Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Package: Why It’s Not Worth It

google news icon 150px
google news icon 150px
Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Package Frozen Drinks by the Pool

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive compensation when you purchase via my links at no cost to you. See my disclosure for more information.

If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to enjoy all your favorite drinks while on vacation, you might be considering the purchase of a drink package.

NCL cruises are best known for their “freestyle cruising” attitude. With plenty of beverage packages to choose from, you can indulge in your favorite drinks without having to worry about running up a huge bill.

But the Norwegian Cruise Line drink package is expensive and not worth it because you can get the drink package for free with NCL’s Free at Sea Promotion.

Here’s everything you need to know about Norwegian’s drink packages.

Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Package


Norwegian recently updated its beverage package selection and added a new package option. In total, five drink packages are available for purchase. A 20% service charge is added to your purchase at checkout.

There’s no daily limit to the number of drinks you can order on Norwegian Cruise Line. But a bartender will cut you off if you appear visibly intoxicated.

Premium Beverage Package

Three young friends toasting with cocktail drinks on a cruise shipPin

The Premium Beverage Package is Norwegian Cruise Line’s most popular drinks package. If you’re sailing in the UK, you might find the “Open Bar” package advertised.

It’s the same as the Premium beverage package.

The Premium package is the classic “all-you-can-drink” choice that most people consider when purchasing a beverage package.

The package included beverages priced up to $15 per drink, including a selection of cocktails, draft beer, wine by the glass, spirits, juice, and soda.

If you buy a drink that costs over $15, you’ll simply pay the difference plus the gratuity on the amount over the limit.

You can use the package at any of the ship’s dining locations, bars, lounges, and specialty restaurants.

Cost: The Premium Beverage Package price is $109 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity and beverage service charge.

The Premium Beverage Package Includes:

  • Cocktails
  • Beers and Ciders
  • Wine (by the glass)
  • Gin & Vodka
  • Rum
  • Whiskey, brandy, and other spirits
  • Liqueurs and cordials
  • Sodas and soft drinks
  • Fruit Juices
  • A 20% discount on bottles of wine purchased onboard

The Premium Beverage Package Does Not Include:

  • Bottled water
  • Freshly squeezed juices
  • Lavazza or Starbucks coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Beer buckets
  • Bottles of wine
  • Vending machines or wine dispensers
  • Mini bar or room service
  • Tastings, flights, and experiences

Premium Plus Beverage Package

NCL’s Premium Plus Beverage Package includes everything in the Premium Beverage Package. The most significant benefit of the Premium Plus package is the removal of the price limit.

In addition, this beverage package includes a selection of bottles of wine. The bottles available with the plan have an asterisk beside them on the wine menu.

Cost: The Premium Plus Beverage Package costs $138 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity and beverage service charge.

The Premium Plus Beverage Package Includes:

  • Everything in the Premium Beverage Package
  • Bottled water
  • Specialty coffee
  • Lavazza and Starbucks coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Ultra-premium spirits
  • Select wines by the bottle when dining

The Premium Plus Beverage Package Does Not Include:

  • Beer buckets
  • Most bottles of wine
  • Vending machines or wine dispensers
  • Mini bar or room service
  • Tastings, flights, and experiences

Tip: Norwegian publishes a list of drinks available with the Premium Plus Drinks Package

Unlimited Pop Package

The Unlimited Pop Package is an excellent choice for passengers who want a variety of non-alcoholic drinks.

As the name suggests, the beverage package offers unlimited fountain soda.

The package price is different for adults and kids.

Cost: The Unlimited Pop Package costs $9.95 per person per day for adults and teens (13+) and $5.95 per person per day for children. In addition, the drink package cost has a 20% gratuity and beverage service charge added at purchase.

The Unlimited Pop Package Includes:

  • Pepsi
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Sierra Mist
  • Mt. Dew
  • Ginger Ale
  • Tonic water
  • Club Pop

Hawaii Beverage Package


You’ll find a special beverage package if you’re sailing to Hawaii on Norwegian’s Pride of America.

The Hawaii Beverage Package is similar to the Premium Package and includes a wide range of drinks priced up to $15 per drink.

Cost: The Hawaii Beverage Package price is $109 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity.

The Hawaii Beverage Package Includes:

  • Cocktails
  • Beers and ciders
  • Wine by the glass
  • Spirits
  • Liqueurs
  • Fountain sodas
  • Freshly squeezed juices
  • Bottled water
  • Specialty coffee (in dining rooms only)

The Hawaii Beverage Package Does Not Include:

  • Specialty coffees outside of restaurants
  • Energy drinks
  • Beer buckets
  • Bottles of wine
  • Drinks over $15 each
  • Vending machines or wine dispensers
  • Mini bar or room service
  • Tastings, flights, and experiences

* The drink package only covers drinks up to $15 per drink. You simply pay the difference when you purchase a drink over the $15 limit.

