April 13, 2024

oWriters

Immortalizing Ideas

The In-Depth Guide to Royal Caribbean Drink Package

You have paid the deposit on your Royal Caribbean cruise and are officially are in cruise countdown mode! You can now start daydreaming about waking up to specialty coffees each morning, lounging by the pool with your drink of choice in hand, and cooling down with a soda or bottled water after an adventurous day in port.

Rest assured you will always have included drinks to choose from throughout the duration of your cruise. Royal Caribbean includes select beverages in your base fare: water, milk, tea, coffee (both regular and decaf), lemonade, iced tea, flavored waters, select juices at breakfast, and hot chocolate. 

If you are wanting a more inclusive and worry free vacation, you might be considering a Royal Caribbean drink package. For a fixed price, you can enjoy unlimited beverages each day of your cruise. 

Royal Caribbean’s drink package can definitely pay for itself depending on how much alcohol you drink on vacation. Plus, their alcoholic packages also also non-alcoholic beverages, such as specialty coffees, bottled water, zero-proof cocktails, and more.

Paying for drinks individually can add up quickly, which can add unnecessary stress to your vacation budget. One of the great reasons to buy Royal Caribbean’s drink package before your cruise is being able to budget appropriately. You do not want to get a large bill at the end of your cruise or constantly worry about spending too much!

How much do drinks cost a la carte? What are your package options? Do they have any restrictions? Will you actually save money if you opt to splurge on a package? There is a lot to consider, and you deserve to relax on your cruise, not stress about how much money you are spending on drinks. 

However, purchasing a Royal Caribbean drink package is not always the best choice for everyone. There are a few factors you will need to consider to determine if the drink package is worth it for you.

Here is everything you need to know about the Royal Caribbean drink packages to help you decide if purchasing one is the right decision for your vacation and tips on how to best utilize the package’s benefits. 

What’s included in Royal Caribbean’s drink packages?

If you have never purchased a drink package on your Royal Caribbean cruise, you might wonder exactly how it works. 

Are you going to Europe? What about the Caribbean or Bahamas? Alaska? It does not matter! Drink packages are offered on every Royal Caribbean cruise, regardless of your itinerary or ship. 

Plus, you can enjoy your drink package in just about every venue and restaurant around the ship during your cruise. Do you want a drink by the pool? You can either wait until a server approaches you or walk up to the pool bar yourself. 

What about a glass of wine at dinner, whether it is in the Main Dining Room or specialty restaurant? Go ahead! However, some specialty restaurants have their own unique drinks, so you may feel inclined to give one of them a try instead. 

Whether you are wanting a glass of champagne after dinner, a cocktail when you are relaxing poolside, or need to wake up with a morning latte, you can utilize your Royal Caribbean drink package all day long!

You can simply use your SeaPass card to access your package, as it will clearly indicate whether or not you have a drink package. Even if you do not get a package, your SeaPass card will indicate how old you are, so minors will not be able to try and purchase an alcoholic beverage. 

What do Royal Caribbean drink packages cost?

Royal Caribbean allows cruisers to purchase various drink packages in the online Cruise Planner before the cruise begins. Additionally, you can purchase one of the drink packages while onboard as well; however, expect to pay more if you wait to purchase one of the drink packages until you are onboard.

Royal Caribbean requires passengers to purchase the drink package for the entire duration of the cruise. If you wait until part way through your Royal Caribbean cruise, you have to purchase the drink package for the remaining duration of the cruise. For shorter sailings with 3 nights or less, Royal Caribbean only allows cruisers to purchase the drink package on the first day of the sailing. 

In other words, if you are on a 7-night sailing and decide to purchase the package on day 3, you will have to get it for days 4-7. Likewise, if you get the drink package on day 2 of a 5-night cruise, you will have to pay for days 2-5.

Gratuities are also included when you purchase one of Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages. This means you will not be hit with additional gratuity with each drink you enjoy during your cruise. You can, of course, leave an additional tip if you feel as though the service warrants it. 

