It depends on the resort or cruise ship. Generally, alcohol is included at resorts, but not on most cruise ships, which offer optional drink packages instead. At resorts, included alcohol is often unlimited but not always premium. Be sure to double-check what is included.
All-inclusive vacations are popular and hassle-free options for many travel enthusiasts, from solo travelers to couples to families. All-inclusive vacations are convenient because they cover pretty much everything in one rate, allowing you to budget for your trip more easily.
That said, at different resorts, cruise ships, and hotels, “all-inclusive” can actually mean slightly different things. This is where it can get a little confusing, and you will start asking questions like “are drinks free at all-inclusive resorts?” or “does all-inclusive include alcohol?”
The answers to these questions depend on a few factors, including the type of vacation (if you’re staying at a resort or on a cruise ship), the company providing the all-inclusive option (different resorts and cruise ships have different definitions of all-inclusive), and the all-inclusive type.
To help you better understand what you’re getting for your money, we’ve put together some information that can help you out.
What Does All Inclusive Include?
For those unfamiliar with the concept, all-inclusive packages typically include your room, food, beverages, and access to the site’s facilities, such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and beaches. Activities and entertainment are also often included.
The most common all-inclusive package you’ll find is one which provides everything you need for an enjoyable getaway. However, there can be differences depending on where you are going.
For more information about all-inclusive vacations and what these types of packages can truly offer you, be sure to check out our article What Does All-Inclusive Mean?
Does All-Inclusive Include Alcohol on a Cruise Ship?
All-inclusive on cruise ships can be very different from all-inclusive resorts, particularly when it comes to drinks.
While many cruise ships cover food and activities in their rate, drinks packages are often sold separately. This is typically because different people enjoy different things on their vacations. For those who don’t drink much alcohol, it’s a better value to just buy drinks at the bar as they go along. For those who enjoy a fair amount to drink, a drinks package can save them money.
On some lines, like Royal Caribbean, cruise ship drink packages aren’t only for alcohol; they also include soft drinks, coffee, and tea too. On others, like Virgin Voyages, nonalcoholic beverages are included. FYI, Virgin Voyages is unique in that, instead of drink packages, it offers low per-drink pricing and an optional bar credit that you can purchase in advance.
This is usually different when it comes to luxury cruise lines. On a luxury cruise you’ll be paying a lot more for it, and drinks are more likely to be included.
No matter which cruise operator you’re traveling with, it’s always best to check with the company directly or with your cruise travel agent, to ensure you know what’s included in the upfront price.
Does All-Inclusive at a Resort Include Alcohol?
Whether all-inclusive at a resort includes alcohol or not depends on a variety of factors, including the company, the level of luxury, and even the destination.
Most all-inclusive resorts include alcohol as well as all nonalcoholic beverages, particularly if you’re looking at a 4- or 5-star resort or luxury getaway. That said, it’s always best to check directly with the resort or your all-inclusive travel agent to be sure what is included in the upfront price.
However, the alcohol that is included can range in quality. Some all-inclusive packages include premium liquor and beer, while others just include local beer and “well brand” liquor. At some all-inclusive resorts–like Secrets, Breathless, and Dreams resorts–you have to upgrade to a higher level of package to get top shelf liquor.
At many all-inclusive resorts, you will not only have access to complimentary alcohol at the bars and restaurants, but you will also have an in-room minibar. The most luxurious all-inclusive resorts will refresh it daily, and some will even customize the liquor, beer, and wine to your tastes.
Do you get unlimited alcohol on all-inclusive? Again, the answer to this depends. Some all-inclusive resorts, like Sandals, Couples, and Secrets adults-only all-inclusive resorts, offer unlimited alcohol. They also offer a variety of bars that are open day and night, as well as in-room minibars, so you’re never without an option.
But in recent years, it’s become common practice for some resorts to put a limit on alcoholic beverages. There may be a set number of drinks you can have each day. As we said, above, many luxury all-inclusive resorts still offer unlimited alcoholic beverages though, so be sure to do your research before you book if this is something you’re looking for.
Is wine included in all-inclusive resorts? Again, this depends on the resort, but wine tends to be less available than beer and spirits. Sometimes the resort will offer a house brand for free, but charge for other types of wine.
For example, Sandals resorts include Robert Mondavi wines. Other resorts may include a glass or two at dinner, and some may give you a free bottle of wine in your room.
Hopefully, this post helped answer the question “does all inclusive include alcohol?” If you have any more questions, or any experience with this, feel free to leave a comment.
Emily is a Freelance travel writer from the UK who believes that the discovery of culture, history, foods, and modern life is the most exciting part of travel. She loves finding great deals and experiencing great travel on a budget.
Emily graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, with a degree in Asia Pacific Studies.