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Can I share my Royal Caribbean beverage package with someone? What you need to know

29 Mar 2024

Royal Caribbean is famous for its luxurious family cruises, which come along with some pricey packages.

The unlimited beverage package is one of the most popular add-ons to a Royal Caribbean cruise.

The idea of unlimited drinks on your cruise is an attractive one. Getting a beverage package promises endless drinks without you ever needing to look at a bill or receipt.

Royal Caribbean’s drink packages are popular because they allow guests to enjoy beer, wine, cocktails, mocktails, specialty coffee, and soft drinks for one fixed price.

However, these packages come at a high price.

The increased demand for drink packages has set prices even higher, leading many cruisers to look for ways to hack the system.

Is there a way to only pay for one package? 

Can you share your drink package with someone else?

Before you try to skip the high prices and share a beverage package with another guest, here’s everything you need to know.

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

Understanding the drink package

Deluxe Beverage Package

Royal Caribbean offers three drink packages: the soda package, the Royal Refreshment package, and the deluxe beverage package.

Because the deluxe package includes drinks with alcohol, it is one of the most popular options for a cruise.

The deluxe package offers:

  • Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs
  • Beer
  • Wine (by the glass)
  • Mocktails
  • Premium coffees & teas
  • Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup included
  • Bottled still and sparkling water
  • Fresh squeezed juices
  • 40% discount on bottles of wines under $100. Bottles of wine above $100 will receive a 20% discount.
  • Discounts on drinks served in a souvenir container or inside fruit

The deluxe drink package ranges from $55 to $105 per person, per day.

Only adults 21 years of age and older (or 18 years of age in Australia and the U.K.) may purchase this package, ensuring that they are of the legal drinking age.

Every adult must buy a drink package

Per Royal Caribbean’s policy, each package is a personal package for one guest.

If one adult purchases a drink package, Royal Caribbean requires all adults staying in the same stateroom to buy one.

“All packages are for single guest use and cannot be shared by multiple people,” their website states.

“Any guest wishing to purchase an alcoholic beverage package must do so for all guests of legal drinking age in the same stateroom.”

This means that each adult must purchase a drink package, not allowing you to share one package among multiple people.

If some adults in your group do not wish to purchase a drink package, there are a couple ways to avoid this.

First, you can call Royal Caribbean and ask for an exemption. Usually, the line will permit the guest to purchase a less-expensive drink package, like the Royal Refreshment package.

If they have a health condition that prevents them from drinking or are pregnant, customer service representatives will work to make sure they are given an exemption.


Another way to avoid buying multiple packages is to book each adult in separate rooms.

If you are traveling with children and staying in multiple staterooms, you can book each adult separately.

You don’t necessarily have to sleep in those separate rooms, but if you are booked in different cabins one guest won’t be required to buy a package.

Read more: Avoid these Royal Caribbean drink package mistakes

You are not allowed to share with someone

Royal Caribbean does not permit guests to share alcohol with someone else.

The cruise line is looking to make money on each drink sold individually.

They also have no way of confirming if the person you’re sharing a drink with is legally allowed to drink.

To prevent any sharing, bartenders only serve drinks to guests who present their own SeaPass cards. This verification is required so that no one tries to buy a drink using someone else’s card or package.

Roving bartender

Drink package benefits are reserved only for the person who purchased them, but some people still try to cheat the system by sharing with someone else.

However, the risk far outweighs the reward.

If you get caught sharing drinks with someone who doesn’t have the same drink package, the cruise line can cancel the drink package without a refund, and even charge you the price of all the drinks you previously ordered.

Drinks on the Mason Jar bar

A former bartender shared on Reddit the story of one man who thought he could outsmart the crew members.

But he didn’t get away with it. At the end of the cruise, Royal Caribbean revoked the guest’s drink package and charged him for every single drink consumed during the cruise.

With the normal, full-price charge, he ended up paying $3,000 just for those drinks.

Bartenders are pros at spotting people trying to share their package.

They will usually limit you to one drink every 5-15 minutes. Staff watch for this behavior, and if they see you walking away and handing off a drink to someone else, you will certainly get in trouble.

Two cocktails

Additionally, don’t forget that there are cameras in nearly every corner of the ship!

The likelihood that you would get caught is very high.

If you are found sharing your drink package, the cruise line reserves the right to cancel your drink package and charge you for all drinks purchased.

Royal Caribbean Drink Package Tips

Pouring drinks

To help you maximize your beverage package and have the best experience possible, we have some extra tips for you.

Know the rules: Make sure that you familiarize yourself with all the terms and conditions governing your package.

This way, you will know how to maximize its benefits and also prevent yourself from inadvertently breaking any rules.

Take advantage of all the beverages onboard: enjoy the wide selection of unlimited drinks you can enjoy, from specialty cocktails to wine to soda.

Pace yourself: Don’t forget to drink responsibly! Avoid overindulging, and ensure that you have a safe and healthy experience. 

Guests who are found to be out of control in their drinking can also have their drink package revoked, or at least be refused service until sobriety returns.

2024 Royal Caribbean Drink Package Prices, Tips, Pros & Cons

08 Feb 2024

A Royal Caribbean drink package is an extra-cost add-on for cruise ship passengers that provides unlimited amount of drinks for a fixed daily price.

An all-inclusive beverage plan is attractive to many people, because it's an easy way to have unlimited access to drinks and not have to worry about running up a big bill by the end of the cruise.

About 50% of passengers end up buying a drink package for their cruise, making it one of the most popular add-ons.

You might be wondering what you get with a drinks package and if it's really worth the additional cost.

Our tips and opinions are based on our first-hand experiences with the drink packages, and the current versions for this year.  Here's what you should know to decide if a beverage package is a good choice for you.

Compare Drink Packages

See what's included and what's different about a Royal Caribbean drink package in a side-by-side view.

 Deluxe Beverage PackageRoyal Refreshment PackageSoda Package
Cost$56 to $105 per person per day$38 per person per day$12.99 per person per day
Accepted at every restaurant & bar✔️✔️✔️
Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs✔️✖️✖️
Wine (by the glass)✔️✖️✖️
Premium coffees & teas✔️✔️✖️
Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages✔️✔️✔️
Coca-Cola souvenir cup included✔️✔️✔️
Bottled still and sparkling water✔️✔️✖️
Fresh squeezed juices✔️✔️✖️

What is a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Bamboo Bar with people drinking

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Royal Caribbean's drink packages are a fixed daily cost plan offered on all Royal Caribbean ships so guests can budget their beverage costs in advance and (potentially) save money.  The various plans provide guests with unlimited drinks that can be used at any bar or restaurant on Royal Caribbean ships (and private destinations).  

The drink package benefits are available on the guest's SeaPass card, which any waiter or bartender can verify they have the package.

Royal Caribbean guests wishing to purchase a drink package can do so either prior to their cruise via the Cruise Planner web site or once onboard their ship. Once purchased, you must pay for the package for the duration of your cruise.  If purchased during your cruise, guests will pay for the remaining nights of their cruise.

Let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of the 2024 Royal Caribbean drink package…

Coco Loco drinks

The drink packages can be redeemed at pretty much any restaurant or bar on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship or private destination.  There are only two places a drink package cannot be used: room service and stateroom mini-bars.

Frequent users of Royal Caribbean's drink packages become pretty adept at getting more bang for their buck on the packages, but with some advance planning, first-time Royal Caribbean cruisers can also make the most of the packages.

What's included in Royal Caribbean's drink packages?

Royal Caribbean offers a few drink packages to consider.  Each package provides guests with an unlimited allotment of servings of the specific beverages their package includes.

None of the packages include mini bar items, Evian water, canned sodas, bottled juice and souvenir glassware, specialty beers as listed on bar menus, or super premium category beverages.

Refreshment Package

Royal Caribbean Refreshment Package

This drink package includes all non-alcoholic drinks.  It is popular with adults as well as older children and those that like having juices, coffee and teas.

For each guests that purchases this package, it includes

  • Premium coffees and teas
  • Bottled still and sparking water
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Mocktails
  • Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola Souvenir Cup included

The price per night of the Refreshment Package is $29.00 per guest (excluding gratuity).

Classic Soda Package

Coke cup

The Classic Soda package is what was once called by many guests, "the soda card".  It is unlimited soda and quite popular with kids.  

For each guests that purchases this package, it incudes

  • Fountain Soda and refills in any venue
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola Souvenir Cup included

Deluxe Beverage Package

Deluxe Beverage Package

Royal Caribbean offers just one unlimited alcohol package, the Deluxe Beverage package.

The Deluxe package offers "the best of both worlds," with access to nearly the entire stock of beverages with or without liquor. Enjoy virtually unlimited combinations on everything from cocktails with top-shelf spirits to premium teas and every beverage in between.

For each guests that purchases this package, it includes

  • Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs
  • Beer
  • Wine (by the glass)
  • Mocktails
  • Premium coffees & teas
  • Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup included
  • Bottled still and sparkling water
  • Fresh squeezed juices
  • 40% discount on wines under $100. Wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount.

The Deluxe Beverage Package includes drinks with liquor up to $14 in value.  Drinks that are served in a souvenir cup/glass/mug and/or drinks served inside fruit (i.e. pineapples) are not included with the drink package, however a portion of the drink price is subsidized by the beverage package.

One thing to note in the fine print is all Royal Caribbean passengers 21 years of age and older (18 years in Australia and the U.K) are required to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package if at least one other person in their cabin has one.

If the other adult(s) in the same stateroom do not wish to purchase a Deluxe Beverage Package, you can call Royal Caribbean and ask for an exemption.  Usually, Royal Caribbean will allow the other adult(s) to purchase a less-expensive drink package, such as the Refreshment Package.

Coffee Card

If all you want are lattes, espresso, or something stronger than regular coffee, then perhaps Royal Caribbean's Café Select Coffee Card is the right choice for you.

Unlike the other drink packages, the coffee card is not unlimited.  Instead, you get a physical card that will be punched every time you use the card.  Each card is good for 15 punches.

For every brewed coffee you order, the barista will punch a hole in the card to note how many of the drinks you've ordered.

Cafe Promenade

You can use the coffee card at Royal Caribbean coffee locations, such as Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes. It does not work at freestanding Starbucks kiosks.

Another difference from the other drink packages is you are allowed to share the coffee card benefits with another guest.

Water Package

Bottled water

Royal Caribbean's Water Packages offer 12 or 24 packs of one-liter bottles of water, which are delivered to your cabin on embarkation day.

The bottled water package is a convenient way to have spring water available for your use while you cruise. It's also something anyone that generally prefers bottled water over faucet water.

