Drink Packages

Royal Caribbean testing new unlimited alcohol package rule that requires all adults to purchase a package

In:
Category: 
07Jul2017

Royal Caribbean is testing a new policy change for its unlimited alcohol package,where all adults in a stateroom will be required to purchase an unlimited alcohol package if one adult in the room purchases it.

Cruise Critic is reporting Harmony of the Seas will test out the new rule over the course of a few sailings, where all passengers 21 years old and older will be required to purchase a beverage package, if at least one other person in their cabin has one.

This pilot program will be for eight Harmony of the Seas sailings starting September 30, 2017 through November 18, 2017.

Evidently the program is being tested as a counter-reaction to too many guests sharing drink package benefits with other guests who have not purchased the drink package.

When Royal Caribbean first introduced their drink packages, they included a stipulation that all adults in the same stateroom must purchase a drink package if one did, but they dropped that requirement shortly thereafter. 

What do you think of this policy change test? Tell us in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean drink package rules overview

In:
Category: 
08Jun2017

Thinking about purchasing a Royal Caribbean unlimited drink package for your upcoming cruise?  They have the potential to save money compared to buying the same amount of drinks without a package, but it is important to be aware and understand the rules of how these beverage packages work.

The rules are not complicated, but there are a few important guidelines that anyone that purchases an unlimited drink package should be aware of first.

Sharing the package

Let us be perfectly clear: it is absolutely forbidden to share the Royal Caribbean drink package benefits with anyone else. Period.

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.

Drink limits

There is no limit to how many drinks a guest may consume on any day, or during the cruise. 

However, you can only order one drink per transaction.  Which means if you want to get a beer and another drink, you need to order each individually. 

If your group all have the drink package, you can take their SeaPass cards and place a group order.  You just need to provide proof that the amount of drinks ordered match the number of drink packages.

When you can buy the drink package

Royal Caribbean provides the ability to pre-purchase the drink package on its Cruise Planner website.  There is often a discount associated with pre-purchase, which can save money compared to waiting to purchase it onboard.

If your cruise is too far in advance, the drink package option may not be available yet.  There is no set rule when drink packages become available for sale, so keep checking back later.

If you decide to wait to buy a drink package on the ship, you can do so from any bar or lounge. On embarkation day, there are often tables set up around the ship to take just unlimited beverage package purchases.  

You do not have to purchase a drink package on the first day of your cruise.  Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages are available on all two-night or longer sailings, but as long as there are at least 4 days left in the cruise, you can purchase the package at a pro-rated amount.

Where the drink package works

Royal Caribbean's drink package covers beverages purchased at onboard restaurants, bars, and lounges.

It also works on the cruise line’s private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee.

Friends and family have to buy the package too

As of October 2017, Royal Caribbean has changed its policy and is requiring all adults in a stateroom to purchase an unlimited alcohol package if an adult purchases the package.

Gratuity

When you purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package, gratuity (18%) will be assessed on your purchase at that time, which covers all of your subsequent drink orders.

When you order a drink later on, you will not owe any gratuity.  There will be, however, an optional gratuity on your receipt where you can recognize outstanding service.

Refunds and exchanges

Once onboard the ship, beverage packages are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Before a cruise, beverage package purchases can be cancelled and/or re-purchased via the Cruise Planner

Spotted: Royal Caribbean adds soda package and internet combo

In:
25May2017

Royal Caribbean has added a new combo offer for guests to purchase, that combines the ulimited soft drink package with the unlimited internet package.

Dubbed, "Classic Soda And Voom One Device," this new offering costs $19.00 per guest, per day and can be purchased via online prior to a cruise, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.

If a guest were to purchase the Classic Soda Package and Voom one device internet package separately, it would cost them $8.50 + 14.39 ($22.89) per person, per day.

The Classic Soda And Voom One Device plan is similar to the Deluxe Beverage Package and Voom One Device plan, which has been a popular choice for guests that want to get the unlimited alcohol package and Voom internet plan together.

Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog message board reader FManke for spotting this new option.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol and internet combo package

In:
19Apr2017

Royal Caribbean guests in the market for an unlimited alcohol package and internet access will want to take notice of a new option Royal Caribbean has added.

The Deluxe Drink Package and Voom One Device offers guests the deluxe beverage unlimited alcohol package and a one-device Voom plan in one combo.

The cost of this package is listed at $54 per guest, per day. Compared to buying the two options separately, there are potential savings to the guest.

Here is an example for what each would individually cost for a 7-night cruise on Harmony of the Seas.

This "Sip and Stream" combo package has appeared in the past but has also disappeared quite quickly.  If you are interested in it, our advice is to book it immediately.  Keep in mind that Cruise Planner purchases are able to be canceled prior to the start of the cruise.

