and service.

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Edit:  I guess it would help to say that this is an offer for Brilliance of the Seas,  Transatlantic Cruise,  Sept. 3,  2015

Are you sure about that?

 

I see that promotion in my Cruise Planner for my October 17 sailing, but the fine print says that it's "valid for sailings June 15 through August 31, 2015."

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They were freely passing drinks around at the Welcome Back Party of the Brilliance a couple of weeks ago.  And the Platinum and up event was the best I had seen with hot appetizers, desserts, chocolate covered strawberries, etc.  And while they were passing out drinks, you could also go up to the bar and order drinks without a charge.

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This scares me just a little bit.  I am wondering if there has been (or will be?) a cutback on the availability of "Free" drinks on welcome back nights, Diamond and above special events, and in the Concierge/Diamond lounges?  I do not drink Alcohol but do require a soda once in a while to balance my low sugar (I love the concierge lounge!)  Has anyone noticed a diminished service in these areas to cut back on costs and add to RCL's profit margins or to push those "Loyal To Royal" to pay for drinks.

I haven't seen any cutback.  Plenty of drinks, granted they aren't very strong but I do not think they ever were.

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Even the soft drink package is getting out of line.  On our last cruise we found ourselves ordering drinks whether we wanted them or not just to justify the expense of it.  I think a lot of people did the same as there seemed to be an extraordinarily high number of half finished drinks left lying around on that cruise.  Many people observed also that, not only were they more often that not served in smaller glasses but they seemed to watered down as well.  Talk about adding insult to injury!   Next cruise we'll likely just order the booze as we feel like we want a drink or make do with what we can get in the Diamond Lounge!

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On our last cruise we found ourselves ordering drinks whether we wanted them or not just to justify the expense of it.  

This has been my observation as well and it is why I have not purchased any of the drink packages for myself.

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The first time I did Royal Replenish, I did feel like I was trying to get the value out of it. This last time, I also did the package but opted to think of it as a convenience rather than attempting to get my value out of it. Even so, with a soda at lunch and dinner, and a specialty coffee at each meal, orange juice in the morning, it wasn't hard to imagine that I broke even.

 

The benefit of the package is that one day I got a cocktail that wasn't very good. Because I was on the package, I didn't feel compelled to drink it even though I didn't like it and knew not to order it again as it wasn't to my liking.

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I was on IOTS in early August, and my gf and I decided on getting the premium packages...it was a lot of fun since we were on vacation, but got old quickly. It was a great learning experience to say the least. 

 

I'm all about value, so I marked down each drink I got on my phone and then added the cost up at the end. 

I think in total we drank enough to get the value out of the drink package, but looking back on the cruise, I felt the package put us in a situation where the costs outweighed the benefits, in terms of maximizing our value. 

 

It was almost like I "my hands were tied and forced" to order 5 specialty cocktails or mixed drinks each day so we could maximize the value of the package.

 

On future cruises, i'd either consider a cheaper package, like the beer & wine, or forgo the package altogether and put money aside in advance for drinks so we I wouldn't be so cost-concerned each time I went to order a $10 Labadoozie ;) That was my first drink on the cruise, and I think I had a labadoozie every day! Great suggestion Matt!

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I totally agree with you Lana. I found myself drinking just because it was already paid for even though I really didn't want any more. Especially the sea days on the way back to Galveston. I was exhausted and dying for good old iced tea, but I kept trying to get my money's worth. Not this time. Actually there are ways to keep the cost down a bit. I've read that the drink of the day is 25% off. Also, I'll have a few beers, where last year I drank all the frozen umbrella fruity concoctions I could that would be $14 w gratuity. I really don't think my son, my wife, and I can drink $1200 worth of liquor in 1 cruise.

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FYI, Royal Caribbean has tinkered with the prices for the drink packages for many (but not all) sailings.

 

The pricing now is inclusive of gratuity and may have gone slightly up or down.

 

The soda package used to be $6.50 + 18% per day and is now $8.00 per day. The Premium package was $49.00 + 18% per day and is now $57 per day. Other packages changed similarly.

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FYI, Royal Caribbean has tinkered with the prices for the drink packages for many (but not all) sailings.

 

The pricing now is inclusive of gratuity and may have gone slightly up or down.

 

The soda package used to be $6.50 + 18% per day and is now $8.00 per day. The Premium package was $49.00 + 18% per day and is now $57 per day. Other packages changed similarly.

I read those reports too but the increase from 15% to 18% is rather old.  All they have done is rolled the service charge into the total price for simplicity, I imagine.

 

Premium package for a 7 night cruise: 

$49 per day before gratuity: $343

18% gratuity: 61.74

Total: 404.74

 

When I go to Cruise Planner and add it, I get Premium package for $399.  

 

$5 difference (in my favor) is negligible difference, no?

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Alright looks like I finally won a round of nickel and dime poker :)

 

Booked the Ultimate for my wife a couple of months ago (as part of the summer buy an Ultimate get a Replenish/Refresh debacle) and the price went up slightly on that one and elected to hold off on buying my Premium package until I get onboard and the price went down slightly on that one.

 

Between the two I saved $20 ... at current prices that means I can afford to buy about one drink for a family member in celebration ;)

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  • 1 year later...

My personal feeling on the drink packages is that it is not yet a mature product for Royal Caribbean. As time goes on, I think they will tweak it and offer some different combinations more in line with different people's drinking habits. Maybe a package that just includes a selection of wines with dinner, or something like that. I'm waiting it out: For what I drink, it makes much more sense just to buy the drinks when i want them.

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My personal feeling on the drink packages is that it is not yet a mature product for Royal Caribbean. As time goes on, I think they will tweak it and offer some different combinations more in line with different people's drinking habits. Maybe a package that just includes a selection of wines with dinner, or something like that. I'm waiting it out: For what I drink, it makes much more sense just to buy the drinks when i want them.

While this would be nice, I don't think it's going to happen given the fact that they just moved to streamline the packages by reducing the number offered to eliminate confusion.

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