In addition, having bottled water means you can take it around the ship with you, or even on shore excursions.

You'll still have access to drinking water during your cruise at every bar, restaurant, or lounge. Drinking water is very clean and filtered at a higher level than most public drinking water at home.

What do Royal Caribbean drink packages cost?


Royal Caribbean utilizes dynamic pricing for its drink packages, which means the price can depend on the sailing. This means the price could be different based on the ship, itinerary, or sail date you pick.

  • Deluxe Beverage Package: $55 to $105 per person per day
  • Royal Refreshment Package: $38 per person per day
  • Soda Package: $12.99 per person per day
  • Water Package: 12 bottles for $39; 24 bottles for $69
  • Coffee card: $31 per card

Every drink package includes gratuities when you purchase it, so there's no additional tips or costs for anything included in the package. You will see a "service charge" that comes with the drink package purchase, which includes the automatic 18% gratuity.

Read moreHow much is a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Is a drink package on Royal Caribbean worth it?

Drink package table

There is no question a beverage package has the potential to save money, but the real question is if you will drink enough every day of your cruise to make the purchase worthwhile.

Here's an argument from our staff why a drink package is worth it, and why it's not worth it.

Why drink packages are worth it

Cocktails at the tasting event

Matt: I've purchased Royal Caribbean drink packages for years because of how easy it is to budget your drinks for any cruise.

Without a drink package, I find myself hemming and hawing over if I really want a drink or not, and end up rationing them in order to save money.  The result is I'm just not as happy. 

The convenience factor usually leads me to decide to get the package.  After all, you are on vacation and no memorable cruise starts with worrying about drink prices.


While the up-front cost is high, when you think about the premium coffees, bottled water, beer, and alcoholic cocktails I can drink every day for one price, it makes not worrying about a big bill at the end of the cruise so much better.

Plus, the drink package allows me to try new drinks because there's no limit to how many drinks I can order.

Why a drink package wasn't worth it for me

Allie enjoying a drink

Allie: The drink package is supposed to help your cruise feel more all-inclusive because you do not need to be skimpy with your drinking. Since you’ve already purchased the drink package before boarding, there shouldn’t be any surprise charges onboard.

I did find that my cruise felt more all-inclusive since we could drink without limits. Since my friends also had the drink package, it was nice that we didn’t have to stress about blowing a budget or spending way more than anticipated. 


However, we felt like we were constantly trying to calculate how many drinks we had to have to ensure our hefty purchase was worthwhile. My husband also noted how he felt internal obligation to order the most expensive drinks rather than what he would have preferred drinking. 

Perhaps the two of us are too analytical to enjoy the drink package advantages on our Royal Caribbean, but we won’t be splurging on this purchase again.

Is there a limit on Royal Caribbean drink packages?

There is no limit on a Royal Caribbean drink package in terms of how many drinks a guest may consume in a day or throughout the cruise.

The only limit on a drink package is that you may only order one drink per order, per drink package.

If multiple people are ordering a drink with a drink package, the bartender or waiter may take each guests' SeaPass card to place the order.

There are a few other drink package rules that you should be aware of as well.

Pros and Cons of getting the drink package on Royal Caribbean?

We have used Royal Caribbean's drink packages on a number of occasions and we have also paid out of pocket for our drinks on even more cruises.  The drink package has an equal number of fans and critics.  We tend to fall somewhere in the middle, disagreeing with both extremes. We think the drink package has its pros and its cons, so let us take a look at some of them!

Savings - You can save money with a drink package (versus paying for each drink a la carte), but you have to be a certain kind of drinker and not waste the daily package benefits.  If you are someone that enjoys having many drinks every day, it can definitely save you money with a Royal Caribbean drink package.  This requires anyone that buys the package to be willing and able to enjoy a good half-dozen drinks every day of their cruise.  

There is no question a drink package has an excellent value proposition associated with it, but you need to be able to drink enough to "break even" on the package versus buying the drinks on your own.  If you knew you would not be drinking enough every day of your cruise to break even, why would you over pay for a package?

With that said, prices for Royal Caribbean drinks have been on the rise over the last few years. Cocktails are regularly priced at around $10-13 per drink, which means bar tabs can quickly get expensive. And with so many tantalizing choices on each bar menu, the temptation to grab a drink is always present.

The drink package benefits will save the most money for folks that drink a lot during the day and spread their drinking out throughout the course of their day and night.  

Is the drink package worth it on Royal Caribbean? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Amount of Drinks - One common regret we hear about drink packages is a phenomenon known as "drink fatigue," where guests drink more than they really would ordinarily order and they end up ordering drinks for the sake of ordering drinks.  When using a drink package, I always struggle with the question of, "Am I ordering a drink because I want one or because I have a drink package?"  There have been plenty of times with a drink package, I know I am ordering a drink because I have the package and the show, activity or event I am attending offers drinks, so why not get a drink.

If you are on a short cruise and are looking to have a good time, the drink package can make a lot more sense, since there are less days to use the package benefits.  Likewise, shorter cruises have a tendency to have more of a party atmosphere than longer cruises.  

It is important to keep in mind what your goal is when ordering a drink package.  Are you going to be spending much of your time by the pool or are you someone that will be doing other activities where drinking may not always be an option.  

Convenience - Many guests swear by the convenience of Royal Caribbean's drink packages.  It makes enjoying drinks simple, with no-fuss involved.  There is no worrying about how much the drink costs and if you should get it or something cheaper.  Heck, there is not even the concern about if you can afford to get a drink or not.  

It is a fair point and among the most commonly cited reasons people love the drink packages.  We love the convenience of the drink package too, especially to have the freedom of trying new drinks without fear of ordering something we do not like and being "stuck" with it.  Or relegating ourselves to drink the same old drinks because we know we like them.

The thing is, the number one reason to buy a drink package is to save money, otherwise why would it exist.  Royal Caribbean would not roll out something that offers no savings and expect people to pay for it, right?  With that in mind, while convenience is important, we believe the cost savings still supersedes whatever convenience the drink package offers.

How much is the drink package on Royal Caribbean? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Budgeting - This is probably the most contentious point.  In addition to being convenient, a lot of its fans advocate the unlimited drink packages help them stay on a budget and avoid thinking about money on a vacation.

On the surface, this makes sense because you can buy a drink package before your cruise and break up the cost of the cruise, or opt to purchase it onboard and cap your drinking spending.  In either scenario, it goes to making your total cost more predictable.  It reminds us of cell phone plans and why so many people prefer unlimited data plans rather than fixed-data plans.  Simpler to have one cost that covers everything, than worry about "going over."

There is a point to be made about pre-purchasing a drink package months before your cruise, paying it off then and then later going on your cruise and not dealing with a bill at the end of your cruise that makes you cringe (or worse).  It does not mean you will actually save any money, as you still need to drink enough each day of your cruise to make a drink package worthwhile.  Otherwise, you overpaid earlier than usual.

The whole notion of not having to worry about receipts, gratuity or how much a drink costs holds less water for us.  Sure, it is nice to have, but far from essential.  If someone told me I could save more money by doing some simple math every day, you bet I would bring my calculator onboard.  There are a lot of fun things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and the more money I can save, the more fun stuff I can afford.

Royal Caribbean revamps its unlimited drink package offerings | Royal Caribbean Blog

Sticker Shock - Even if you are not on a tight budget, drink prices on a Royal Caribbean cruise can be somewhat shocking. There might be the most amazing drink on the menu, but you cannot bring yourself to spend $14 (or more) on it because that sounds too expensive for just one drink.

It is debatable how much any drink should cost.  Go to a concert or theme park, and you will find prices for drinks that make Royal Caribbean's pricing strategy look pedestrian.  

On the other hand, your local restaurants may serve up drinks for a fraction of the cost of what you will find at Boleros. Having the drink package does help ease your mind about paying $14 for that cucumber martini.

Everything you need to know about the Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

It is important to note that you are not always forced into paying full prices for drinks.  Every day there will be a "drink of the day," where one drink is discounted about 20%. 

You can usually find other drink specials throughout your cruise.  In addition, guests that are members of Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society are eligible to receive discounted and complimentary drinks during the cruise.  Diamond and above members get complimentary drinks every evening, which can be a big money saver.  

Moreover, guests are allowed to bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on their Royal Caribbean cruise.  All of this contributes to bringing down the cost of drinks on a cruise, especially if you forgo a drink package and pay a la carte for your drinks.

Itinerary - How many sea days or port days you have could factor into making a drink package a good investment.

While the drink packages do work on Royal Caribbean's private islands of Labadee and Perfect Day at CocoCay, they do not work while you are in other ports of call.  The more ports of call you visit, the less time you have onboard to take advantage of the drink packages.  

However, if your itinerary has mostly sea days, it becomes easier to get the value from the package.

How do I get the best deal on a Royal Caribbean drink package?


The best time to buy a Royal Caribbean drink package is to buy one as early as you can and then re-price when there are price drops.


The price of a drink package can change many times before the cruise begins and this is because of various sales offered.  Typically, there's a drink package discount every few weeks, although the total cost of the drink package may not actually change.

One strategy is to save money on Royal Caribbean’s drink package is to wait for a great deal on Black Friday. You won't know if this strategy will work until the actual day, plus your cruise may take place before the holiday.

Regardless, it's possible for there to be a price drop in the base price and in that case, you can cancel and rebook the drink package with no penalty via the Cruise Planner website.

By booking a drink package early you lock in the price and guard against a price increase, but can still take advantage of a price decrease.

Trying to "time" a lower price is a mistake because sometimes the price goes up and never goes back down.

Drink Package Frequently Asked Questions

Are Royal Caribbean drink packages per person or per room?

Percentages off during a cruise planner sale

Each drink package purchased is per guest, and may only be used by the person buying it.

This means a drink package cannot be shared by more than one person.

How to buy a Royal Caribbean drink package?

What to think about before buying a Royal Caribbean drink package | Royal Caribbean Blog

The easiest way is to purchase it via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.  

You can buy the drink package at any time up to 48 hours before your ship sails.  Buying a drink package in advance is the best strategy to save money, because it will cost more onboard the ship.

Alternatively, guests from the U.S. or Canada can buy the drink package by calling (800) 398-9819.

Read moreHow to purchase Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages

Does a Royal Caribbean drink package include gratuity?


When you buy any drink package, you will see a line item charge for a "service charge."  This includes the gratuities for any beverages you order.

How to cancel a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Log into Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner for your sailing, and then click on your initials at the top right corner.

Then click Order History. Find your drink package and click View Details, followed by Cancel.