Answers to 10 commonly asked Royal Caribbean drink package questions

In:
Category: 
13Apr2017

Our readers ask a lot of questions about the Royal Caribbean cruise experience, especially when it comes to Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages. These all-you-can-drink options have never been more popular with guests, but there is often a concern or two prior to purchasing one.

We dug through our inbox's, comment threads and message boards to find the sort of questions we get asked a lot and are sharing the answers to help everyone figure out if a Royal Caribbean drink package is right for them.

1. What drinks are included without a drink package?

Before you can decide if a drink package is worth the cost, you need to understand which beverages Royal Caribbean includes in your cruise fare.

You can expect these drinks to be included and available during your cruise for no additional cost

  • regular coffee
  • decaffeinated coffee
  • tea
  • iced tea
  • tap water
  • milk
  • chocolate milk
  • lemonade
  • flavored waters
  • juices (at breakfast, 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.

2. Can I get the drink package only for certain days of the cruise?


 

Not exactly.  You cannot "cherry pick" days to have the drink package benefits.  Basically, when you purchase a drink package, you are buying it for the duration of the cruise.

There is one way to buy a drink package for only certain days, and that is if you skip a few days at the beginning of your cruise.  Royal Caribbean will sell you the drink package even after the first day.  If you purchase it on day two, three or six, the cruise line will only charge you for the days remaining on the cruise. This can be a good strategy for someone that is unsure how much they will really want to drink onboard.

3. Is the drink package worth it?

Trying to determine if Royal Caribbean's drink packages are worth it is ultimately a personal decision. Everyone cruise's differently, and everyone has different needs and wants.

You must weigh the benefits of having virtually all of your drinks paid for, the ability to try new drinks without much risk and not having to worry about your bar tab at the end of the cruise, versus considering if the drink package will actually save you money compared to buying drinks a la carte, and if you will want to drink enough drinks every day of your cruise to make your package investment worthwhile.

If you want a completely unscientific means of figuring out if a drink package is for you, ask yourself this question:

Can I drink 5-7 drinks per day, every day of my cruise?

If after thinking that you initially thought, "Whoa, that is a lot to drink" or "Whoa, that's it?", then you probably have your answer.

4. Is Starbucks included with the unlimited alcohol package?

On non-Oasis Class ships, the drink package includes premium coffee and tea from places like Cafe Promenade, where Starbucks drinks are brewed. It is Starbucks beans, but not a licensed Starbucks location.

On Oasis-Class ships (Oasis, Allure and Harmony of the Seas), the drink package does not work at the Starbucks location onboard, but there will be Premium Coffee offered at Cafe Promenade or Park Cafe.

5. If a drink costs more than my drink packages covers, can I just pay the difference?

Yes, your unlimited alcohol package covers the cost of your drinks up to $12 or $13 per drink (the exact amount depends on which ship you are on). Above that price threshold, anything you order will be charged you the difference.

So if you purchase a $25 shot of whiskey on Oasis of the Seas, you will be charged $12 to your SeaPass account.

6. How many drinks can I order at one time?

You may order one drink per drink package at a time. 

You are allowed to bring your spouse/friend/parent/guy you met 10 minutes ago/neighbor SeaPass card up to the bar with you and make a group order, provided each SeaPass card has purchased an unlimited drink package.

Royal Caribbean does not have a minimum amount of time to wait between alcoholic drink orders, so you can keep the good times flowing as you see fit.  This is probably the part of the blog post where we recommend drinking responsibly.

7. Does the unlimited alcohol package work in all specialty restaurants? Can I get a glass of wine at dinner?

Yes it does. You can use any drink package benefits (alcohol or not) at any of the specialty restaurants.  In terms of what is included or not, the same rules apply to specialty restaurants, as they do at the bars around the ship.

You can order glasses of wine at dinner, whether in a specialty restaurant or the main dining room.

8. If I get a drink package, why am I charged for the last day of my cruise?

Despite the fact a lot of verbiage you see refers to the drink packages being charged per day, the reality is you are charged for each night.

So on a seven night cruise, you will be charged seven times the daily rate (plus gratuity). This means you get to use the drink package benefits on embarkation day and disembarkation day.

9. How can I get a discount on a drink package?

The most reliable way to get a drink package discount is to purchase it before your cruise on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner. Here are directions on how to take advantage of the online discount.

To be clear, if you are going to purchase a drink package, you will save money if you purchase it online rather than waiting to buy it onboard. 

10. Someone in my stateroom wants a drink package, but I do not.  Does Royal Caribbean require all adults in a room to get a drink package?

As of October 2017, Royal Caribbean has changed the rule so that if one adult purchases an unlimited alcohol package, all adults in the same stateroom have to purchase a drink package.