One of Royal Caribbean’s most recent changes to their drink package policies is important to note when planning for your upcoming cruise. If purchasing the Deluxe Beverage Package, every guest of legal drinking age sailing in the same stateroom must also have the drink package. This is an important consideration when deciding if the drink package fits your budget.

Below are the prices you can expect to find if you choose to pay for your beverages a la carte (note that they do not include the additional 18% gratuity):

  • Most cocktails are $13.00-$14.00, excluding the drink of the day. Each day, a new drink will be discounted, usually about 20%. 
  • The majority of liquors range from $9.99 to $13.99. New Amsterdam vodka, for instance, is $9.99, while Grey Goose is $13.99. 
  • Beer ranges from $7.49-$7.99. 
  • Hard ciders, like Angry Orchard and Strongbow, are $7.99. 
  • Trulys are $7.49 each. The available flavors may change, but we’ve frequently seen Lemonade and Wild Berry.
  • Glasses of wine vary greatly; however, most fall within the window of $8.00-$14.00 per glass.
  • Just like glasses of wine, expect there to be a wide range of pricing for bottles. Most cost between $29.00 and $58.00 each. 
  • Zero proof cocktails are $7.00. 
  • Speciality coffees at Cafe Promenade and Cafe Latte-tudes are $4.00-$5.50. 
  • Sodas are $3.50 each. 

Deluxe Beverage Package

Because there is only one package, expect the pricing to reflect higher end offerings. As of June 2023, the Deluxe Beverage Package ranges from $63.00 to $102.00 per person, per day. The pricing varies based on ship, itinerary, and sail date. Unfortunately, that means if you are sailing on one of the newest ships during peak season, you will most likely see higher prices for the drink package. 

Royal Refreshment Package

As of June 2023, the Royal Refreshment Package ranges from $29.00 to $38.00 per person, per day. The pricing varies based on ship, itinerary, and sail date. 

Classic Soda Package

As of June 2023, the Classic Soda Package ranges from $12.99 to $15.00 per person, per day. The pricing varies based on ship, itinerary, and sail date. If purchasing each drink individually, expect to pay $3.50 per soda. That being said, if you plan on drinking more than four sodas per day, this package will save you money.

Often, the Cruise Planner will have the Classic Soda Package on sale for less than $10 per person, per day. That means you would only need to drink three sodas per day to break even. 

Water Package

If you fear dehydration, do not worry! You can have water waiting for you in your stateroom on embarkation day. 12 cans of water runs from $15.99 to $19.99, while 24 cans range from $22.99 to $25.99. 

Drink Package Options

Royal Caribbean offers 4 different drink packages that cruisers can purchase for their vacation. For a fixed cost, you can enjoy unlimited drinks each day within your purchased package.  

The four packages include:

  • Deluxe Beverage Package
  • Refreshment Package
  • Classic Soda Package
  • Water Package

Water Package

Royal Caribbean cruisers who prefer to have bottled water during their cruise can opt to have 6, 12 or 24 packs of water delivered right to their stateroom. 

Classic Soda Package

Who doesn’t love having 100+ soda options to choose from? With the Classic Soda Package, you will receive a souvenir cup to use at any of the Freestyle machines onboard, which include more than just soda. Most Freestyle machines also offer Vitamin Water, Powerade, and Minute Maid lemonade. 

You’ll also be able to use this package to enjoy sodas at bars, lounges, the Windjammer Café, and the Main Dining Room. If you are on a ship that does not have a freestyle machine, you’ll be limited to these options to utilize your package.

Note that this package only includes soda. If you are interested in bottled still or sparkling waters, specialty coffees, or other non-alcoholic beverages, this is not the option for you. You will have to pay for everything else by the drink, which could result in a large bill at the end of your cruise. 

Refreshment Package

Think of the Royal Refreshment Package as the Deluxe Beverage Package’s younger sibling. The main difference is that the Royal Refreshment Package is the non-alcoholic option. That being said, it includes enough to keep anyone more than satisfied and refreshed! 

This package has probably caught your eye if you are not a heavy drinker or are weighing options for children and teens. 