Where can I use my drink package?

Any bar, restaurant, or lounge will accept your drink package benefits. This includes the Windjammer, main dining room, and specialty restaurants.

The drink packages also work at Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee.

The only places you cannot use your drink package are with room service, minibar or Starbucks.

What happens if you don't buy a drink package on Royal Caribbean?

If you elect not to buy a drink package, then any beverages that cost extra will be charged to your SeaPass account on an a la carte basis.

Keep in mind you'll not only be charged for the drink, but also the 18% gratuity automatically added. This gratuity is compulsory and cannot be taken off.

Is a Royal Caribbean drink package right for you?

Overall, whether a Royal Caribbean beverage package is right for you is a highly personal decision, based on a lot of variables.  There is no flat "yes" or "no" answer to determining if a drink package makes sense for everyone, but hopefully the considerations in this post can help with your decision.  

Before purchasing any drink package, be sure to do your homework and do the math of how much you have to drink, every day of your cruise for it to make sense.

First-time cruisers will hopefully find this post as a good jumping off point for further reading on the drink packages.  The drink packages can make sense for some people and others no sense at all.  It is foolish to assume any drink package is a good or bad value without first considering how you cruise.

How to make the drink packages on Royal Caribbean work for you | Royal Caribbean Blog

The deluxe beverage package benefits guests who want a great variety of premium drinks on their cruises.  Those that mainly drink beers will find it more difficult to make the deluxe beverage package worthwhile over the course of the cruise.

What we often hear from other cruisers is over the course of longer cruises (7-nights or longer), it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the level of drinking required to get the value from the package.  

Keep in mind that you can always purchase a drink package even after your cruise begins, if you find yourself drinking more than you thought.  Royal Caribbean advertises that its drink packages can be purchased at any point in a cruise, provided there are at least four days left in the cruise.

The key is to know how you like to cruise and which pros and cons of the drink package are more important to you.  At worst, you are going to overpay for a drink package or for drinks on your own.  In either case, you will still likely have a great vacation experience.

Your thoughts

What is your experience with Royal Caribbean's beverage package? Thinking about using it? I would love to hear your thoughts about a Royal Caribbean beverage package, and how it works (or does not work) for you, in the comments! If you have questions, ask them there, too.

9 Ways That People Cheat The Royal Caribbean Drink Package

17 Nov 2023

Everyone wants to save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise, including getting a deal on their drinks.

Lime and Coconut bar on Wonder of the Seas

A Royal Caribbean drink package is expensive, so it's natural to want to limit how much you spend. While drink packages offer the convenience of unlimited beverages during your entire cruise, the upfront cost gives some people pause.

Unfortunately, some people think they can "beat the system" and devise ways to cheat Royal Caribbean's drink package. It's one of those they want their cake and eat it too situations, where the prices and rules regulating the drink packages compel some to look for ways around it.

Trying to cheat the package can get you in serious trouble with the cruise line, and you risk various penalties. 

We've heard all the excuses why circumventing the rules is okay to do: it's expensive, requirements for all adults to buy it if one does, a need to buy it for the entire sailing, and more. The reality is it's Royal Caribbean's decision on what the rules are, and it's not negotiable.

I don't recommend trying any means of cheating Royal Caribbean, and I'm only sharing these methods as a warning of what not to do because you can get in serious trouble.  Consider yourself warned.

Share drink benefits

The oldest and most common way people cheat the drink package is to buy the drink package and then order drinks for others who don't have the package.

Royal Caribbean is quite clear that the drink package benefits are only for the person that buys them, but some people still do this.

If you're caught sharing drinks with someone who doesn't have the same drink package as you, you risk having your entire drink package purchase cancelled without a refund.

Remember, bartenders have seen it all and you're far from the first person to sneak drinks to someone else. Moreover, there are cameras all around the ship.  So the chances of being caught is quite high.

Sneak booze onboard

There are so many videos on TikTok showing how to sneak alcohol onboard your ship as a way to save money and avoid buying a drink package completely.

Royal Caribbean prohibits you from bringing beer or liquor onboard at all. It's one of the prohibited items not allowed.

TikTok is full of cruise hacks to show anyone how to smuggle booze onboard.

The most common strategy is to fill bottles of mouthwash or shampoo to conceal it. Another way is to put the booze in a flask and hide it on your body as you embark the ship.

Other crazy ideas include liquid-holding bras, fake beer bellies, umbrella or binocular flasks.

Many of these ideas are tedious to set up, cumbersome to execute, and could you get in serious trouble with the cruise line.

Easy hacks to save money on a drink package

Fun times on a cruise

Trying to get around Royal Caribbean's rules is a recipe for ruining your vacation.

However, there are some legal ways to "cheat" the Royal Caribbean drink package using a few creative strategies.

Bring your own wine

Wine on dining room table

You're allowed to bring one bottle of wine (or champagne) per adult on embarkation day, and this can save you a lot of money.

Bringing your own wine means you can pay retail price for your wine, instead of the prices the cruise line sells them for onboard. Plus, you can bring your favorite brand of wine, rather than being limited to what is on your ship.

Royal Caribbean supposedly charges a corkage fee to open a bottle of wine ($15 corkage fee per bottle), but in my experience it is rarely enforced.

Nonetheless, bringing your own bottles of wine can save a lot of money if all you're interested in is wine.

Book your drink package early and reprice


Did you know when you buy a drink package before the cruise, you can always take advantage of a lower price later?

The tried-and-true strategy for getting the lowest price for a Royal Caribbean drink package is to keep checking for lower prices up until embarkation day.

Royal Caribbean runs drink package sales all the time, and there's always some kind of a discount applied.  The key is to know when to buy the drink package before your cruise and periodically check for a lower price.


My advice is ignore the advertised percentage off that you see, and look at the total cost when you add it back to your cart as if you were buying it again.

If the price is lower, you can easily cancel your original purchase and then immediately re-buy it at the lower price.

Using this strategy, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.

Call Royal Caribbean to ask for a different drink package

One reason people want to cheat the Royal Caribbean drink package is because they think it's unfair that another adult in their cabin has to get the alcohol package if they get it, but there's a workaround to it.

If you try to buy the Deluxe Beverage Package on the website, you'll notice Royal Caribbean forces you to buy it for all the other adults in the same cabin.

You can call Royal Caribbean and let them know the other adult(s) in your cabin do not want the drink package, and instead, they'll allow them to buy the Royal Refreshment package, which includes just non-alcoholic beverages.

This will save a lot of money for someone who cannot or does not want the full unlimited package.

Book adults in separate rooms

Connecting balconies

If you're taking advantage of one of my favorite cruise cabin hacks and booking two or more cabins instead of putting everyone in a single cabin, be sure to assign adults in different cabins.

As an example, let's assume you have two adults and two kids and you're going to book connecting cabins because it gets you more room, separation from your kids, and an extra bathroom at a lower price than a suite.

Balcony room on Wonder of the Seas

Instead of booking the kids in one cabin and the parents in the other cabin, book one child with each parent in the room.  That way, when you go to buy the Deluxe Beverage Package, it won't force the second person to buy it because minors don't have to get a drink package!

Don't worry who's technically booked in which cabin. Royal Caribbean doesn't care which cabin you actually stay in, just that you're booked.

Look for free drinks around the ship

Art auction

Another strategy is to rely on some of the free drinks you can get around your cruise ship.

Throughout your cruise, there will be different events held where you could get free alcoholic beverages.

Every cruise is different, but there are a few events common to almost every Royal Caribbean sailing:

  • Art auctions have free champagne
  • Top Tier events for Crown and Anchor Society members have complimentary beverages
  • Liquor tasting events
  • Extra cost brunch events that include champagne

This hack works best for someone that wants to be more opportunistic in how they save money and get free drinks.

Tip the bartenders

Roving bartender

I think you should always tip waiters and bartenders for good service, but there's an added possible benefit to this gesture.

Some bartenders might give you a free drink after you tip them. Never expect a free drink as a result of offering them gratuity, but it has been known to happen.

It works best when you get to know a particular bartender or waiter and order drinks from them throughout your cruise. 

I would not expect to get many free drinks this way, and giving them a tip is about rewarding their service.  Make sure you're clear on that this isn't a quid pro quo situation.

Drink in ports of call

Street in Cozumel

Odds are cocktails and beers are going to be cheaper on land in the ports of call you visit than on the ship.

If you limit your onboard consumption and spend more on drinks on land, your money will go further.

There's usually a myriad of bars near the port where your cruise ship docks, and plenty more in the surrounding area. There are beach bars, restaurants, and even carts selling drinks that could be significantly cheaper than what you'll find on the ship.

Moreover, you'll have a wider selection of drinks. This is especially important to beer drinkers who covet having access to different brands or beer types.

Order a bottle of liquor to your cabin

Absolute and sprite

Royal Caribbean sells a limited selection of liquor that you can have delivered to your cabin.

There's only a few brands, and it comes in a small quantity meant to use for mixing with a soft drink, but this could be just what you want in lieu of a drink package.

If you go to the Royal Caribbean Gifts and Gear website, you'll find a few liquors to buy (as well as wine and beer brands):

  • Bombay Sapphire
  • Bacardi Gold
  • Absolut Vodka

You'll get a 375 ml. bottle delivered to your stateroom, along with some cans of soda to mix with it.

Gamble enough to get free drinks in the casino

Celebrity casino

An interesting strategy to get free drinks on your cruise instead of buying a drink package is to spend that money in the casino.

Royal Caribbean has a customer loyalty program specifically for the casino, where if you accrue 2,500 points or more in the casino, you'll move to the Prime level and be able to get unlimited free drinks in Casino Royale for an entire year.

Read moreI gambled enough in Royal Caribbean's casino to get free drinks and a cruise

Casino on Royal Caribbean

You get points depending on how much you wager gambling. There isn't an exact calculation, but the more you wager, the more points you earn.  Moreover, you'll earn points faster playing slot machines than table games because slots can be more easily tracked.

Gambling responsibly is more important than free drinks, but if you were going to spend time in the casino anyway, this could be a way to double down on your casino habit and get free drinks as well.

How much is a Royal Caribbean drink package? (2024)

13 Nov 2023

Royal Caribbean has three drink packages, as well a couple of drink bundles you can buy for your cruise.

Drink package and their cost

Getting unlimited drinks on a cruise is a very appealing option, given how many people that go on a cruise ship are looking to relax and not worry about bar bills later on. 

They're a popular choice because you can enjoy beers, wine, cocktails, mocktails, and soft drinks for a fixed price, but they aren't cheap either. Demand for drink packages has only sent prices higher over the years, but there are ways to get a better price and ensure you don't overpay.

