Unlimited alcohol 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 UK discontinues offering unlimited alcohol packages on 3-night or shorter sailings

In:
03Aug2018

Royal Caribbean UK has discontinued offering guests an unlimited alcohol beverage package (Deluxe Beverage Package) on 2- or 3-night sailings.

The packages will only be offered on sailings of 4 nights or longer, according to Royal Caribbean UK's Alcohol Beverage Package Terms and Conditions.

According to Royal Caribbean UK's Twitter page, "this change was made in an effort to provide guests with speedy bar service, and a richer onboard experience."

As far as we can tell, this policy change only appears to affect European sailings (or at least ones departing from Southampton) at this time.

Answers to common Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol package questions

In:
08Jan2018

Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package has become incredibly popular with guests, primarily due to the option of providing all the alcohol drinks for one flat cost.

Given the interest in the drink packages, we get a lot of questions about them, and decided to list answers to the most commonly asked unlimited alcohol package questions for everyone's future reference.

The drink packages really are unlimited

While other cruise lines may impose limits on their unlimited alcohol packages, Royal Caribbean has no such rule.  Some guests coming to Royal Caribbean question just how unlimited the alcohol packages are in reality.

The answer is, there is no limit on the unlimited alcohol package and no daily caps on how many beverages you can get.

The closest thing to a limit that exists, is with the soda fountain cups each drink package receives, the automated machines do limit refills to once every 10-15 minutes.  This is prevent abuse of the self-serve soda machines.

Gratuity is included with the drink packages

When you purchase an unlimited alcohol package, your purchase price includes gratuity for every drink you order.

Royal Caribbean advertises one price for each drink package, but if you look at the receipt, you will notice a cost for the base package plus a "service charge" that covers your gratuities.

When you order a drink with the drink package, your receipt will show an 18% gratuity has already been added, although there is the option to add additional gratuity if you so choose.

Everyone in your stateroom needs to get a drink package

Since the start of 2018, all Royal Caribbean passengers 21 years of age and older (18 years in Australia and the U.K) are now required to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package if at least one other person in their cabin has one.

Royal Caribbean does provide an exemption that rule for guests that do not consume alcohol for personal, health or religious reasons.  Instead, those guests may purchase the Royal Refreshment package.  To arrange for an exemption, you must call Royal Caribbean and explain the situation.

You cannot share the drink packages with someone else

Let us be crystal clear here: it is against Royal Caribbean's rules to share the benefits of the drink package with anyone else. Period.

Royal Caribbean stipulates the drink packages are solely for the person purchasing it and if caught sharing the package, you may have your drink package canceled without refund.

You do not have to buy the drink packages on the first day

In the months (or years) leading up to your Royal Caribbean cruise, you will see a ton of advertising to purchase a drink package and even on embarkation day, there will be plenty of opportunity to buy a drink package.  But you do not have to buy it on day one.

As long as there are at least four days left in your cruise, you can opt to purchase a drink package later in your cruise and pay a prorated amount for the package.

This means on a seven night cruise, you can wait until day two or three to buy a drink package and then pay only for the remaining days of the package.

Can I upgrade a different drink package to the unlimited alcohol package?

Sometimes guests purchase or receive a less expensive drink package, and wish to upgrade it to the Deluxe Beverage Package.  The answer to if you can upgrade depends on how you got the initial drink package.

If you purchased the first drink package from Royal Caribbean, you can always cancel that package and then book the Deluxe Beverage Package.  If you are already onboard the ship, Guest Services will often allow you to pay the difference.

If you received the drink package as part of a promotion from Royal Caribbean or a travel agent, then you cannot upgrade to another package.  

Does the unlimited alcohol package work at specialty restaurants?

Yes, the unlimited alcohol package benefits extend to Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants.

Just like at any bar or lounge on your Royal Caribbean cruise, there may be liquors or drinks that are not included in the drink package because their cost exceeds the individual drink maximum limit, but cocktails, beers and even a few wines are available to enjoy with a drink package.

I see some drinks on the menu are $13, but the drink package only covers $12 drinks. 

On Oasis and Quantum class ships, Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package individual drink limit is increased to $13 to match the pricing of cocktails on those ships.

On the rest of the fleet, cocktails tend to max out at $12, and thus, the drink package limit remains the same.

Can I use the drink package as soon as I board my Royal Caribbean ship? How about on the last morning?

Yes, your drink package benefits are available as soon as you board your Royal Caribbean ship and extend throughout your cruise until you disembark.

Did we miss your question? Post it in the comments below and we will try our best to answer it!

8 awesome reasons to buy Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package

In:
24Oct2017

Perhaps no Royal Caribbean add-on purchase has become as popular as the Deluxe Beverage Package has.

In just a few short years, many guests have become drink package fans and it seems like more and more guests are purchasing them every cruise.

Whether you count yourself as one of the many that enjoy indulging in the unlimited alcohol package time and time again, or perhaps you are, "on the fence" about purchasing one, here are eight good reasons the unlimited alcohol package is, well, awesome!

8. Refillable mug is included

A nice little extra with Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package is each person that buys a Deluxe Beverage package receives a souvenir Coca-Cola refillable mug.

