Should You Buy A Drinks Package On A Cruise?


Cruise Drinks Packages

Should You Buy A Drinks Package On A Cruise?

You’re about to discover eight reasons to consider before you buy a cruise drinks package on your cruise.

Drinks packages have become a huge thing and I’m going to take a look at eight reasons why you should think carefully before you buy drinks packages.

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First of all, drinks packages are pretty expensive. You could be spending up to $60 per person per day, and many cruise lines require all adults in a cabin to buy a drinks package if one of them buys one.

If you’re traveling with your partner, or a friend, that means you could be spending a $120, or more a day, on drinks. That’s $840 for a week-long cruise. Some cruises cost less than the drinks package could be costing you!

It can be pretty expensive. If you want to control your budget and make sure that you spend less, not having a drinks package is probably a good idea because you can keep an eye on what you’re spending every day, either on the ship’s App or by checking in with guest services.

You’re probably going to find you spend a lot less. Cost is definitely one thing to think about.

Light drinker

The next key reason for not getting a drinks package is if you don’t drink a lot. You have to drink a surprisingly large amount to get value from your drinks package. For example, you’ll find with many drinks packages you need to be drinking up to 12 beers a day or perhaps 5 or 7 cocktails a day before the drinks package ends up costing you less than buying drinks individually.

You have to drink a large amount to really make many drinks packages work. If you don’t drink a lot, a drinks package could end up costing you significantly more than just buying drinks individually.

Many drinks packages also limit you on the number of drinks you can have, and that could be between 12 and 15 drinks a day.

Before you buy a drink package, think seriously about how many drinks you’re going to have every single day and work out if you’re going to save yourself money.

Port and sea days

A very important watch out before you get a drinks package is, think about the type of cruise you’re on.

If you are on a cruise that is in port every day, and you’re the sort of person that wants to get off the ship to explore and discover the ports, your time on board is going to be relatively limited.

If you’re off first thing in the morning and perhaps back later in the day, you’re only going to have the hours in the evening to drink, and you could find you have to drink a huge amount of drink in a very short space of time to make your drinks package worthwhile, or you’re going to forfeit the benefit of a drinks package.

Think carefully about the cruise and if it has lots of sea days and you’re going to be drinking during the day, you might find a drinks package does work out better.

If you’re on one of those cruises, particularly the Caribbean, where the cruise line goes to one of their own islands, check if the drinks package applies when you’re on the island. That’s not always the case, and you might find that your drinks package when you’re on the island you can’t use.

Think about the mix of sea to port days, and realistically how many drinks are you going to be having when you are on board the ship every day. Heavy port intensive days may make it less important to have a drinks package.


Another good reason for not getting a drinks package is if you are a real connoisseur, particularly of wines, whiskies, any type of spirits or are very specific about the mixer that you like with your drinks, buying a drinks package could be a bad idea.

Most drinks packages, depending on the level that you get, will restrict you to house brands or certain brands of spirits, beers or wines. If you want a specific type of whisky or you’re a real wine buff, you’re going to find that you’re paying extra on top of the drinks package to get those.

If you are the sort of person who likes a very specific mixer, you’ll find that most of the mixers within drinks packages are just soda mixers. Those bar pump things. They’re not branded, so if you like a very specific brand, you’ll find having a drinks package could be a bad idea because you’re going to end up having to pay to have those very specific mixers or alcohol brands.

If you’re a real connoisseur or are really fussy about the brand of alcohol or mixer be careful before you get a drinks package.

The advantage is you can check online what is included. For example, I was recently on a Celebrity Cruise and each of the different levels of drinks packages unlocked different brands and a wider range of mixers, beers and spirits. You might find that some of your favourite brands are included within the different levels, but make sure you check that.


Another good reason for not buying a drinks package is if you’re cruising in a suite.

You’ll find in many of the Suites, you have alcohol included. On some cruise lines, you get to choose full-size bottles of alcohol and they’ll keep replenishing your minibar.

You can have a lot of drink within your cabin so, if you’ve paid the premium to be in a suite, buying a drinks package on top of that, whilst it lets you have drinks outside of your cabin, you do have pretty much unlimited amount of drink within your cabin.

Some Suites also give you access to either a bar or a lounge where you can get drinks, either all day or at certain times of the day. Some of the cruise lines which have “ships within a ship” you’ll find that you can go and have drinks in that area without having to pay extra.

If you are staying in a suite, understand what drink is going to be included before you buy a drinks package.

Partner drinking

The next key reason for not getting a drinks packages is if the person you’re traveling with, your partner or your cabin mate, doesn’t drink at all or drinks very little, getting a drinks package could be a really bad idea.

Most cruise lines require every adult of drinking age to buy a drinks package if one person in the cabin buys it. If there’s two of you travelling, you both have to buy it, and if your partner doesn’t really drink, you’re spending a lot of money for very little benefit.

All of the adults in the cabin need to be committed and looking to drink a lot before you get a drinks package.

Cabin drinker

Another thought before you get a drinks package is think about where you’re going to want to have drinks. If you’re the sort of person that is going to be spending a lot of time in your cabin and drinking mostly in your cabin, having a drinks package is not a great idea because drinks packages usually never cover drinks in the minibar or drinks from room service.

They’re only going to cover drinks that you have when you’re out and about around the ship at the bars or by the pool.

If you are the sort of person that’s going to want to drink in your cabin pretty much exclusively, having a drinks package is a terrible idea because it won’t cover the drinks that you consume in there.


Another reason for not getting a drinks package is are you the sort of person that has no fear or qualms about smuggling booze on board. Cruise lines normally let you bring onboard a limited amount of drink to consume ideally in your cabin. It’s normally one or two bottles of wine.

There are a whole group of cruisers (and have a whole video about this ) that are comfortable, and have no qualms, about smuggling booze on board to drink in their cabin or decant into various drinking devices, to enjoy when they’re out and about around the ship.

I’m not saying that’s something that you should do or condoning it, but if you’re the sort of person that is happy to do that having a drinks package is probably not needed, because you’re bringing it all on board anyway.

Final thoughts

There are a whole bunch of reasons to have a drinks package, there’s also a whole lot of reasons not to have a drinks package. Hopefully you’ve found this helpful and it’s given you something to think about.

View more of my cruising tips.



Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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