It's important to understand what the drink package includes for the price, and how to get the best possible deal by finding the lowest prices.

Royal Caribbean drink package prices

Fun times on a cruise

Royal Caribbean uses variable pricing for its unlimited drink packages, which means the price will depend on which ship you are sailing on and the sail date.

In general, newer ships have higher prices for drink packages.  Similarly, cruises over a major holiday and/or during a popular time of year for vacations will see higher prices.

In researching 2024 Royal Caribbean drink package prices, here's what you can expect it will cost:

  • Deluxe Beverage Package: $55 to $105 per person per day
  • Royal Refreshment Package: $29 per person per day
  • Soda Package: $12.99 per person per day
  • Water Package: 12 bottles for $39; 24 bottles for $69
  • Coffee card: $31 per card

There is also a mandatory 18% gratuity added to the cost of a drink package, which you will see referred to as a service fee when purchasing it.  This gratuity covers any drink you order from a waiter or bartender.

Two cocktails

By far, the price of the Deluxe Beverage Package has the widest range of possible prices.  That is largely due to how popular this drink package has become, and with so many different cruises to choose from, the cruise line plays with the price to get top dollar for it.

What is a drink package?


Royal Caribbean has two types of drink packages: unlimited packages and prepaid limited amounts.

The most popular are the unlimited drink packages, which offer a flat cost for as many beverages as a passenger would like in one cruise.

The unlimited drink package benefits are only for the person buying it, and it cannot be shared with anyone else.

The three unlimited drink packages include:

Deluxe Beverage Package

Deluxe Beverage Package

The Deluxe Beverage Package includes all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks per person for the entire duration of a cruise.

It includes:

✅Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs
✅Wine (by the glass)
✅Premium coffees & teas
✅Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
✅Coca-Cola souvenir cup
✅Bottled still and sparkling water
✅Fresh squeezed juices

The only drinks not included in the Deluxe Beverage Package are top shelf liquors, wine by the bottle, or Starbucks drinks from a Starbucks kiosk.

Since it includes pretty much every drink, it's also the most expensive package and is the only one that has a rule that requires if one adult buys the Deluxe Beverage Package, then all the other adults in the same stateroom must purchase it also. This is to prevent sharing the drink package benefits with other guests.

There is a workaround to this rule, if you call Royal Caribbean and ask for the other person in the cabin to get the Royal Refreshment package instead.  

Royal Refreshment Package

Royal Caribbean Refreshment Package

If you prefer to have unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, then the Royal Refreshment Package is for you.

It includes everything the Deluxe Beverage Package includes, except for alcohol.

❌Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs
❌Wine (by the glass)
✅Premium coffees & teas
✅Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
✅Coca-Cola souvenir cup
✅Bottled still and sparkling water
✅Fresh squeezed juices

This drink package is popular with teens, as well as light drinkers.

Soda Package

For anyone that just wants soft drinks, Royal Caribbean has an unlimited soda package.

This package includes just soft drinks by the glass from any bar, restaurant or lounge.  It also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine on ships that have it.

❌Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs
❌Wine (by the glass)
❌Premium coffees & teas
✅Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
✅Coca-Cola souvenir cup
❌Bottled still and sparkling water
❌Fresh squeezed juices

It may be a surprise to hear the soda package does not include bottled water.

Bottled water package

Bottles of water

While not unlimited, there is the option to buy a supply of 12 or 24 bottles of Evian water to be delivered to your stateroom.

For someone that prefers bottled water, this is a more cost effective way to have lots of bottled water for a cruise with the convenience of having it delivered to the cabin.

Another advantage of the bottled water package is you can share the bottles of water with anyone.

Coffee punch card

Cafe Select Card

If you love coffee, you can get a punch card good for that sailing with a set amount of premium coffee based drinks.

You can redeem the coffee from Royal Caribbean coffee locations, such as Cafe Promenade, Cafe @ Two70, or Cafe Latte-tudes.

It does not work at freestanding Starbucks kiosks.

Like the bottled water package, you can share the punch card benefits with others if you wish.

Are there discounts on drink packages?

Drink package price closeup

Royal Caribbean always offers a pre-cruise discount on its drink packages.  In short, you'll save money by buying it before the cruise rather than onboard.

You can find the discounted price in the Cruise Planner section of the Royal Caribbean website, or through the Royal Caribbean app.

There are sales nearly all the time, which means the price fluctuates throughout the year.  The price you see today may be different tomorrow, next week, or next year. 

Drink package listed in Cruise Planner

Your best bet is to buy the drink package as early as possible, and then cancel and rebook it if there is a price drop.  It's a mistake to wait to see if the price drops first before buying, because sometimes the price goes up and never comes back down.

Read moreHow to avoid the most common cruise drink package mistakes

The Deluxe Beverage Package price tends to change the most, with there occasionally a discount offered on the Royal Refreshment package.

Drink packages for sale

You should not expect to see any discounts for the Soda package or the limited quantity drink packages, although it's not entirely unheard of either.

Periodically check the Cruise Planner for new prices to see if there's a better discount.

Keep in mind what someone else paid for the drink package has no bearing on what you can expect either. The dynamic nature of pricing and the lack of a price match program makes comparing drink package prices to someone else meaningless.


Members of Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society whom are at least Diamond or higher can get an onboard discount for drink package purchases, but it cannot be used online.

Read moreThe Crown and Anchor perks you should use on every Royal Caribbean cruise

The online discount tends to be about the same or better than waiting to book onboard with the Crown and Anchor discount, so I don't recommend waiting to use it.

Read moreBest Time to Buy A Royal Caribbean Drink Package

What is the difference between the Royal Caribbean drink packages?

Virgin pina colada

In short, what's included is the major difference between any drink package.

The soda package only includes soft drinks, and nothing else. The Royal Refreshment Package includes soda, mocktails, bottled water, coffees, and any other beverage onboard that does not include alcohol, but does not include alcoholic drinks.  The Deluxe Beverage Package includes everything the Soda and Royal Refreshment packages include, plus alcohol.

The three main drink packages are unlimited, whereas the coffee card and the bottled water packages are not unlimited and have a fixed amount of beverages. In addition, the three main drink packages cannot be shared with any other guests, but you may share the coffee card or bottled water package with other guests.

How do you buy a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Family in dining room

You can buy a drink package online, onboard the cruise ship, or by phone. No matter how you buy it, you will be charged immediately at the time of purchase the full amount at that point.

I think the easiest way to buy a drink package is online before the cruise begins.  

You can do so by going to the Cruise Planner website and booking it there.  You could book it from the Royal Caribbean app as well, but I find the Cruise Planner site easier to track price changes.

If you prefer, you can call Royal Caribbean by calling 1-800-398-9819 and placing an order with a cruise line representative.

Lastly, you could wait to buy a drink package onboard your cruise ship from any bar or restaurant. There's usually tables set up around the ship on embarkation day advertising the drink package too.

Is a Royal Caribbean drink package worth it?


Drink packages are expensive, but they can save you a lot of money if you are the type of person who can drink enough to make it worthwhile.

The convenience of not having to think about racking up a giant bar bill is enough for some people to warrant buying a drink package. 

Most people try to think if they will drink enough every day of the cruise to save them money compared to if they just bought each drink individually.


The bottled water and coffee card are the easiest drink packages to determine their value.  With the bottled water, you could bring home any unused water so there's little risk in wasting it.  Of course, Royal Caribbean provides complimentary water and coffees and teas, which is satisfactory for most people.

The Refreshment Package is worth it if you can mix in enough beverages every day.  

A $5 latte, $2 bottled water, $7 for a mocktail, and $4 soda adds up every day (plus gratuity), and with an unlimited amount, you could grab extra bottled water, or get a second coffee and really take advantage of the package.

Rum and coke

When it comes to alcoholic beverages, the more hard liquor you order, the more the Deluxe Beverage Package makes sense.

If you drink 6-8 cocktails per day, it's worth it to get a drink package. Likewise, if you drink 9-11 beers per day, it could be a good idea too.

That may sound excessive, but people tend to drink differently on vacation than at home.  If you were to order a latte and bloody mary in the morning, two beers by the pool in the afternoon, two glasses of wine at dinner, and then a cocktail or two in the evening, you're pretty much breaking even on the Deluxe Beverage Package.

Lime & Coconut drink

I think a drink package is worth it if you're remotely in the neighborhood of drinking enough every day, coupled with the convenience of having it all prepaid.

In addition, you can buy a drink package many months before the cruise begins and pay it off on different billing cycle than onboard the ship along with all the other purchases you make onboard.

If you're not planning to drink a lot, skip the drink package and save the money for something else.  You can still have enough of the basic drinks and charge a few drinks here and there without breaking your budget.

Are there any specific brands of alcoholic beverages included or excluded in the Deluxe Beverage Package?

The Deluxe Beverage Package typically includes a wide range of alcoholic beverages, but specific brands may vary by ship and availability. 

Can guests modify or customize their drink package during the cruise, such as upgrading from the Soda Package to the Deluxe Beverage Package?

Guests can usually upgrade their drink package during the cruise, subject to additional charges. 

How does Royal Caribbean handle drink package usage on private islands or ports of call during the cruise?

On private islands, the drink package extends to include beverages at bars and restaurants on the island.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean adds option to buy drink packages when purchasing your cruise

28 Sep 2023

Royal Caribbean has added a new option when booking a cruise on its website to also buy a drink package at the same time.

Drink package now bookable when booking a cruise

Drink packages are among the most popular extra cost add-ons that Royal Caribbean offers its guests.

These unlimited drink packages include as much of the drinks not included with the Royal Caribbean cruise fare.

Fun times on a cruise

The Royal Caribbean website now has a Beverage Package step added to the checkout flow, where guests are given the choice to add them to their cart at the same time of booking the cruise.

Before this feature was added, guests had no access to book drink packages until they had placed a deposit and booked the cruise reservation first.

Moreover, guests can now see how much a drink package will cost them before booking a cruise.

Drink package offerings at booking time

The beverage package screen offers the three primary drink packages available: Deluxe Beverage package, Refreshment Package, and Classic Soda package.

Just like when purchasing a drink package through the Cruise Planner website, there is a discount offered when bought before the cruise.

Royal Caribbean offers a discount on its drink package when purchased before the cruise begins.  The onboard price is always higher.

Checking out with a drink package added

The price of a drink package pre-cruise can change in the months leading up to a cruise, depending on what sale the line has running.

