What You Need to Know About the Premium Plus Beverage Package on Norwegian Cruise Line

Guide to Norwegian Cruise Line's Premium Plus Beverage Package 2019: We breakdown the newest offering for alcoholic drink packages from Norwegian Cruise Line to give you the details of the Premium Plus Beverage Package 2019.

Norwegian Premium Plus Beverage Package

Scroll down to watch our brand new video that details Everything You Need to Know About the NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package!

For the past several years, Norwegian Cruise Line has had only two alcoholic drink packages. The most inclusive of these packages was known as the Ultimate Beverage Package. Starting in 2019, the cruise line revamped its offerings. As a surprise to most, the cruise line added a new drink package and changed the naming structure of the packages. The new Premium Beverage Package essentially replaces the former Ultimate Beverage Package. In addition, cruisers can now opt for the more inclusive Norwegian Cruise Line Premium Plus Beverage Package.

What is this new drink package and how does it impact cruisers? We explain all the details in our What you Need to Know About Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Plus Beverage Package.
 

What You Need to Know About the Premium Plus Beverage Package on Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Premium Beverage Package

We already have a detailed guide to all of the Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Packages which covers the basics of each plan.

The Premium Beverage Package (formerly Ultimate Beverage Package) is now the second tier offering. The line still has the Caps and Corks program as well, which includes a limited selection of beer and wine.

With the Premium Beverage Package (starting at $99 a person, per day, plus 20% service charge), cruisers can choose from essentially all beers and a more extensive selection of wines by the glass. 

District Brew House Bar on Norwegian Bliss

Along with the beer and wine selections, this package entitles cruisers to mixed drinks and signature cocktails priced up to $15. For the most part, this includes all of the selections on the standard menu, as well as many of the specialty drinks at venues such as Margaritaville, the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, and the Whiskey bars on many of the line’s cruise ships.  

While many of these aspects remain the same, the package has become more restrictive when it comes to the brands that are considered “super premium”. 

With the Premium Beverage Package on Norwegian Cruise Line, cruisers can choose from a pre-determined list of spirits and brands. Here is a complete list of what is currently covered in the Premium Beverage Package.  

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With a quick review of the inclusions, you will notice many familiar brands, such as Bacardi, Tito’s Handmade, Ketel One, Beefeater, and other similar brand names.

Related Post: Norwegian Bliss Review Alaskan Cruise

The New Norwegian Premium Plus Beverage Package

One limitation of the former Ultimate Beverage Package was that it did not include other premium beverages like many other comparable cruise line packages do.

This package did include soft drinks, but nothing else. Now, the Premium Plus Package (starting at $128 per person, per day, plus 20%) includes a variety of upgraded, non-alcoholic beverages. Among the new additions are specialty coffees at the onboard cafe and the main dining room. 

This new plan also includes sparkling and still bottled water. This was always a sticking point for us, as almost all cruise lines offer bottled water with their drink packages. So, adding this to the package was essential.

Finally, the new package includes sports drinks and energy drinks. The Vitamin Water and Powerade are nice to have after a long night in the Social or a long day in the sun at Spice H20.

The other major difference between the previous plan and the new Plus package is the “super premium” brands. Here is a complete list of the brands and spirits that are now part of this package. Brands like Remy VSOP, Patron, and Woodford Reserve are now designated as “super premium” and only covered in this package. 

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Another upgrade to this plan is the availability of select bottles of wine at dinner. This is something you almost never see included in a drink package. The package includes a 40% discount on all other bottles of wine. Cruisers with the Premium Beverage Package receive 20% off bottles of wine. 

Related Post: Royal Caribbean Drink Packages Guide
 

Is It Worth Upgrading to the Premium Plus?

The question becomes does it make sense to upgrade your beverage package. For the most part, Norwegian Cruise Line is usually running a promotion that includes a “free beverage package”. This package is the Premium Beverage Package. You will still need to pay the 20% service fee.

For this “free” perk, you still pay $19.80 a person, per day. For almost all cruisers, even those who do not drink that much, we recommend opting for this perk with the line’s Free at Sea promotion. 

Margaritas at Chill Bar on Norwegian Bliss

Where it becomes more tricky is deciding whether to upgrade the plan. Currently, you can only upgrade to the Premium Plus Beverage Package once onboard the ship. Remember when upgrading, you need to pay the difference of the package, plus the 20% charge on that difference. So, you will be paying $29 plus 20% for an additional $34.80 a person, per day.

Cruisers will need to determine whether they will spend $34.80 a day on the upgraded beverages. Most specialty coffees and 1-liter bottles of water are priced at around $5. For those with distinct alcohol preferences, the differences in your preferred spirit or cordial could add up quickly.

It is apparent that NCL is still determining the pricing of a la carte options under this plan. We have seen several menus online from recent cruises that show the pricing of some super premium spirits that range from $17.95 to $29.95 a shot.

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This means that you would have to pay the difference above $15 (plus 20%). So, for that shot of Grand Mariner ($17.95), you would be paying close to $3.50. For that shot of REMY VSOP ($29.95), you would be paying over $15! 

Recap of the Premium Plus Beverage Package on Norwegian Cruise Line

With this new plan, it is clear that Norwegian Cruise Line is trying to entice cruisers to upgrade packages that are given away “for free”. The problem with this logic is that the pricing structure for the two premium drink packages ($99 and $128) is way overpriced when compared to other cruise lines.

Both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean offer premium drink packages that are about half the cost. Carnival Cruise Line offers its drink package at $51.95 a day, plus 18%. All of these packages have essentially the same inclusions as Norwegian’s Premium Plus package for half the price.

