How To Save Money On The Royal Caribbean Drink Package

By Ashley RossiAshley RossiAshley RossiAshley has been a travel writer and editor for nearly a decade for brands like Tripadvisor, SmarterTravel, Family Vacationist, Roadtrippers, and more. Her travels have taken her from Borneo to the Arctic Circle in search of engaging stories that inspire people to book a trip out of their comfort zone.Meet Our Team | Updated on April 11, 2024 | Posted In: Cruises

If you’re looking forward to your next (or first) Royal Caribbean cruise, the high cost of drinks will likely dampen your excitement. If you’re debating whether or not the Royal Caribbean drink packages are worth it, you’ve come to the right place. With prices ranging from $55 to $105 per day for packages that include alcoholic beverages, it’s understandable to want to try and budget.

If you love drinks, a Royal Caribbean drink package will likely save you money in the end, but it’s good to understand your options when it comes to purchasing a Royal Caribbean drink package. This article will help determine if a Royal Caribbean drink package suits you. 

Royal Caribbean Drink Packages

There are three primary Royal Caribbean drink packages that are offered for guests:

  • Classic Soda Package ($13 per person per day)
  • Refreshment Package ($38 per person per day)
  • Deluxe Beverage Package ($55 to $105 per person per day)

Features and contents vary across packages. In a nutshell, the Deluxe Beverage Package is centered on alcoholic drinks. It includes gratuity and practically all drinks except for a few cases, like drinks in souvenir cups. The Refreshment Package includes the same beverages as the Deluxe Package minus alcoholic drinks. The Classic Soda Package, on the other hand, contains soda.

You can also purchase additional bundles and upgrades including the Cafe Select Coffee Card ($31 per card) and Evian Bottled Water Package ($39 to $69), or you can add on VOOM® high-speed internet to the Classic Soda and Deluxe Beverage packages.

What If I Don’t Purchase a Royal Caribbean Drink Package?

Royal Caribbean charges for beverages a la carte if you don’t purchase a drink package. An 18% gratuity will be added every time you order a drink.

While this increases the cost of drinks, it may be more cost-effective than the deluxe bundle if you drink sparingly.

Reasons Why Some People Want To Cheat The Royal Caribbean Drink Package

  • The drink package isn’t flexible in terms of usage schedule. So, customers must either pay for the drink package each day of their cruise or go without it entirely. Because you have to buy it every day of the trip, some people feel it’s unfair.
  • If a passenger in a cabin bought a deluxe drink package, all passengers of legal drinking age must do the same. Couples and groups whose members have widely varying alcohol preferences may find this frustrating. Some cruisers have had luck calling the cruise line and asking for an exception to this rule.
  • Those who want their money’s worth daily are encouraged to drink more than they usually would be under this drinking package system, which might result in increased alcohol consumption.
  • Vacation cruises are already costly, drink packages are another example of consumers being charged for services that they will never use.

Royal Caribbean Drink Package Hacks

If you wish to purchase a Royal Caribbean Drink Package but are still interested in saving money, the following tips and tricks will help you get the most bang for your buck.

Before going on a cruise, buy your chosen drink package.

Look for deals up to 3 days before your cruise departs. You may also log onto the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean’s website and buy the package in advance. Before the day of your trip, log on to the website and check to see if any discounted options are still available.

After you’ve booked your trip, keep an eye on the prices of the various drink packages. If the cost of the drink package reduces after you buy it, you can cancel and rebook it at the lower price until your departure date.

Ask for top-shelf liquor at the bar.

If you can, always order and look for top-shelf liquors. Since you’re already required to pay a daily price for drinks, why not ensure those drinks are high-quality? Whether you’re ordering a shot of liquor or a drink, mention that you want anything from the top shelf.

Share your drink package.

Break the rules and give your friend a shot of your booze. Many passengers have succeeded with this strategy despite violating Royal Caribbean’s policies. You only need to buy one Deluxe Beverage Package (which contains alcoholic beverages) and one Refreshment Package (non-alcoholic beverages) for each additional person (which is strictly non-alcoholic drinks). Someone with access to the Deluxe Package can discreetly share their alcoholic purchases with their friend.

Even though you’re free to do so, Royal Caribbean forbids the practice and won’t issue a refund if you’re spotted sharing your Deluxe Beverage Package. Remember to proceed with caution if you decide to go on this route.

Throughout the day, order non-alcoholic drinks such as juice, coffee, and soda as part of your beverages package.

Take advantage of the deluxe drink package by ordering sodas and juices throughout the day—your bundle includes more than simply alcoholic drinks. Coffee, tea, fountain sodas, juices, bottled water, and mocktails are all part of the Deluxe Beverage Package. Get your money’s worth by purchasing various drinks throughout the day.

Take some water when going on excursions.

Bring along water to drink when at ports. Royal Caribbean usually lets you grab a few water bottles regardless of your drink package, so you can carry them anywhere.

Free and completely safe tap water is always available on Royal Caribbean ships. If you’d like to have six, 12, or 24 bottles of water brought to your cabin, you can purchase the water package. Having some water with you can minimize costs when going on an excursion.

Carry your own bottle of wine on board.

Don’t want to spend money on a drink? Bring a bottle of wine on board. While all other alcoholic beverages are banned, wine is permitted on Royal Caribbean cruises. All adults can bring one sealed 750-milliliter bottle of wine or champagne.

There’s a corkage cost of $15 if you wish to consume your wine out in public. However, if you drink the wine in your room, there aren’t any fees.

Can I Purchase a Single-Day Drink Package on Royal Caribbean?

You need to buy a drink package for the entirety of your trip. So for example, if you’re traveling on a 7-day cruise, you have to pay for 7 days’ worth of drink package.

Is It Worth Cheating the Royal Caribbean Drink Package?

Finding ways to cheat the Royal Caribbean beverage package is a difficult task. Royal Caribbean does a fantastic job of monitoring shipboard behavior.

In addition, smuggling alcohol into the ship could result in losing your alcohol package, no refund, and even possible expulsion from the cruise. Avoid the drink package entirely if you drink infrequently, or stick to ordering top-shelf liquors and carrying wine onboard to save money.

Bottom Line: Is It Worth It to Get the Royal Caribbean Drink Package? 

Do the math to ensure you use money wisely before buying a drink package from the cruise line. The truth is that for some customers, the unlimited drinks bundle is money well spent. Others wind up paying more than they would have on buying beverages for themselves. 

Think ahead about how you’ll manage your alcohol intake while cruising. When on vacation, some folks are okay with imbibing every day. Some people like to partake a few times a week, whereas others prefer to avoid drinking altogether. 

If you get a drink package, you must pay for it every day of the trip, even if you don’t drink. Those who consume less regularly or expect to spend less time ashore may find it challenging to recoup their costs with this package. 

But, if you often partake in alcoholic beverages, you may discover that it works to your advantage. This is the case for shorter cruises, where it’s simpler to maintain a lively atmosphere, as opposed to longer journeys of a week or more. 

Set a daily drinking limit for yourself. After doing the math, you’ll know if the drink package is less expensive compared to buying beverages separately.

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