Read more: Best Time to Buy A Royal Caribbean Drink Package

Don't worry if you change your mind later about a drink package, because all pre-cruise purchases are fully refundable.

Not only that, you can cancel and rebook if there's a better price later.

Read moreHow to cancel and rebook pre-cruise purchases on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner

What's included with a drink package?

Each of Royal Caribbean's drink packages includes a selection of beverages that would otherwise cost you extra for each purchase.

The Classic Soda package includes:

  • Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup
  • Fountain soda and refills at any venue
Coffee on Brilliance of the Seas

The Refreshment package includes:

  • Premium coffees and teas
  • Fresh-squeezed juices
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup
  • Fountain soda and refills at any venue
BBC drink

The Deluxe Beverage package includes:

  • Cocktails, Spirits, and Premium Liquors
  • Beer and Spiked Seltzers
  • Wine by the Glass
  • Fountain soda and refills at any venue
  • Premium coffees and teas
  • Fresh-squeezed juices
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup

Cruise add-ons are big business

Bamboo room drinks and crowd

Offering a drink package at the time of booking is smart business for Royal Caribbean given how lucrative these add-ons have been for the company.

More people are making pre-cruise purchases than ever before, thanks to a combination of higher demand to splurge on extras, as well as better market penetration.

According to Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty, about two thirds of guests bought something for their cruise before the cruise began. 

That's up from 48% in 2019, which indicates the company is seeing the most demand ever for these add-ons.

Crew member smiling at the bar

Not only is this getting them more business, it's generating higher profits too.

Getting people to book things before the cruise commences has an impact on their bottom line, "Every dollar a guest spends, pre-cruise translates into approximately $0.70 of incremental spend."

Royal Caribbean invested heavily in its e-commerce system to provide better sales pitches to guests, and the result is now materializing in passengers spending more money than ever before their cruise begins.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley talked about the investment in better software during an earnings call earlier this year, "The investment that we made in the software for pre-cruise revenue, which continued through the pandemic."

"We've really leveraged that now, and we've seen a significant increase in penetration and uptick with up-tick sales."

More features added to booking a cruise

Royal Caribbean's website

Royal Caribbean has also made other tweaks and updates to its website feature list.

When booking a cruise, there is an option to sign in via a pop-up window.  This will then prepopulate your information once you sign-in.

modal window

Previously the log in would take you off the page.

In addition, scheduled payments are available now via the My Reservation section.

If you make a deposit on your booking and then go to manage the booking in the My Reservations section, you can now schedule payments.

This applies to single cabin bookings outside of the final payment period. Once you're past final payment, you can not use this feature because you will have had to pay off the entire balance of the reservation.

Planning a Royal Caribbean cruise? Start here:

21 best drinks to order if you have a cruise drink package

28 Jun 2023

Booking a drink package on a Royal Caribbean cruise allows you to order unlimited drinks throughout your sailing. Whether a frozen margarita or spiked milkshake, there is a huge variety of drinks to enjoy while onboard.

If you’re daydreaming about the drinks on your upcoming cruise, it’s helpful to have an idea of which drinks are available. While you can always find classic cocktails like piña coladas and daiquiris, you can also try some seriously unique concoctions around the ship.

The advantage of a Royal Caribbean drink package is that you can order as many drinks as you like with no extra cost. Therefore, there’s no harm in trying a drink you might not otherwise order at home. If you don’t like a certain cocktail, you can always order something else!

Our team has tried dozens of cocktails on Royal Caribbean, and we wanted to share our favorite drinks with you. Here are 21 drinks to order if you have a cruise drink package.

Lime and Coconut

One of Royal Caribbean’s newer cocktails is The Lime and Coconut, a creamy guava-flavored drink served at The Lime and Coconut bar. The cocktail combines Malibu Coconut rum with coconut milk, coconut syrup, Monin guava syrup, and lime juice.

If you’ve never tried a cocktail with guava before, you might be surprised with the sweet, tangy flavor of the fruit, which many people describe as a cross between a strawberry and a pear. The fruity flavor combined with the coconut milk and syrup brings a truly unique taste to the beverage.

Where to find the Lime and Coconut: The Lime and Coconut cocktail can only be ordered from The Lime and Coconut bar, found on Navigator of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, and Icon of the Seas.


A margarita may be a classic cocktail, but that doesn’t make it boring.

Margaritas are popular for a reason: they combine sweet, salty, and sour flavors together into one refreshing drink. Whether you order a margarita on the rocks or frozen, there’s hardly a better choice for a drink while onboard.

You can order a margarita in plenty of flavors on a Royal Caribbean cruise, including traditional lime, mango, passion fruit, guava, pineapple, and even jalapeño!

Where to find a margarita: Unsurprisingly, it’s not difficult to find a margarita onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. Every bar on your ship should be able to craft a margarita, although the most innovative flavors can be found at Sabor or Cantina Fresca, two Mexican-themed bars available on select ships.

Aperol Spritz

An Aperol spritz is a classic Italian wine-based cocktail that has gained popularity on cruises in recent years. If you see passengers sipping on a bright orange drink, it’s most likely made with Aperol, an apéritif known for its distinct color.

This cocktail combines Aperol with prosecco, club soda, and fresh orange. It’s both classy and refreshing, making it a nice drink to enjoy whether on the pool deck or watching a show.

An Aperol spritz is often quite bitter, which leads some people to dislike the drink. In our experience, the drink is not overly bitter on Royal Caribbean ships, making it more universally enjoyed while onboard.

Where to find an Aperol spritz: If a bar has Aperol stocked, they can make an Aperol spritz. We haven’t had any problem ordering this drink from any bar onboard.

Frozen Mojito

Mojitos are incredibly refreshing. Made with rum, lime juice, fresh mint, and simple syrup, a mojito will quench your thirst unlike any other drink onboard.

Traditionally, mojitos are served over ice, but we recommend ordering a frozen mojito instead. Frozen mojitos take all traditional ingredients and are blended with ice, and it makes the drink even more satisfying.

Where to find a frozen mojito: Most bars can make a frozen mojito provided they have a blender and mojito syrup.

Piña Colada

If there’s one cocktail that immediately screams vacation, it’s the piña colada. The drink originated in Puerto Rico in 1954 and combines pineapple, coconut cream, and rum into a frozen beverage.

This drink is among the most popular to order on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Not only is it the perfect drink to accompany your pool deck selfie, but it will keep you cool on the hottest of sea days.

Where to find a piña colada: A piña colada can be made at any bar onboard with access to a blender.

Lavender Daiquiri

Attending a trivia session at the Schooner Bar? If so, there’s no better drink to try than the lavender daiquiri, one of the bar’s signature drinks.

At first glance, putting lavender in a cocktail may seem a bit strange, but trust us when we say it’s delicious! The drink combines Bacardi Superior rum with lavender syrup, giving a floral twist to the traditional daiquiri.

Not only does the lavender drink taste wonderful, but its purple color makes it one of the prettiest drinks you can order on any Royal Caribbean ship.

Where to find the lavender daiquiri: The lavender daiquiri can be found at the Schooner Bar.

Rum Old Fashioned

Another favorite at the Schooner Bar is the rum old fashioned, a sweeter and more tropical version of the traditional drink.

The rum old fashioned combines Bacardi Reserve Ocho rum with coconut syrup and Angostura bitters. The coconut syrup provides the ideal amount of sweetness to counteract the drink’s bitters, and its coconut flavor gives the cocktail a more tropical vibe.

If you aren’t someone who typically likes an old fashioned, don’t be afraid to try the rum old fashioned. Because it’s made with rum and coconut instead of bourbon or rye whiskey, it feels like a different type of drink entirely.

Where to find the rum old fashioned: The rum old fashioned is a signature drink at the Schooner Bar.

Hot Toddy

If you’re cruising to a cold destination like Alaska or Norway, ditch the frozen drinks in favor of a warm alcoholic beverage like a hot toddy.

A hot toddy is made with hot water, whiskey, lemon, and honey, making it light and refreshing without being too sweet.

You’ll often see a hot toddy as a drink of the day on Alaska cruises, which means you can enjoy this cocktail at a lower cost if you do not have a drink package.

Where to find a hot toddy: You can order a hot toddy from any bar capable of making hot drinks.


If you’re in the mood for a chocolate drink, a mudslide is the perfect cocktail to try with your drink package. Mudslides are creamy drinks made with vodka, coffee liqueur, irish cream, and heavy cream.

Chocolate syrup is drizzled around the inside of the glass before pouring the drink, making it extra decadent.

The mudslide is not the lightest cocktail on our list, but if you’re in search of a liquid dessert, it’s a delicious drink option.

Where to find a mudslide: Most bars onboard should be able to make a mudslide, including those on the pool deck and in indoor lounges.

Cucumber Martini

The cucumber martini is one of Royal Caribbean’s most famous drinks, and you'll be hard pressed to find another drink so cool, crisp, and refreshing.

The drink is made with cucumber wheels, Grey Goose vodka, lemongrass syrup, sweet and sour, and basil leaves. Although the individual ingredients may seem like odd items to add to a cocktail, it’s way more delicious than it appears on the menu.

Where to find the cucumber martini: You can find a Cucumber Martini on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class cruise ships. The drink is most frequently enjoyed in 150 Central Park, but you can find it at the Champagne Bar as well.

Caribbean Mule

One of Royal Caribbean’s signature drinks on the cruise line’s pool deck menu is the Caribbean Mule. The cocktail is made with Absolut Vodka, Gosling’s ginger beer, coconut syrup, and a twist of lime, and it’s one of the most refreshing drinks on the menu.

Sailing through rocky seas? Well, ginger is a natural remedy for seasickness. Theoretically speaking, the more Caribbean Mules you drink, the less chance you’ll have at feeling seasick onboard.

Related: Royal Caribbean drink package rules overview

You should, of course, take this advice loosely. Drinking ten Caribbean mules on a day with rough seas could make you feel more ill than you would have been without them!

Where to find the Caribbean mule: You can find a Caribbean Mule at any bars on the pool deck on your cruise ship, although other bars onboard can usually craft this ginger drink as well.

Espresso Martini

Espresso martinis are wildly popular on a Royal Caribbean cruise, particularly during the evenings. This cocktail, perfect for coffee lovers, combines espresso, vodka, and coffee liquor for a boozy, rich beverage.

An espresso martini is unquestionably sophisticated, and there’s nothing quite like sipping a martini while listening to live music or a production show. As another plus, the caffeine will keep you awake into the night, allowing you to take advantage of everything your ship has to offer.

