The news broke in the U.K., where Royal Caribbean will debut the drink package specials on board three ships starting this week.
Guests on board the Independence of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, and Legend of the Seas will all have three all-you-can-drink package options to choose from:
1) The Beer Package: This drink package includes any and all beer brands on board – including draft beer, can beer, or bottled beer. This package also includes house wines by the glass. Pricing: $29.00 per person/per day.
2) The Classic Package: This drink package includes everything in the beer and wine package mentioned above, as well as a list of brand name liquor including Smirnoff, Beefeater, and Johnny Walker. Presumeably this will also include well-liquors **shiver**. Pricing: $39.00 per person/per day.
3: Premium Package: In this all inclusive drink package, cruisers get all the perks of the previous two packages, in addition to a list of premium liquors – including Absolute Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Johnny Walker Black. Pricing: $49.00 per person/per day.
We say the last drink package from Royal Caribbean is “All Inclusive” but there needs to be some clarification. This all inclusive package wouldn’t include things like $500 bottles of wine or Cristal champagne – similar to the deal you get on a Luxury line, where they say it’s all-inclusive, but still has its limitations.
Royal Caribbean is only rolling out these drink packages in the ever-thirsty-for-alcohol United Kingdom – where per capita, drinking levels are 20-60% higher than in the United States. Perhaps their thinking is that if they can make the numbers work for this market, it’ll work anywhere!
One important note is that these drink specials include gratuities. Many cruise lines typically add on 15% gratuity to every drink purchased (don’t get me started…) – so adding that into the equation the drink deal makes it that much more appealing.
If you have a beer by the pool at 2, a decent glass of wine or two with dinner, and a premium martini with the comedy show at night — packages like this will help ease the blow every time you sign for the drink – and may even save you some money in the long run.
If this catches on, you’ll likely see the program expand to the United States and then presumably other cruise lines. Carnival currently offers only a beer and wine package, but does not offer any liquor packages.
Hat tip: CruiseCritic.com