Are you planning a cruise vacation but unsure if the Royal Caribbean drink package is worth it?
Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages offer unlimited drinks throughout your cruise at a fixed daily price. The cruise line offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
We’ll take an in-depth look at the drink packages Royal Caribbean offers using our firsthand experience and drink package calculator.
By the end of this article, you’ll know if the drink package is right for you.
Table of Contents
Royal Caribbean Drink Packages
Royal Caribbean offers three all-inclusive drink packages, a premium coffee package, and a water package. The drink package works anywhere on the cruise ship, including the onboard bars, lounges, and restaurants. You can also use the drink package at Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay.
Royal Caribbean’s drink packages include:
- Deluxe Beverage Package
- Refreshment Package (No alcohol)
- Classic Soda Package
- Coffee Card
- Water Package
Deluxe Beverage Package
Royal Caribbean offers a Deluxe Beverage Package as their primary drink package. The Deluxe drink package includes a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, commonly called the “unlimited drinks package.”
The price of the Deluxe Package ranges from $63 to $89 per person daily.
Unlike other cruise lines, the prices for Royal Caribbeans drink packages vary by ship, sail date, and itinerary. You’ll find higher prices during newer vessels and itineraries during the busier times of the year (ex., summer, march break, and Christmas.)
The Deluxe Beverage Package includes nearly every drink onboard. The list consists of
- Cocktails, spirits, and liqueurs
- Wine by the glass
- Beers, including specialty beers
- Non-alcoholic cocktails (mocktails)
- Soda, including fountain soda and Coca-Cola Freestyle options
- Still and sparkling water
- Fresh-squeezed juices
- Premium coffees and teas
- Bottled and sparkling water
You’ll even get a Coca-Cola souvenir cup when you purchase the package.
You can use the drink package at the ship’s bars, restaurants, and lounges. But it doesn’t cover beverages ordered through room service or minibar items.
Additionally, the Deluxe Beverage Package only includes drinks up to $13 per drink before gratuity. If you want to splurge for a more expensive beverage, you’ll need to pay the difference between the cost of the drink and the $13 per glass allowance.
The $13 per drink allotment is a shock for many cruisers. But it covers most of the 16oz beers and cocktails along with a wide selection of wines by the glass.
The drink package also includes most liquor and premium spirits. Higher-end brands such as Grey Goose, Patron, Johnny Walker Black Label, Tito’s Vodka, and Dewar’s 12 scotch are all included.
As a bonus, the Deluxe Beverage Package provides a 40% discount on bottled wines priced up to $100 and a 20% discount on bottles of wine priced above $100.
Depending on your choice of beverage, you will need to drink between 6 and 10 beverages per day to break even. The exact number depends on your preferences for soft drinks, specialty coffees, and alcoholic beverages.
If you want only non-alcoholic drinks or don’t mind paying extra for alcoholic beverages, the Refreshment Package might be for you.
Royal Caribbean’s Refreshment Package offers everything in the Deluxe Beverage Package minus the alcoholic drinks.
The refreshment package provides the following:
- Non-alcoholic cocktails (mocktails)
- Premium coffees and teas
- Soda, including fountain soda and Coca-Cola Freestyle machines
- Still and sparkling water
- Fresh-squeezed juices
The onboard package prices for the Refreshment Package range between $29 to $38 per person per day.
The Refreshment Drink Package allows you to enjoy nearly every non-alcoholic beverage for up to $13 per drink. The package has a few exclusions, including Starbucks, room service, and mini bar purchases.
This package provides great value because you only need to drink six to eight beverages per day to break even on your purchase.
Classic Soda Package
As you might have guessed, Royal Caribbean’s Classic Soda package offers unlimited soda during your cruise.
However, drinks such as bottled water, juices, premium coffees, and alcoholic beverages aren’t included in the drink plan.
The onboard pricing for the Classic Soda Package is $12 to $15 per person per day.
It’s important to remember that the Classic Soda Package doesn’t include cans of soda or drinks ordered through room service or minibar items.