Where to find an espresso martini: Many bars, but not all, can make an espresso martini on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Your best bet for finding this caffeinated cocktail is in a bar in the ship’s interior—think the R Bar in the Royal Promenade or Trellis Bar in Central Park. More casual bars, such as those on the pool deck, may not stock the espresso needed to craft the drink.

Whiskey Sour

A whiskey sour provides a satisfying blend of alcoholic and sour flavors. The drink combines bourbon with lemon juice and simple syrup, and it is traditionally garnished with an orange wheel.

Whiskey can be a strong choice of liquor, so the sour flavors in the drink help cover the strong alcohol taste. If you’re not a huge fan of sweet drinks but would prefer something with more flavor than just liquor, a whiskey sour is a good choice.

Where to find a whiskey sour: You can order a whiskey sour from any bar on Royal Caribbean ships.

Banana Colada

Combining Smith & Cross rum, Bacardi Superior rum, coconut milk, banana, and cinnamon syrup, the banana colada is a must-try drink on Royal Caribbean.

This frozen cocktail is found at the cruise line’s tiki-themed bar, The Bamboo Room, and the bar’s tropical vibe perfectly matches this frozen delight. The drink is more like a milkshake or smoothie than most frozen cocktails, and it immediately transports you to the tropics.

Where to find the banana colada: You can find Royal Caribbean’s official banana colada at The Bamboo Room on Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas. However, you can order a similar drink from bars on other ships if the bar has any bananas stocked.

On The Run

In need of a quick cocktail before hitting a show or activity? Head to The Bamboo Room and order the On The Run cocktail.

Unlike regular cocktails served in a glass, the On The Run is, essentially, an adult version of Capri Sun. Served in a juice box, the drink combines Bacardi Superior rum, watermelon juice, lime juice, guava syrup, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, and mint.

Drinking a cocktail from a juice box is undeniably fun, and there’s no easier drink to carry with you around the ship.

Where to find the On The Run: You can order an On The Run cocktail from The Bamboo Room on Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.

Miami Vice

If you’re a fan of sweet, frozen cocktails, you’ll love a Miami vice. This fruity concoction places a piña colada side-by-side with a strawberry daiquiri, creating a perfect blend of berry, coconut, and pineapple.

The best time to enjoy this drink is on a hot, sunny sea day, as the frozen cocktail will surely cool you off as you lounge by the pool.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also combine other frozen flavors together, such as a mango daiquiri with a piña colada.

Related: Royal Caribbean drink package - your top questions answered

Where to find a Miami vice: This popular cocktail can be found at all bars onboard, provided they have access to a blender. As both piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris are frequently ordered onboard, most bars are able to combine the two with little fuss.

PB&J Old Fashioned

Peanut butter and jelly and… a cocktail?

Sure, it may seem a bit weird, but the PB&J Old Fashioned takes this kid-favorite sandwich to the next level. It combines Skrewball peanut butter whiskey with Kentucky bourbon, walnut bitters, and strawberry jelly, and a mini sandwich is placed atop the drink as garnish.

The PB&J Old Fashioned has quickly gained popularity with Royal Caribbean fans, but be warned: the drink is strong! Nonetheless, it’s an excellent cocktail choice to enjoy at The Mason Jar bar while listening to live country music.

Related: The Mason Jar Southern food restaurant review on Wonder of the Seas

Where to find the PB&J Old Fashioned: The PB&J Old Fashioned is only found at The Mason Jar, Royal Caribbean’s southern-inspired bar and restaurant. Currently this bar is only on Wonder of the Seas, but a second location will launch on Utopia of the Seas when she sets sail in 2024.

Blueberry Nojito

Trying to make the most of a drink package usually means you’re drinking a lot more than you would at home. At some point during your cruise, you’ll likely be tired of drinking alcohol, so why not order a mocktail?

Our favorite mocktail on Royal Caribbean is the blueberry nojito, which is a mojito without alcohol. This berry-flavored drink combines blueberry purée with lime juice, simply syrup, and fresh mint.

Related: 8 mocktails to try on your next Royal Caribbean cruise

You won’t even miss the alcohol while drinking this sweet cocktail!

Where to find the blueberry nojito: The blueberry nojito is on Royal Caribbean’s standard mocktail menu and is available at any bar.

Coco Loco

If your cruise visits Perfect Day at CocoCay, your drink package will work on the island, meaning you can enjoy your favorite drinks not only onboard, but also ashore.

Perfect Day at CocoCay’s signature drink is the Coco Loco, a frozen concoction mixing an abundance of tropical flavors. The drink can be made with or without alcohol, and sipping the drink is a perfect way to enjoy your time on the island.

The Coco Loco combines:

  • ½ oz orange juice concentrate
  • ½ oz pineapple juice concentrate
  • ½ oz papaya juice concentrate
  • ½ oz coconut cream
  • ¾ oz dark rum
  • ¾ oz coconut rum
  • ¼ oz grenadine
  • Crushed ice

Whether you make this signature drink at home or wait to try it while at CocoCay, it’s sure to be a favorite drink you try during your cruise.

Where to find the Coco Loco: The Coco Loco can be ordered at Royal Caribbean’s private destination of Perfect Day at CocoCay. If your cruise visits Labadee, the drink is also served there, but it’s called the Labadoozie.

Cheshire Cat Cosmo

The Cheshire Cat Cosmo is a signature drink at Wonderland, Royal Caribbean’s whimsical specialty restaurant.

If you order the Cheshire Cat Cosmo, you might be confused when your waiter brings it to the table. Instead of a liquid drink, your cocktail glass will be filled with cotton candy! To turn the cotton candy into a cocktail, your waiter will pour the cocktail mixture over the candy, immediately turning it into a liquid.

While a sweet drink, it’s undoubtedly a fun cocktail to try while on a cruise.

Where to find the Cheshire Cat Cosmo: This cotton candy drink can only be ordered at Wonderland, available on Quantum and Oasis Class ships.

If you’re sailing on an Oasis Class ship, you don’t need to dine at Wonderland in order to try the restaurant’s cocktails. The top floor of the restaurant has a standalone bar that any guest can access, and it has one of the most dreamy atmospheres anywhere on the ship.

Long Island Iced Tea

One of the strongest drinks you can order on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a Long Island iced tea. If you’re looking for one of the quickest ways to feel buzzed onboard, this is sure to do the trick.

Long Island iced teas are made with vodka, gin, white rum, white tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, and cola.  With five liquors in the drink, it’s a fun (yet dangerous) cocktail to order on a cruise.

Where to find a Long Island iced tea: A classic cocktail, a Long Island iced tea is available at all bars onboard. 

Best Time to Buy A Royal Caribbean Drink Package

18 Apr 2023

One of the most common questions we're asked is when is the best time to buy a Royal Caribbean drink package so you can get the lowest price.

Pina Colada on the bar

Once you have booked your Royal Caribbean cruise, you will gain access to the online Cruise Planner, which will allow you to browse potential cruise add-ons that will enhance your vacation experience. 

While there is a lot included in your cruise fare, select non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages do cost extra, so that is something that you will want to keep in mind when thinking about your cruise budget. To help make the cruise feel more inclusive, you may opt to buy a drink package. 

There are three Royal Caribbean drink packages for guests to choose from: the Deluxe Beverage Package, Royal Refreshment Package, and Classic Soda Package. 

When, however, should you purchase a drink package for your upcoming cruise? There are a few things to consider to ensure that you get the best possible price. 

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

Drink package table

Since you have no idea whether the price of the package will increase or decrease, the best time to purchase a package is right now. This will ensure that you lock in the current rate and do not end up paying more. 

As mentioned earlier, if the price does go down, you can simply cancel your current package with no penalty and repurchase it. 

Regardless of what you do, you should not wait until boarding the ship to purchase any add-ons. Even though Royal Caribbean frequently offers a "buy one get one 50%" sale for the Deluxe Beverage Package on the ship, you will almost certainly end up paying more than if you purchased it in advance. 

Depending on when your cruise is, buying the drink package now might allow you to break up paying for different parts of your cruise vacation. If you get the package on the ship, you will have to pay for it at the end, as well as for any other purchases that you make during the trip, souvenir shopping, etc. 

RelatedWhen should you buy Royal Caribbean drink package, wifi, tours & other add-ons

How should I know when to buy a drink package?

Bamboo Lounge drink

You should frequently check the Cruise Planner until you see a price that you feel comfortable paying. Even after you get the package, it is worth checking the Cruise Planner every so often, as the price can drop! 

If that happens, you are able to cancel your old package for a full refund and repurchase it at the lower price. This does, however, take a little bit of time and patience, as you have to remember to check the Cruise Planner. Plus, there is no guarantee that the pricing will change.

You would hate to pass up on a sale to later find that the price increased! You never know if it will drop back to the price you wish you had locked in. 

Are there Royal Caribbean drink package sales?


Royal Caribbean runs sales on its drink packages quite often, and you can usually find a discount available on the Cruise Planner site.

Usually, the drink package sale nets up to 40% off onboard prices, but you'll find a discount somewhere closer to 20-30%.

Moreover, the price can change on a daily basis, so the price you see today could be different tomorrow, or next month, or next year.

The best drink package sale is usually on Black Friday, but that does not mean that there are not other great deals offered throughout the year. 


With any sale, the most important thing you will want to pay attention to is the daily rate. The price of the package during a "buy one get 50% off" sale might be higher (or lower) than what is offered during other promotions. 

As of April 14, the daily rate for a Deluxe Beverage Package onboard Navigator of the Seas is $75.99. When I checked the pricing the other day, it was over $80 per day! 

Right now, the Royal Refreshment Package's is advertised as being 20% the onboard rate, or $27.99 per day. Generally, the discount for the Classic Soda Package stays the same, and you can get it for around $9.00 or $10.00 per day if purchased in advance. 


While not as frequently talked about, the Cafe Select Coffee Card, which gives you 15 espresso-based premium coffees, never goes on sale. It remains the same price whether you get it the day you book or cruise or the week before! For the same Navigator trip, it is $31.00. 

These prices are given just to illustrate what you may find. To see what the daily rate is for your cruise, log in and check your Cruise Planner. 

Deluxe Beverage Package

Unlike other mainstream cruise lines, Royal Caribbean only offers one alcoholic beverage package. You can enjoy just about any non-alcoholic beverage, spirit, cocktail, glass of wine, or beer, so long as it is no more than $14.00. If there is a drink that costs more than $14.00, the difference plus gratuity will be charged to your SeaPass card. 