Included are all non-alcoholic cocktails (mocktails), Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages and soda refills at any venue, bottled still and sparkling water, specialty teas and coffees, Johnny Rockets shakes, and freshly squeezed juices. 

Be advised that this package does not include drinks that come in souvenir cups. 

Since it does not include any alcoholic beverages, any alcoholic drinks you buy will be an additional charge. There are no discounts on bottles of wine, either. The package also excludes drinks ordered via room service and mini-bar purchases, as well as beverages served inside licensed Starbucks stores.

Deluxe Beverage Package

Unlike other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean does not offer different tiers of alcoholic beverage packages for guests to choose from. Since there is only one package, you can look forward to many high quality liquors – think Grey Goose vodka, Patron tequila, Hennessy, and Dewar’s 12 Year scotch, among other offerings. 

The Deluxe Beverage Package includes all cocktails, beers, and wines by the glass valued up to $13.00, plus soda, non-alcoholic cocktails, bottled still and sparkling water, specialty teas and coffees, Johnny Rockets shakes, and freshly squeezed juices. In addition, you will get a 40% discount on bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100 in bars and dining rooms. 

Be advised that, like the Royal Refreshment Package, this package does not include drinks that are served in souvenir cups. 

Beverages valued at more than $13 are not included in the cost of the package, and you’ll be responsible for paying the difference. So, for example, if you order a glass of wine that costs $16.00, you’ll be charged $3.00. Similarly, while there are discounts on bottles of wine, none are included. You will have to order by the glass to take advantage of your package. 

Additionally, the package does not include beverages from Starbucks kiosks, as well as those ordered via room service or other mini-bar purchases. If you have a package and want a drink, you are better off walking to a bar instead of paying extra to get it delivered.

It is tempting to drink more than you normally would to feel as though you are getting your money’s worth, and there is no cap to how many beverages you are able to purchase per day, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. That being said, remember that if you appear to be too intoxicated, the bartenders have the right to deny you service. 

The catch with the Deluxe Beverage Package

Multiple members of your party are over the age of 21. You’re probably tempted to purchase one or two packages and try to share them amongst the group, right? 

Unfortunately, each adult over 21 in a stateroom must purchase the package. If you’re caught, you could potentially get it revoked with no refund, and that is not what you want to happen on your vacation after splurging on the package!

You can’t order more than one beverage at a time, unless you present a second SeaPass to the bartender, and be prepared to have to wait about 15 minutes in between orders. This prevents guests with a package from ordering a drink, handing it off to someone, and immediately being able to order another drink for themselves.  

There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, such as traveling in the same stateroom as someone who is pregnant or who does not drink for personal or religious reasons. 

You will need to call Royal Caribbean directly to get an exception to the rule and purchase a non-alcoholic beverage package for the other person. It cannot be done online through the Cruise Planner.

Is the drink package worth it?

Whether or not a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth it depends on multiple factors. You have to do some homework and a little math to decide whether you can make the drink package worthwhile.

Some Royal Caribbean cruisers are huge fans of the drink package while others feel it is not always worth the money. It totally depends on how you like to cruise and how much you like to drink.

Can you breakeven on a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Before deciding if you should purchase one of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages, you will want to calculate how many drinks you consume typically consume each day on vacation.

You will want to make sure you will be able to breakeven to ensure you are getting your money’s worth. With cocktails costing around $10 to 13 each, some quick math should help put into perspective if the Deluxe Beverage Package is worth it for your stateroom.

On average, the Deluxe Beverage Package is only worth it if you drink more than 5-6 drinks each day. For some, it’s easy to consume 6 drinks in a day on a cruise. For others, it might be more difficult to reach that threshold without pushing themselves to drink more than they normally would. 

Drink fatigue is also a consideration. Some cruisers feel that they find themselves drinking more than they would normally simply because they want to get their money’s worth from the drink package. It is easy to order a drink solely because you can and feel that you should. 

On a shorter cruise, you will likely find it easier to drink more than you normally would to utilize the drink package fully. Shorter cruises also tend to have a more lively and party-like atmosphere. On voyages that are longer, drinking heavily each day can get tiring and cause drinking fatigue.

