Drink Packages

Clarification on Royal Caribbean's drink package premium coffee benefit

In:
28Sep2016

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean changed the drink package rules to exclude Starbucks beverages, but there is now further clarification on what the drink packages do and do not include.

On Royal Caribbean's Facebook page, an update provides information on what the change means across the fleet.

Furthermore, Royal Caribbean amended its drink package document again to be more specific about the use of drink packages with Starbucks beverages.

Essentially, this sounds like the premium coffee rule is similar to how Starbucks beverages were handled with the former drink packages, that have been replaced with the new drink packages.

Thanks to reader Glen R., who shared this update with us!

Royal Caribbean removes Starbucks inclusion on its unlimited drink packages

In:
21Sep2016

Royal Caribbean has seemingly reversed course with one aspect of its newly revamped unlimited beverage packages by now stating Starbucks beverages are not included in any of the packages.

An updated Royal Caribbean document clearly states that Starbucks beverages are not included in any drink package.

Here is a copy of that same document as it appeared earlier this month, with an indication that Starbucks beverages were included.

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean completely overhauled its drink package offerings in an effort to simplify their offerings to guests and make it easier on crew members to understand as well.

Royal Caribbean revamps its unlimited drink package offerings

In:
Category: 
06Sep2016

Royal Caribbean rolled out new drink package options, aimed at simplifying what options are available for guests.

The new drink package options are:

Deluxe Beverage Package ($55 a day excluding gratuity): Unlimited cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee, tea, and bottled water – plus a 40% discount on bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100. This package includes drinks with a value of up to $12. For guests that would like to enjoy a beverage over that threshold, a $12 credit will be applied towards the beverage of choice and guests will be required to pay the balance.

Refreshment Package ($26 a day excluding gratuity): Enjoy our entire selection of premium coffees and teas, bottled water, fresh-squeezed juices, nonalcoholic cocktails, plus fountain soda and free Coca-Cola® souvenir cup.

Classic Soda Package ($8.50 a day excluding gratuity): Quench your thirst for just a few dollars a day with unlimited fountain soda refills and receive a free Coca-Cola® souvenir cup.

Evian Bottled Water Package: Two options available for guests

  • $39 excluding gratuity: Entitles passengers to 12 one liter bottles of evian® Natural Spring Water
  • $69 excluding gratuity: Entitles passengers to 24 one liter bottles of evian® Natural Spring Water

Royal Caribbean has consolidated and redesigned its beverage package offerings in an effort to make things easier for guests to understand.  These new drink package offerings are available to book via the Cruise Planner tool for all future cruises on September 6, 2016.

Guests that purchased one of the older drink packages will still have their purchases honored, with the following adjustments:

  • Select package will be honored as is until depleted.
  • Premium packages will be upgraded to a Deluxe package at no additional charge. 
  • Ultimate Packages will convert to the deluxe package.
  • Replenish packages will convert to the new refreshment package. 

5 beverages not included in any Royal Caribbean drink package

In:
Category: 
24Aug2016

Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages include a lot of different drinks and in a great majority of drinks, but there are a handful of exceptions. These are few and far between, but it is important to be aware of what is not included prior to making the decision to purchase an unlimited beverage package.

These five drinks are not the only drinks not included in a drink package, but these are the ones most likely to be encountered.

1. Johnny Rockets milkshake

UPDATE: As of July 2018, the milkshakes at Johnny Rockets are included with the drink packages.

If you happen to dine at Johnny Rockets on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you will enjoy some really tasty burgers, fries and onion rings, but if you want to wash it down with a milkshake, you will have to pay extra for it.

The thick and frothy milk shakes that Johnny Rockets are well-known for how good they are, and guests on a drink package will have to pay extra for them.

If you are a Crown and Anchor Society member, all levels usually enjoy a buy one, get one free milkshake coupon that is preloaded on SeaPass cards.

2. Starbucks on Oasis-class ships

On Oasis-class cruise ships, the standalone Starbucks locations serve the same caffeinated beverages many folks enjoy on land, but Starbucks is not included in any drink package.

This can be confusing, since on other classes of Royal Caribbean ships, Starbucks beverages are brewed and included under certain drink packages, but the Starbucks locations on Oasis-class ships are considered standalone Starbucks locations and the drink packages are not covered.