Below is a list of what is included with the Deluxe Beverage Package:

  • Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs
  • Beer
  • Wine (by the glass)
  • Zero-proof cocktails
  • Premium coffees & teas
  • Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages + Coca-Cola souvenir cup
  • Bottled still and sparkling water
  • Fresh squeezed juices
  • 40% discount on wines under $100 and 20% discount on wines over $100

Royal Refreshment Package

Royal Caribbean Refreshment Package

The Royal Refreshment Package is the more inclusive non-alcoholic package that, unlike the Deluxe Beverage Package, is available to guests of all ages and is a great option for children and teens that like to drink tea, premium coffee, and fresh squeezed juice. Plus, they will be able to sip on virgin cocktails. 

Every person that purchases this package will be able to enjoy the following:

  • Premium coffees and teas
  • Bottled still and sparking water
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • Zero-proof cocktails
  • Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages + Coca-Cola souvenir cup

Classic Soda Package

The Classic Soda Package is the cheapest drink package offered by Royal Caribbean; it is also the most restrictive, including only fountain soda and access to the Freestyle soda machine, as well as a Coca-Cola souvenir cup.  

If you decide to purchase any other drinks, whether it is a bottle of water, glass of wine, or premium coffee, each will be billed to your onboard account to be settled at the end of the cruise. 

How much do Royal Caribbean drink packages cost?


Royal Caribbean uses a variable pricing model for their drink packages, which means that the price per night varies based on ship, itinerary, and sail date. In other words, there is no "set" price for drink packages. 

The published onboard rates for an upcoming cruise onboard Navigator of the Seas are as follows:

  • Deluxe Beverage Package: $102 per night
  • Royal Refreshment Package: $36 per night
  • Classic Soda Package: $13.50 per night

In comparison, here are the onboard rates for a cruise onboard Jewel of the Seas:

  • Deluxe Beverage Package: $90 per night
  • Royal Refreshment Package: $36 per night
  • Classic Soda Package: $13.50 per night

None of these prices include the added 18% gratuity.

If you plan ahead, it is unlikely that you will ever pay the onboard rate. Let's talk about Cruise Planner sales and why they are so important.

Is a drink package worth it?

With the Cruise Planner sales, you would need to be able to drink around 5-6 beverages per day to breakeven. Depending on what promotion you are able to find, the average could decrease. 

For those who are hesitant about their ability to maintain that average, whether it is because you have a port intensive itinerary or are a light drinker, a lower price means fewer daily drinks to get your money's worth! 

If you drink enough to make it worth the investment, a drink package can certainly save you money.


On the other hand, if you are more concerned with the convenience and being able to pay one price for all of your alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic drinks, the package is wroth the price in other ways! 

It is important to think about whether or not you get free drinks, too. If you are a Diamond Crown & Anchor member, it might not make sense to get a drink package since you have four daily vouchers!

RelatedHow Royal Caribbean's free drink vouchers for Diamond and higher members works

I spent $600 on Royal Caribbean’s drink package. I had a total of 36 cocktails in one week, and I think it was worth the cost

24 Feb 2023

For many cruisers, enjoying cocktails and beer while on their trip is as important as the ports their ship will visit.


Whatever the reasoning, the most important question to consider is whether or not a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth the cost. The Deluxe Beverage Package is usually around $70-$85 per day when pre purchased through the Cruise Planner. It is possible to snag it for even lower, though-- it just depends on the ongoing sale!

For this fixed price, cruisers are able to enjoy unlimited drinks each day of their cruise, including at Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee! For those who plan on drinking a lot during their vacation, a drink package makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider that most cocktails are around $14. 

If you have multiple guests 21 and older staying in the same stateroom, everyone will be required to purchase their own package. This is done to help reduce the sharing of benefits. 

On my recent Symphony of the Seas cruise, I decided to purchase a drink package to see if it was worth the cost for me. 

How much was the drink package for my cruise?


I bought my drink package about 2.5 weeks before my sailing and paid $600 for a 7-night cruise. This breaks down to $72.99 per day, plus the 18% daily gratuity. It's important to note, though, that I was sailing solo and did not have anyone else booked in my room. If I did, the total price would have doubled!

Package prices vary greatly, which is why it is important that you go ahead and purchase it when you see a price that you like; there's no guarantee that it will stay the same. If it decreases, you can cancel your current package and repurchase it at the lower price. 

You can sometimes even bundle a drink package with wi-fi for additional savings. 

What does the Deluxe Beverage Package include?


The real question is what doesn't the package include! You can order anything from a fruity cocktail to craft beer, wine, premium coffees, sodas, smoothies, bottled water and sports drinks, milkshakes, and fresh squeezed juices. You can even choose from top shelf liquor, like Grey Goose, Captain Morgan, and Patron!

I found myself starting my day each morning at Cafe Promenade ordering a cold brew coffee. To me, this is a huge benefit. 


While there is nothing wrong with the complimentary coffee, the premium drinks at Cafe Promenade are much better, especially since I prefer iced coffee over hot! You can order anything from an americano to flavored lattes, cappuccinos, espresso shots, and frappuccinos. 

Even though Cafe Promenade now serves Starbucks coffee, they do not offer a full Starbucks menu. I wasn't able to use my package for specialty drinks (like my favorite Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso) or refreshers.

The package also does not include full bottles of wine or drinks served in souvenir cups. However, bottles of wine can be purchased at a discount of 40% off bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100. 

Was the drink package worth it?

Vue Bar at night

To break even, I knew I needed to drink at least five cocktails per day. With four days in port, albeit one at their private island, I honestly wasn't sure I would be able to accomplish this. That being said, I think the drink package was worth it. I had a total of 36 cocktails over the course of the week, and that doesn't even include the premium coffee, Powerade, or bottled water! I do not drink much at home, so I see any kind of vacation as my time to splurge! 

When I was onboard Symphony of the Seas last month, I found myself returning to the same bartender since I liked how he made my beverages, so I felt like I was getting my money's worth. This time, however, I was more adventurous and even tried making my own drinks at the Bionic Bar. It's safe the say that bartending is not my calling, but it was a neat experience! 


When I boarded the ship, the first thing I did was go straight to the On Air and order a Strawberry Blonde, aka my favorite drink. Over the course of the week, I had five of these. Without the drink package, this would have been my go-to since I know I enjoy it! 


For my embarkation lunch, I ate at Jaime's Italian and ordered grappa stagionata, a kind of Italian liqueur.  Without the package, I know I would not have tried this. It was what you'd expect for straight liqueur and, unsurprisingly, one of my least favorite drinks of the cruise. 

grappa stagionata-drink-package-jamies-italian

If I was paying for my drinks a la carte, I probably would not have had my first drink of the day until sail away! I definitely felt the freedom to indulge on a drink whenever I wanted, which is something I usually do not do--I don't even keep alcohol at home! 


During sail away, I enjoyed a vodka soda that I got at the Wipe Out Bar while watching Miami disappear into the horizon. 

By the end of the first day, I had (to my disbelief) ten drinks, including Schooner Bar's infamous Lavender Daiquiri, a Sexy Ocean while watching HiRO, and a custom Bionic Bar drink. 

I realized, though, this was a trend I couldn't keep up throughout the week. Would I have had ten drinks if I was paying for each individually? Absolutely not! I also noticed that many of the fruity drinks were more sugar than anything, including my own Bionic Bar concoction. Regardless, it's easy to get carried away when you have a drink package. 

Day 2 was one of two sea days, and I I started it with, of course, a cold brew coffee. Later on, I enjoyed an ice cold Diet Coke during lunch. 


Having the luxury to choose exactly what you want to drink and when is one of the biggest advantages of a drink package. It turns cruising into a more all-inclusive experience. There's nothing wrong with sticking to the complimentary drinks -- like water, juice, and tea -- during the day and paying for a few drinks when you want them, but I like having the choice of being able to get whatever I want!

I had eight alcoholic drinks on the second day, but I knew that the next three days were going to be spent in port. I enjoy drinking most on sea days, so I figured those would be the days that made the package worth the money.


I hate feeling groggy while exploring ports, so I prefer to drink during the day and wind down in the evenings. 

I was right, too. My drinking slowed down after the first two days. I only had three alcoholic drinks after I got back onboard after spending the day in Roatán: an Espresso Martini from Dazzles and two drinks at Wonderland. 


I spent day 4 at the beach in Costa Maya where I had two cocktails. By the time I returned, I was tired and sunburnt. I made it a point to try something new, so I got a Kentucky Summer at Trellis Bar in Central Park for a pre-dinner drink. I also had a Truly and Strawberry Blonde before retiring for the night. 

One way I like to justify drink packages is by trying new drinks! If I have the package and order something I don't like, I'm not obligated to finish it. I can simply go elsewhere and get something else. When I don't have a package, I definitely stick to my tried-and-true favorites. 


I did not have my first drink on day 5 until I went up the rising tide bar and got a Tropical Sangria around 3:30pm. Since I had a more relaxed morning onboard and only got off the ship to grab a quick bite to eat, I felt ready for the night ahead!


I ordered got a Lavender Daiquiri to drink while watching the ship depart from Cozumel, two Aperol Spritzs in Jazz on 4, a Tom Collins in the Schooner Bar, and a Rum Old Fashioned to take with me to the Love and Marriage show in the Royal Theatre, bringing my total for the day to six alcoholic beverages. 


Day 6 was our second and final sea day. I had a light breakfast to prepare for my lunch at Izumi and opted not to order an alcoholic drink. Instead, I brought along my Coca Cola Freestyle cup and got a zero sugar Powerade from the machine in the Sorrento's before going. 


At this point, I was trying fewer new drinks. I visited Dazzles again that evening for another Espresso Martini (or two...), Schooner Bar for a Rum Old Fashioned, and even a simple vodka soda during the Crazy Quest. After that, it was time for some pizza and bed! 


If you go to CocoCay and don't get a Coco Loco, you're doing it wrong! It's the perfect frozen drink to sip on while enjoying your perfect day. By this point of my cruise, however, I was exhausted. I didn't want exacerbate this by drinking in the heat. I opted to order one right before I headed back to the ship around 3:45pm. Plus, the heat wasn't as bad then. There's no way that I could have spent all day drinking on the island. 


When I got back onboard, my plan was to have one more drink at Schooner Bar and call it a night, then I realized that I had some free play at the casino. Well, one thing led to another, and I was down $130 and three vodka sodas in. Not my smartest move considering I had to wake up early for disembarkation, but I had a lot of fun. I was still packed and in bed by 10:30pm, so there wasn't any major damage done. 

I had five drinks on the last day of my cruise, bringing my total for the week to 36! 

Do I need a drink package to have a great cruise?


