Weekly Wednesday – Drink Up!

Drinking champagne on Carnival Freedom in December 2019.

As you shop around for your next cruise, whether its your first or tenth, you may find yourself curious about the packages and benefits available onboard the many different ships. In the Weekly Wednesday this week, I’m going to dissect and uncover the multiple facets that lie within the drink packages that the different cruise lines have to offer. Upon first thought, you would assume that they would all be similar in design and style. Some of the cruise lines make it very easy to find this information, while others hide it. I have included links to some of the offerings so you can easily determine if your choice cruise line offers the alcohol you enjoy the most. Join us on this journey as we uncover the packages offered by many of the major cruise lines in alphabetical order (any reference to prices and/or gratuities are accurate at the time of this writing). Drink up!

Feel free to jump to one of the lines listed below, or read the whole article
American Cruise Lines | Carnival Cruise Line | Celebrity Cruises | Disney Cruise Line | Holland America Line | MSC Cruises | Norwegian Cruise Lines | Princess Cruises | Royal Caribbean International

American Cruise Lines

In a previous Weekly Wednesday post, we uncovered some of the unique information about American Cruise Lines and how they sail exclusively to U.S. ports without making an international stop. Here is something that may take you by surprise – while a 7-night sailing on one of their vessels will set you back considerably more than some of the big cruise lines, the vessels offer daily cocktail hour and complimentary wine and beer with meals. To top it all off, gratuities are also included in the cruise fare thereby leveling the playing field when it comes to comparing the different cruise options available.

Back to top

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line’s CHEERS! Beverage Program – photo: carnival.com

CHEERS! is the appropriately named drinks package offered on Carnival Cruise Line ships. The package is available for purchase before you cruise at a daily rate of $51.95 per person per day plus 18% gratuity on cruises 5 days or longer; it’s $54.95 per person per day plus 18% gratuity for 3- and 4-day cruises. If you decide to purchase the CHEERS! Package once onboard, the price increases by $5 for each package. Your cruise always includes non-bottled water, lemonade, unsweetened iced tea, hot chocolate and non-specialty coffee and tea.

If you participate in the CHEERS! Package, you can imbibe in cocktails, cognacs, whiskies and other spirits, beer, wine and champagne by the glass, all with a $20.00 or lower menu price per serving. This also includes sodas, specialty coffees and hot tea served in the main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and coffee bars, milkshakes, energy drinks, 500ml bottled water and 25% discounts off the menu price for any spirit, cocktail or wine by the glass costing more than $20 per serving, wine and champagne by the bottle and any beverage seminar or classes.

You must be at least 21 years old to participate and each adult assigned to the same stateroom must purchase the program. You must also participate in the program every day of the cruise and cannot have it on select days of the sailing. You are only allowed one drink at a time, with a 5-minute waiting period between orders and the program is maxed at 15 alcoholic drinks per 24-hour period beginning at 6am. Package may not be redeemed at the private island destinations of Princess Cays or Half Moon Cay.

Learn more about Carnival Cruise Line’s CHEERS! program here.

Back to top

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises drink programs – photo: celebrity.com

There are three different drinks packages available if you sail with Celebrity Cruises: Classic, Premium, and Drinks & More. The Classic Package starts at $59 per day and includes drinks that have a value up to $9.00 and also includes many non-alcoholic beverages. If you prefer to purchase wine by the bottle, you will receive a 15% discount. The Premium Package, starting at $69 per day, includes top-shelf selection of spirits and beers and wines. The price cap on the drinks featured in the Premium Package is $15 per drink and comes with a 20% discount on bottles of wine. The highest package Celebrity has to offer is the Drinks & More package has a starting price of $85 per day and it includes the same benefits that come with the Classic and Premium Packages, plus two bottles of wine, $50 casino credit, a wine tasting experience and a minibar setup in your stateroom that gets replenished daily when two adults have the package. The Drinks & More Package must be purchased prior to sailing while the other package levels can be purchased onboard.

Drinks sold as part of the various drink packages may only be consumed one at-a-time and may not be shared. There is a 20% gratuity charged for soda, wine, water, Classic and Premium Package prices at checkout. Any number of guests within a stateroom may participate in the drink packages without any limitation on how many drinks may be consumed in one day.

