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royal caribbean drink package

Is a Royal Caribbean Drink Package worth the cost?

Should you buy a Royal Caribbean Drink Package? Tips from a first time cruiser!

Are you planning a Royal Caribbean cruise and debating purchasing a Royal Caribbean Drink Package? Well look no further! As a novice to the cruising world, I did a lot of research before going on my Royal Caribbean Harmony of Seas cruise back in February 2020. Many people swear that the you should always get the drink package because the cost of alcohol on cruises is super expensive. Then other people say that the drink package only makes sense if you are a hardcore drinker. So which is it? Well after countless hours of research, I have put together this Royal Caribbean Drink Package guide for you so you can decide on your own!

Royal Caribbean Drink Package Options

royal caribbean drink package

Royal Caribbean currently offers four different drink package options, including alcoholic and nonalcoholic options. The exact pricing of the drink package depends on your specific cruise. Royal Caribbean offers estimated costs per person, per day. But again keep in mind that these are just estimates. If you choose to buy a drink package, you will be able to use this everywhere on the ship as well as on the Perfect Day at Coco Cay private island.

1. Water Bottle Package

This package includes 12 or 24 packs of Evian bottled water delivered to your stateroom. I could not find even an estimated price on the website. If you are interested in this option, be sure to check with Royal Caribbean directly. One thing I found very strange during my cruise was the lack of water options. I figured that drinking water would be provided in the stateroom because the tap water is not drinkable. But apparently you have to pay additionally for drinking water. PRO TIP: Bring your own refillable water bottle. There are water stations throughout the ship where you can fill up on filtered drinking water for free.

2. Classic Soda Package

Are you a soda lover? Well then this might be the package for you. The classic soda package includes unlimited Coca-Cola freestyle beverages in the provided souvenir cup. There are soda stations throughout the cruise ship with many different soda options. If you’ve never used a freestyle machine, you may be overwhelmed by how many soda options are available. This package also covers soda at any of the restaurants on board the ship. The average cost of the classic soda package is $12.99-$15.00/per day per person.

3. Refreshment Package

The refreshment package is perfect for people looking only for a nonalcoholic drink package. The refreshment package includes all of the following:

  1. Unlimited freestyle Coca-Cola sodas with souvenir cup
  2. Non-alcoholic mock-tails
  3. Bottled Water(Both Still and Sparkling)
  4. Premium Coffees and Teas
  5. Fresh Squeezed Juices

If you are the type who enjoys a specialty coffee from the cafe every morning, this may be the package for you. If you are the type who enjoys a fresh pressed post workout juice, this may be the package for you. This package covers drinks at the gym juice bar, including smoothies, juices, and protein shakes. For those who don’t plan on drinking much alcohol but want a premium drink package, this is the package for you. The average cost of this drink package is $29.00-$38.00/per day per person.

4. Deluxe Beverage Package

royal caribbean drink package
Cocktails at Jazz on 4 on Harmony of the Seas

The Deluxe Beverage Package is the most popular and ultimate drink package. The deluxe package includes just about everything you could want during your cruise with some stipulations. This package includes the following:

  1. Unlimited freestyle Coca-Cola sodas with souvenir cup
  2. Bottled Water(Both Still and Sparkling)
  3. Non-alcoholic mock-tails
  4. Premium Coffees and Teas
  5. Fresh Squeezed Juices
  6. Cocktails including spirits and liquor
  7. Wine by the Glass
  8. Beer

A few things to note: wines by the glass are included but bottles are not. If you are interested in buying a bottle of wine, you will receive 40% off of bottles under $100 if you have this package. You will also receive 20% off of bottles $100 or more. The cocktails that are included are unlimited with certain stipulations. Top shelf liquor is not included in these cocktails. The package covers cocktails that cost up to $13, which is most drinks that you will find at any bars on board.

Several other things that are not included:

  1. If you are on a cruise that has a Starbucks, no drink packages will be covered here. Starbucks is always an additional cost, with pricing comparable to any Starbucks you’d regularly visit.
  2. If you visit a wine bar, there will be glasses of wine that are priced higher than the amount covered in the drink package. These glasses will be an additional charge since they are high-end, premium wines.

