At sea alcohol prices are anything but cheap, but savvy cruisers know how to keep from drowning in their bar bill. So here are some great tips and tricks from myself and my customers for scoring free or discounted pours on cruise ships.
One quick caveat: With a few justified exceptions, the following tips do not include wine. Policies vary. so check before you travel, but most mainstream lines allow passengers to bring wine on board in some fashion, though you will likely have to pay a corkage fee, to drink it in a restaurant.
LOYALTY PAYS IN BOOZE:- When it comes to gratis pours, cruise lines can be generous with their past passengers. Sail just once with Holland America Line and you can attend the complimentary Mariners Champagne Brunch. Amass 200 days at sea and you will not only get the Mariners Brunch but also a complimentary wine tasting , plus half off wine packages. Royal Caribbean up the ante by hosting open bar nightly cocktail events for its hardcore repeaters.
ATTAND A PARTY:- Disney Cruise Lines captains cocktail party, which is open to all passengers on formal night, provides complimentary drinks. In fact, for most lines, the master formal introduction, is made as servers dart about with booze-topped trays. Sometimes its the goodbyes that are worth celebrating , Princess Cruises hold a similar farewell soiree on cruises for 14 nights or longer.
MAKE NICE WITH THE BARTENDER:-“My husband and I have always found that if we frequent the same bar staff during the majority of the cruise and be sure to tip generously, we get excellent service. May not always be free but the bar staff tend to be more generous.
CHECK OUT AN ART AUCTION:-At-sea Art Auctions and free cheap sparkling wine go together like surrealists and curly moustaches. Whether you bid buy or pass the drinks are free.
LOOK FOR 2 FOR 1’S:-On a sailing on board Royal Caribbeans Allure Of The Seas, a number of bars advertised an hour long BOGOF specials. we stumbled onto such a happy hour at the crystal-and-drape-covered Champagne and Martini Bar, and stumbled out after doubling up on the normally $8 to $10 concoctions.
COCKTAIL SOUP AND DRUNKEN DESSERTS:-On Princess they served a ‘Pina Colada soup’ with some dinners. This ‘soup’ is remarkably cold and full of alcohol. For those who still havent caught on ‘ITS A FREE PINA COLADA’ . Also on HAL Zaandam, the ice cream dessert bar was doling out (you needed to request it) large overflowing tablespoons of delicious liqueurs on top of the vanilla ice cream, mmmmmmmmmmmm
OPT FOR IN CABIN BOTTLE SERVICE:-Some of the lines offer bottles of spirits via room service, so feel free to order a bottle of Vodka and a few bottles of Seven Up or Sprite and mix your own vodka-seven cocktails. It actually can save you alot of money and you can have a cocktail in your room , instead of having to go and find a bar and wait in line. Not all lines offer this bottle service option but those that d include Oceania and Princess. Prices do vary by line , and so, too, will savings.
SUITE GUESTS STAY LUBRICATED:-Book a grand suite or up on a Royal Caribbean ship, and you’ll have access to the Concierge Club Lounge, found on Enchantment of The seas and all Radiance and Oasis Class ships. There are nightly happy hours , actually 3.5 hours – during which servants dole out equal measures in conversation and Chardonnay.
Little tips or should I say tipples go a long way and believe me I have sampled a few as many of us do when we are away on our holidays. Enjoy and please feel free to comment of your experience of free or discounted drinks to help other cruisers.