With the package, you’ll also receive a complimentary Coca-Cola souvenir cup. You can use the cup with the onboard Coke Freestyle machines that dispense over 100 flavor combinations.
So, feel free to mix it up and create your crazy soda concoctions.
With soda prices around $3.25, you only need to purchase 4-5 drinks daily to break even.
Royal Caribbean’s Coffee Card is a must for coffee lovers. The Coffee Card lets you redeem up to 15 specialty coffees throughout your cruise.
We rarely purchase the “all-inclusive” drink packages, but the Coffee Package is an exception. Marcello and I are big coffee drinkers, and the onboard cappuccinos and lattes are exceptional.
We always use up our 15 drinks by the end of a seven-night cruise. And unlike other packages on the list, you don’t need to purchase them for everyone in the cabin.
Because the Coffee Card uses a punch card system, it’s the only drink package you can share with family and friends.
The card costs around $31 to $40, and you only need to enjoy eight to ten premium coffees to break even on your purchase. The card can be used for espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and more.
It’s important to note that regular brew coffee is complimentary on the ship. So if you’re not into specialty coffee, you can enjoy drip coffee for free.
Before purchasing the card, there are a few things to consider:
- You can’t use the Cafe Select Coffee Card at Starbucks Cafes
- Both the Deluxe Beverage Package and the Refreshment Package include specialty coffee. So, if you plan on enjoying specialty coffee, you only need to purchase one beverage package, not both.
Royal Caribbean Water Package
The tap water on Royal Caribbean cruise ships is always free and perfectly safe. But if you prefer bottled water, you might want to purchase Royal Caribbean’s water package.
The Water Package allows you to order 6, 12, or 24 packs of water.
This package is excellent for long days in port to bring the water with you off the boat. It’s always important to stay hydrated while exploring the ports of call. And if you didn’t pack a reusable water bottle, the Water Package is a great option.
What Isn’t Included With a Beverage Plan?
Royal Caribbeans drink packages have different features, inclusions, and exclusions. The specifics of the drink package should be checked before purchasing, as they can change at any time.
Generally, each of the beverage packages offered by Royal Caribbean excludes the following:
- Drinks from Starbucks cafes
- Room service beverages
- Minibar items
- Beverages more than $13 per glass
- Duty-free shop bottles of liquor
- Drinks in souvenir glasses
- Specialty beers
Royal Caribbean Drink Prices
When deciding whether the drink package is worth it, you’ll need to do some math to determine if you’d save money purchasing the package or buying individual drinks.
Royal Caribbean’s drink prices are higher relative to other mainstream cruise lines.
Here are the average prices for drinks on a Royal Caribbean cruise:
|Beer||$6 – $8|
|Wine – By the Glass||$9 – $20|
|Cocktails and Mocktails||$8 – $13|
|Specialty Coffee or Tea||$4|
|Bottles of Water||$3|
|Fresh Squeezed Juice||$3|
|Regular Coffee, Tea, and Hot Chocolate||Free|
* Please note these are average prices. Actual prices may vary.
Is a Royal Caribbean Drink Package Worth It?
Deciding if the Royal Caribbean drink package is worth it for you ultimately depends on your preferences and drinking habits. If you’ll spend more money purchasing individual drinks than the package costs, the drink package is worth it.
For most people, the drink package is not worth it. That’s because the drink package cost is more than most people would spend if they purchased the drinks individually.
Before purchasing a drink package from Royal Caribbean, we suggest doing the math to ensure you’re not wasting money.
Consider how many drinks you’ll consume daily using the prices above. Once you add up the prices, you’ll know if the drink package will save you money or cost you more than purchasing individual drinks.
Be sure to consider that you might spend some days in port. You won’t be able to use the drink package when you’re on land.
During port days, you must pay for any drinks you purchase on land. And because you’re not on the ship, you won’t consume as many beverages using your plan, which may make the drink package a not-so-ideal choice.
The packages also have a fine print that states, “Any guest wishing to purchase an alcoholic beverage package must do so for all guests of legal drinking age in the same stateroom. “
When calculating the package cost, make sure you factor in the drinking habits of everyone sharing your cabin.