Celebrity also offers two different “Wine by the Bottle” programs. The cheaper option has “classic” wines ($109 per day), while the more expensive option boasts “premium” labels ($169 per day). They tout that when you participate in this program, your bottle will literally follow you around the ship, even to your stateroom, being delivered by their knowledgeable sommeliers.

Find out more about Celebrity Cruise’s Drink Packages here.

Back to top

Disney Cruise Line

In sticking to the family-friendly theme that was discussed in the Magical Cruises entry, Disney Cruise Line ships do not offer any type of drink packages. While they have tastings onboard and beverages available for purchase in the dining rooms, you are not able to purchase a package that includes unlimited libations during your cruise. When comparing Disney Cruise Line to the other lines, however, it is important to note that passengers are allowed to bring a maximum of 2 bottles of wine or champagne (not to exceed 750ml each) or 6 cans of beer (no larger than 12oz each). Guests can bring these provisions on at each port if desired, as long as they don’t exceed the maximum size requirements and the container being brought onboard is not open. A $25 corking fee applies to each bottle of wine and champagne brought into the dining rooms.

Back to top

Holland America Line

There are two different drink packages available on Holland America Line: Signature and Elite Packages. Starting at $54.95 per person per day, the Signature Package includes premium coffees, juices, soda, Red Bull, premium beers, spirits, cocktails, and wines by the glass all priced $11.00 and under. The Elite Package goes for $59.95 per person per day and includes the same benefits as the Signature Package, however the price per drink increases to $15.00. The drink package must be purchased for the entire sailing and comes with a 15% gratuity. Both packages have a 15 alcoholic beverage limit and may not be redeemed at Half Moon Cay (Holland America Line’s private island destination).

Find out more about the Signature and Elite Packages here.

Back to top

MSC Cruises

In keeping up with the other cruise lines, MSC Cruises offers three drink packages: Easy, Premium, and Premium Plus Packages. If you don’t mind bottom-shelf spirits and mixers, then the Easy Package is for you at $35 per person per day and can be redeemed at all onboard board, the buffet and restaurants, however specialty restaurants are excluded. The Easy Package is valid for use on selected drinks priced up to $6 which includes one brand of draft beer and/or a bottled option, selected spirits and cocktails, soft drinks and classic hot drinks. The Premium Package comes in at $62 per person per day and includes all drinks that are priced up to $12. This package can be redeemed at all bars and restaurants onboard, including specialty dining locations. The best drink package that MSC Cruises has to offer is the Premium Plus Package for $76 per person per day. This package is valid for the finest premium drinks by the glass and allows you to consume drinks and food from the minibar, applies to the room service menu and comes with a 30% discount on bottles of wine and champagne.

When purchasing one of the drink packages with MSC Cruises, they offer a 15% discount if you make your decision at least 48 hours in advance of your sailing which is the amount of the gratuities. If you purchase onboard, the 15% gratuities are added to your daily bill. Everyone in your stateroom must have a drink package when you participate in any of their options. If you have children, they aren’t excluded and will be charged $29 per child between the ages of 12 and 20 per day, and $17 per child 3 to 11 years old per day. The children have access to all mocktails, sodas, energy drinks, fruit juices, bottled mineral water, flavored water, hot chocolate, soft ice cream, organic tea and premium coffee drinks. All packages are available for use on the private island, Ocean Cay.

Learn more about the MSC Drink Packages here.

Back to top

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Drink Program – photo: ncl.com

Only one drink package is offered on Norwegian Cruise Lines which is called Premium Beverage Package. Norwegian has a different way of doing things with their “Free at Sea” offers that allow passengers to choose among 5 great perks for their sailings. One of the perks available is the Premium Beverage Package, so it’s not as likely that you will pay directly for this package if you select it as your “Free at Sea” perk. The retail value for their drink package is $99.00 per person per day and it allows you to pick up two beverages per person per transaction. It includes a variety of spirits and cocktails, wine by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to $15 retail price. Fountain soda, juice and non-alcoholic beer as also included in the package. A 20% discount is available for bottles of wine, wine and spirit experiences, tastings, or Flights purchased. The Premium Beverage Package is not valid for use at Harvest Caye bars, restaurants or venues. You will still be responsible for 20% daily gratuity on the package.

