Are you cruising soon with Royal Caribbean and trying to decide whether you should purchase a drink package? You've come to the right place!
For most cruisers, going on vacation means wanting to enjoy drinks throughout their vacation. Having a cocktail in hand is almost a must when you’re relaxing by the pool!
While your basic cruise fare is mostly all-inclusive, certain beverages (including alcohol) typically cost extra. When you purchase one of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages, you can enjoy unlimited drinks each day of your cruise vacation for a fixed daily rate.
Royal Caribbean’s drink package can definitely pay for itself depending on how much alcohol you drink on vacation. You can save big money depending on how much you like to drink when you're cruising.
Paying for drinks individually can add up quickly, which can add unnecessary stress to your vacation budget. One of the great reasons to buy Royal Caribbean’s drink package before your cruise is being able to budget appropriately.
You deserve to relax on your cruise, not stress about how much money you're spending on drinks.
However, purchasing a Royal Caribbean drink package isn't always the best choice for everyone. There are a few factors you'll need to consider to determine if the drink package is worth it.
Here’s our ultimate Royal Caribbean drink package guide and tips!
Royal Caribbean drink package basics
If you’ve never purchased a drink package on your Royal Caribbean cruise, you might wonder exactly how it works.
Drink packages are offered on every Royal Caribbean cruise regardless of your itinerary or ship. You can enjoy your drink package in various venues and restaurants around the ship during your cruise.
Whether you're wanting a glass of wine at dinner, a cocktail when you're relaxing poolside or need to wake up with a morning latte, you can utilize your Royal Caribbean drink package all day long!
You can simply use your SeaPass card to access your drink package.
Cruisers can also access their drink packages while visiting one of Royal Caribbean's private islands, like Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Royal Caribbean allows cruisers to purchase various drink packages in the online Cruise Planner before the cruise begins. Additionally, you can purchase one of the drink packages while onboard as well; however, expect to pay more if you wait to purchase one of the drink packages until you’re onboard.
Royal Caribbean requires passengers to purchase the drink package for the entire duration of the cruise. If you wait until part way through your Royal Caribbean cruise, you have to purchase the drink package for the remaining duration of the cruise.
For shorter sailings with 3 nights or less, Royal Caribbean only allows cruisers to purchase the drink package on the first day of the sailing.
Gratuities are also included when you purchase one of Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages. This means you won't be hit with additional gratuity with each drink you enjoy during your cruise.
One of Royal Caribbean’s most recent changes to their drink package policies is important to note when planning for your upcoming cruise. If purchasing the Deluxe Beverage Package, every guest of legal drinking age sailing in the same stateroom must also have the drink package. This is an important consideration when deciding if the drink package fits your budget.
Drink Package Options
Royal Caribbean offers 4 different drink packages that cruisers can purchase for their vacation. For a fixed cost, you can enjoy unlimited drinks each day within your purchased package.
The four packages include:
- Deluxe Beverage Package
- Refreshment Package
- Classic Soda Package
- Water Package
Royal Caribbean cruisers who prefer to have bottled water during their cruise can opt to have 6, 12 or 24 packs of water delivered right to their stateroom.
Classic Soda Package
Another drink package option for Royal Caribbean cruisers is the Classic Soda package, which includes fountain soda and refills at any venue, Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages and even a Coca-Cola souvenir cup.
Royal Caribbean states the current pricing for 2022 sailings is between $12.99 and $15.00 per day of the cruise.
If cruisers are looking for more than just soda or water, Royal Caribbean offers a refreshment drink package for purchase. While this doesn’t include alcohol, cruisers can enjoy water, soda, premium coffee, freshly squeezed juices, and non-alcoholic cocktails (mocktails).
Current onboard pricing for 2022 cruises ranges from $29.00 to $38.00 each day.
Deluxe Beverage Package
Royal Caribbean’s top-tiered drink package is its Deluxe Beverage Package, which is the only option that includes alcoholic beverages. You’ll be able to enjoy premium beverages from sunrise to sunset!
In addition to everything included in the Refreshment Package, you can enjoy cocktails (up to $13 each), spirits, liquor, wine and beer all day long. You’ll also receive a 40% discount on bottled wines priced up to $100 and a 20% discount on wine prices above $100.
