Are Royal Caribbean Drink Packages Worth It?

If you’re planning on taking a Royal Caribbean cruise, you should know about the drink packages the company offers. 

Are Royal Caribbean Drink Packages Worth It

While these drink packages are popular with regular Royal Caribbean travelers, it’s worth analyzing the prices and knowing what’s included (and excluded) first. This will help you to work out whether it’s really worth it before you hand over your money. 

The reality is that drinking goes hand in hand with cruising, and for a lot of people, buying individual drinks at full price can make an already expensive cruise even more costly.

However, there are some circumstances that might mean the Royal Caribbean drink packages aren’t worth it for you. 

Regular Drink Prices On Royal Caribbean

Before you can decide whether Royal Caribbean drink packages are worth it, the first thing you’ll need to do is compare the drink package prices to the prices of regular, individual drinks on the ship. 

Without any of the Royal Caribbean drinks packages, you can expect to pay the following for individual drinks, plus a gratuity contribution of 18%: 

  • $7.50/$8.00 for beers 
  • $3.50 for sodas 
  • $14.00 for cocktails 
  • $7.00 for non-alcoholic cocktails 
  • Between $8.00 and $14.00 for wine 

Drink Package Prices On Royal Caribbean 

Now that we know how much drinks cost individually without the package, here’s what the different packages on Royal Caribbean cruises cost: 

  • $94 per day, per person for the Deluxe Beverage Package 
  • $13.50 per day, per person for the Classic Soda Package 
  • $36 per day, per person for the Refreshment Package 

Bear in mind that you can get discounts on package prices if you book them early. When reserved in advance, the Deluxe Beverage Package is $70 per day, the Refreshment Package is $28, and the Soda Package is just $9

All packages come with an additional gratuity of 18%, just as individual drinks do. 

Just from the figures provided above, you can see how these packages would be worth it if you’re planning to drink a certain number of drinks per day, especially if your plan is to book your package in advance. 

For example, let’s say you want to drink 6 cocktails per day. If you purchase these individually, that would come to $84 without the gratuity. With the 18% gratuity, that’s another $15.12, so the cost for the day would be $99.12 altogether. 

But, if you buy the Deluxe Beverage Package, which includes cocktails, ahead of time, you could get the same number of cocktails for $82.60 (the reduced cost for booking in advance, plus the 18% gratuity).

Royal Caribbean Drink Packages: What’s Included?

Another factor in determining whether Royal Caribbean drink packages are worth it for you is what is included in each package.

Everyone has their own preferences and requirements when it comes to refreshments, so choosing the package that includes what you’re looking for is essential if you want your purchase to be worth it. 

The Classic Soda Package 

The Classic Soda Package is the most affordable package you can get on a Royal Caribbean cruise. This package includes sodas, of course, but it also includes other non-alcoholic beverages, including juice and bottled water.

The Refreshment Package 

Royal Caribbean’s Refreshment Package is the next step up from the Classic Soda Package. It basically includes all non-alcoholic beverages, so in addition to water, juice, and soda, you can also get coffee and tea, and non-alcoholic cocktails. 

The Deluxe Beverage Package 

If you plan to drink alcohol on your Royal Caribbean cruise, the best package for you will be the Deluxe Beverage Package. This is by far the most expensive package offered by Royal Caribbean, but it’s also the most inclusive.

Your Deluxe Beverage Package will include any drinks, including alcoholic beverages, under or equal to $14. Since $14 is the most expensive wine or cocktail you can get on the cruise, this package essentially covers everything apart from mini-bar and room service drinks. 

Drink Package Exclusions On Royal Caribbean

Be aware that some drinks are excluded from Royal Caribbean drinks packages based on where and how they are purchased. 

Any drinks purchased from the Starbucks stores on board the ship, ordered from room service, bought from the duty-free, or taken from the mini-bar are not included in any of the drink packages. 

Moreover, specialty beers will have to be purchased individually. The same applies to any drink priced higher than $14 a glass

Bear these exclusions in mind when considering getting a drink package for your Royal Caribbean cruise. If you mostly like to drink specialty beer or plan on mostly drinking from the mini-bar, for example, then buying a package will not be worth it for you.