Unlimited Starbucks Package

The Unlimited Starbucks package offers unlimited specialty coffee and teas from Starbucks.

While you can purchase unlimited coffees and teas, the package does not cover bottled water, canned drinks, or food sold at Starbucks coffee shop.

The package is only available on ships with an onboard Starbucks, as it’s not available on all vessels.

Cost: The package is available for $12.95 per person per day, along with a 20% gratuity. To purchase this package, you must be 18 years or older at the time of sailing.

NCL Drink Prices

Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Package Frozen Drinks by the PoolPin

Before deciding if the Norwegian Cruise Line drink package is worth it, it’s essential to consider the prices of drinks on a Norwegian cruise. You can find the average drink prices below, based on recent menu prices:

Cocktail$10 – $15
Glass of Wine$8-$12
Soft Drinks$3
Energy Drinks$5
Specialty Coffee$3-$4
Large Water Bottle$6
Average Prices of Drinks on Norwegian Cruise Ships

When deciding whether to purchase the drink package, it is a good idea to do the math to see how much you would be spending if you paid for individual drinks. This way, you know precisely whether the package makes sense from a financial standpoint.

But, more on that later.

Norwegian Drink Package Rules

Colorful Holiday Cocktails On Cruise ShipPin

A set of rules applies when you purchase a Norwegian cruise line drink package.

The rules are:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age at the time of sailing to purchase and consume alcohol
  • Drink packages must be purchased by all qualifying passengers who share a stateroom or additional staterooms under the same payment method.
  • You must purchase drink packages for the entire cruise.
  • Guests may not share packages.
  • The packages are non-transferable and non-refundable.
  • Eligible guests are entitled to two drinks per person per transaction.
  • The beverage selection is subject to change onboard the ship.
  • Beverage packages do not include drinks purchased from room service, vending machines, or mini-bar purchases.
  • Applicable VAT and taxes may apply for specific ports or itineraries.
  • Passengers can use drink packages in onboard restaurants, bars, lounges, and Great Stirrup Cay.
  • Beverage packages are not applicable at Harvest Caye or sailings that are two days or less.
  • A 20% gratuity and beverage service charge are added to all drink package purchases.
  • Prices for the beverage packages are subject to change.
  • Other terms and conditions may apply.

Is NCL Drink Package Worth It?

View from the pool deck of the Norwegian Cruise ship Pearl with live dj in the backgroundPin

The NCL drink packages are not worth the price. At one of the highest costs in the industry, we just can’t justify the purchase of the Premium or Premium Plus drinks package.

That’s because most people won’t break even on the purchase, and you can get the drink package for free through Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer.

To break even, you will have to drink 11 beverages per day to come out ahead – if you purchase drinks at the $15 price limit!

Don’t believe us. Check out our NCL drink package calculator.

For the vast majority of people, you’ll actually spend less money by purchasing individual drinks.

The only package I recommend purchasing is the soda package. At less than $10 per person per day, we think it is a choice if you want to enjoy unlimited soft drinks and fresh-squeezed juices.

Drink next to hot tub on a cruise shipPin

With all that said, if you’re still on the fence about purchasing a drink package, we recommend doing the math to determine if it is worth it. You’ll need to consider the beverages you will, the individual prices of the drinks, how much you will drink, whether you stay on the boat at ports of call, and more.

To help you out, we’ve put together an entire article to help you decide if purchasing a drink package is worth it.

And before you make your decision, there is one final consideration – Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion.

Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion has proven popular among cruisers. With the Free at Sea offer, you can choose free perks ranging from a free drink package to free NCL internet.

It’s important to note that if you opt for the free drink package, you will still have to pay the gratuities at $19.80 per person per day. However, that is a small price to pay when considering the many benefits of the drink package.

With the free drinks package, two adults on a seven-night cruise will pay just $277.20 – a fraction of the cost.

Passengers who live in the UK don’t have to pay the 20% gratuity. Instead, they will have to pay a $109 upgrade to redeem the free drink package.

You’ll find that the Free at Sea deal is almost always running, which is why barely anyone purchases the NCL Premium Beverage Package.

How to Purchase

Side shot of the Norwegian Cruise Line vessel Pearl docked in Ketchikan AlaskaPin

As you can imagine, Norwegian Cruise Line makes it very easy to purchase a beverage package.

Simply log in to your account and visit “Explore & Plan.” From there, in the left-hand column, choose “Beverage Packages.” All that’s left is selecting your package and completing checkout.

Alternatively, you can visit

Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Package FAQs

What is the Drinking Age on Norwegian Cruise Line?