We’ve compiled an entire article to help you determine if buying a drink package is right for you.
How to Get a Discount on the Drink Package
Getting a discount on your Royal Caribbean drink package can be a great way to save money on your cruise vacation. Follow these tips, and you’ll be sipping on your favorite beverages without breaking the bank.
Book in advance: One of the easiest ways to snag a deal is by purchasing your drink package before your cruise. Royal Caribbean often offers discounts on its drink packages when pre-purchased via the Cruise Planner site. The same discount may vary, but it’s common to see a 20% discount off the daily rate.
You can also take advantage of price protection by purchasing the drink package in advance. If the price of the drink package drops, you can cancel the drink plan and buy it at a lower price.
When you purchase the beverage package in advance and take advantage of price protection, you’ll always pay the lowest price and get the best deal on the drink plan.
Take advantage of your Crown and Anchor Society membership: If you’re a Crown and Anchor Society member, you may be eligible for an onboard discount on your drink package. Discounts typically range from 20% off for Diamond members, 30% off for Diamond Plus members, and 40% off for Pinnacle members.
Stay alert for promotions: Royal Caribbean occasionally holds special sales on drink packages. To maximize your chances of spotting a deal, subscribe to their email newsletter and follow their social media accounts. This way, you’ll be notified when a promotion becomes available.
Talk to your travel agent: Travel agents often receive deals and promotions unavailable to the public. When planning your cruise, it’s a good idea to ask your travel agent if they know of any special discounts on Royal Caribbean’s drink packages.
Can I Find Free Drinks Onboard?
As a Royal Caribbean guest, you might wonder if there are any opportunities to enjoy free drinks during your cruise. While the cruise line does not typically offer its drink packages for free, there are some situations where you can enjoy complimentary beverages.
You’re in luck if you are a Diamond, Diamond Plus, or Pinnacle member of Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society! These Crown & Anchor level members receive free drink vouchers during the cruise, which can be redeemed for beverages at the ship’s bars and lounges.
You’ll receive a complimentary Deluxe Beverage Package when you book a Star Class suite on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis or Quantum Class ships. With this package, you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited drinks throughout your cruise for a fixed daily price without any additional cost.
There are several other opportunities to find free drinks on Royal Caribbean.
Keep an eye out for the following:
- Star-class suite guests receive a complimentary Deluxe Beverage Package.
- Diamond, Diamond Plus, or Pinnacle members of Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society receive free drink vouchers nightly.
- An art auction, where they serve complimentary Champagne.
- Attend a liquor tasting at the duty-free shop.
- On Royal Caribbean’s first formal night, you can attend the Captain’s Toast and receive a complimentary glass of Champagne.
- Platinum and higher Crown & Anchor Society Members get free drinks during Happy Hour between 5 pm and 8:30 pm.
- Guests booked in a Grand Suite or higher can enjoy complimentary evening drinks in the Concierge Lounge.
- A buy one get one free drink voucher might be pre-loaded onto your Seapass card.
Do Crown & Anchor Members Get Free Drinks?
Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society offers passengers points for each night they spend on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle members receive complimentary drinks every evening between 5 pm and 8 pm at the Exclusive Nightly Diamond Event. Passengers who attend the event can receive three free drinks from a list that includes beers, wines, spirits, and sodas.
To reach Diamond Status, you will need to accumulate 80 points.
Royal Caribbean cruise ships also host a Welcome Back Party with free Champagne for Platinum and higher members (30 points or more).
Can Just One Person Buy the Package?
Royal Caribbean requires that if one adult purchases the beverage package, all the adults in the room must purchase the same package.
The cruise line’s rule is likely to prevent people from sharing the drink package with family and friends. The rule makes it more costly to purchase the drink package, especially if not everyone uses it to the fullest.
What if one person doesn’t drink or doesn’t drink enough to make the drink package worthwhile?
In most cases, you must choose between buying a drink package for everyone or forgoing the purchase.
You could always call the cruise line if you don’t want to buy two drink packages or if there is a circumstance where one person can’t drink, such as a pregnancy or addiction.
