If you plan on taking a cruise with Royal Caribbean, you’ve probably heard that they have drink packages. Whether you plan on drinking alcohol or not, it’s a good idea to choose one of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages to save money during your trip.
But what drink package makes the most sense? Well, it depends on what you enjoy on your vacation. For some, water is all they need, while some drink tons of soft drinks, coffee, or tea. For others, specialty cocktails or ice-cold beer are key to a great cruise.
Royal Caribbean has four drink packages to choose from (water, classic soda, refreshments, and deluxe). Each of these packages includes different beverages and has a different price. In this article we will tell you about each Royal Caribbean drink package cost in more detail, including what you get for your money.
Royal Caribbean Drink Package Cost Overview
If you’ve never been on a cruise before, it’s important to know that they are different than going to an all-inclusive resort. When you go to an all-inclusive resort, nearly everything, including alcoholic drinks, is included in the price. However, with a majority of cruises, you may be able to get most or all meals, basic refreshments, and activities included in the price, but you still have to pay separately for alcohol.
For example, we recently did a Virgin Voyages alcohol package and drink prices review, and we found that they are pretty close to being an all-inclusive cruise. Everything is included, even the high-end dining restaurants. However, passengers still need to pay separately for alcoholic drinks or purchase a $300 bar tab.
Unfortunately, Royal Caribbean isn’t all-inclusive, and you will need to purchase one of their four drink packages. You will also need to purchase a food package in order to go to certain restaurants on the ship.
Let’s take a look at each Royal Caribbean drink package cost to help you decide which one makes the most sense for you.
Royal Caribbean Drink Package Cost: Water Package
The basic and least expensive Royal Caribbean drink package is the water package. This package will give you 6, 12, or 24 one-liter bottles of Evian water in your cabin. The water package is a one-time cost and ranges from $39 for 12 bottles to $60 for 24 bottles.
The only downfall of this package is that you are buying a limited number of bottles of water during your trip.
Royal Caribbean Drink Package Cost: Classic Soda Package
If you would like to have something other than water, the classic soda package is a good choice. With this package, you get unlimited refills on all fountain drinks as well as a Coca-Cola cup to take home with you.
The classic soda package costs $12.99 per guest per day. (Keep in mind, this doesn’t include gratuity.) Once you purchase this package, you will get a soda package icon on your SeaPass card. This will tell the employees that you are allowed to get unlimited refreshment drinks and can use the Coca-Cola Freestyle Machines.
Royal Caribbean Drink Package Cost: Refreshment Package
For $29 per guest per day for the refreshment package, passengers can get a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks. These include coffee, tea, bottled water, fresh squeezed orange juice, virgin cocktails, and fountain soda.
This package will also give you a Coca-Cola souvenir cup. If you don’t plan on drinking alcohol but want a wide variety of refreshments to choose from, this is the best package.
Royal Caribbean Drink Package Cost: Deluxe Beverage Package
Last but not least, the deluxe beverage package is the best bang for your buck if you want to enjoy plenty of alcoholic drinks without worrying about costs. For $63-$70 per guest per day, you will get an unlimited amount of beer, wine, and select spirits. In addition, you get coffee, tea, and all other non-alcoholic beverages.
If you want to enjoy a bottle of wine during a nice dinner, the deluxe package includes a 40% discount on bottles of wine under $100 and 20% on bottles of wine above $100.
The deluxe drink package has a threshold of $12 per drink. If you do want to get a drink above that price, you will pay the difference. Like the other packages, gratuity is not included in the price and will need to be paid during the final checkout.
Can You Cheat Royal Caribbean Drink Package Cost?
It may seem to many travelers that the Royal Caribbean drink package cost is on the pricier side. Due to this, there are many who look for ways to avoid paying it, by bringing their own drinks aboard. While there are ways to save money, cheating the Royal Caribbean drink package could ruin your vacation before it even gets started.
If you are caught cheating on the Royal Caribbean drink package, you will get your drink package canceled, could be denied boarding, and could face fines. To us, it doesn’t sound like it’s worth the risk since it takes months of planning to go on a cruise.
How to Get the Best Value Out of a Royal Caribbean Drink Package
Nonetheless, there are ways to make the most of the drink packages.
Pack a Bottle of Wine
The first way is to bring your own bottle of wine on the ship. Royal Caribbean allows you to bring a bottle of wine, but if you want to drink it in public spaces, you will have to pay a $15 corkage fee. However, if you drink the wine in your room, you won’t be charged.
Order Top-Shelf Liquor
If you purchase the Royal Caribbean deluxe drink package, then we recommend ordering top-shelf liquor. In general, cruises want to save money, so if you don’t specify which liquor you want, you will get the cheapest, or well, brand.
Ordering top-shelf liquor for your drinks ensures that you are getting your money’s worth. You just need to stay under the $12 per drink threshold so you don’t pay more out of pocket.
Sneak Your Own Alcohol
You can also try to sneak your own alcohol onto the cruise to save yourself money. As mentioned earlier, we don’t recommend this because if you are caught, you will face the consequences from the cruise line. If you go this route, then buying the classic soda or refreshments packages is the way to go. From there, you can add your own liquor to make cocktails.
Do Both People Have to Buy A Drink Package on Royal Caribbean?
Yes. If one person purchases a deluxe drink package with Royal Caribbean, then everyone in the same cabin who is of drinking age will also be charged for one. This can be frustrating for some because maybe you like to drink cocktails, but your spouse doesn’t drink. In this case, you will be paying extra for something that won’t be used.
The reason Royal Caribbean does this is to avoid people cheating on the drink package system. It would be easy for one person to buy a deluxe drink package, order extra drinks from the bar, and share them with their spouse to save money.
If your spouse has a medical condition that prevents them from drinking alcohol, then you can try calling Royal Caribbean to avoid being charged for two deluxe drink packages. You may need to provide proof, but it’s worth a shot and can save you money.
Royal Caribbean Drink Package Cost: Is It Worth It?
If you’re going on a honeymoon or romantic getaway and you both enjoy alcoholic drinks, then the deluxe drink package can be worth it. However, if only one of you drinks alcohol, neither of you drinks alcohol, or you only drink a little, it may be better to stick to the water, classic soda, or refreshments package.
Ultimately, it comes down to weighing the pros and cons and deciding what is best for you and your loved ones. You can always add a drink package later if you change your mind–up to a certain point. Royal Caribbean allows drink packages to be added 72 hours before departure or on the first day of the cruise.
Interested in more info about Royal Caribbean cruises? Here are other articles that may be helpful: Royal Caribbean vs. Disney Cruise: Which Is Best for You?, Virgin Voyages vs. Royal Caribbean: How Do They Compare?, and Royal Caribbean vs. MSC Cruises: Which Is Best for You?