In an effort to simplify offerings, Royal Caribbean International has released brand new beverage packages for all sailings as of yesterday. The new program will replace the beverage package options that have existed for the last few years. As avid Royal Caribbean cruisers and consumers of beverages while onboard, we were very interested in these new Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages.
Details are still coming, but here is what we know so far about the new options.
Update on New Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages
What Has Changed?
We literally just stepped off Oasis of the Seas where “old” beverage packages were being offered. We were told by staff that drink packages were changing, but we did not have any idea they would be changing this soon! These new packages went into effect on September 6, 2016.
Basically, the company has changed the name of some of the non-alcoholic packages and reduced the number of alcoholic packages offered. These changes should hopefully make things easier for cruisers.
New Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages – Still Work at Popular Venues like the Schooner Bar
What are the New Non-Alcoholic Drink Packages?
Royal Caribbean will continue to offer three non-alcoholic drink package options. The names have changed slightly, but for the most part, the packages are similar to what existed before this new roll out.
There is still a soda package, now entitled the Classic Soda package (previously the Royal Refreshment Package). Included in this option is 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.
New Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages – Packages Still Work on the Freestyle Machines
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 premium and specialty coffees, virgin cocktails, bottled water (both sparkling and still are included), freshly squeezed juices, and soda.
Newly added is the Cafe Select Coffee card. We had the opportunity to test this out on our recent Oasis of the Seas cruise and found it to be a great value. A Cafe Select coffee card entitles cruisers to fifteen espresso based drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, and more from a number of venues.
New Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages – New Cafe Select Options
Lastly, an option is still available to purchase packages of Evian water for consumption during the cruise- this is called the Evian Bottled Water Package available in 12 or 24 liter bottle packages.
What about the Alcoholic Beverage Packages?
The biggest changes to beverage packages are with the alcoholic packages. Royal Caribbean has reduced the three options that previously existed (Select, Premium, and Ultimate) down to one option. The new Deluxe Beverage Package is essentially the fomer Ultimate Beverage Package.
This new package includes all beer, wine, and mixed drinks up to a set price. That price is usually around $12 to $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.
New Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages – Most Cocktails are Covered
The Deluxe Beverage package also covers a wide selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Essentially everything covered in the new Royal Refreshment package is also covered in the Deluxe Alcoholic Beverage package. This includes all specialty coffees and tea, bottled water, fresh squeezed orange juice, soda, and non-alcoholic cocktails. Initially included, beverages purchased from the free standing Starbucks on Oasis class ships are no longer covered with this package. At this time, all other coffee locations that “proudly brew” Starbucks are still included.
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.
Where Do the New Packages Work?
Like the previous beverage packages, the new packages work at virtually all dining venues, including specialty restaurants, as well as all bars and lounges up to the set dollar amount. The new Royal Caribbean Beverage packages also work on the private islands of Labadee, Haiti and Coco Cay, Bahamas. So, you can still enjoy your labadoozie or coco loco while visiting!
New Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages – Still Work on the Private Island of Labadee
What Are the New Prices?
The pricing has gone up for the non-alcoholic packages. The classic soda package is now $8.50 a day and the Refreshment Package is now $26 a day. Both of these prices do not include the additional 18% service charge.
The Evian bottled water packages start at $39 for 12 bottles.
The new Cafe Select Espresso card is priced at $31 for 15 drinks. That is the price we paid on Oasis of the Seas and think it is a great value considering most drinks run $4-5.
The Deluxe beverage package is priced at $55 a day. This puts the pricing comparable to the formerly offered Premium Drink package, but it includes more options than this older package.
Are the New Beverage Packages a Good value?
The value of these new beverage packages depends on your consumption and preferences. The non-alcoholic beverage options are virtually the same with increased prices. So, these packages might be a bit less of a value for some. However, the Cafe Select coffee cards can be a great value for those who primarily want specialty coffees and teas.
For those who drink mostly wine and beer, the new Deluxe Package makes it more difficult for you to “break even”. Based on current bar prices, if you drink mostly beer, you now need to drink close to 10 beers a day to break even. Wine drinkers fair a bit better. If you fancy a glass of wine that is in the $10 range, all you need to drink is about 6 glasses a day to “break even”.
New Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages – Wine at Vintages is Still Covered
For cocktail drinkers like ourselves, the new Deluxe beverage package is amazing. Most cocktails are priced around $11-$13, so an average of 5 drinks a day will cover the cost of the package. Then, there are all of the bottled water, coffees, and additional drinks that you can get with the package that make it an even more valuable proposition.
When Do the Changes Take Effect?
As of September 6th! For those who have already made beverage package purchases for future sailings, Royal Caribbean will convert them into the new categories, minus the Select package. They will continue to honor already purchased Select packages until they are phased out.
For those who purchased either a Premium or Ultimate drink package, you will now have the Deluxe Alcoholic Package. For the non-alcoholic drink packages, prior purchases will be converted to the new plans (i.e., the Classic Soda package or the new Refreshment Package).
Stay tuned for the latest news, reviews, and price breakdowns of the new Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages as more information becomes available.
What are your reactions to the new Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages? Drop us anchor below to share your thoughts on the new offerings. Are these drink packages better or worse than the previous ones? Tell us below.