Guests sailing on a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2019 can get an idea of how much they are likely to spend on one of the popular unlimited drink packages with a recent update to Royal Caribbean's web site.
Royal Caribbean posted updated pricing for its three primary drink packages, which will see an increase in price for 2019 sailings when compared to 2018 sailings.
$57 - $63
$63 - $70
$26 - $29
$8.50 - $9.50
The Deluxe Beverage Package (commonly referred to as the unlimited alcohol package) has seen the largest jump, with a more than 10% increase from the 2018 price range. The Deluxe Beverage Package includes cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee, tea, fountain soda and bottled water.
The non-alcoholic Royal Refreshment package will see a slight uptick in 2019 to $29 per person, per day. The Refreshment Package includes premium coffees and teas, bottled water, fresh-squeezed juices, non-alcoholic cocktails and fountain soda.
Likewise, the Classic Soda Package, which offers just soft drinks, will move up to $12.99 per person, per day.
How to get a discount on a Royal Caribbean drink package
It is worth noting that these price changes are reflective of the onboard pricing, and many guests are able to take advantage of discounts provided by the cruise line via the Cruise Planner site.
There is no guarantee your sailing will have a discount on drink packages via the Cruise Planner, but the pre-cruise discounts seem to be widely available.
The exact discount will vary, although it is common to see up to a 20% discount off the daily rate. Royal Caribbean has been known to run even more lucrative discounts from time to time. The intriguing aspect to that discount is the daily price for a drink package seems to vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing. If you have more than one cruise booked on different ships, you may find different sale prices.
To find the discounted rates, log into the My Cruises section of the Royal Caribbean web site, and navigate to the Cruise Planner section for the sailing you are interested in.
Once logged in, navigate to the Beverage Packages section and look for advertised rates. You will likely see something similar to this:
If you are comfortable with the price, you can purchase the drink package. Keep in mind that you will be charged in full for the drink package at the time of purchase.
It is also worth noting beverage package purchases made online can be canceled and full refunded at any time, up until about 3 days before your sail date.
A Royal Caribbean drink package is available for guests to purchase for their cruise vacation on most sailings. With a drink package, guests can take advantage of unlimited beverages included with the package for a flat cost. Not having to worry about racking up a large bar tab, as well as making out-of-pocket costs fit better into a budget makes drink packages quite a popular option.
Royal Caribbean includes plenty of drinks with your cruise fare, but if you are interested in having plenty of beers, lattes, cocktails, wine by the glass, bottled water and more, then a drink package might be what you need.
What are the beverage packages on Royal Caribbean?
Royal Caribbean offers three primary drink packages on its cruises.
Milkshakes at Johnny Rockets (only available while dining at Johnny Rockets)
The Classic Soda Package includes unlimited fountain soda and refills in any venue, Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages, and a Coca-Cola souvenir cup.
Royal Caribbean drink package prices
The Deluxe Package is Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package and its prices begin at $57 per day, per person excluding gratuity.
The Refreshment Package offers unlimited non-alcoholic drinks and begins at $26 per person, per day excluding gratuity.
If you want just to have as much soda as you like, Royal Caribbean's Classic Soda Package is for you. The price for the Classic Soda Package begins at $8.50 per day, per guest excluding gratuity.
You can pre-purchase your drink package online or via the phone. Onboard, the drink packages are available for purchase throughout the voyage with at least 4 days remaining. A drink package must be purchased for the duration of the cruise; prorated price based on date of purchase.
How to get a drink package discount
The best way to get a drink package discount is to pre-purchase your Royal Caribbean drink package before the cruise begins, via the cruise line's Cruise Planner site.
The Deluxe Package (unlimited alcohol package) is always cheaper online than it will be onboard your ship. Moreover, the discount you see listed is the discount off the onboard price.
From time to time, Royal Caribbean will run a limited-time sale on select pre-cruise purchases, and the drink packages often have an additional discount too. Discounts are available regularly during these sales on the Deluxe Package and the Refreshment Package (non-alcoholic beverage package), but the soda package is rarely discounted.
Not all sailings have discounts available, but if they are available, guests can log into their My Cruises section of the Royal Caribbean web site, navigate to the Cruise Planner section for their sailing and check if there are any discounts available on the Royal Caribbean drink package prices.
What drinks are free on Royal Caribbean?
Your Royal Caribbean cruise will come with certain beverages included in your cruise fare, which means you can enjoy as much of these beverages as you like throughout your cruise at no additional cost.
The free drinks on your Royal Caribbean cruise include:
coffee (regular and decaf)
juices (at breakfast and not fresh squeezed)
Hot chocolate (via instant packets)
These drinks are available throughout your cruise at a number of locations, so there will always be somewhere to get something to drink for free.
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.
In a nutshell, a Royal Caribbean drink package can be worth it, provided you drink enough every day of your cruise. The beverage packages definitely offer a value-savings proposition, but it is up to you to drink enough to make it worthwhile.
The basis of any drink package is that you will drink enough to "break even" each day to make the packages worth it. If you are not a big drinker, or someone that wants to indulge in many drinks, you may be better off paying for each drink individually.
If you are wondering what the break even point is, it is around 5-6 drinks per day, every day to recoup the cost of the unlimited alcohol drink package. The non-alcohol packages have a lower break-even point, that is closer to 3-4 drinks.
Guests on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas shared photos of the new souvenir Coca-Cola cups that are included with Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages.
Royal Caribbean Blog reader Brian Robinson shared photos of the new cup design while on Oasis of the Seas this week.
The new design features the names of all of Royal Caribbean's ships in the art work.
These souvenir cups are compatible with the self-serve soda machines on the pool deck as well as the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. The Coca-Cola souvenir cup has a special chip in it which activates the machine.
Do you like the design of these souvenir Coca-Cola cups? Tell us in the comments below!
You may have heard about Royal Caribbean's drink packages and wondered if a drink package is right for you and which package would be a good fit. There are a few drink packages to choose from, and here is an easy guide to knowing what each package includes and if it will benefit you.
Deluxe Beverage Package
If you enjoy a having a few alcoholic drinks per day on your Royal Caribbean cruise, then the only choice to consider is the Deluxe Beverage Package.
For the person that wants it all, the deluxe beverage package includes virtually unlimited combinations of beverages on their Royal Caribbean cruise. It includes
Cocktails / Spirits / Liqueurs / Beer
Bottled still and sparkling water
Wines by the glass
Fresh squeezed juices
Premium coffees and teas
Coca-Cola® souvenir cup and Coca-Cola Freestyle® beverages
Milkshakes at Johnny Rockets
The cost of the Deluxe Beverage Package varies from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. That means there is no fleet wide price of the Deluxe Beverage Package, so exact pricing will depend on which sailing you book. At the time of drink package purchase, a service charge (18%) will be added that will cover gratuity on all drinks ordered with the drink package.
It is important to note that Royal Caribbean requires if one person in a cabin purchases a Deluxe Beverage package, all others in the cabin aged 21 and over must purchase a package.
If alcohol is not your thing or you are just not old enough to be drinking yet, then Royal Caribbean has a number of beverage packages perfect for you.
Refreshment Package - $26.00 per person, per day (plus gratuity)
With the Royal Refreshment package, you will get premium coffee, premium tea, bottled water (sparking or still), fresh squeezed juice, non-alcoholic cocktails and a Coca-Cola souvenir cup.
If the drinks Royal Caribbean provides complimentary aren't enough to quench your thirst, this is the best choice for how much you get. It especially appeals to coffee drinkers because of the premium coffee and tea benefit.
The cost of $26 may not sound like a lot, but for a 7-night cruise it's still a few hundred dollars. Just like the alcohol packages, it is ideal for those that enjoy having a number of drinks per day.
Classic Soda Package - $8.50 per person, per day (plus gratuity)
The Classic Soda package is simple, it is all the soft drinks you can drink during your cruise.
