Deciding whether you should purchase a beverage package on a cruise can be a tough decision. Comparing the various plans and deciding whether you will “get your money’s worth” includes knowing several factors. Lucky for you, we love nothing more than crunching the numbers and analyzing all the details of these packages. After the recent updates made to the Royal Caribbean beverage packages, we took a look at our consumption during our recent Oasis of the Seas cruise to determine how we fared.

Drink Packages on Oasis of the SeasAre the Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas a Good Value?

Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas

The Basics about Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas

There is some basic info you need to know about all of the drink packages for Royal Caribbean. First, you can purchase the drink packages either during the first few days of your cruise or before you leave using the cruise planner. You need to buy the package for the remaining duration of the cruise, not just specific days.


All drink packages, no matter when you purchase them, are subject to an 18% service charge. You are charged this at the time you buy the package, and you are not obligated to give any additional gratuities on drinks you consume. Do note that this service charge is different than the standard per day gratuity charge (about $13 a day) that is assessed for each cruiser.

Anthem of the Seas Drink PackagesAre the Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas a Good Value?

Your drink package is good at all bars, restaurants, and private island destinations (Coco Cay and Labadee, Haiti) for drinks included in whichever package you purchase. Packages are non-transferable and sharing is not allowed. You do not need to purchase a package for everyone in your stateroom, which means different guests staying in the same cabin can have different packages or no package at all.

While these packages include an endless supply of beverages, do drink responsibly. As always, bar servers can deny you service, and you can be “cut-off” if you violate the ship’s code of conduct.

Several restrictions exist including souvenir cups, bottles of wine or liquor, room service, mini-bar items, canned or bottled sodas and juices, and vending machine purchases (minus the Coke Freestyle machines).

Alcoholic Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean previously offered three alcoholic drink package options including the Select, Premium, and Ultimate packages; however, only ONE alcoholic package exists following the recent updates to these beverage packages that were rolled out in September 2016.The new Deluxe Beverage Package is essentially the former Ultimate Beverage Package.

This new deluxe package includes all beer, wine, and mixed drinks up to a set price, usually $12-$13 depending on the ship. This will cover most cocktails, except a few selections at specialty restaurants and bars like the Champagne Bar. Wine selection is still hit or miss. Not being big wine aficionados, we make due, but serious wine drinkers might find themselves paying a few bucks more for glasses of wine outside of the set dollar limit.

Anthem of the Seas BarsAre the Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas a Good Value?

The Deluxe Beverage package also covers a wide selection of non-alcoholic drinks, including specialty coffees and teas, bottled water, fresh squeezed orange juice, soda, and non-alcoholic cocktails. This includes coffee shops that “brew” Starbucks coffee bbut does not include beverages from the stand alone Starbucks on the Oasis class ships.

Anthem of the Seas Review BermudaAre the Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas a Good Value?

For those cruisers who primarily drink beer and wine, you will no longer have the option to purchase the Select beverage package. You will now have to pay the Deluxe beverage package pricing to enjoy these alcoholic drinks.

Non-Alcoholic Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas

The non-alcoholic drink packages have undergone less changes, essentially just name and price changes with most of the inclusions staying the same.

The Classic Soda package (previously the Royal Refreshment Package) includes a refillable souvenir mug and all the soda you want at bars and restaurants. On ships with Coke Freestyle machines, the mugs work on those as well.

Anthem of the Seas Drink PackagesAre the Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas a Good Value?

The more inclusive non-alcoholic drink package is now called the Royal Refreshment package (previously called the Royal Replenish Package). Purchasing this package entitles cruisers to an unlimited selection of specialty coffees and teas, virgin cocktails, bottled water (both sparkling and still are included), freshly squeezed juices, and soda.

Are the New Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas Worth it?

To answer that question, we recorded all of the drinks that we consumed during our recent 7 day Western Caribbean cruise. Below are the totals, per drink category, that we consumed and the costs. We had three ports of call, including the private island of Labadee where the drink package covers beverages purchased on the island.

Drinks Price Total Drinks Total
Bottled Water $2.25 62 $139.50
Soda $2.00 2 $4.00
Beer $6.50 7 $45.50
Cocktails $11.00 41 $451.00
Wine $10.00 4 $40.00
Quenchers at Sea $11.95 38 $454.10
 Total 154 $1,134.10
Service 18% $204.14
Total Costs $1,338.24

In total, we consumed 154 beverages, 90 of which were alcoholic drinks (58%).  Being fans of cocktails and liquor, most of our drinks were $11 or more, which makes it easier for us to hit the “break even point” with about 5 cocktails a day. Some cocktails were priced at $13 at venues like the Rising Tide Bar and the Champagne Bar, but for ease of comparison, we used the more conservative $11 as that was the price at both the Schooner Bar and Boleros.

The days that we had the most beverages were Days 2 and 5, both sea days (and both formal nights). This consumption was driven by both bottles of water, about 14 each day (7 per person), as well as alcoholic drinks with an average of 14 each day (7 per person).  In total, we would have spent $1,338.24 (including 18%) if we purchased the beverages individually. Purchasing the Deluxe Package at $55 a day (plus18%) would have cost $908.60. So, we would have saved $429.64, or about 32%.

Currently, some sailings are offering 20% off drink package prices, which equates to $44 a day, per person (or $726.88 with the 18% service charge). If that was our baseline, the discounted drink package would have saved us $611.36, close to 45% off our bar bill.

We also purchased 27 specialty coffees at Starbucks that are no longer included in the package after a quick change by Royal Caribbean. If we would have purchased these specialty coffees from Cafe Promenade, which were very close in pricing to Starbucks, we would have saved an additional $143.37. With or without the coffee, the Deluxe Drink Package can definitely save you money depending on your drinking habits.

Tips for Using the Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas

In our experiences, we almost always come out ahead with drink packages. If you are used to purchasing the former Ultimate Beverage package, you will probably realize the most savings with the new Deluxe Drink package option. However, if you are used to purchasing the former Select Beverage package, you might have a harder time justifying the purchase of the new Deluxe Drink package.

– Know what your break-even points are and be realistic if you can drink that much over the course of the entire cruise.

– Take advantage of any pre-cruise sales that could lower the price of the package.

– The package works on disembarkation day, so take advantage of it for some premium coffees or bottled water.

– Pace yourself and drink plenty of water. Bottled water is covered in two of the three packages and adds to the value.

– You are only allowed one drink at a time. If you are ordering a drink for you and your spouse, make sure to have both cards available to be swiped.

– Often times, bar servers don’t scan your card if you ask for a soda or water. Take advantage of this and go to a few bars nearby to “stock-up” on these non-alcoholic beverages.

 

Comments

Have you purchased one of the new drink packages on Oasis of the Seas or any other Royal Caribbean ship? What was your experience with the packages? Drop us an anchor below to let us know if you found the beverage packages to be a good value for you.

Drink Packages on Oasis of the Seas

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About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind EatSleepCruise.com. We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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