When it comes to the non-alcoholic packages, the threshold is pretty similar since the a la carte drink prices are lower. It would take about 5-6 zero-proof cocktails to breakeven with the Royal Refreshment Package, while drinking roughly 4 sodas per day will make the Classic Soda Package worth the investment. If you are able to snag a good deal, the daily average might even be lower!

Are you getting a discount?

Another factor to consider is whether you can snag one of Royal Caribbean’s pre-cruise deals before you set sail. The biggest opportunity for savings is when Royal Caribbean runs a Cruise Planner sale, in which prices can drop as low as $48 per day. Do not, however, rely on pricing like this! The average is usually somewhere between $65 and $85 per day. 

As mentioned earlier, the Deluxe Beverage Package is priced dynamically, with some sailings having more expensive rates. 

If you can get one of the drink packages for a very reasonable rate, it might be worth it to purchase. Just remember, you have to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package for everyone in your stateroom. Even with a discount, that can easily add an extra $1,000 to your cruise total, especially if you have more than two adults over the legal drinking age in your cabin. 

The non-alcoholic packages are less expensive and can be found on sale, too. The average for the Royal Refreshment Package seems to be somewhere around $28 to $37 per day, while the Classic Soda Package hardly ever drops below $8 per day. 

Again, pricing varies by sailing, so you will want to check the Cruise Planner to see what deals are being offered for you. There is no way to tell what the pricing is until you are booked, unless you are able to join a Facebook group to ask or know someone else who is going! 

Is your cruise port-intensive?

Another important factor to consider when deciding if a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth your money is looking at your cruise itinerary. More specifically, if your cruise itinerary is very port-intensive or not could help you decide whether you would get the full value from a drink package.  

If you will be spending most of your day exploring the port, then you might find it difficult to take full advantage of your drink package because you are not onboard the ship as much. When you are spending a lot of time in port, you can enjoy drinks ashore for a fraction of the cost that you would find onboard.

Additionally, you may not want to drink heavily after a long excursion. You may be okay having two or three drinks before retiring for the evening, especially if the tour was more on the strenuous side. 

Do you have a lot of back-to-back days in port? That is another itinerary to consider whether or not a drink package would be worth it. You may start to feel pretty tired halfway through the cruise!

On the other hand, if your Royal Caribbean cruise is filled with more days at sea, you will have more time onboard to utilize your drink package during the cruise. Remember that you can use your package at the cruise line’s private destinations. If your cruise includes three sea days and one day at CocoCay, that is four full days that you are able to use the package!

Are you looking for an all-inclusive experience?

Royal Caribbean cruisers who love the drink packages often feel that the even just the added convenience of the drink package makes the purchase worthwhile. 

When you purchase one of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages, you will only be billed a fixed price regardless of how many drinks you enjoy. This creates a very all-inclusive feel onboard the cruise ship, meaning you do not have to worry about sticking within your budget. You can drink whatever you want whenever you want it.  

There is nothing worse dreading that final bill and wondering how much you have racked up in drink purchases. If you get carried away when you drink, you would probably benefit from having the drink package.

Plus, this means that you will have the freedom to try new things. Perhaps there is a beer that sounds interesting, but you know that you would not pay for it. With a package, you can go ahead and order it with the peace of mind knowing that you can order something else if you end up disliking the beverage. 

Note that while drink packages do create a more inclusive cruising experience, other cruise add-ons still cost extra, such as specialty dining, wi-fi, and spa treatments. 

Read more: 14 cruise ship extra charges you should know about

Do you receive any free drinks onboard?

One final consideration when determining if you should purchase a drink package on your Royal Caribbean cruise is whether you already receive any free drinks through the loyalty program. 

One of the best perks about Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor program is receiving free drinks each day of your cruise – all because you’re a loyal Royal Caribbean cruiser! 

For top-tier loyalty cruisers, including Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members, Royal Caribbean provides free drinks each day of the cruise. 

