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After hitting mainstream and contemporary cruise lines a few years ago, the debate on whether or not you should buy a beverage package on a cruise rages on still today. We have sailed on numerous cruises before and after the addition of these new packages, so we know what it is like to sail with (and without) these all inclusive offerings.

Our verdict is….beverage packages are usually a worthwhile investment for most vacationers. If you are wondering why, here are our top 10 reasons why you should purchase one for your next vacation.

Bars on MSC DivinaWhy You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a Cruise – Bar on MSC Divina

Why You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a Cruise

10. Everything Else is Basically Included

Most food, entertainment, and onboard activities are part of your cruise fare. Unless you are on a luxury cruise line, the only thing not covered is alcoholic beverages. Why not make the trip a truly all inclusive vacation and opt for a beverage package as an upgrade?

9. Cruise Beverage Packages Work at Most Venues Onboard

For most cruise lines, the beverage package can be used at all bars, lounges, restaurants, and basically anywhere drinks are available. Of course, some exclusions apply, and not all drinks are included at all bars. However, you should be able to find something that is included in your package at most establishments.

Anthem of the Seas BarsDrinks Made by Robots Are Even Included in Beverage Packages

8. Cruise Beverage Packages Work While at Sea or Docked at Port

It doesn’t matter where the ship is in port or if you are cruising in the ocean, your drink package is always active. Wherever there is an open bar, your drink package can be used to grab a cocktail. You do need to be aware that there may be an additional local tax applied to your purchase at some ports. Those charges would be incurred whether you have a package or are paying a la carte, so this should have no impact on your decision to get a package.

Why You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a CruiseWhy You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a Cruise – Packages Work While Docked and at Sea

7. Cruise Beverage Packages Can Work on Land Too!

Yes, your beverage packages are often accepted at cruise lines’ private islands too. So whether you are spending the day at Royal Caribbean’s Labadee, Haiti or Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay, beverage packages cover drinks purchased at the bar. Now, getting that second round of drinks on the beach is no big deal.

Things to do in Labadee HaitiWhy You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a Cruise – Labadee, Haiti

6. You Can Prepay For All Your Drinks

No one likes getting a bar tab at the end of the night, nevermind getting a bar tab after seven nights at your favorite watering hole. You can avoid sticker shock, and the inevitable debate of whether those shots at 1:30am were a wise decision, by purchasing a beverage package. You will know exactly how much all your alcoholic beverages will cost ahead of time. Believe us, your wallet will thank you.

5. Get Further Discounts When You Buy a Cruise Beverage Package Pre-Cruise

You can save anywhere from $5/day to 20% (and sometimes more) off the onboard rates of these packages when you get a drink package pre-cruise. You can check the prices on your pre-cruise account on the cruise line’s website. Also, check your email and be vigilant for special promotions or discounts being run before your cruise. If you see one, jump on it.

4. Sometimes You Can Get a Cruise Beverage Package for “Free”

If you time the purchase of your cruise during a sale or take advantage of some travel agent offers, you might be able to get a cruise beverage package for free. Cruise lines often give you incentives to purchase certain room categories or run special promotions that include free beverage packages as a perk for booking. We have taken advantage of such promotions on two separate occasions.

Why You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a CruiseWhy You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a Cruise – Some Cabins Include a Complimentary Beverage Package

3. Cruise Beverage Packages Include More Than Just Alcohol

Depending on the cruise line and beverage package you purchase, drink packages can also include bottled water, specialty coffees like lattes and cappuccinos, soda, and other non-alcoholic beverages. These beverages are in addition to your more adult beverages because sometimes you need to take a break or just rehydrate.

Anthem of the Seas Drink PackagesWhy You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a Cruise – Soda is Included in the Beverage Packages

2. Even With a Beverage Package Your Cruise is a Vacation Bargain

Yes, even if you go ahead and purchase a beverage package, the total cost of your cruise will probably still be less expensive than many other land based vacations- including those “all-inclusive resorts”. Cruises really are a great value!

Anthem of the Seas BarsWhy You Should Buy a Beverage Package on a Cruise

1. You Will Save Money When You Buy a Cruise Beverage Package

Our detailed analyses from our 2016 cruises on Oasis of the Seas and Norwegian Escape indicate that on both those sailings, getting a drink package was a huge cost savings for us compared to buying the drinks separately. On neither occasion did we “over do it”. We had fun, enjoyed our cruise, and saved a good deal of money in the process. This cost savings was attributed to a combination of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.


Do you buy a beverage package on a cruise? What are your reasons for getting one when on vacation? Drop us an anchor below to tell us about your experiences with these different packages.

Why You should buy a beverage package on a cruise

About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard!We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind 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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