The drinking age on Norwegian Cruise Line is 21 years old. Guests aged 18 – 20 can purchase and consume beer or wine when the ship is at least 3 miles from the coast. The age modification does not apply to Alaska or Hawaii sailings.

Can You Bring Your Own Alcohol on NCL Cruises?

You can bring wine and Champagne on Norwegian Cruise Line. There’s no limit to the number of bottles you can bring in your carry-on bag.

Any drinks brought onboard are subject to a corkage fee of $15 per bottle for 750 ml bottles and $30 for 1500 ml bottles. Box wines are not allowed to be brought on board.

Can I Share the NCL Drinks Package?

Norwegian Cruise Line does not allow the sharing of drinks packages. It can be tempting to save money by sharing drinks with your travel companions. But remember that if you are caught sharing drinks, the cruise line can cancel your drink package without a refund.

Like other cruise lines, if one person has a drink package, all adults sharing a stateroom must also have the same package, and children must have the soda package. The rule will likely reduce the possibility of passengers sharing a drinks package.

If one or more passengers cannot drink alcohol for medical, addiction, or religious reasons, you should contact NCL to ask for an exception.

Is There a Daily Limit on the Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Package?

The NCL drink package doesn’t have a daily limit on the number of drinks that passengers can order. However, visibly intoxicated guests may not be served at the discretion of the bar staff.

How Many Drinks Can I Buy at One Time?

Guests can order up to two drinks in a single transaction and a price limit of $15 per drink with the drink package. You will be charged the difference if you order a drink that costs more than $15 with an NCL drink package.

For example, if you have the Premium Beverage Package and order a $21 drink, you will be charged $6 ($21 less the $15 limit).

Can I Get Bottles of Wine With the Drink Package?

Norwegian’s Premium Plus Beverage Package includes a selection of available wine bottles. On the wine menu, bottles of wine included in the Premium Plus package have an asterisk beside them.

The Premium Beverage Package gives a 20% discount on bottles of wine.

Does the NCL Drink Package Work on Their Private Islands?

You can use your NCL drink package at Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay private island. However, you won’t be able to use the drink package at Norwegian’s other private island, Harvest Caye. At Harvest Caye, guests must purchase drinks individually.

Can You Buy the Drink Package for Individual Days of the Cruise?

No, passengers must purchase the drink package for every day of the cruise. So, if you purchase a drink package on a seven-night sailing, you will have to pay for all seven days of the cruise.

Does the Drink Package Include Starbucks?

The drink package does not include Starbucks drinks. However, there are other coffee shops onboard that are included in the drink package.

Does Everyone in the Cabin Have to Purchase the Package If One Person Does?

Yes. If one person purchases the drink package, everyone sharing the stateroom must purchase the same package. Passengers under the age of 21 must purchase the soda package instead.

Is the Free at Sea Drink Package Really Free?

If you get the Free at Sea Drink package, you are required to pay the gratuities at a rate of $19.80 per person per day.

However, you’re not charged gratuities if you live in the UK. Instead, there is a $99 charge to get the Free at Sea deal.

Article by

Marcello De Lio


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Hello my husband and I are keen to do the cruise on the Norwegian DAWN Bucket List Discovery | Istanbul to Dubai in November 2023.
    A question please:
    re: BONUS Onboard beverage package with cocktails, spirits, wine, beer & soft drinks.
    ITEM #: UBP

    With the Free Beverage Package, enjoy a wide selection of beverages both on board and at Great Stirrup Cay. Here’s what you get:

    • Select, premium cocktails & spirits under $15 USD (such as Patron Silver, Grey Goose and more)
    • A variety of beer and wine by the glass under $15 USD
    • 20% off all bottles of champagne and wine
    • Unlimited soft drinks and juices

    Please Note: The Free Beverage Package is included with your reservation if you booked through Free at Sea.

    Must be purchased for all guests 21+ on the same reservation. Individuals under 21 must purchase the Soda Package. A 20% gratuity and beverage service charge will be added at checkout. See Terms and Conditions for full details. (not applicable, if the Beverage Package has been selected as part of the Free at Sea upgrade).
    Unlimited Open Bar Package Flyer

    Just clarifying if gratuity is added within this package.

    Thank you kindly look forward to your reply.

    • Hi Charlotte. I believe you’re talking about Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion. If you chose the free open bar, it doesn’t include gratuities. You’ll have to pay the gratuities for the beverage package, but last time I checked, the gratuities are only $19.80 per person per day.

    • Hey, I just booked this itenerary and got the free at sea drink package. The total gratuities came to 414.20 USD per person in the room. Looking forward to this trip.

      • Hi Matt.

        Congrats on booking your cruise. The Open Bar is my preferred Free at Sea Perk. They have one of the higher priced beverage packages and I wouldn’t think to purchase it on its own. But Free at Sea perks make it worth it.

        Have a great time on your cruise vacation!