There are provisions that allow for that requirement to be circumvented if certain conditions are met.  These include guests tha are

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

Royal Caribbean adds two new bottled alcohol packages

In:
Category: 
14Mar2017

Royal Caribbean has added two new bottled alcohol stateroom delivery options for guests to prepurchase prior to their cruise. 

The Royal Gifts shop added two new packages that offer a bottle of liquor with cans of Coca-Cola products.

Absolut Vodka and Sprite Package

Cost: $38

This package includes: (1) 375 ml. bottle of Absolut Vodka and 4 Sprite cans.

This product is not available on the following ships:

  • Explorer Of The Seas
  • Legend Of The Seas
  • Mariner Of The Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum Of The Seas
  • Radiance Of The Seas
  • Splendour Of The Seas
  • Vision Of The Seas
  • Voyager Of The Seas

Johnnie Walker Red and Coca-Cola Package

Cost: $45

This package includes: (1) 375 ml. bottle of Johnnie Walker Red and 4 Coca-Cola cans.

This product is not available on the following ships:

  • Explorer Of The Seas
  • Legend Of The Seas
  • Mariner Of The Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum Of The Seas
  • Radiance Of The Seas
  • Splendour Of The Seas
  • Vision Of The Seas
  • Voyager Of The Seas

These two new packages are in addition to the rum and gin bottled alcohol packages that were first offered back in December 2016.

Any of these drink packages can be purchased prior to a cruise, and be delivered to a guest's stateroom.

Pros and Cons of Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages

In:
Category: 
10Feb2017

Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages have been available for a few years and are quite popular with guests who are intrigued by the idea of having most of their beverages included, rather than having to pay for each drink.  The beverage packages promise convenience and a fixed cost to ensure one less worry. 

The common question cruisers ponder is to whether the drink packages are worth the cost.  Of course, the answer depends on you and your family.  Take into consideration some pros and cons that might help you decided if you want to add a drink package on your next cruise.

Pros

Drink as much as you want

By far the best advantage of any drink package is you get to enjoy as many drinks that are included with the package, with no limit.  When people pay for drinks individually, often the cost of running up a large bill enters into their minds, but drink packages assuage that concern.

Royal Caribbean beverage packages have no daily limit, so guests can enjoy as much or little as they want every day of their cruise. The Deluxe Beverage Package and the Royal Refreshment package also offer a good variety of beverages that are included with the packages, which means added opportunity to mix up the sort of drinks that can be enjoyed.

One of the best reasons to get a drink package is that you can enjoy all the drinks available, including some new ones. You can order something and not be worried that you might not like it and have to "suffer" through it, simply because you paid for it.

Use almost anywhere onboard and onshore

Royal Caribbean drink packages work pretty much everywhere onboard the ship and even in Royal Caribbean's private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee. This means whether you are in the dining room, hanging by the pool or at a specialty restaurant, you can enjoy the drink package benefits at any time.

There are a few exceptions to where you can use the drink packages, but most guests seem to find plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the benefits. 

The convenience of being able to get a drink virtually anywhere on your Royal Caribbean cruise means being able to enjoy a refreshment anytime you want.

Control costs

By purchasing a drink package, you are capping the maximum cost for drinks during your cruise.  Most families like to be able to budget their vacations and not come home to a monster bill.  The drink package is an easy way to ensure the SeaPass account does not get out of hand.

Additionally, guests that pre-purchase their drink package prior to the cruise can take advantage of discounts and the opportunity to break up the total cost of the cruise. Royal Caribbean charges guests for the drink package at the time of purchase when booked before the cruise, which means guests can potentially pay off parts of their cruise experience on different billing cycles. 

If you can drink enough every day of your cruise, a Royal Caribbean drink package can definitely save you money. With the ever increasing cost of drinks, many guests have found the drink package to be a good value. Those that enjoy cocktails will find prices regularly $10-13 per drink, which makes a drink package investment much easier to "break even."

Souvenir cup

All unlimited drink packages come with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup that not only provides an easy way to get refills, but it can be taken home as a souvenir from the cruise. Souvenirs are rarely cheap, and having a good sized mug back home will provide another reminder of the vacation fun and potentially a new favorite cup at work or home.

Since the souvenir cups come with the drink package, there is no added cost to get one and the current mugs feature fun Royal Caribbean inspired designs that are sure to put a smile on your face each time you pull it out of the cabinet.

Cons

Drinking for the sake of drinking

It is not uncommon to discover when you have a drink package, you start getting a drink just because you have the package and not because you really want one.  Certainly on the first couple days of a cruise, the opportunity to enjoy plenty of cocktails is novel, but there might be a point where you are ordering drinks simply as a means of getting your package investment back.

The principle reason to purchase a drink package is that it will save you money over purchasing drinks individually.  Royal Caribbean provides a value proposition to the equation with the drink packages, but often guests find themselves having a drink just because they can, just to "break even." Anyone can drink 5-7 drinks in one day, but 5-7 drinks every day of the cruise could possibly get old.

Large up-front cost

Royal Caribbean's drink packages are priced per person, and per day, so the longer your cruise, the more you will have to pay in advance for the drink package. Depending on the length of your cruise and the amount of people that want to get a drink package, that can be a lot of money to shell out.

Theoretically you will recoup that value over the course of the cruise vacation, but there is a risk of that not happening, and moreover, a big charge to start things off.  Certainly pre-purchasing the drink packages before your cruise can help take the sting out a bit, since they are charged at the time of purchase, but spending $400+ for an unlimited alcohol package per person on a 7-night cruise is never easy.

Still need to pay for drinks on land

Your Royal Caribbean cruise will bring you to some amazing ports of call, but your drink packages will not work there. Outside of Labadee or CocoCay, your drink package benefits stop, which means when visiting these different cities and countries, you will still have to pay extra for drinks.

Moreover, drinks are often much cheaper to purchase while onshore than on a Royal Caribbean cruise.  Some guests prefer to drink very little onboard and then spend their money on drinks while on shore.  Certainly the itinerary you are on may dictate how practical this idea is, but drinking on land might be able to satisfy your drinking needs without the cost of a drink package.

Loyal cruisers receive complimentary drinks

Believe it or not, Royal Caribbean does offer complimentary beverages on their cruise, including alcohol. Royal Caribbean includes quite a few non-alcoholic beverages with your cruise fare, and for members of Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society customer loyalty program, there are even complimentary alcohol each evening.

Crown and Anchor Society members that are Diamond or above, can enjoy complimentary beverages in the Diamond lounge onboard the ship, plus the added option of drink coupons to use each evening around the ship. Guests that have access to these beverages will have a subsidy of included alcoholic beverages, which may negate the value of purchasing a drink package. 

Conclusion

Overall, whether Royal Caribbean's drink packages make sense for you is a highly personal decision based on a lot of variables.  Depending on your priorities, there decision will greatly sway in one direction or another.  The drink packages absolutely can save you money and time, but it depends on the person and it would be misleading to recommend it for everyone.

These days, we are seeing discounts being offered on the drink packages, which bring down the total cost. A 20% package saving might be enough to push some folks "over the fence" to make it a worthwhile investment. In fact, anyone considering a drink package should absolutely pre-purchase a package for the discounts that show up from time to time.  

Keep in mind if you are unsure about purchasing a drink package, you can always opt to purchase the drink package after your cruise begins. Royal Caribbean will prorate the package based on the remaining days of your cruise, which means you can take a couple of days to see how much you really want to drink before deciding to try the package out.

Your thoughts

What is your experience with the Royal Caribbean drink packages? Thinking about using it? Please to share your thoughts about Royal Caribbean's drink packages and how it works (or does not work) for you in the comments.  If you have comments, ask them there as well.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off pre-cruise purchases in Cruise Planner

In:
04Feb2017

Royal Caribbean is offering a special three-day sale, where guests can save up to 30% off select pre-cruise purchases.

The "Sale Before you Sail" deal is available for guests on select sailings, and offers discounts on services, such as unlimited drink packages, internet packages and even some shore excursions and spa treatments.

The exact discount available will vary from sailing to sailing, but there appears to be a fair amount of discounts applied.

Based on the countdown clock, it appears this promotion ends at midnight on February 6, 2017.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site and navigate to the Dining & Beverage section to see any available offers.

If you have a drink package already prepurchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same drink package under this promotion.

How to get a get a discount on a Royal Caribbean drink package

In:
17Jan2017

Did you know Royal Caribbean offers discounts on its very popular unlimited alcohol drink packages? These days, discounts are available for Royal Caribbean's beverage packages, but you will need to be proactive to get it.

Many readers reach out about how to snag their own discount, and here are the ways to find a discount for a drink package.

Online

Generally speaking, Royal Caribbean has been offering regular discounts on its drink packages for guests that opted to pre-purchase a package 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 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 it for as many (or as few) guests as you like.  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.

Onboard

Recently, Royal Caribbean has begun offering discounts on its drink packages onboard the ship to its Crown and Anchor Society members who are Diamond, Diamond Plus or Pinnacle level.

We have seen discounts offered at 20% off for Diamond, 30% off for Diamond Plus, and 40% off for Pinnacle.  Onboard discounts for the drink packages a relatively new offering, so these discounts may vary. As with all onboard discounts available to Crown and Anchor Society members, it is up to you to ask the crew member for the discount to be applied at the time of purchase.

If you are not a Diamond or above member in Crown and Anchor Society, there are no discounts available for drink packages.  

Regardless of which method you use to take money off the cost of your drink package, one of these strategies will save you a good amount of money on your next Royal Caribbean vacation. Enjoy!

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