Drink Packages

Is a Royal Caribbean drink package right for you?

In:
13Aug2018

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
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails
  • Premium coffees and teas
  • Fountain sodas
  • 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. 

It is worth noting that the Deluxe Beverage Package is very commonly discounted when purchased prior to the cruise, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.  Discounts of 20-30% off are regularly seen, and anyone considering a drink package would be well-served to pre-purchase the package instead of buying them onboard.

Unlimited beverage packages

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. 

Royal Caribbean now including milkshakes at Johnny Rockets with its beverage packages

In:
Category: 
30Jul2018

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.

Recent email shared on Liberty of the Seas Facebook Group

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.

What to think about before buying a Royal Caribbean drink package

In:
Category: 
08May2018

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!

In-depth look at Royal Caribbean's Royal Refreshment Drink Package

In:
16Apr2018

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 price of the Royal Refreshment Package is $26.00 per guest (not including gratuity) per night of your 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?

On occasion, Royal Caribbean does offer a pre-cruise discount on certain drink packages purchased prior to your cruise via the Cruise Planner site.

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?

As of July 2018, milkshakes at Johnny Rockets are included.

Who is the Royal Refreshment package best for?

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.

6 alternatives to a Royal Caribbean drink package

In:
Category: 
06Mar2018

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.

Diamond Drinks

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.

Concierge Lounge

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).

Bring wine

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on their Royal Caribbean cruise?

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.

It is important to be aware that Royal Caribbean will charge you a corkage fee for personal wines opened at any restaurant or lounge onboard.  Even with the corkage fee, you will still save a significant amount of money compared to purchasing a bottle of wine onboard.

Avoid these 4 Royal Caribbean drink package mistakes

In:
Category: 
10Oct2017

Many Royal Caribbean guests swear by the convenience and value that the Deluxe Beverage Package offers them, but you might be missing out on some key advantages to the package.

While the unlimited beverage package seems like an easy enough service to enjoy, there are at least four ways we often see guests missing out on maximizing the package value and unlocking some great benefits.

Not buying a drink package as soon as possible

If you decide a Royal Caribbean unlimited drink package is worth it, do not wait to buy it onboard the ship. Heck, do not wait at all to buy it.

First, if you purchase it onboard you will have to spend time buying it.  Often there are lines on embarkation day to buy the drink package, and then there is a bit of paperwork associated with its purchase.

Second, if you buy the drink package online before your cruise, it will absolutely save you money on the total cost! There are discounts offered for the drink package if purchased prior to the cruise, which means money saved for something else on your vacation.

Third, the price of a drink package could drop... or it could rise.  Buying a drink package as soon as you know you want it means you can protect against a price increase.  If the price of the drink package drops before your cruise, you can always cancel and rebook the drink package with no penalty.

Not getting a bottle of water with any order

It is easy to get a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to using Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package.  In addition to alcohol, the package provides unlimited soft drinks, fresh squeezed juices, coffees and bottled water.

The bottled water, in particular, is very useful.  Not only is it a good idea to drink a lot of water while enjoying alcohol (many of us learned that lesson in college), but stockpiling bottles of water in your stateroom means you have a supply for use on shore excursions.

When you order an alcoholic beverage, in our experience the waiters never have an issue with also providing you with a bottle of water as part of the same order.  This means you can take a few bottles back to your room for use onboard or onshore.  

While you can always just order a bottle of water to bring offshore, having a small reserve of bottled water means you can easily grab as much as you need.  This is very helpful with families or large groups.

Not specifying brand of liquor when ordering a drink

When you belly up to the bar and order a drink, often you simply ask for the drink you would like to order, often we just ask for the name of the drink.

"Can I please have a pina colada?"

What you ought to do, is instead order the drink and specify the liquor.  The deluxe beverage package includes many types of liquor, including some more desirable brands.  Choices in liquor can be subjective, but higher quality brands of liquor are typically smoother, stronger, or just plain taste better.

So when ordering a drink, be sure to specify what you want in it.

"Can I please have a pina colada with Kraken rum?"

Not trying signature cocktails at specialty restaurants

Many Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants have their own menu of cocktails that were created specifically for that restaurant and may not be available elsewhere on the ship.

Part of the appeal of the unlimited alcohol package is the opportunity to try new drinks without fear of wasting money on something you do not enjoy.  Since the unlimited alcohol package works at all specialty restaurants, you can feel free to try one of the restaurant's drinks.  You might just discover something you really love.

If the restaurant has a special cocktail, usually it is on the drink menu that also includes the wines and other beverages available.

Specialty restaurants with particularly good drinks of their own include Sabor, Jamie's Italian, 150 Central Park and Wonderland.

We want to hear from you! What is your best tip for avoiding a beverage package mistake? Leave a comment and share with us below!

Royal Caribbean requiring all adults in same stateroom to purchase unlimited alcohol package

In:
Category: 
04Oct2017

It appears guests who look to purchase an unlimited alcohol package for a 2018 or beyond sailing will be required to purchase an unlimited alcohol package for all adults in the same stateroom.

Guests who use Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site will see a new notation in the Deluxe Beverage Package description, that stipulates "each adult of legal drinking age assigned to the same stateroom must purchase this package."

Upon adding the Deluxe Beverage package to the shopping cart, the site requires all adults to purchase the package at that time.

Based on croud sourcing, thus far, the change appears to be for 2018 sailings and some late 2017 sailings.