Perhaps one of the new pre-paid coffee drink cards will be available on your cruise to get you plenty of Starbucks drinks to enjoy.

3. Room service

Room service is included in your cruise fare and it is hard to deny the great pleasure of enjoying food brought to your room or private balcony, but do not expect extra-cost beverages to be included with your drink package.

Sodas, beers or any other alcoholic or premium non-alcoholic beverage delivered to your room will come with an extra cost.

4. Minibar

Just like room service, the drinks that are waiting for you in your stateroom's minibar are not included in any drink package.

It can be tempting to grab something out of the minibar, but keep in mind anything taken from the minibar will be charged to your SeaPass card.

5. Very few beers

Royal Caribbean's all-you-can-drink alcohol packages include plenty of beers.  In fact, nearly all the beers available on your Royal Caribbean cruise are included in the drink packages but there are a few exceptions.

In general, the excluded beers come with a slightly higher cost because they are often in rather large size.  Chimay Blue 750ml is the one beer that is not included in the drink packages.

Spotted: Coca-Cola Olympics design souvenir cups on Royal Caribbean cruise ships

In:
06Aug2016

Just in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, guests on Royal Caribbean can enjoy new souvenir Coca-Cola cups on their cruise.

The new souvenir cups are available on Royal Caribbean ships when a guest purchases one of the unlimited drink packages.

It is not clear how long these will be available, but it seems to be a recent addition.

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.

Spotlight: Drink cards on Royal Caribbean cruises

In:
Category: 
23Jun2016

Have you heard about the drink cards Royal Caribbean has offered on select sailings that offer a reduced cost for a select amount of drinks?  

Drink cards started popping up in the last year or so, building on the popularity of Royal Caribbean's beverage packages. Guests like having a predictable and convenient way to enjoy all the drinks they like, and Royal Caribbean likes getting guests spending more money for their cruise.  The thing is, many guests opt not to get a drink package because they do not feel they can drink enough to make the package worthwhile financially.

Drink cards are the alternative to drink packages, where guests pay a fixed-cost for a card that can be used to purchase pretty much any drink that the drink package would cover. 

If you have heard about the drink cards before, or are wondering how to get one and how they work exactly, this will help answer all of your questions.

How does the drink card work?

Drink cards can only be purchased on a Royal Caribbean ship from almost any bar or lounge. Each card is good for ordering ten drinks.

At the time of purchase, guests pre-pay the card's full amount and then can use it at any bar, restaurant or lounge onboard to get a drink.  For each drink they order, the waiter or bartender will mark off one of the numbers on the bottom to card to indicate it was used.

The drink cards cover pretty much any drink that a regular drink package covers. This includes most beers, glasses of wine, and cocktails, as well as fountain sodas, specialty coffee and fresh juices.  The drink card also covers the gratuity for the purchase.

One key difference between the drink card and a drink package is the benefits of a drink card are shareable with other guests.  So you can purchase a card and let your spouse, friends or family use the card benefits as well.

What does the drink card not include?

The Royal Caribbean drink card does not include mini bar items, canned sodas, bottled juice and souvenir glassware, specialty beers as listed on bar menus, or super premium category beverages.

How much does a drink card cost?

The price seems to differ from ship to ship and sailing to sailing.  We have heard of the drink card costing somewhere between $70-$90 per card. 

The card cost will be charged to your SeaPass account and is non-refundable.

Can I get a drink card on my upcoming cruise?

Here is the catch about the drink card: you can never be sure it will be available on your cruise or when on the cruise it will be available.

Even if it is offered, it tends to become available on various days of the sailing.  Some cruises have seen it on day 3 of a seventh night cruise, others on day 5 of a seven night cruise. Other times it was offered on the last day of a 4 night cruise.

Each Royal Caribbean ship has been given the option to test different beverage package offerings onboard. The decision of which program to offer, if any, is made by the ship. That means, there is no guarantee it will be available on your sailing, or when it will be available and for how much.

Essentially, you will not be able to determine if a drink card will be available until you are onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise and well into the sailing.

Are the drink cards a good value?

In all the variations of the drink package we have seen, the drink card makes a lot of financial sense, assuming you can drink the ten drinks allocated and drink cocktails.  If you neglect to consume even one beverage offered by the card by the end of your cruise, it is a poor decision.

Taking the $90 card cost as a "worst case scenario," that means each drink costs you $9, including gratuity. Depending on which drink you buy, most mixed drinks cost between $10-12 (before gratuity).