Terms And Conditions For Royal Caribbean Drink Packages

Are Royal Caribbean Drink Packages Worth It

There are also some terms and conditions travelers should know about before purchasing a drink package on Royal Caribbean. These terms and conditions limit how and when you can order your drinks. 

1. No Sharing Drinks 

Drink sharing is not allowed on Royal Caribbean cruises. There is no rule against allowing someone else to try a sip of your drink (this would be impossible to enforce anyway), but you are not allowed to use your drink package to order drinks for other people. 

2. Drinks Can Only Be Ordered One At A Time 

Passengers on Royal Caribbean are only permitted to order one drink at a time. There is no limit on the number of drinks you can order per day, but you have to order them individually. 

This is partly to help enforce the rule of not sharing drinks because it makes it impossible to use your own package to buy a round of drinks for people who don’t have a package. The rule is also in place to prevent travelers from becoming intoxicated when it comes to alcoholic beverages. 

3. Obvious Intoxication Will Lead To Cut-Off 

While there is no rule specifying how many drinks passengers can order per day with their drinks packages, when it comes to alcoholic drinks, obvious intoxication will lead to cut-off. 

Because it is not safe to be intoxicated on a moving vessel, bartenders have the right to cut you off and prevent you from ordering any more alcoholic drinks if they feel you have had too much to drink. 

4. All or None Rule For Deluxe Package 

If one person on a booking wants to purchase the Deluxe package (which includes alcoholic beverages), all other adults on the booking must do so. 

This rule can feel very frustrating, especially if some people on the booking don’t drink for personal or religious reasons, or even pregnancy, while others do. However, this condition is in place to prevent drink sharing, which is not allowed. 

The price of the Deluxe packaging specifies that it is per person, per day. This also applies to all other packages. However, the Deluxe package has the most potential to be taken advantage of since it covers more expensive beverages. 

In theory, someone could purchase the Deluxe package and use it to buy drinks for all members on their booking, which would violate the terms of the package. 

5. No Buying Packages for Specific Days Only 

If you decide to purchase a drink package, you will need to do so for the duration of your cruise. 

This means that if you’re traveling from Monday to Friday, you can’t decide to only pay for and use the package on Wednesday. You must pay the daily cost of the drinks package for every day of your booking.

How To Buy A Royal Caribbean Drink Package  

If buying a drink package for your Royal Caribbean cruise feels worth it to you, you can purchase your package in a number of ways: 

  • Buy your package on the phone before your cruise departs 
  • Use your online account to manage your booking and add a drink package before you set sail 
  • Purchase your package onboard during the first or second day of your cruise, depending on the length of your booking 

Final Thoughts 

Royal Caribbean drink packages can make the cost of enjoying refreshments, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, during your cruise much more affordable.

Bear in mind that only the Deluxe package includes alcoholic drinks, and this package must be purchased by all members of your party if one member wishes to purchase it. 

None of the packages offered by Royal Caribbean include specialty beers, drinks more expensive than $14, or beverages purchased from duty-free, Starbucks, the mini-bar, or room service. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Will Royal Caribbean Make Exceptions For Drink Package Terms And Conditions?

Some of the terms and conditions related to drink packages on Royal Caribbean may be inconvenient for some travelers. 

For example, one person on the booking might be pregnant and unable to consume alcohol, calling into question the rule about everyone on a booking having to purchase a Deluxe drink package.

If you would like to argue your case regarding any terms and conditions concerning the drinks packages, you should contact Royal Caribbean directly and explain your specific situation. 

Can I Use My Drink Package On CocoCay Island?

CocoCay Island is Royal Caribbean’s island. Your drink package will be valid when you stop at the island, as well as when you are on board the ship. Additionally, Labadee (another port included in Royal Caribbean itineraries) will accept your drink package.

Can I Add A Drink Package Part Way Through My Trip? 

If your trip includes 4 or more nights, you need to purchase your drink package by the second day. For shorter trips of 3 nights or fewer, you need to purchase your drinks package on your first day. 

Alex Kallen

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