Pros and Cons of Royal Caribbean Drink Package

royal caribbean drink package
Drinking Wine at Vintages in Central Park on Harmony of the Seas

Pros:

For some cruisers, this vacation is a time to completely let go and just have as much fun as possible. Drink packages are good for this type of cruiser because they are enjoying an all included experience. While they are on the cruise, they don’t have to think about the cost of anything because they have already paid for it. If you are a heavy alcohol drinker then you can actually save some money by using the drink package.

Another Pro, you get to try different drinks than you usually would if just paying per drink. People tend to try new things if they know that it isn’t going to be any additional cost. So go ahead and try that cocktail that you’ve always been curious about. If you don’t like it, well at least you haven’t paid extra specifically for that drink.

Cons:

One major Con, at least to me, is that Royal Caribbean requires every person in your stateroom to also have the same drink package as you. So if one person wants the deluxe package, then every other person in that stateroom must also pay for the same package. This is Royal Caribbean’s way of discouraging people from sharing drinks in order to save money. While for some this may not be an issue, for those who just want a casual drink every now and then this may be way too expensive for what they are actually getting.

Another Con, at least personally, is that the drink packages sometime encourage people to drink more alcohol than they usually would. In order to feel like they are getting their money’s worth, many people will keep drinking and drinking well past their tolerance. For some this may be an enjoyable way to spend their cruise, but for me it’s a recipe for disaster.

Who Should Buy The Drink Package?

If you are cruising to have the time of your life and get drunk, well then maybe the deluxe drink package is for you. When you look at the cost of the deluxe package per day, you will have to drink quite a lot of alcohol every single day in order to justify spending that kind of money. But if you are the type who likes a latte in the morning, fresh pressed juices and smoothies after a workout, several glasses of wine with lunch, pre dinner cocktails, and getting super drunk, this package would be great for you.

Who Should Not Buy The Drink Package?

If you are the type of cruiser who will most likely drink less than 5 drinks per day of your cruise, the deluxe drink package is probably not for you. In order to justify the cost of the deluxe package, you realistically have to be pretty drunk each and every day of the cruise. The other drink packages, like the soda or refreshment, are good options if you think you are still going to want sodas and juices regularly. You can always pay for alcohol separately and manage your alcohol intake better that way.

Did I buy a drink package for my cruise?

I ended up choosing not to buy any drink package for my 7 day Caribbean cruise. After running the numbers, everyone in my party decided that we were not going to be getting drunk every single day of our cruise. I personally love a nice cocktail or two with dinner and maybe even some wine after. But I just couldn’t see myself having all of those drinks every single day of my cruise. That just sounds like one giant hangover. At the end of my cruise I looked at how much my party ended up spending on alcohol and it was considerably less than the amount I would’ve spent with a drink package.

I had strongly considered getting the refreshment package because I enjoy coffee beverages and post workout smoothies quite a bit but I ended up choosing not to. The a la carte prices for these items were not nearly as marked up as I was expecting, but I am used to prices in the city. If you are coming from a small town where things are typically more affordable, you may have some slight sticker shock at some of the prices. But they are still priced rather well.

Overall Thoughts

Drinking a Guiness at Boot & Bonnet Pub

Overall, the Royal Caribbean Drink Package options can be great for a certain type of cruiser. But I don’t think that every person who travels on a Royal Caribbean cruise will feel the need to purchase one. Another thing to note, if you are suite-level guest, there are many different perks included in your stay that would make a drink package not necessary. Three guests in my party stayed in a suite and enjoyed a complimentary cocktail time every day of the cruise in a certain lounge space, The Coastal Kitchen. Here, suite guests can enjoy beer and wine for free and even bring them back to your stateroom. This is just something else to consider when you are planning your trip.

I truly hope that you found this Royal Caribbean Drink Package guide to be useful and informative. I had quite a hard time trying to decide what to choose, considering how many options there are. Whether you are a first time cruiser or a seasoned regular, I wish you all the luck in the world in planning your cruise. I hope you have a great time on your Royal Caribbean adventure! Also, during my cruise I put together an entire guide for vegans and vegetarians traveling on Royal Caribbean. If interested you can find that guide here.

Hayden

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