Coke, Sprite, root beer and all the other carbonated drinks that are available from the self-serve machines, restaurants and bars are at your disposal.
To purchase a can of your favorite soft drink onboard otherwise, will cost you about $2, so the package requires the least commitment to get your moneys worth.
One more consideration
The basis for purchasing any drink package is to pay a fixed price for an unlimited amount of drinks, with the plan to drink enough over the course of the cruise to "break even" on the package cost.
When you look at the daily cost of any drink package, you will notice that you will need to drink more than just one or two drinks per day over the course of your cruise. With the the significant up-front investment of a drink package, this means if you buy a drink package, you need to drink enough to make the packages worth it.
That up-front investment can actually be a benefit for some, because it allows guests to break up the total cost of their cruise. Rather than end the cruise with a large bar bill, pre-purchasing a beverage package allows for spreading out the cruise cost over different billing cycles.
It's also worth noting these packages work best when you are onboard the ship, so port days when you spend a majority of the day off the ship result in less time to enjoy the package's benefits (excluding Royal Caribbean's private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee, where the drink package benefits work).
At a minimum, the unlimited alcohol package requires around a half dozen drinks per day, every day to be a good value for you.
Top reasons to get a drink package
Convenience of not worrying about drink costs onboard
Having a drink package means not worrying about the cost of individual drinks on your Royal Caribbean cruise. Since so many cocktails, beers, premium coffees and more are included with the drink package, any concerns of running up a high bar tab are eliminated. For a lot of guests, this is a very liberating experience.
Breaking up total cost of cruise
If you elect to buy a drink package before your cruise, you will be charged for the drink package at the time of purchase. This helps reduce the total bill you will see at the end of your cruise.
For those that like to budget their cruise vacation and prefer smaller payments over time, buying a drink package in advance helps spread out the cost of the cruise, since you will not be paying for it (or any individual drinks) along with any other incidental charges to your SeaPass account.
Risk-free opportunity to try drinks
A great perk of having a drink package is being able to try drinks that you have never had previously without the concern of "wasting money" on something you do not enjoy. Royal Caribbean's drink menus offer a good variety of choices, and a drink package allows you to try any of them without any worry of not finishing the drink.
Top reasons not to get a drink package
You do not drink enough per day
If you are not interested in having a few drinks per day, every day of your cruise, than a drink package is likely not right for you. While you do not need to drink enough to keep up with Bluto from Animal House, you should be having enough drinks per day to offset the daily cost compared to if you bought the same amount of drinks without a package.
Up front cost
When you purchase a drink package, Royal Caribbean will charge you for the full cost of the drink package. For some guests, this can be a bit of sticker shock, especially with the Deluxe Beverage Package on longer sailings.
While we like the option to purchase a drink package in advance to help with budgeting for a cruise vacation, when you consider two adults on a seven night cruise will cost around $700-800, that is still a big charge.
Other adults in your room do not want a drink package
If there is one thing we hear a lot about from prospective drink package buyers that they struggle with, it is the rule of if one person in a stateroom purchases a Deluxe Beverage package, all others in the stateroom aged 21 and over must purchase a package.
There is a little bit of wiggle room with this rule, if you call Royal Caribbean and mention your the other adult(s) in your stateroom do not drink (as much) alcohol, they will often let the other adult purchase the Royal Refreshment package instead (which costs significantly less per day).
Port intensive itinerary
Since Royal Caribbean's drink packages work only on their ships or private destinations, if your cruise vacation will take you to a lot of ports of call, that means less time to spend onboard to take advantage of the drink package benefits.
In general, the less sea days and more days docked in a port, the more difficult it is to break even on the cost of a drink package.
It appears Royal Caribbean's drink packages now include milkshakes at Johnny Rockets as part of the package benefits.
Recently we heard reports that guests were being informed that their drink package benefits included milkshakes at Johnny Rockets, and now we see Royal Caribbean's website has been updated to indicate that milkshakes are indeed included.
