Royal Caribbean Drink Package – Is it Worth It? Ultimate Guide

Updated

by Victoria

When booking a cruise with Royal Caribbean, it’s important to consider whether or not the drink package is worth it.

A Royal Caribbean drink package offers many benefits, but it might not be worth the cost to most passengers. This ultimate guide will help you determine whether Royal Caribbean’s beverage package is right for you. We will also cover frequently asked questions, money-saving tips, and more.

Royal Caribbean Lime and Coconut Poolside Bar
(Image Courtesy: Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean Drink Prices

Before discussing the price of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages, it’s essential to understand the cost of drinks onboard the ship. 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:

DrinkPrice
Beer$6 – $8
Wine – By the Glass$9 – $20
Cocktails and Mocktails$8 – $13
Specialty Coffee or Tea$4
Bottles of Water$3
Soft Drinks$3
Milk Free
Juice Free
Lemonade Free
Regular Coffee, Tea, and Hot ChocolateFree
Royal Caribbean average drink prices

* Please note these are average prices. Actual prices may vary.

Royal Caribbean Beverage Packages

Royal Caribbean offers a choice of three all-inclusive drink packages, as well as a premium coffee package.

Royal Caribbean’s three all-inclusive drink packages include:

  1. Deluxe Beverage Package
  2. Refreshment Package (No alcohol)
  3. Classic Soda Package

Deluxe Beverage Package

Two Cocktails on the Beach

Royal Caribbean’s primary drink package is the Deluxe Beverage Package. The Deluxe Beverage Package is the only drink package that includes alcoholic drinks. Many cruisers refer to it as the “unlimited drink package” because it includes nearly all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available.

The price of this package on the ship is around $63 to $89 per person per day (plus gratuities). Prices for this drink package and the others offered by Royal Caribbean vary by ship, sail dates, and itinerary. You will find higher prices on 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, beers, wine (by the glass), specialty coffees, teas, juices, bottled water, and sodas. You’ll even get a Coca-Cola souvenir cup when you purchase the package.

The drink package doesn’t include beverages ordered through room service or mini-bar 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 the $13 allotment covers nearly all the 16oz beers, cocktails, and a wide selection of available wines.

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 bottled wines 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.

Refreshment Package

Orange Juice and Mamosa on cruise ship balcony

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 except alcoholic drinks. So you can get bottled water, soda, juices, specialty coffee and teas, and even mocktails.

The onboard price for the Refreshment Package is between $29 to $38 per person per day. The Refreshment Package offers everything in the Deluxe Beverage Package except for alcoholic drinks. So you can get bottled water, soda, juices, premium coffees and teas, and even mocktails.

Essentially, this package allows you to enjoy nearly every non-alcoholic beverage for up to $13 per drink. The package has a few exclusions such as Starbucks.

This package provides great value. You only need to drink six to eight beverages per day to break even on your purchase.

Classic Soda Package

The Classic Soda Package is the least expensive of the three traditional drink packages. As you might have guessed, this package gets you unlimited soda during your cruise. However, drinks such as bottled water, juices, premium coffees, and alcoholic beverages cost extra.

The onboard pricing for the Classic Soda Package is $12 to $15 per person per day. This drink package includes unlimited soda from the onboard bars and restaurants and even Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay. However, it does not include cans of soda or drinks ordered through room service.

This drink package also comes with a 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.

It’s important to note that only guests who purchase a drink package can use the Coke Freestyle machines.

With soda prices around $3.25, guests will need to purchase only 4-5 drinks per day to break even.

Royal Caribbean Coffee Package

Woman holding cup of coffee on cruise ship

Passengers interested in the specialty coffee offered onboard will be happy with the Cafe Select Coffee Card. The card lets you redeem up to 15 specialty coffees throughout your cruise.

The card costs $31, and you only need to enjoy eight premium coffees to break even on your purchase. It’s important to note that regular brew coffee is available for free on the ship. Passengers can use the card for espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and more.

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. Passengers who prefer to drink bottled water can order 6, 12, or 24 packs of water delivered to your stateroom.

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.

What Isn’t Included With a Royal Caribbean Drink Package?

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 cafe’s
  • Room service beverages
  • Mini-bar items
  • Beverages more than $13 per glass
  • Duty-free shop bottles of liquor
  • Drinks in souvenir glasses
  • Specialty beers

Is a Royal Caribbean Drink Package Worth It?

Drink next to hot tub on a cruise ship

Before purchasing a drink package from a cruise line, we always suggest running the numbers before you buy.

The truth is that for some people, the drink package is well worth the cost. Others end up paying way more than if they paid for the individual drinks.

We’ve put together an entire article to help you determine if buying a drink package is right for you.

Does Royal Caribbean Ever Offer Free Drink Packages?

Royal Caribbean doesn’t offer free drinks packages. However, you might be able to find an all-inclusive deal that includes the drink package bundled with your cruise fare.

Cruise lines are constantly running special promotions to entice future cruise passengers. And, Royal Caribbean is no different. Special offers might include a “kids sail free” promotion, “free gratuities,” “low minimum deposit,” or “buy one cruise fare and get one half off.”

Some cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, have run promotions that include a “free drinks” offer. If you are lucky enough to find one of these deals, you’ll get a drink package bundled with your cruise fare.