Diamond cruisers receive 4 daily drinks, Diamond Plus receive 5 daily drinks and Pinnacle cruisers receive 6 daily drinks. This can be used for any drink up to $13 and used at any bar throughout the day. It used to be that you could only redeem the vouchers in the lounge; however, now you are able to use them whenever, wherever.

 If you want a mimosa for breakfast in the Main Dining Room, cocktail by the pool, glass of wine at dinner, and champagne during an evening show, you are able to utilize your Diamond (and above) Crown & Anchor benefits to do so!

As a Diamond Plus member myself, receiving 5 free drinks each day is plenty for me to enjoy throughout my cruise. I would not feel it’s necessary to purchase a beverage package when I am able to already receive 5 drinks each day at no additional cost. 

Be sure to check whether you are already receiving any free drinks through the Crown and Anchor program when deciding if one of the drink packages is right for you.

Pro tip: pair the Classic Soda Package with a water or coffee package

If you are hesitant about purchasing the Classic Soda Package because of its limited offerings, think about pairing it with Royal Caribbean’s water or coffee package. 

While these are not unlimited, they allow you to enjoy the convenience of grabbing a water from your stateroom before lining up to disembark at port or indulge in a set amount of specialty coffee beverages throughout the duration of your cruise. 

They cost around $30 and include 15 specialty espresso-based beverages. Note that depending on what size coffee you order, this could mean two shots are used in crafting the beverage.

On the Cruise Planner, you can pre-purchase water that will be delivered to your stateroom on embarkation day. As mentioned earlier, 12 cans of water runs from $15.99 to $19.99, while 24 cans range from $22.99 to $25.99.

Royal Caribbean Drink Package Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get away with sharing a drink package on Royal Caribbean?

No, all drink packages are for single guest use. Royal Caribbean’s website warns that if you’re caught sharing, you risk having your drink package revoked without a refund. To reduce the probability of this occurring, Royal Caribbean requires all adults over the legal drinking age in a stateroom to individually purchase the package. 

The rule only applies to the alcoholic package. The non-alcoholic options do not have the same requirement. 

What happens if you don’t buy a drink package on Royal Caribbean?

Since you’ll be paying for each drink a la carte, there’s a good chance you will be more conscious about each drink you purchase. If you are someone who enjoys a few adult beverages during dinner, you might want to consider bringing the allotted number of 750ml bottles of wine or champagne onboard. 

In the past, Royal Caribbean allowed each stateroom two bottles of wine or champagne. Now, however, each person over the legal drinking age is able to bring on a single bottle, meaning that a stateroom with four people (of legal drinking age) can bring on up to four bottles. 

You also will not be able to take advantage of the Coca-Cola freestyle machines, as each souvenir cup is chipped and only available for use during a specific sailing. Soda cups from previous sailings will not work. 

How do I purchase a package?

You can purchase a package up to 48 hours prior to your sail date by logging onto your Cruise Planner; there’s a tab dedicated just to beverage packages. If you purchase one in advance but find a cheaper price later on, you can cancel and rebook with no penalty. 

Alternatively, you can wait and book when you get on the ship. Pricing will be higher, though. Plus, you do not want to hassle of standing in line and waiting for it. If you purchase the package in advance, you can head to straight to the bar and kickstart your vacation with your favorite drink. 

Does everyone in the stateroom have to purchase the Royal Refreshment Package or Classic Soda Package?

No. Since these are a non-alcoholic packages, all guests staying in the same stateroom are not required to purchase it. That being said, similar to the Deluxe Beverage Package, sharing is strictly prohibited. If you are caught, you could potentially get your package revoked with no refund.

Are there any age restrictions on the Royal Refreshment Package or Classic Soda Package?

No. Unlike the Deluxe Beverage Package, which has a minimum age requirement of 21, the Royal Refreshment Package and Classic Soda Package can be purchased by guests of any age. You might have a kid that is on a sugar rush, but everyone can enjoy a drink package during their Royal Caribbean cruise vacation. 

We’re stopping at CocoCay. Can I use my package there?

Absolutely. You can use the Classic Soda Package at both of Royal Caribbean’s private destinations: Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee, Haiti. Drinks served in specialty souvenir glasses are not included.