In addition, the drink card can be shared, which makes it a far more powerful value.  It is great for family and friends who cruise together, and can pool together their drinking onto these cards and save everyone money.

The drink card does cover other kinds of beverages other than cocktails, but they are poor choices to use the drink card for.  Assuming each drink is $9 with the drink card, most beers, juices, premium coffees and sodas are well below that $9 value.

If you like mixed drinks and/or wine by the glass, a drink card works quite well financially, given the per-price break down.  The key is to take advantage of drinks that are more expensive than the per-drink card value.  

Would you purchase a drink card if it were offered on your Royal Caribbean cruise? Tell us in the comments!

Spotted: New Coca-Cola souvenir cup design available on Royal Caribbean cruises

In:
30Apr2016

There is a new design for the souvenir Coca-Cola cups guests get with their unlimited drink packages.

The new souvenir cups are available on Royal Caribbean ships when a guest purchases one of the unlimited drink packages.

It is not clear yet when these new souvenir cup designs began being sold, but it is likely to have changed somewhat recently.

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!

Spotted: New Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol package waiver

In:
28Apr2016

Royal Caribbean is starting to have guests sign waivers prior to purchasing one of its unlimited alcohol packages on at least one Royal Caribbean ship.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Rich Triplett spotted this new waiver specifically for guests who wish to purchase an unlimited drink package on Independence of the Seas.

The waiver reinforces the rules of the drink package, and focuses on a few key aspects of the package rules

  • Your package is for your own personal use only
  • One drink at a time
  • Safety (as it pertains to being over-served)
  • Drinks excluded from the drink package
  • Room service and mini bar not included

Guests must sign at the bottom of the form during the purchasing process.

It is not clear if this waiver is being made available to guests on other Royal Caribbean ships yet, but it may be a sign of things to come.

Royal Caribbean raising prices of unlimited drink packages

In:
06Jan2016

Royal Caribbean is beginning to raise the prices of its popular unlimited alcohol packages on select sailings.

We ran spot checks across a variety of Royal Caribbean sailings in 2016 and 2017 and found in more than half the cases, the drink package pricing has changed as follows:

  • Select drink package: $46.02 per day (old price $42)
  • Premium drink package: $57.82 per day  (old price $57)
  • Ultimate drink package: $69.62 per day  (old price $67)

The increase has also affected the non-alcolohic drink packages.  Most notably, there is now no longer a change in price between children and adults for the Royal Refreshment package.

  • Royal Replenish package: $22.42 per day (old price $22)
  • Royal Refreshment package 
    • Adults: $9.44 per day (old price $8)
    • Children: $9.44 per day (old price $5.50)

Interestingly enough, the Evian bottled water package went down in price

  • Evian bottled water package: $46.02 (old price $47)

The new pricing does still include the service charge.

The change in pricing is not reflective of all Royal Caribbean sailings we have seen.  Some sailings still reflect the old pricing, and it is unclear as of yet if or when this new pricing will spread fleetwide.

Royal Caribbean has not increased the base price of its drink packages since they debuted in 2012, although they have played with service charge pricing, as well as increasing the service charge to 18%

What do you think about the drink package pricing change? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Spotted: Royal Caribbean 10 drink punch card ticket on Grandeur of the Seas

In:
30Dec2015

Royal Caribbean is testing a new punch card system on Grandeur of the Seas for guests to enjoy 10 drinks for a fixed price.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Rich T shared this photo from the Cruise Compass on Grandeur of the Seas, wher guests could purchase 10 drinks for $89.95.

The drink card is valid for the purchase of most beers, glasses of wine and cocktails as well as fountain soda and specialty coffee.

Guests had reported also seeing this kind of a drink card system tested on other ships, including Liberty of the Seas.

This just one of a few tests Royal Caribbean is testing in regards to different beverage packages and price structures these days. With ships full of guests that are more inclined to party with the holidays, it seems to be an opportunity to try offers like this punch card out.

Royal Caribbean spokesperson Celia de la Llama told Cruise Critic, "Ships have been given the option to test different beverage package offerings onboard.  The decision of which program to offer, if any, is made by the ship."

Earlier this week, a one day sea day beverage package was also spotted on a few Royal Caribbean ships.

Would you buy a drink ticket like this instead of an unlimited alcohol package? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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