Before getting too excited, it’s important to remember a few things. Cruise lines run “specials” all year round. Usually, the bigger the freebie, the bigger the base fare. A cruise that generally costs $599 might cost $899 with the “free drinks” promotion.

Cruise lines will often use the word “included” rather than “free.” Instead of a “free drinks” promotion, you are more likely to see a “drinks included” special. They use this wording because the drink packages aren’t actually free. The price is adjusted to include the cost of the drink package.

So you might not be getting as good of a deal as you expected.

Can I Find Free Drinks Onboard?

Free Champagne at the Captains Toast
You can find free Champagne at the Captain’s Toast

When you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise, there are several places where you might find free drinks.

Keep an eye out for:

  • An art auction, where they serve complimentary Champagne
  • Attend a liquor tasting at the duty-free shop
  • On the 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 between 5 pm and 8:30 pm during Happy Hour
  • 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 awards cruisers with points for every night they spend onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Diamond and above members can get 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.

Check out our complete guide on Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society for more information.

How Do I Buy the Drink Package?

Royal Caribbean makes it easy to purchase the drink package. There are three ways to order the drink package:

  • Call Royal Caribbean to buy the drink package before you sail
  • Purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package through your online account
  • Wait until you board the ship and purchase the drink package from one of the signup tables.

We suggest purchasing the drink package ahead of time, as it is often cheaper than buying on the ship. Additionally, you’ll be able to use the drink package as soon as you get on board.

If you wait until you embark, you’ll find tables set up around the ship selling the beverage package. It’s important to note that the drink package will only be available for purchase on the first one or two days of your cruise.

FAQs

How Much is the Royal Caribbean Drink Package?

Here are the latest prices of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages, which are subject to change:

  • Deluxe Beverage Package: $63-89 per person
  • Refreshment Package: $29-38 per person
  • Classic Soda Package: $12-$15 per person

The price of Royal Caribbean drink packages varies depending on the sailing date, cruise ship, and itinerary. You should always purchase your drinks package in advance for the best price.

Can Just One Person Buy the Drink Package?

Royal Caribbean requires that if one adult purchases the beverage package, all the adults in the room must buy it.

The rule is likely to prevent people from sharing drinks with family and friends. The rule brings up a good question that you should consider before purchasing the drink package.

What if one person doesn’t drink or doesn’t drink enough to make the drink package worthwhile?

In most cases, you will need to choose between buying a drink package for everyone or forgoing the purchase. You’ll want to factor this into your budget.

You could always call the cruise line if you don’t want to buy two drink packages or a circumstance where one person can’t drink. If you have a strong reason why one guest won’t be using the package, such as a health condition or pregnancy, there is a chance Royal Caribbean will be lenient.

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 for the second passenger – instead of the Deluxe Drinks Package.

It might not get you off the hook, but it can help you save money.

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 the adults without the requirement to purchase any package for your children.

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.

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?

While some cruise lines limit the amount of alcohol you can order during a 24 hour time period, Royal Caribbean has no daily limit.

However, if you appear too intoxicated, the staff won’t serve you more drinks.

How Many Drinks Can I Order at Once?

You will only be able to 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 Tips Included in Royal Caribbean Drink Packages?

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.

Do Royal Caribbean Drink Packages go on Sale?

Royal Caribbean offers discounts on sailings and beverage packages throughout the year. If you want the best price, it is always best to purchase your drink package well before your cruise date.

Once on board the ship, the cost of the beverage packages is almost always higher than the pre-cruise price. You might find the beverage package on the ship at a buy one get one special offer. However, this is at a highly inflated price and never worth waiting for.

You’ll usually find the best deal during the Black Friday sale period. But, just like how we recommend buying your cruise early as possible, you might be able to take advantage of price protection when you buy the drinks package early.

When prices fall, you can call the cruise line and ask them to match the new price. We’ve saved thousands of dollars by buying early and taking advantage of price protection.

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 Royal Caribbean Drink 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 Prink Package?

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 papers straws. However, they do not hold up well.

I would definitely recommend bringing a collapsible metal straw that easily clips to your bag or belt.

Does Royal Caribbean Offer a Wine Package?

Royal Caribbean no longer offers a wine package. In the past, the cruise line offered discounts on bulk wine purchases. However, they no longer offer these discounts.

Wine, by the glass, is included in the Deluxe Drinks Package. But, if you want a bottle, it will have to be purchased separately.

With the Deluxe Beverage Package, you’ll receive a 40% discount on bottled wines priced up to $100 and a discount of 20% on wines priced over $100.

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 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!

Can I Purchase a Royal Caribbean Drink Package at Sea?

You can buy a Royal Caribbean drink package when you embark on your cruise. The drink package will only be available for purchase during the first one or two days of cruising.

We recommend buying drink packages in advance as the price is generally higher once you are on the ship. Additionally, when you purchase the drink package in advance, you can use it right when you get on the ship.

How Do I Cancel My Royal Caribbean Drink Package?

You can cancel your beverage package from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner or by calling their support team up to two days before your cruise to receive the full refund. You can also cancel the drink package when you first step foot on the ship, but no later.

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Victoria

I love to travel, see new places, and meet new people. I have been lucky enough to travel on multiple continents, as well as several cruise lines. I am passionate about sharing my experience with readers.

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