Dining at Johnny Rockets still comes with an additional surcharge, milkshakes have historically cost extra on top of the cover charge. With this drink package policy change, guests with the Deluxe Beverage Package have the opportunity to enjoy milkshakes that are included with the cost of their beverage package.
Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages have become become incredibly popular with guests who love the idea of having a fixed price for unlimited cocktails, beers and sodas on the cruise, but are they right for you?
Beverage packages are based around one core idea: pay a flat daily fee, and get all the drinks you want for the price.
If you are trying to figure out if these drink packages are right for you, here are four important questions to ask yourself.
What kind of drinks do you enjoy?
Your Royal Caribbean cruise includes certain beverages with the cruise fare, while others have an additional cost. One of the first considerations in purchasing a drink package is figuring what what sort of drinks do you like and which would you order.
Your Royal Caribbean cruise will include complimentary coffee, tea, water (flavored and plain), milk, iced tea and even juices in the morning.
Drinks such as soda, cocktails, beers, premium coffees (i.e. lattes, espresso, etc), bottled water, sparkling water and liquors cost extra. You can certainly order any of these individually without a package, but a drink package can help make a lot of individual orders cost effective.
What you want to figure out for yourself is if you are interested in alcoholic beverages or non-alcoholic beverages. Can you see yourself ordering sodas, coffee, juice and alcoholic beverages often?
The Deluxe Beverage Package includes drinks up to $12 in value ($13 on the newer ships in the fleet), so if you prefer very high end booze, a drink package may not make sense.
Can I drink enough every day?
Perhaps the most important consideration is if can you drink enough every day of your cruise to make the package a worthwhile investment.
A Royal Caribbean drink package has the potential to save anyone money, but it depends on that person to drink enough every day of the cruise to equal the cost of the same amount of drinks purchased a la carte.
At the heart of these unlimited alcohol packages is the proposition that you will drink enough to "break even" each day to make the packages worth it. If you knew that you would not drink enough to make the package worth it financially, then you probably would not consider the drink.
On average, most of the unlimited alcohol packages take about 5-6 drinks per day to reach the daily cost of the drink package. The non-alcohol packages have a lower break-even point, that is closer to 3-4 drinks. Of course, the deluxe beverage package includes drinks besides alcohol, which does help with that math.
Keep in mind that you must consume enough drinks every day of your cruise to recoup the cost of the package, and the longer the cruise, the more difficult it could be to maintain that amount of drinking.
How much time will I spend on shore?
Before purchasing a drink package, consider the itinerary you will be sailing on to figure out how much time you will be on the ship. The more time on the ship (or at one of Royal Caribbean's private destinations) means more time to enjoy the benefits of a drink package.
If you are going on a port-intensive itinerary, that will leave fewer hours per day to use the package benefits compared to an itinerary with lots of sea days.
In some ports, the price of drinks can be cheaper on shore than if you purchased the drinks on a Royal Caribbean ship (such as in many Caribbean ports of call).
How important is the convenience of having drinks pre-paid?
There are two "x-factors" with the drink package that make it a very compelling option for guests. First, it allows you to pre-purchase the package prior to the cruise and break up the total cost of the cruise. Second, having a drink package means not having to worry about running up a large bar bill or deciding if you should spend the money on another drink.
We often hear from Royal Caribbean guests who love how the package for not having to worry about keeping track of costs, the opportunity to try new drinks without fear of wasting money and being able to split up the cost of the cruise.
The convenience factor is sometimes enough for folks to decide to get the package. After all, you are on vacation and no memorable cruise starts with worrying about drink prices.
What is your Crown and Anchor Society status?
If you have cruised with Royal Caribbean a few times, your status in the cruise line's customer loyalty program may change your mind about buying a drink package.
Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle guests are able to get complimentary drinks each evening of their cruise during a set "happy hour." This means there is an opportunity to drink for free each evening, and when combined with the ability to bring wine on your cruise, may present an alternative choice to a drink package.