If you have a strong reason why one guest won’t be using the package, such as a health condition, addiction, or pregnancy, there is a chance Royal Caribbean will be lenient if you contact them before purchasing.
Several passengers have told us that when they called and explained that the second passenger doesn’t drink alcohol, they were offered the Refreshment Package instead of the Deluxe Drinks Package for the second passenger. You’ll still need to purchase two drink packages, but it is a cheaper option.
It might not get you off the hook, but it can help you save money.
Finally, Royal Caribbean does not require purchasing any drink packages for children under 18. So if you buy a drink package, you don’t need one for your kids.
Royal Caribbean Drink Package Calculator
Not sure if the Deluxe Drink Package is right for you?
We’ve built a simple calculator to help you decide. Please keep in mind that our calculator uses average drink prices to calculate your estimated daily bar tab. The numbers may not be accurate, and you should use your best judgment when deciding whether or not to purchase a drink package.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Share a Drink Package?
You are NOT allowed to share the Royal Caribbean drink package. Passengers caught using their drink package to purchase beverages on behalf of other passengers risk having their drink package canceled without a refund.
Do I Need to Buy the Drink Package for Children?
Royal Caribbean does not require guests under the legal drinking age to buy any drink package. So, you can buy the drink package for adults without the requirement to purchase any package for your children.
Should You Cheat the Royal Caribbean Drink Package?
If you’re caught sharing the Royal Caribbean drink package by giving drinks to other passengers, you risk having your whole package canceled without a refund. Don’t try and cheat the Royal Caribbean beverage package. It’s not worth the risk!
Are Royal Caribbean Drink Packages Really Unlimited?
There is no hard limit to the number of drinks you can purchase on Royal Caribbean. The unlimited drink package really is unlimited. However, if you appear too intoxicated, the staff won’t serve you more drinks.
How Many Drinks Can I Order at Once?
You can only order one drink at a time with your Royal Caribbean drink package. After you finish your drink, you can always go back for more.
Are Gratuities Included in the Package Prices?
When you purchase any of the Royal Caribbean Drink Packages, an 18% gratuity is added at checkout. You are always welcome to add extra gratuities on the ship to recognize the outstanding service of the crew, but there is no requirement as it’s included with your purchase.
Does the Drink Package Work at CocoCay?
Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay private island is one of the most popular destinations for the cruise line.
One of the many great perks is that you can use the drink package on the island. You can use the drink package at CocoCay just as you would on the cruise ship.
This perk really helps you get your money’s worth, as you won’t be able to use your drink package at most ports. The package also works at Labadee, Haiti, another private Royal Caribbean port.
Can I Buy the Beverage Package for Individual Days?
You cannot buy the Royal Caribbean beverage package for individual days. You can only purchase the drink package for the duration of your cruise.
So, if you want to purchase the drink package on a 7-day cruise, you will have to buy the package for all seven days.
How Can I Save Money on my Royal Caribbean Drink Plan?
The best way to save money on your Royal Caribbean drink package is to buy it well before your sailing date. After you book your cruise, you can log into your Royal Caribbean account to purchase the beverage package of your choice.
From your account page, Cruise Planner, you can check the current price of the beverage package. If the price drops below your purchase price, you can cancel and re-buy it at the lower price. Or call Royal Caribbean and ask for them to honor the lower price.
Do Royal Caribbean Ships Offer Drinking Straws?
In 2019, Royal Caribbean began an initiative to cut down on single-use plastics on its cruise ships. The bars and restaurants will provide paper straws. However, they do not hold up well.
I would definitely recommend bringing a collapsible metal straw (Amazon) that easily clips to your bag or belt.
What is the Drinking Age on a Royal Caribbean Cruise?
For cruises that depart in North America, the minimum drinking age is 21. For all other cruises, the drinking age is 18. If you celebrate a birthday on a Royal Caribbean cruise and turn the drinking age, you can ask Guest Services to modify your record so that you can drink on your birthday.
There’s no better way to celebrate a birthday milestone than at sea!