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Drinking package


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This is my first cruise EVER.  I knew there were extras and add ons, but. I didn’t realize how many options to decide on and need some guidance regarding the drink (alcoholic drink) package  

I am traveling with my husband and two young daughters. We are fine drinking water so I won’t need the adult or child beverage package. I don’t drink a lot and neither does my husband but I also don’t want to not get the package and  end up over-spending. I’d also like to “sneak” my kids a pina colada here and there. I guess my main question is:  How easy is it to buy one drink package and kind of finagle drinks for the rest of my family. Do they watch you like a hawk? 
 

thx!

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If I remember correctly, you can only get 1 drink at a time and there is a time limit between drinks as well. Also, one thing to think about is when you are in port your drink package is just burning daylight. They are the ones making money at that point since you are off the boat and can't get to the bar on the ship until you get back. If you don't drink much, search the internet for the "shampoo bottles" that are out there to take you own alcohol of choice in your luggage with you real shampoo!  

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Drink packages are a big money maker for the company (just listen to their investor quarterly report). Unless you are a heavy drinker, like 6 to 9 drinks every day, it's hard to justify.

For reference, on my 3/22 Carnival cruise - Pepsi was 3.25, beer was 8.85, glass of wine at dinner 12.00, gratuity included. I think mixed drinks were under 15.

I'm not sure about now, but at one time, some cruise lines required everyone to be on the same program - all either with drink package or without. Others may have more current info on that. 

Enjoy your cruise

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Got off the Vista a few weeks ago and a few things are still true:

1) Everyone who is of age and in the same cabin is required to buy or not buy the drink package so you can't buy one package and sneak drinks to your husband or anyone else. This is specifically to avoid the situation you describe. 

2) They did watch the 5 minute limit between drinks, I believe the computer at the bar will not allow your particular Cheers package to work until 5 minutes have passed. That is my experience anyway. Using my wife and I as an example, we "needed" 4 drinks and they scanned and waited then scanned again and we carried them back to our cabin. 

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Also, as far as water goes, you can and I always do order a few cases of bottled water to be delivered to the cabin and then I bring flavor packets. You have to order the water before the cruise and it is delivered day one. It's nice to have water handy especially with the heat. The water is actually pretty reasonable. 

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If one adult in the same cabin has the adult beverage package then all adults must purchase it also. I purchase it because I love the convenience of it. I do however plan on keeping track of how I use it on my upcoming cruise, to see if it is a good value for me. Keep in mind you can also use it for coffees, milkshakes and more! I did not know this on my first cruise, apparently I didn’t do a good job reading all about it! So looking forward to my next cruise in June!

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Not sure if you have sailed yet, but any add-on is not a real requirement, as all can be purchased or paid for a la carte once on board. It's just for some the various packages make better financial sense, while for others they can do without.

The big thing for many is by prepaying or making a purchase order through the Cruise Manager lowers their on board spending so that they can spread the payment for these things out at their own pace and aren't hit with a big single bill to settle at the end of the cruise. In fact with proper planning and knowledge it's possible to not spend another dime on the ship once on board, though you will want cash or other funds for possible use especially while in ports.

Almost every cruise line has moved their (alcohol inclusive) drink packages to a condition where everyone of age in a single cabin must have the same package. Though this works well for adults that enjoy  at least 6-9 alcoholic drinks a day it is a hard press to justify the cost if even one is only doing non-alcoholic beverages during the trip because that person would need to have 2.5-4 times the amount of beverages to equal the package price vs. paying as they go. 

On Carnival they have gratis self serve beverages available 24/7 for the duration of the cruise. Here's a cut-n-paste of one of the best list I've found of the beverages without a menu price attached:

For Carnival the menu prices for other beverages not mentioned start at $2.25/2.50 + 18% auto assessed gratuity for a soda, juices, and bottled waters and go up from there. Also with the exception of a parent allowing religious wine at a meal or a faith service, if a cruise line finds any adult giving a minor an alcohol based drink that is grounds for all the passengers from that adult's booking to be removed from the ship at the next port, with the responsibility on the individuals to obtain transport back to home or port of departure. (As for slipping you daughters a drink most Caribbean ports the drinking age is 18 or in some they turn a blind eye to a  parent to buying alcohol for a child over a certain age, plus most frozen drinks are cheaper in port anyway.)

Edited by maryred
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/6/2022 at 9:21 AM, kefthecruiser said:

Drink packages are a big money maker for the company (just listen to their investor quarterly report). Unless you are a heavy drinker, like 6 to 9 drinks every day, it's hard to justify.

For reference, on my 3/22 Carnival cruise - Pepsi was 3.25, beer was 8.85, glass of wine at dinner 12.00, gratuity included. I think mixed drinks were under 15.

I'm not sure about now, but at one time, some cruise lines required everyone to be on the same program - all either with drink package or without. Others may have more current info on that. 

Enjoy your cruise

It's not just the alcohol.  Specialty Coffee is included as well as non-alcoholic drinks.  Also, be sure to get bottled water at dinner.   Everyone over 21 in the cabin has to buy the package.  We found on our last cruise (pre-pandemic) that the cost of the package vs. what we would have paid per-drink was pretty close, when you include non-alcoholic beverages.  I think the pre-payment rather than seeing the charges on your account at cruise end, made it worth it for us. YMMV of course. Just create a spreadsheet listing current prices of beverages and estimate what you think you'll consume vs the per-day cost of the package. If it's close, go for the package, if you think you'll spend less without it, then decline the package. I found it was easier to experiment with different drinks to see if I liked it. 

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