Conversely, while Diamond members do get complimentary drinks each evening, the menu of drinks available is limited. If you do not enjoy or prefer those sort of drinks, a drink package may still make more sense.
Do you think the unlimited drink package is a good deal? Share your experiences with the packages in the comments!
Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise does not mean you have to "break the bank" to enjoy as many non-alcoholic beverages as you care to enjoy. The Royal Refreshment drink package offers guests a variety of on-alcoholic drinks for one fixed price.
The Royal Refreshment package includes juices, premium coffees, bottled water and virgin cocktails. By purchasing the Royal Refreshment package, it ensures you not only get to enjoy as many of these drinks as you like, but it also allows you to lock in the price of your preferred drinks.
What does the Royal Refreshment package include?
Guests can choose between unlimited fountain sodas, non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails, bottled water (500ml), sparkling water (375 ml), fresh squeezed juices, premium coffee and premium tea.
Guests who purchase the Royal Refreshment package will also receive a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, which can be used with the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on select Royal Caribbean ships.
How much is the Royal Refreshment package?
The standard price of the Royal Refreshment Package in 2018 is between $26.00 - $29.00 per guest (not including gratuity) per night of your cruise. In 2019, the price will be $29.00 per guest, per night of the cruise.
When you purchase the drink package, a one-time gratuity (referred to as a service charge) will be charged as well.
This means the daily price you pay covers all the drinks covered in this package, as well as gratuity.
Is there ever a discount offered on the Royal Refreshment package?
We usually share Cruise Planner sales on this site, which tend to occur once every few weeks or so. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for notifications when there is a new sale.
There is no risk in purchasing a drink package now and taking advantage of a price drop later. If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.
Does the Royal Refreshment package include espresso-based coffee?
Royal Caribbean defines "premium coffees" as cappuccinos, espressos, and lattes. Thus, espresso based drinks are included with the Royal Refreshment package at any restaurant, bar, or cafe that serves espresso beverages.
On non-Oasis class ships, the Royal Refreshment package does include Illy or Starbucks beverages from locations like Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-Tudes.
On Oasis-class ships (Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas), the Royal Refreshment package does not include any drink from the free-standing Starbucks kiosk. Instead, guests can enjoy premium coffees and teas from Cafe Promenade or Park Cafe with their Refreshment package.
Does the Royal Refreshment package include milk shakes?
We believe the Royal Refreshment package is a great choice for guests who are not interested in (or are not old enough to purchase) alcoholic beverages, but still want to have premium non-alcoholic beverages while on their cruise.
Typically, this package is popular with guests that enjoy premium coffees, virgin cocktails and soft drinks. Teenagers especially gravitate towards the Royal Refreshment package, because they can enjoy the lots of drinks without fear of a large bill later. Adults also find the package worthwhile, for the premium coffee and fresh squeezed juices option.
Essentially, it tends to resonate as a good choice for guests who are not interested in alcoholic beverages, but want to still enjoy many drinks that cost extra.
What is the difference between the Royal Refreshment package and the Classic Soda Package?
The Classic Soda package only includes soft drinks and a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, whereas the Royal Refreshment package includes soft drinks, a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, and many other varieties of drinks.
Instead of just sodas, the Royal Refreshment package includes virgin cocktails, premium coffee, fresh squeezed juice and more.
Can I purchase the Royal Refreshment package and share drinks with someone I know onboard?
No, sharing beverages on any of Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages is strictly prohibited.
If I buy the Royal Refreshment package, are others in my stateroom required to purchase the same drink package?
No, unlike Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage package, Royal Caribbean does not require other guests in the same stateroom to purchase a Royal Refreshment package.
A lot of people going on a Royal Caribbean cruise find the idea of getting a drink package quite attractive, primarily due to the convenience and potential value offered by the drink package. However, a drink package is not an option for everyone, and there are some great alternatives to getting a drink package that will not break your budget while still allowing you to enjoy your favorite drinks onboard.