Premium Plus Beverage Package on Norwegian Cruise Line

Related Post: Celebrity Cruises Premium Beverage Package Review

It appears that instead of getting rid of the “Free at Sea” drink package, Norwegian has simply changed its pricing structure so you have to pay $54.60 a day, per person ($19.80 + $34.80) to get a drink package that is comparable to the other major lines. 

 

 

We love to sail Norwegian Cruise Line because of the line’s ships, amenities, dining, and entertainment. Sure, the included value of the drink package has been a nice perk. When comparing prices, NCL has always been a better value when you factor in all of these costs. 

Overall, it is disappointing to see the brand roll out these new drink packages that are obviously over-priced when compared to rival cruise lines. The Premium Beverage Package price has always been a bit of a stretch if paying for it outright, so it will be interesting to see how many cruisers upgrade to the Premium Plus Beverage package.

At this price point, it is certainly not worth it for us, even knowing that we do drink lattes and bottled water on a daily basis.
 

 

Comment

Do you purchase a beverage package on a cruise? Would you upgrade to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Plus Beverage Package? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on this new drink package option on NCL ships. 

What You Need to Know About Nprwegian Cruise Line's New Premium Plus Package

Guide to Norwegian Cruise Line's New Premium Plus Beverage Package
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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22 comments on What You Need to Know About the Premium Plus Beverage Package on Norwegian Cruise Line

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  1. Wow, just wow. We have our next NCL cruise planned for July. At an additional $487 for the week (per couple – I’m sure just one can’t upgrade), that’s a lotta latte! They are definitely trying to recover their costs, but I’m not so sure that many will imbibe this plan. It just doesn’t make sense.

    We’ve never bought the ultimate beverage package separately. We always use one of the two sections at booking on the package and even then I’m not sure we get our money’s worth. They’re not just behind in that either, the “ultimate” dining package doesn’t cover all nights like others do.

    Their pricing has gone up for sure…usually to even be eligible for “free at sea” upgrades, the cabin costs is higher, before the gratuities are added on. I too have enjoyed NCL, but have two cruises this booked, neither on NCL due to their pricing games. $55 bucks a day PP for a “free” drive in package? On top of an inflated cabin price…not today…

    Auto correct for the win….”drink” package, not drive in.

    The premium beverage package does not include coffees at the Atrium bars which are now run by Starbucks. Starbucks is not participating.

      Does the upgraded premium plus beverage package (or whatever the upsell one is not the free at sea one) include the starbucks coffee?

        I would like to know that as well?

    The nice thing about the NCL package is that your not reminded every time you go to get a drink how many you’ve had. Carnival unlimited package is limited and kills the moment when your having fun.

      I agreed My husband love Remy Martin so in our next cruise we will take the upgrade plus we know how to take advantage!

      we order always top shelf drinks and have to expend a lot on extra cost so this deal works for us.

    In addition to the bottled water, sparkling water, and specialty coffee options, the Premium Plus package allows the recipient to order a full bottle of wine with dinner. A few of these wines are Veuve Cliquot, a Rosé champagne, a few offering from Louis Jadot like Pouilly Fuisse, a $45 Super Tuscan and a $50 Barolo.

    If you are a wine lover, I think the $34.80, in this case, is a bargain (and here’s why). My wife and I will probably have two specialty coffees a day, countless bottles of water (all of which I agree with you should be included in any beverage package), but I will be certain to order a Super Tuscan or Barolo at every meal. Remember, if you bought either of these wines retail, they would cost more than $34.80 per bottle, and then NCL charges a $15 corkage fee to bring them onboard.

    Of course, the idea that a shot of Grand Marnier, Patron Añejo, or any premium liquor/liqueur would not be included in the standard package is absurd.

      Thanks for the input Michael! We consume a lot of specialty coffee and bottled water which adds up quickly, but we are not wine drinkers.

    If I mistaken about those wine inclusions, please feel free to correct me. The only way I’m paying $29.95 for a shot of anything is if it is served in Jesus’ sandal or it comes with a free motorcycle (stolen from Melissa McCarthy).

    How much is a shot of Johnie walker Blue with this package, or Macallen

    Anyone have more specifics on the bottle wine at dinner part? are you limited to one bottle per meal? per table? per person? per couple? or can you start with a bootle of champagne, then graduate to a bottle of, say, red for the main course? The terms and conditions aren’t very specific on how that portion works. Any insight would be helpful.

      Yes I am looking to book a cruise and this might be the incentive I’m looking for. When I cruised NCL last year, they were offering Premium Upgrade with purchase of oceanview or better room…We were unlimited on bottles of wine. So now I’m curious as to the limitations? One per dinner, per person? Per couple? Anyone know?

        I am interested in the nicer wines. So if we can get a couple of bottles of nice wine per day I guess it’s worth it.

    I agreed My husband love Remy Martin so in our next cruise we will take the upgrade plus we know how to take advantage!

    we order always top shelf drinks and have to expend a lot on extra cost so this deal works for us.

    I think if you do the math its in favor of NCL but if you drink like us a lot day and night you can get your money worth. We always get a bottle of wine every day, drink day and night. For us even though it sounds crazy adding the per day charge we break even in the end and we are on vaca so we still do it.

    We are looking forward to our cruise in August 2020. The Premium Plus Beverage Package is appealing. First off – being able to order a nice wine by the bottle and the upscale spirits that are available. Unlimited water is a plus as well. It is a lot to consider but I am thinking it is a must if you partake in any adult beverages.

    Does this include specialty coffee? I don’t drink…not $99/ worth a day! But a couple of cups of latte would make me reconsider (and free bottled water…yay)

    Does anyone know if Powerade Zero is included in the sports drinks? If so, flavors?