If you are sailing on Pride of America, the package has a slight variation. Called the Hawaii Beverage Package, most of the conditions are similar, however the purchase of any alcoholic drinks may be restricted in accordance with Hawaii’s Intoxicating Liquor Law and applicable to local rules and regulations.

Here’s what’s include in the Premium Beverage Package.

Back to top

Princess Cruises

Premier Beverage Package is what Princess Cruises offers to their guests who want to enjoy libations for the duration of the cruise. The package is priced at $59.99 per person per day and may be used for the enjoyment of cocktails, wine, beer, spirits, fountain soda, specialty coffees, bottled water, teas and other individual beverages at a value of $12 or less. The package also includes a 25% discount on bottles of wine, one-liter bottles of water, canned soda and bottled juices. Unlike the other Carnival brands, Princess allows the use of the drink package on their private islands. All persons within the same cabin must purchase the package and it is for the entire duration of the sailing. Gratuity amounts to 18% each day. Guests may only get one drink at a time and are limited to 15 alcoholic beverages within a 24-hour period beginning at 6am.

Learn more about the Premier Beverage Package here.

Back to top

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean’s Deluxe Beverage Package – photo: royalcaribbean.com

Sailing with Royal Caribbean International gives you access to their Deluxe Beverage Package. Here’s how it works: the package has unlimited access to fountain soda and refills, Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, Coca-Cola souvenir cup, mocktails, bottled still and sparkling water, premium coffees and teas, fresh-squeezed juices, cocktails, spirits, liquor, beer and wine by the glass. The value of the item to be consumed must have a price that does not exceed $12. Additionally, package holders are entitled to a 40% discount on wine by the bottle valued up to $100, and a 20% discount on wines priced above $100.

All guests within the same stateroom and under the same booking number who are the legal drinking age are required to purchase the exact same beverage package. Products sold in Starbucks branded stores, room service, mini bars and souvenir glassware, specialty beers at select bars or drinks priced above $12 are excluded from the package. The cost for the Deluxe Beverage Package varies by ship and sailing with a range of $63 to $89 per person per day. If your sailing includes a stop at Perfect Day at Coco Cay, you can rest assured that the Deluxe Beverage Package will continue to work ashore.

Additional details about the Deluxe Beverage Package here.

Back to top


After reading about of these different drink packages I have come to one conclusion; I’m thirsty! While most of the major cruise lines offer at least one drink package, it’s interesting to find out how similar they all really are. This is a very great source of income for the cruise lines with some of the drink packages having a similar price to the cruise itself when you consider the price of the package with gratuities. Which cruise line do you think has the best drink package available? Have you experienced a package that wasn’t worth the price?

Lots of info to digest? We thought so too! Check out the below table for a quick comparison of the lines and various packages.

American Cruise Linescomplimentary cocktail hour with beer and wine with meals (included)N/AN/A
Carnival Cruise LineN/AUp to 15 alcoholic drinks per day – under $20 per drink ($51.95-$54.95)N/A
Celebrity CruisesClassic Package – drink value $9 ($59.00)Premium  Package – drink value $15 ($69.00)Drinks & More – plus $50 casino credit, wine tasting experience + ($85.00)
Disney Cruise LineNone AvailableN/AN/A
Holland America LineN/AUp to 15 alcoholic drinks per day – under $15 per drink ($59.95)N/A
MSC CruisesEasy – drink value $6 ($35.00)Premium – drink value $12 ($62.00)Premium Plus – finest premium drinks by the glass ($76.00)
Norwegian Cruise LinesN/ADrink value up to $15 per drink ($99.00)N/A
Princess CruisesN/AUp to 15 alcoholic drinks per day – under $12 per drink ($59.99)N/A
Royal Caribbean Int’lN/ADrink value up to $12 per drink ($63.00-$89.00)N/A

5 thoughts on “Weekly Wednesday – Drink Up!”

  1. Pingback: Hungry?
  2. Pingback: Let's Play!
  3. Pingback: 2020 in Summary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *