“Is the beverage package worth it?” That is a question I am frequently asked by clients. As a traveler, I never purchased one because I didn’t think it was worth the money and would not save me any money. As a travel agent, I am willing to try everything once, so I can offer well-researched advice. After booking our most recent cruise, and first on Royal Caribbean, it was time to research!
Royal Caribbean offers several drink packages, although we only considered two – the refreshment package and the deluxe beverage package. Both packages offer fountain sodas, Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages, Coca-Cola souvenir cup, bottled still and sparkling water, premium coffees and teas, fresh squeezed juices, and non-alcoholic cocktails (mocktails). The deluxe beverage package offers cocktails, spirits, liquor, beer, and wine by the glass. The price difference on our sailing was $32 per person per day. Honestly, I didn’t think the deluxe package would be worth it, but I am so happy that we decided to splurge!
5) Convenience: When using a Royal Caribbean drink package, you order, give the server your key card, and enjoy! No signing, tipping, anything. You can also refill your own Coca-Cola souvenir cup at the Coca-Cola Freestyle locations, avoiding long lines, or waiting for an available server.
4) Value: Keep in mind that prices are subject to change without notice. For our sailing, the refreshment package was $20 per day per person. The deluxe beverage package was $52 per person per day. Sodas were $3.50 plus tax and gratuity, still bottled water was $2.25 plus tax and gratuity, and cocktails were between $10 and $13 plus tax and gratuity. We easily had 10 bottles of water per person per day. One rule to be mindful of is alcoholic beverages cannot exceed $13. If you order a more expensive drink, you will be charged the overage.
3) Unlimited Beverages: Drinks are completely unlimited. You can have as many drinks as you desire each day. Since we were on the deluxe package, we enjoyed several cocktails, sodas, and bottled waters each day. We went well over our total cost of $104 per day.
2) Variety: On vacation, I like being able to indulge. I loved having access to premium coffee and fresh squeezed juice each morning! My husband loved the espresso bar onboard and having specialty coffee drinks each day. There is a Starbucks onboard, however, it is not part of any beverage package. I enjoyed a mimosa for breakfast, even at Windjammers – the buffet breakfast. We wanted a quick breakfast the morning we docked at CocoCay but didn’t want to sacrifice coffee and juice especially. And let’s be honest – fresh squeezed juice trumps ANY other juice, PERIOD.
1) All-inclusive feel: When purchasing a beverage package on Royal Caribbean, you pre-pay taxes and gratuities on beverages. We went ahead and prepaid all gratuities (stateroom hostess, server, assistant server, and maître d) prior to sailing. Since it was a shorter sailing and we wanted to optimize relaxation, we knew we wouldn’t be purchasing much onboard. We paid $0.00 onboard. It was nice knowing what we had spent and being able to budget ahead of time. We were truly shocked that everything we had was included since many cruise lines cap the number of drinks you are allowed.
I am a very budget-conscious person. I want to see what I am spending my money on and want to make sure I am getting a great deal. With everything we consumed, I can 100% say the deluxe beverage package was worth it. If you have 3 alcoholic drinks per day, in addition to soda, coffee, and bottled water, you will absolutely save money. And I highly recommend the mojito from The Bamboo Room on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas!