Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review

Royal Caribbean Deluxe Beverage Package- this relatively new offering allows passengers to pay a flat daily fee to consume a variety of cocktails, beers, and wines onboard. Is it worth the costs? Well, in the

Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review

The world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, boasts more than 15 bars, not to mention a newly updated bar menu and signature drinks at many of the specialty restaurants. If you want to hit all of these venues during a seven day cruise, you could rack up quite a bar bill. That is where the Royal Caribbean Deluxe Beverage Package comes in handy. This relatively new offering allows passengers to pay a flat daily fee to consume a variety of cocktails, beers, and wines onboard. Is it worth the costs? Well, in the name of cruise research, we kept a running tab of everything we consumed and are back to report the results. Here is our Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review 2017.

Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review 2017

Basics of the Deluxe Beverage Package

Starting in 2016, Royal Caribbean International trimmed down their beverage package offerings. When it comes to alcoholic beverage packages, they now only offer the Deluxe Beverage Package. Starting at $55 a day (on Oasis class-ships, it is $61 when purchased onboard), the beverage package covers a variety of drinks up to $12 ($13 on Oasis-class ships). The package works at all onboard complimentary restaurants, bars and lounges, and specialty restaurants. The package also covers drinks at the company’s private islands of Labadee, Haiti and Coco Cay, Bahamas.

Harmony of the Seas BarsHarmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review 2017

When you purchase the beverage package, you will be charged an 18% service charge. So, for a 7 day sailing on Harmony of the Seas, the drink package will cost one adult $71.98 per day for a total of $503.86. Royal Caribbean does not force guests to purchase the plan; one adult in a cabin can get the plan while the other one does not need to purchase it. However, sharing is not allowed, and that policy is strictly enforced. Also, you are only allowed to get one drink at a time, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. To get two drinks, you will need two Seapass Cards (or Wow Bands) as the bartenders will ring up each drink separately.

Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package ReviewHarmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review 2017

Available drinks include beers, wines, and cocktails up to $13, fountain soda (not cans), 1/2 liter bottles of water, sparkling bottled water at dinner, and specialty coffees and teas from onboard cafes (Starbucks is NOT included). As you can see, the Deluxe Beverage Package does include numerous non-alcoholic drinks in addition to alcoholic drinks. This is where we quite often make out as we consume multiple lattes and bottled waters during the course of the week.

You can purchase the drink package before you board the ship using the online Cruise Planner (like we did) or during the first few days of sailing on the ship. You must buy it for the entire cruise (or remainder of the cruise). Unfortunately, you can not purchase the plan for select days. Royal Caribbean claims refunds are not allowed, but in rare cases, you should be able to find a beverage manager willing to do so.

Is the Deluxe Beverage Package on Harmony of the Seas a Good Value?

The big question you are asking is “Does it make sense to get the beverage package on my next cruise”?.

Well, we can shed some light on this financial decision. During our 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise, we tracked all beverages consumed, per day per drink category, to determine the value of getting the drink package. Below are the total purchases we made during the cruise, which included 3 days in port and 3 full sea days (plus embarkation day and disembarkation morning).

Drinks Price Total Drinks Total
Bottled Water $2.25 43 $96.75
Specialty Coffee $4.50 21 $94.50
Soda $2.00 0 $0.00
Beer $6.75 9 $60.75
Signature $15.00  1 $15.00
Premium $13.00 33 $429.00
Classics $10.00 31 $310.00
Wine $13.00 2 $26.00
 Total 140 $1,032.00
Service 18% $185.76
Total Costs $1,217.76

Over the week, we consumed a total of 140 drinks (combined) for the two of us. Of those drinks, 64 of them (45%) were non-alcoholic bottled waters and specialty coffees. The remaining 76 drinks were spread out pretty evenly among the premium drinks (e.g. cocktails at the Schooner Bar or the Rising Tide Bar) and the classic drinks (think frozen cocktails, etc.) with a few beers thrown into the mix. Note: beer prices range from about $6 to $8, with most beers floating near $6.50-$7.00.

Harmony of the Seas Beverage Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Beverage Review 2017

Quite honestly, we did not go “overboard” with drinking during the trip. We averaged about 5.5 alcoholic drinks a day, which really is not hard to do if you have a few poolside drinks, dinner cocktails, and then a couple during the shows or nightly entertainment. Most of our purchases were made in the evenings as we just did not have much free day time on this trip.

Harmony of the Seas Beverage Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Beverage Review 2017

If we would have paid out of pocket for all our drinks, the total (with the service charge) would have been $1,217.76. The cost for the two of us to get the drink package on the first day of the cruise would have been $1007.72, offering a savings of $200. But, we actually purchased our drink package prior to cruising, for an additional 20% discount, paying a total of $792.96 for our beverage package.

This meant we saved a total of $424.80 or over 33% by getting the package as opposed to paying a la carte for each drink!

Bottom Line on Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package

Now you can see how quickly beverage costs add up when you are on a cruise. It is very tempting to grab a drink here and there during the day, especially near the pool, and to have a few more as the evenings progress. For us, it was very easy to hit the “value” point of about 5 drinks everyday. We do drink primarily mixed drinks, so for beer drinkers, you need to drink closer to 7 drinks a day to reach the break even point.

Harmony of the Seas Beverage Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Beverage Review 2017

Ultimately, you need to know your own habits and consider the ports of call when deciding if the plan works for your vacation. One of our stops included the company’s private island, Labadee, which meant our drinks there were also included in the plan. For us, the beverage package was a huge cost savings. Prepaying saved us even more money, as well as sticker shock, because our bar bill at the end of the cruise was zero. What was yours on your last trip?

Comments

Have you purchased a beverage package on Harmony of the Seas or another Royal Caribbean cruise? Do you think these plans are a good value? Drop us an anchor below with your experiences using drink packages.

Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don
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10 comments on Harmony of the Seas Beverage Package Review

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  1. Great research. I’m a drink package fan. Always have been. Did they charge you for your premium drink since you were technically 2 dollars over the limit?

      HI Tyler, thanks for the comment. Sorry for the delay responding to your question. Actually, no, the bartender did not charge me the $2, but I think that is because he made a mistake. We have heard they do charge the additional $2, and we just did a cruise with another cruise line where the same thing happened, I got a drink above the allowed limit and I was charged the difference, please a service charge. When is your next cruise.

    So if you had not purchased the package, would you have spent $96.75 on water and $94.50 on coffee? That seems a bit excessive to me, but then I’m fine with WIndjammer coffee and the bottled water we get as a welcome gift is usually enough. Do you think you might have thought twice about the amount you purchased had you not bought the package? Also, was the fresh squeezed OJ in the WIndjammer included? I noticed it wasn’t on your list.

    We’ve looked at the drink package but found that between the bottles of wine we are allowed to bring on board and the BOGO’s we get, we’re ahead of the game. As an added feature for us on our last cruise on Empress, they were offering drink cards, ten drinks for $59.00 + 18%, the limit being nothing over $12.00. We bought two cards.

      Hi Steve, appreciate you reading the post and leaving a comment. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. You raise some good points. When it comes to coffee, we are both latte addicts, so yes, we would spend the money on iced lattes. We just got off a cruise where coffee was not included and we easily spent $70 just on espresso drinks over the span of a week. On the bottle water front, we probably would not have consumed as much, but we still would have bought a number of bottles for our stateroom/going ashore at port. Everyone is different, so deciding if the package is a good value for you depends on your preferences. Neither of us are big wine drinkers, we prefer mixed drinks, so the package makes more sense for us. When is the next cruise?

    Seems like a lot of alcohol to me, even for a week cruise.

      Hi Becky, thanks for reading. Appreciate your feedback. Each person is different, but for us this was sort of average, and we never felt we over did it. There were certainly people who consumed much more than us, but everyone has a different tolerance when it comes to drinking. Happy sailing.

    Drink packages are one of those big questions we all have to consider before we travel.
    We do tend to and have on our upcoming cruise on Jewel.
    I think you must purchase in advance and keep checking cruise planner for those random sales. We got quite a considerable additional discount the other week.
    Your research shows how easy it is to make pay and you hardly over drank.
    An additional unofficial advantage is we have never paid for 1 kids drink when we have purchased drink packages.

      Thanks for the comment and feedback. Yes, the additional 20% discount pre-cruise is key for even more value. It is easy to justify the costs of the package given our drinking habits when on a cruise. For us, a vacation is about relaxing and not having to worry about things, like the bar tab. When do you sail on Jewel? That is one class of ship we have yet to test out?

    We are taking our first Royal Caribbean cruise on Anthem of the Seas in May and my husband and I are leaning towards getting the deluxe drink package as well. Especially since we can buy it in advance at 20% off as you mentioned, I’m assuming the Anthem drink package is the same price as Harmony’s because the discounted rate is $48/day plus gratuity. We have only cruised Disney previously and they don’t have a drink package so this is new to us.
    As long as we at least break even it will be worth it for us because it will allow our cruise to be even more “all inclusive” and not have to deal with a bill at the end. I found your post very interesting, thanks!

    We’re going on the Oasis soon and are considering the Deluxe Drink Package. Have a few questions. (1)If you purchase it, does anyone know if you have to go to certain bars on the ship or does any bar on the ship honor the drink package deal? (2) Also is there a time frame between each drink or can you say have one drink and then in a half hour have another? Thinking maybe one cocktail while waiting for dinner and then a glass or two of wine with dinner? (3)Also it states that specialty coffees are included but not at Starbucks. So where would I get a cappuccino or latte on the ship? I know they are served at formal dining room, anywhere else? We’ve always gotten ours at the Starbucks on board. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide. Can’t wait to board the Oasis!!!