This mug works with the self-serve Coca-Cola machines, and can also be given to a waiter or bartender to be filled.  This means plenty of soft drinks wherever you are on the ship.

As an added bonus, you get to take it home with you after the cruise!

7. They work at Labadee and CocoCay

All of Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages can be used the cruise line's 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.

6. You will (likely) visit more bars

Royal Caribbean ships have many bars onboard, and in addition to different ambiance and decor, many bars have their own special drink menus.

If you have a drink package, a fun activity is to try out new bars and see what makes that bar or lounge special or different.  You may find Boleros serves up the best mojitos onboard, or see how good of a drink the Bionic Bar robots can create.

Bar hopping with the unlimited alcohol package is as fun as the drinking itself.

5. Perfect for use in specialty restaurants

When you think of the unlimited alcohol package, most guests instantly envision drinks by the pool or at their favorite bar but a place where the unlimited alcohol packages truly shine are at the specialty restaurants.

Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants often offer a special menu of cocktails and beverages unique to those restaurants, that are not advertised anywhere else onboard.

Furthermore, the drinks at the specialty restaurants are rarely, if ever, discounted, so guests paying cash for these drinks will have to pay the full price.

With the unlimited alcohol package, guests can sample as many of these specialty cocktails as they like, because most are included in the Deluxe Beverage Package.

4. Less vacation stress

If you ask someone who got back from a Royal Caribbean cruise what they thought of the unlimited alcohol package, inevitably you will hear about how simple it was to order drinks and not worry about receipts.

When you take away all those bar tabs paying a la carte, the SeaPass account quickly gets shorter and easier to read.

In addition, gratuity is included with the unlimited alcohol packages (in North America), so there is no more figuring out how much to tip the bartender or waiter. 

The entire drink ordering process seems to fly by, without feeling you are doing a high school math problem at the end of your cruise.

3. One fixed cost for all drinks

One of the chief benefits of the Deluxe Beverage Package is there is one fixed cost for all your drinking onboard.

Instead of worrying about if you really should order one more mojito, the cost is already set, so it is all about what you want, when you want it.

Guests that pre-purchase the unlimited alcohol packages can not only get a fixed cost for their drinks onboard, but can also break apart the total cost of the cruise.

2. Trying new drinks

Since the cost of all your drinks is set with the unlimited alcohol packages, you can sample new drinks without fear of wasting your money.

Royal Caribbean ships offer a lot of drinks to choose from and sometimes you might be tempted to try a drink but worry you might not like it and feel obliged to finish it because you paid for it.

With the drink packages, there is no buyer remorse over drinks you do not like.  Place it to the side and order another! The cost is the same to you.

1. Money saver

By far, the best reason Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package is awesome is because it can save you money.

If you do your part to consume enough drinks each day of your cruise, you should be able to come out ahead with the amount of drinks you ordered versus how much those drinks would have cost you if you paid cash.

While the previous seven reasons are all perfectly good rationale for ordering an unlimited alcohol package, the basic point of the package is to ensure you are drinking enough to break even, if not come out ahead.

With the packages, guests can enjoy as many drinks as they like and (hopefully) come home with more money left in their pocket than if they had bought those drinks a la carte.

Do you think Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package is awesome? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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!

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!

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

In:
20Oct2016

Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package is the cruise line's unlimited alcohol offering for guests to enjoy a wide variety of drinks for one fixed price.

Since Royal Caribbean revamped its unlimited alcohol packages in September 2016, there is now one unlimited alcohol package for guests who wish to "have it all" and lock in their price.  Beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, water and more are all included in this package and purchasing the deluxe drink package means you will know your cost for drinks in advance and be able to lock it in now.

You can read more about what the different unlimited beverage packages are and how they work.

What does the deluxe drink package include?

Guests can choose between unlimited cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee, tea, and bottled water. 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.

Guests with Deluxe drink package can also get 40% discount on wines under $100. Wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount.

All Beverage Packages exclude any beverages served inside licensed Starbucks stores, such as those on Oasis-class ships.

How much is the deluxe drink package?

The base price is $55 per person, per day excluding the service charge, which will be added to the package price upon purchase.

This means the daily price you pay covers all the drinks in the package as well as gratuity.

Often, there are pre-cruise discounts available for guests that purchase the drink package online, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.

Who is the deluxe drink package best for?

Guests who want to be able to pick from the widest variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will want the deluxe package.  

Royal Caribbean advertises the deluxe package as having "virtually unlimited options" and that is pretty close to the truth.  Guests who can consume a lot of cocktails, beers, coffees, juices and more are well-suited for this package.  

A common scenario we hear about is a guest who likes to drink a lot of coffee and/or juice in the morning, and then enjoy alcoholic beverages during the day and evening.

Can I get souvenir glasses/mugs while using the deluxe drink package?

You can get drinks like Labadoozies, Coco locos, after dinner shots or the drink of the day with the deluxe drink package but does not include the souvenir mugs/glasses they are often served in.

You should tell your waiter or bartender to get the drink without the souvenir cup to avoid being charged extra for the souvenir cup.

Can I purchase the deluxe drink package and share drinks with someone I know onboard?

No, sharing beverages on any of Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages is strictly prohibited.

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