Based on an email from Royal Caribbean to a concerned guest, there are exclusions to this rule:

  • Pregnancy
  • Recovering Alcoholic
  • Medical Reason
  • Religious Reason
  • Does Not Consume Alcohol Due to Personal Preference

Royal Caribbean announced earlier this year it was going to test this policy change on Harmony of the Seas.  The policy change would match other major cruise lines that Royal Caribbean competes with that already have a similar rule in place.

Spotted: Deluxe Beverage and Ultimate Dining Package combo

In:
16Aug2017

Royal Caribbean has a new pre-cruise purchase option on select sailings that combines the deluxe beverage package and the ultimate dining package in one.

The Deluxe Beverage and Ultimate Dining Package offers a bundle of the Deluxe Beverage Package and Ultimate Dining Package for one price.  With this package, you will enjoy

  • Unlimited beverages
    • coffee
    • juices
    • sodas
    • bottled water
    • beer, wine
    • spirits
  • Discount of 40% off bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100 while dining in specialty restaurants
  • Dine at specialty restaurants every night and
  • Dine at specialty restaurants at lunchtime on sea days

For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you will receive a $50 food credit.

Thus far, we have spotted this option on Oasis class ships.

Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog reader Andrew Punch for alerting us to this new offering.

9 important things to know about Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages

In:
27Jul2017

Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages have been a home run with guests, who find the option convenient and present a great value.

Regardless if you are purchasing an unlimited alcohol package for the first time or it has become a regular part of your cruising tradition, here are some important tips to remember for when you get onboard and start enjoying all those drinks.

9. You cannot (and should not) share drink package benefits

Royal Caribbean strictly prohibits the sharing of drink package benefits with another guest.  It is against the rules that you agree to when purchasing a drink package.

If you purchase a drink package, the benefits are solely for you and only you. 

Royal Caribbean warns that guests who share a drink with someone who does not have a drink package can risk having their drink package benefits revoked with no refund.  

The package is intended for only the guest who buys the package.  If you want to buy a drink for someone else, you can do so and pay for it individually along side your drink package transaction.

8. Gratuity is included

Your unlimited alcohol package purchase includes gratuity for all the beverages you order while on your cruise.  Royal Caribbean refers to it as a "service fee", which you should see listed in the breakdown of your drink package order.

This means when you order any drink onboard, keep in mind that 18% gratuity has already been paid and you are under no obligation to provide any additional tip. Your receipt will come out to $0.00, assuming your drink is covered by the drink package.

You can, however, opt to provide additional gratuity at your discretion.

7. All adults in the same stateroom DO need to buy a package

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has changed this rule, and if one adult purchases an unlimited alcohol package, then all other adults in the same stateroom must purchase it too.

At this time, Royal Caribbean does not require all guests in the same stateroom to purchase a drink package.

6. You can use the packages at the private destinations

All of Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages can be used at the private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee.

Your drink package at these two spots can be used just like onboard the ship.  Present your SeaPass card to any crew member working on the island and they will fulfill your order.

The only caveat to keep in mind is many of the roving bar servers offering a Labadoozie or Coco Loco have souvenir cups with them, so you may have to walk to the bar to get your drinks with the package.

5. Drink packages do not include souvenir cups

You may see onboard your Royal Caribbean ship pineapple drinks, light up cups and other neat looking beverages.  There are a lot of drinks to choose from with the unlimited alcohol packages, but souvenir cups are not included with your packages.

You can always ask for the drink without the souvenir cup, or purchase the souvenir cup at a reduced rate. 

4. Deluxe alcohol package can be used for premium coffees

If you purchase the deluxe alcohol package, on Royal Caribbean ships without a freestanding Starbucks kiosk, you can use the package to get espresso-based beverages too. This includes, cappuccinos, lattes, espresso and more.

Royal Caribbean ships with a freestanding Starbucks kiosk are the Oasis class cruise ships (Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas).  On those ships, you can still get your lattes or espresso drinks at Cafe Promenade or a specialty restaurant.

For all other Royal Caribbean ships, head to Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes and show your card when ordering a Starbucks drink just like if you were ordering a beer or cocktail at the bar.

3. You can purchase the unlimited alcohol packages after the first day

Royal Caribbean heavily advertises purchasing its unlimited alcohol packages prior to your cruise and on embarkation day, but guests may still purchase any of the unlimited alcohol packages onboard their cruise after the first day.

The rule is, guests may purchase unlimited alcohol packages at any point in their cruise as long as there are at least 4 days left in the cruise.

In addition, if you purchase an unlimited alcohol package after your first day, the total amount of the package will be prorated for the remaining days of your cruise.

2. The unlimited alcohol packages include soda too

Of course everyone thinks about all the beers, wine and cocktails one can purchase with the unlimited alcohol packages but soda is included too!

Each package includes fountain soda and a souvenir Coca-Cola cup too. 

The souvenir cup can be used at a Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine onboard for when you want a special kind of soft drink (lime Coca-Cola Zero anyone?).

1. The one place onboard you cannot use the unlimited alcohol package

There is one place onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise where the unlimited alcohol packages do not work and that is your stateroom.

You cannot use the unlimited alcohol packages to pay for room service or for mini-bar drinks.

You can, however, always bring drinks back to your room that you get at a bar and enjoy it there.

Your thoughts

Now that you have heard what we think is important to know, let's hear from other people that have used the unlimited alcohol packages too.  What do you think is the most important aspects of the drink packages to be aware of before investing in one? Are you considering a drink package but have questions? Feel free to post in the comments!

Pages