Don't get us wrong, a Royal Caribbean drink package works for a lot of people who really enjoy the options it provides. But we also hear from a number of readers who like to enjoy a few drinks, but fear a drink package will not be financially viable for them. As a result, we came up with some strategies to enable those people to enjoy drinks onboard without feeling like they are overpaying for drinks.
If you are considering if a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth it, or are looking for other options, here are some good strategies we have used on past cruises.
Drink in port
Within a few minutes of visiting any port your cruise ship goes to, inevitably you will start seeing advertisements for inexpensive alcoholic drinks. Many ports of calls drink prices are far cheaper than what you may find onboard your ship, and that means you can take advantage of the lower prices on shore.
Finding bars or vendors selling inexpensive beers, cocktails and more is not usually difficult. Drinking on shore is quite popular, and so, bars and restaurants are usually abound with great drink specials.
Obviously drinking on shore does not help with enjoying a drink onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, but on itineraries that are port intensive it can be a great stategy for offsetting the need to drink onboard in the first place.
Take advantage of drink specials onboard
In this "age of the drink package", it is often lost in discussions that Royal Caribbean runs a lot of drink specials onboard throughout the cruise. Even before drink packages became a popular choice, drink specials were an option offered for years.
The key to finding a drink special is to spend a little time seeking them out. Drink specials are most often advertised via two means: a sign on a bar, and/or an ad in the Cruise Compass. Some drink specials are for certain times, while others are offered for part of the cruise. The key is to seek them out and take advantage of the drink specials to ensure out of pocket costs are low(er).
One of the oldest, and yet most well-known drink special, is the drink of the day. This is a cocktail picked out daily that is reduced in price, usually about 25% or so off the normal price. The drink of the day is a great choice for saving on drinking costs, and something offered throughout the day at all bars.
Hope for a drink card
Have you heard about something where you can pre-purchase 10 drinks for a set price? Usually the price is somewhere between $75-85 and you can share the drink card with anyone you want. That means a $12 cocktail would cost you really about $7.50-$8.50 each with the drink card.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, the drink card is not available on all ships or sailings. It is something Royal Caribbean can offer, but there is no way to know if it will, nor can it be pre-purchased. It is a sort of gamble that you need to hope for to become available on your sailing.
If the drink card is available, it usually becomes available around half way through your sailing, so on a 7-night cruise, it might show up on day 3 or 4.
Again, there is no means of which to know if a drink card will be available on your cruise with any kind of certainty.
This tip only applies to guests that are at least Diamond level in Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society.
Diamond members and above are entitled to complimentary drinks each evening of the cruise. Primarily, you get unlimited drinks for a few hours in the Diamond Lounge, although Royal Caribbean does allow Diamond members to get an additional 3 drinks per evening at any bar or lounge during the same time period.
The drinks available to Diamond members is somewhat limited, but you cannot beat the price. Usually there is a three hour block of time for Diamond drinks, taking advantage of this perk means not having to pay out of pocket for drinks in the hours leading up to dinner.
If you happen to be a suite guest, you are entitled to take advantage of complimentary drinks in the Concierge Lounge. Similar to the Diamond Lounge, this is an exclusive area for suite guests, where you can enjoy a variety of complimentary drinks.
Just like the Diamond Lounge, the complimentary drinks are available for a few hours each evening.
Keep in mind you are free to take drinks out of the Concierge Lounge and venture out around the ship (same with the Diamond Lounge).
Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size and should be brought on in the luggage you carry onto the ship. Do not put the wine in the luggage you hand over to the porters on embarkation day.
Wine lovers will be able to bring a couple of bottles of their favorite wine on their cruise at a savings compared to purchasing the wine onboard. Moreover, bringing your own wine means you will save money on your total bar tab during your cruise.
My favorite aspect of bringing your own wine is if you do not finish the bottle of wine, Royal Caribbean can store the wine for you and deliver it another restaurant at that time.