For 2022 Royal Caribbean cruisers, onboard pricing is currently between $63.00 and $89.00 a day.
As of recent, Royal Caribbean has implemented a dynamic pricing model where the price of the package varies based on time of the year and ship class. Be sure to check the pricing for your specific cruise itinerary before allocating your budget.
Is the drink package worth it?
Whether or not a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth it depends on multiple factors. You have to do some homework and a little math to decide whether you can make the drink package worthwhile.
Some Royal Caribbean cruisers are huge fans of the drink package while others feel it’s not always worth the money. It totally depends on how you like to cruise and how much you like to drink.
Can you breakeven?
Before deciding if you should purchase one of Royal Caribbean's drink packages, you’ll want to calculate how many drinks you consume typically consume each day on vacation.
You'll want to make sure you will be able to breakeven to ensure you are getting your money's worth. With cocktails costing around $10 to 13 each, some quick math should help put into perspective if the Deluxe Beverage Package is worth it for your stateroom.
On average, the Deluxe Beverage Package is only worth it if you drink more than 5-6 drinks each day. For some, it’s easy to consume 6 drinks in a day on a cruise. For others, it might be more difficult to reach that threshold.
Drink fatigue is also a consideration. Some cruisers feel that they find themselves drinking more than they would normally simply because they want to get their money’s worth from the drink package. It’s easy to order a drink solely because you can and feel that you should.
On a shorter cruise, you will likely find it easier to drink more than you normally would to utilize the drink package fully. Shorter cruises also tend to have a more lively and party-like atmosphere. On voyages that are longer, drinking heavily each day can get tiring and cause drinking fatigue.
Are you getting a discount?
Another factor to consider is whether you can snag one of Royal Caribbean’s pre-cruise deals before you set sail. The biggest opportunity for savings is when Royal Caribbean runs a Cruise Planner sale, in which prices can drop as low as $48 per day.
As mentioned earlier, the Deluxe Beverage Package is priced dynamically with some sailings having more expensive rates.
If you can get one of the drink packages for a very reasonable rate, it might be worth it to purchase. Just remember, you have to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package for everyone in your stateroom. Even with a discount, that can easily add an extra $1,000 to your cruise total.
Is your cruise port-intensive?
Another important factor to consider when deciding if a Royal Caribbean drink packages is worth your money depends on your cruise itinerary. More specifically, if your cruise itinerary is very port-intensive or not could help you decide whether you would get the full value from a drink package.
If you will be spending most of your day exploring the port, then you might find it difficult to take full advantage of your drink package because you are not onboard the ship as much. When you're spending a lot of time in port, you can enjoy drinks ashore for a fraction of the cost that you'd find onboard.
On the other hand, if your Royal Caribbean cruise is filled with more days at sea, you will have more time onboard to utilize your drink package during the cruise.
Are you looking for an all-inclusive experience?
Royal Caribbean cruisers who love the drink packages often feel that the even just the added convenience of the drink package makes the purchase worthwhile.
When you purchase one of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages, you will only be billed a fixed price regardless of how many drinks you enjoy. This creates a very all-inclusive feel onboard the cruise ship, meaning you don't have to worry about sticking within your budget. You can drink whatever you want whenever you want it.
There's nothing worse dreading that final bill and wondering how much you’ve racked up in drink purchases. If you get carried away when you drink, you would probably benefit from having the drink package.
Do you receive any free drinks onboard?
One final consideration when determining if you should purchase a drink package on your Royal Caribbean cruise is whether you already receive any free drinks through the loyalty program.
One of the best perks about Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor program is receiving free drinks each day of your cruise - all because you're a loyal Royal Caribbean cruiser!
For top-tier loyalty cruisers, including Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members, Royal Caribbean provides free drinks each day of the cruise.
Diamond cruisers receive 4 daily drinks, Diamond Plus receive 5 daily drinks and Pinnacle cruisers receive 6 daily drinks. This can be used for any drink up to $13 and used at any bar throughout the day.
As a Diamond Plus member myself, receiving 5 free drinks each day is plenty for me to enjoy throughout my cruise. I would not feel it’s necessary to purchase a beverage package when I am able to already receive 5 drinks each day at no additional cost.
Be sure to check whether you’re already receiving any free drinks through the Crown and Anchor program when deciding if one of the drink packages is right for you.