There's nothing more typical of cruising than sitting by the pool with a cool cocktail in hand, but the fact is that beverages (both alcoholic and non) can get a little bit pricey at sea, especially after you add them all together over a few days or weeks. Fortunately there's an easy solution for this which doesn't involve giving up your favourite tipple. Drinks packages can save your bank account from running dry while you're staying hydrated, and also provide peace of mind: there's no need to worry about the price of that second glass of wine with dinner or how many pina coladas you've had that afternoon. Responsible drinking is always best, but there's no reason you can't save some money while having fun on holiday! Please note: prices quoted are accurate at time of publication but are subject to change at any point.
P&O drinks packages
Over the last few years, P&O Cruises have really stepped up their drinks package game. The cruise line now offers 4 different options, 2 available on every cruise and 2 more available on cruises of 7 nights or more.
- The Soft Drinks Package (per day: AU$7.00 pre-purchase / AU$7.50 onboard) is just what it sounds like: unlimited soft drinks for a low price.
- The Refreshment Drinks Package (per day: AU$19.00 pre-purchase / AU$25.00 onboard) works well for those aren't going to be drinking a lot of alcohol but still want to enjoy tasty beverages. Soft drinks, tea & coffee, juice, mocktails and bottled water are all included.
- The Premium Beverage Package (per day: AU$79.00 pre-purchase / AU$89.00 onboard) has just about every drink you might want, except for tea & coffee and energy drinks. Soft drinks, juice, mocktails, bottled water, beer and cider, wine (up to $12 per glass), spirits (up to $12 per glass) and cocktails up to $12 are all included.
- The Lot! Beverage Package (per day: AU$95.00 pre-purchase / AU$105.00 onboard) is very similar to the Premium Beverage Package, but in addition to all of the above it includes tea & coffee and energy drinks. These extra options bump up the price a little above Premium.
Royal Caribbean drinks packages
Royal Caribbean is all about a good time and plenty of entertainment - and they have been offering beverage packages in Australia for many years. You'll find three major drinks packages (aside from water bottle packages which sees 12 or 24 packs of Evian delivered to your stateroom):
- Classic Soda Package (per day: US$8.50 excl. gratuity) includes fountain soda and refills in any onboard venue, plus Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages and a souvenir cup.
- Premium Refreshment Package (per day: US$26.00 excl. gratuity) covers premium coffees and teas, mocktails, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh squeezed orange juice, and everything included in the Soda Package.
- Deluxe Beverage Package (per day: varies - usually between US$44.00-55.00) is the way to go if you want it all: cocktails, spirits, beer, wine and all of the other beverages and perks mentioned above are included.
Princess Cruises drinks packages
Princess Cruises has three main beverage packages, though only one of them includes alcoholic drinks. It's worth getting in touch with cruise experts to double check your Princess drinks options because the cruise line has some special rules and exceptions for sailings departing from Australia and New Zealand.
- New Grounds (per card: US$35.65 excl. gratuity) is a coffee card which entitles you to 15 specialty espresso-based coffees - this is a must for anyone who needs a regular caffeine fix or insists on good quality coffee.
- Unlimited Soda & More (per day: US$8.05 excl. gratuity) includes fountain soft drinks, juices, mocktails and hot chocolate.
- Premier Package (per day: US$59.99 excl. gratuity / AU/NZ based voyages: AU$86.99 incl. gratuity) is Princess' top tier bundle, with cocktails, wine, beer, tea, bottled water, specialty coffees and more all included.
Celebrity Cruises drinks packages
There are plenty of options for Celebrity cruisers who want to add a drinks packages to their cruise. The cruise line offers three major package categories (Non-Alcoholic, Wine, and Premium, Classic & Standard) but within each of these three brackets are several more choices for guests to select from. Below are a few highlights from Celebrity's extensive array of drinks packages.
- The Premium Non-Alcoholic Package (per day: from US$22 excl. gratuities) lets you treat yourself even if you're not much of a drinker. Premium bottled water, specialty teas and coffees, Red Bull energy drinks and non-alcoholic frozen drinks and smoothies are all included.
- The Classic Wine Package (per day: from US$109 excl. gratuities) includes a selection of palate-pleasing wines, including noteworthy reds from Argentina and whites from New Zealand.
- The Premium Package (per day: from US$65.00 excl. gratuities) covers all your bases with inclusions such as cocktails, spirits, beers, wines, coffee & tea and Coca Cola products.
Holland America Line drinks packages
Holland America has four main beverage packages, not including a water package which offers 12 1L bottles for a discounted price. There's something to suit every cruise guest here, from adult to child.
- The Elite Beverage Package (per day: US$54.95 excl. gratuities) allows guests to enjoy premium handcrafted cocktails from Master Mixologist Dale De Groff's collection, in addition to the inclusions you'd usually expect from a premium package like premium spirits, cocktails, wines, beers and non-alcoholic beverages.
- The Signature Beverage Package (per day: US$44.95 pre-purchase / US$49.95 onboard excl. gratuities) is an excellent middle-ground option which includes standard selections of spirits, wine, beer, soda, coffee and cocktails.
- The Quench Beverage Package (per day: US$17.95 excl. gratuities) includes all the non-alcoholic beverages you could want: juices, bottled water, mocktails, specialty coffees and non-alcoholic beers are on offer.
- The Coca-Cola Package (per day: US$8.00 excl. gratuities) offers unlimited fountain sodas (and on the ms Konigsdam, the Coca-Cola Freestyle program).
Carnival Cruise Lines drinks packages
Those seeking unlimited poolside cocktails are out of luck with Carnival - the line doesn't offer any alcoholic beverage packages on their Australia-based ships. However, drinks are of course available for individual purchase in bars throughout. You can also opt for the "Bottomless Bubbles" soda package (per day: Adults at AU$7.25; Kids at AU$5.50) which includes unlimited juice and soft drinks.
Pair one of our cheap cruises with a drinks package for an excellent, affordable cruise holiday.