It seems like all the cruise lines are offering drinks packages this year and as you’d expect they’ve all come with a slew of exclusions, inclusions, exceptions, exemptions, limits and T&C’s.
Trying to decide which is the best package (or even best for you) can be a nightmare as there’s no one, ‘standard’ to compare them against… but that obviously hasn’t stopped us from trying!
We’ve taken a look at which cruise lines offer what, how much each package is ‘worth’ and also what it doesn’t include to come up with the following guide.
Please note this is only our opinion and individual packages may suit different people better but hopefully you’ll find this useful in making an informed choice as to which suits you best..
We’ve chosen MSC as the cruise line offering the very best drinks package at sea this year, which is perhaps unsurprising as the recent winner of the One To Watch 2016 trophy in the www.CRUISE.co.uk Cruise Community Awards.
Their package, known as the Allegrissimo Drinks Package, is included free with all bookings but is worth around £154pp (based on a seven night sailing) and comes with literally everything… Soft drinks, bottled and draught beers, cocktails, wine’s (including Prosecco!), mixers and coffees!
Well done MSC, well done!
Norwegian Cruise Line
We took a look at NCL’s current campaign and whilst it doesn’t quite beat MSC’s it was strong enough to put them straight into second place!
If free all-inclusive drinks aren’t for you then you can choose instead free speciality dining free Wi-Fi or Free On-board credit instead but if you do opt for the drinks you’ll receive soft drinks, bottled and draught beer, spirits, wine by the glass (under the value of $15) and cocktails which will be worth around $54pp per night.
Princess cruises may not be offering the best value drink package’s out there this year but they do get bonus points for offering such a wide range of choices!
You can buy a bottled water package that gives you twelve 500ml bottles (for $6.90), an unlimited Soda & More Package ($8.05pp per day) that will give you unlimited soft drinks, mocktails, juices and hot chocolates!
Then there’s the All-Inclusive Beverage Package which will give you any individual beverage such as wines, beers, cocktails, spirits, teas and coffees up to the value of $10 for a cost of $59pp per day.
If that still doesn’t quite fit for you there’s also a Canned Soda Package, a 5-For-4 Beer Package or a Premium Coffee Card also available.
One things for sure; with Princess there’ll definitely be something to suit everyone!
We’ve placed Holland America in fourth place as whilst they offered many of the same things as the above cruise lines (wines, beers, spirits and cocktails -including non-alcoholic ones) they’re only available to guests over the age of twenty one (due to the fact it’s an American Cruise Line) and for the fact you have to pay for it rather than it being included free when you book as the others are.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
You’ll find Royal Caribbean’s drink package (which they say is worth $42pp per day) is very similar to Celebrity’s (as you’d expect for sister companies) however they’ve placed slightly higher in our guide as the package also comes with a Coca Cola souvenir glass and is included free when you book! (They also offer 20% off bottles of wine rather than Celebrity’s 15%!)
Still mid table but heading down towards the bottom end of the packages now we get to Celebrity Cruises.
With their classic drinks package you can choose from beers up to $6 per serving, spirits and cocktails up to $8 a serving and wine by the glass at $9 a serving.
However if you do prefer to order wine by the bottle then as we’ve already said buying the drinks package nets you a 15% discount off all bottles; even their reserved and rare wine lists (and those wines are nice!).
Oh and Celebrity’s package is also included free when you book!
Cruise & Maritime
Cruise & Maritime’s drinks package doesn’t include anywhere near as much as other cruise lines but they’ve avoided the bottom slot as their package is exclusive to www.CRUISE.co.uk (what can we say? We’re biased!)
The package comes with free drinks worth around £85 per cabin and will include five bottles of wine (made up of two red, two white and a rosé) plus five bottles of mineral water.
P&O and Cunard
We’ve placed P&O and Cunard in the bottom slot for drinks packages as they’re both sister cruise lines and both offer a very similar package (although the P&O package is slightly cheaper).
We’re calling them drinks package although in reality they’re actually only wine packages of which two different ‘levels’ are available.
There’s the Captain’s and the Commodores collections with the Commodore collection providing slightly nicer wines (although that comes down to taste obviously).
Once you’ve settled on a package you then have the option of purchasing either four, six, nine or twelve bottles of wine with prices ranging from £72.50 per package right through to £200 for the Captains collection or £88.50 per package to £230 on the Commodores Collection. (We’re not quite sure how much nicer the wine will be on the Commodore’s Package for an extra £2.50 a bottle but we’re happy to hear your feedback)!
As we’ve said the packages are exactly the same with Cunard except the prices range from $175 for four bottles right through to $470 for twelve (or $225 to $585 on the Commodore Package).
Need more info on P&O or Cunard? Check out here….
Are you already booked for 2016? Did you get a drinks package?
Will you be adding one before you cruise? Which one did you go for?
Or do you think all-inclusive drinks are tarnishing the reputation of the cruise industry?
Let us know in the comments below…
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