Prior to this week's trip, I thought that I needed a drink package. Growing up, I always had the Refreshment Package, and once I turned 21, I began to get the Deluxe Beverage Package. In fact, I've only ever been on two cruises without a drink package. 

By the end of the cruise, I was honestly tired of drinking, both mentally and physically. I know that I'll always get my money's worth when I purchase a package, but sometimes, I do not actually need one.

I found myself ordering drinks just because I had the package, not because I necessarily wanted them. I could have easily gotten away with purchasing the drinks I wanted when I wanted them and saving a lot of money. 

That being said, alcohol is not the only thing that's included with the package. I love the premium coffee options, as well as the sports drinks. They're great when getting back onboard after a long day spent in port! I know that without a package, I would save my money for alcoholic drinks instead. 

Plus, I do enjoy the "I can do whatever I want" mentality when vacation, rather than worrying about how much is being charged to my SeaPass card. 


Deciding whether or not a drink package is worth it sometimes is more complex than the monetary aspect. For me, I know I'll get my money's worth, but is it something that I truly need to enhance my vacation? Would I rather spend the money on other experiences like shore excursions or a better stateroom? Or do I truly value the convenience of a package and that all-inclusive feel?

On my upcoming Europe cruise, for instance, I am saving the money for once-in-a-lifetime shore excursions that I wouldn't be able to get if I splurged on the drink package. With only two sea days and long days in port, the alcoholic drink package would feel more like a chore than anything. 

Everyone's preferences are different. Some may always want a drink package, even during port-intensive cruises. Others may never get one, either because of loyalty status or because of personal drinking habits. 

This time, I'd say the money was well spent, though. 

Is Black Friday the best time to buy a Royal Caribbean drink package?

04 Oct 2022

If you're waiting on the sidelines to book a Royal Caribbean drink package, you're doing it wrong.

Frozen cocktail

Royal Caribbean runs sales every few weeks on pre-cruise purchases as a means to encourage its customers to pick up a drink package, internet package, or shore excursion.

Whether each sale saves any money depends on the sailing, but generally speaking, the cost of these items tends to be less when booked prior to the cruise than waiting to buy onboard.

Couple at Bar on Wonder of the Seas

Read moreWill a Royal Caribbean sale actually save me any money?

One mantra I see cruise fans repeat is the advice for people to wait for Black Friday to buy their cruise add-ons because they feel the best discounts are offered that week.

The problem with waiting for any one sale is you're putting a lot at risk for a potential discount that may or may not materialize.

Don't wait for Black Friday

If you're unfamiliar with Black Friday, it is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States and every retailer rolls out new sales and promotions to compel people to start their holiday shopping. The name "Black Friday" means when retails would usually "get back into the black" financially in terms of profit.

As the calendar gets closer to Black Friday, a lot of cruisers begin talking about a Royal Caribbean Black Friday sale and advocate waiting for that sale as the deal to pick up pre-cruise purchases.

There's two issues with waiting for Black Friday, or any sale for that matter.

Drink package prices

First, there is absolutely no guarantee the price will be any cheaper on Black Friday than it is today. Royal Caribbean regularly runs sales for guests to pre-purchase certain add-ons, such as drink packages, wifi, or shore excursions. As is the case with all sales, there is not a blanket discount applied to all items.

The sale price will vary from ship to ship and sailing to sailing, meaning there may or may not actually be any discounts applied to the cruise you have booked.

The other issue with waiting for Black Friday is the price could actually go up. Royal Caribbean's prices are very fluid, and the company uses dynamic pricing for its add-ons (and cruise fare too). This means prices go up, down, and back up again. There's no rhyme or reason as to if that drink package cost will go down or up.

So if you wait for Black Friday, you may not see any discount at all and/or an even higher price.

Royal Caribbean always advertises up to a certain percentage off pre-cruise purchases, but you can ignore that figure. The base price can change a lot, making the discount percentage irrelevant. 

Instead, you want to focus on what is the total price after taxes and gratuity.

When to book a Royal Caribbean drink package

Instead of waiting for Black Friday, you should book a drink package today.

If you know you want to get a drink package, the best time to book a Royal Caribbean drink package is today because the price can change at any time.

Cruise Planner on an iPad

If the price goes down on Black Friday, or at any point before your cruise, you can easily go into the Cruise Planner site and cancel your purchase and re-purchase it at the lower price. There's no penalty for cancelling a pre-cruise purchase and if you used onboard credit, it will be refunded instantly so you can apply it when re-purchasing.

By booking now, you lock in the price.  If the price goes up, you're guarded against it, and if there is a better sale on Black Friday, you can cancel and rebook.

How to cancel and rebook a Royal Caribbean drink package

Cruise Planner cancel

The process is pretty simple to cancel and rebook if you do it online.

You could call Royal Caribbean and do this over the phone, but I find it much faster to do it online.

  1. Log into the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner at
  2. Find your sailing and click Plan my cruise
  3. Look for your initials in the top right of the page and click that icon
  4. Click Order history
  5. Find the purchase you made for the drink package (it will show each order you made)
  6. Underneath the drink package listed, click Cancel

That's it! Now you can go back to the Beverage section of the cruise planner and buy it back again.

When will Royal Caribbean announce their 2023 Black Friday deal?

Drink vendor

We don't know exactly when the promotion details will be announced, but Royal Caribbean typically waits until a few days before the sale begins to reveal information.

Unlike Best Buy, Walmart or Amazon, cruise lines aren't quite that aggressive with their Black Friday promotions. So they typically wait to provide details.

Black Friday

In 2022, Royal Caribbean announced its Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on November 17, which was just a few days before Black Friday on November 25th. 

Read moreRoyal Caribbean's past Black Friday deals

More helpful information

Guide to Royal Caribbean's coffee card package

24 Jun 2022

If you love having an espresso, latte, or any other brewed coffee every day on your Royal Caribbean cruise, then perhaps a coffee card package is right for you.

Cafe Select Card

Royal Caribbean offers a number of drink packages that include premium coffees, but it also has a coffee card that includes a select amount of coffee drinks.

Will the coffee package save you money and is it worth it to buy?

Here's a breakdown of Royal Caribbean's Cafe Select Coffee Card and what you should know.

What does the coffee card include?

Cafe select card

The Cafe Select Coffee Card is the name of what many people call the "coffee package" and it is essentially a punch card of drinks.

Royal Caribbean says the card includes 15 specialty espresso-based coffees that you can use during your cruise. The coffee card issued to you will have 15 punches to use.

This means for every premium coffee you order, the barista will punch a hole in the card to note how many of the drinks you've ordered.

Cafe select card sign

According to Royal Caribbean, the coffee card can save up to 50% on individually purchased coffees.

The coffee card does not include coffees from Starbucks kiosks.  Instead, you can use the card at Royal Caribbean coffee locations, such as Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes.

You can also use the card at any location onboard that serves espresso-based drinks.

You cannot use the card for any coffee drinks that include alcohol.

Punch per card or per shot?

Cafe Promenade menu on Wonder of the Seas

One inconsistency with Royal Caribbean has been how the coffee cards are punched.

Some passengers report getting one hole punch per drink ordered, while others have reported getting a hole punch per espresso shot in the drink.

On the Royal Caribbean website, there's no mention of getting a hole punch per espresso shot, but you should be aware on some ships they make that distinction.

Can you share the coffee card?

Cafe Promenade coffee menu

Yes, unlike Royal Caribbean's other drink packages, the coffee card is not restricted to one person.

You are allowed to purchase a coffee card and allow your friends and family to utilize the card benefits. Because the card is not unlimited, Royal Caribbean doesn't care who utilizes the benefits.

How much does the coffee package cost?

Coffee card

The coffee card price is usually at $31 per card.

A gratuity charge is added onto the cost of the card, which covers the gratuity for all the drinks you order while onboard. This means no additional tip is required.

With gratuity, the total cost comes out to $36.58.

Espresso shot

Keep in mind Royal Caribbean may change the price of the coffee package at any time, so prices are subject to change.

If you're wondering, a premium coffee purchased individually will run about $2.50 to $5 per drink.

Can you use the same card on different sailings if you don’t use it all at once?

No, the card is good for only the sailing you purchase it on.

Is the coffee card worth it?

Without a doubt, the coffee card will save you money on the equivalent amount of coffee purchased onboard, assuming you order all 15 coffees.

You should be aware that your Royal Caribbean cruise fare includes regular brewed coffee and tea. This card is for espresso-based beverages.

Coffee included

The first reason you might not want the coffee card is if you wont order enough coffees to use up all your hole punches. Since you can share the coffee card with others, it's easier to get your money's worth than with a regular drink package.

Speaking of drink packages, the question of if a coffee card is worth it may lead into the question of should you get a coffee card or another drink package.

Both the Deluxe Beverage Package and the Royal Refreshment Package include premium coffees and have no limit to how many premium coffees you can order. Moreover, they include other beverages such as alcohol, juices, sodas, and more.

Coffee card sign

Of course, one of the other drink packages will cost you significantly more than a coffee card. The deluxe beverage package can run between $50 - $90 per person, per day. You won't be able to break even on that investment on coffees alone.

If you aren't much of an alcohol drinker, then the Royal Refreshment package might be a good alternative. It includes unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, such as bottled water, coffees, teas, soda, and mocktails. 

The average cost of a Royal Refreshment package is between $29 - $38 per person, per day.

Just like the alcohol package, it still requires you to drink a fair amount of non-alcoholic drinks per day to make it worthwhile.

Ultimately, if you consider the coffee package, you should also look at the other drink packages to ensure your money is well-spent.

If you don't drink a lot of alcohol and sodas or bottled water doesn't do it for you either, then the coffee card is a good choice for those that purely want premium coffees.

Funny coffee sign

Another consideration is your Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Society status. Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members get complimentary drink vouchers every day of their cruise, which can be used for premium coffees.

If your cruise ship has a Starbucks kiosk onboard, you might prefer those coffees. Since Starbucks beverages from a Starbucks kiosk is not included with the coffee card, you could alternatively order your drinks there and pay as you go.

As you can see, the determination of if a coffee card is worth it really comes down to the individual person. Here's a summary of the key considerations:

  • How many coffees will you drink each day of your cruise?
  • How many alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks will you likely have every day of your cruise?
  • Does your ship have a Starbucks kiosk?
  • Would sharing coffee card benefits with another person make the investment easier?

The good news is the Royal Caribbean Cafe Select Coffee Card has the potential to save money compared to buying the same amount of drinks without the card. The question is really if you should spend the money on the coffee card or get a different drink package to better take advantage of your drinking habits.

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