For years, luxury and river cruise lines have offered fares that cover alcoholic beverages. Luxury cruise lines that don’t charge for standard alcoholic beverages are: Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Cruise Lines, Silversea Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line and Azamara Club Cruises. Our preferred river cruise lines are AMA Waterways, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and Tauck River Cruises.
Now the largest cruise lines in the world are testing the waters with their alcohol included pricing.
In 2012, mainstream cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian experimented with all-you can-drink beverage packages. Last week, Royal Caribbean announced that it will begin selling drink packages on its 22 ships early in 2013.
The move followed Carnival’s expansion to six ships of a similar program that it has been testing this year. Norwegian Cruise Lines is also testing out the formula.
So how much is this added pleasure? Alcohol packages will be priced between $42 and $55 per guest, per day, depending on the cruise line. This move is thought to attract more price-conscious cruisers.
THE PRICE OF A DRINK – OR 2 OR 3
Royal Caribbean’s new fleet-wide Classic Beverage Package costs $45 per guest, per day, includes beer, wine by the glass and non-alcoholic drinks.
Royal Caribbean’s Premium drinks package, priced at $55 per day, includes all cocktails and frozen drinks.
Carnival’s more complex plan
Carnival is offering its alcohol package – now renamed The Cheers! Program! – aboard the Carnival Conquest, Carnival Legend, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Victory, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Dream.
Carnival’s drink package is priced at $42.95 per person, daily, plus a 15% gratuity ($6.44). The package covers all beers, cocktails and wines that are $10 or lower in price, with a 15-drink limit per day. For drinks over $10, the package provides a 25% discount.
One downside for cruisers of the program is that all guests in a cabin over 21 years of age must pay for the package, even if they’re not drinking. While this hurts the consumer, it is likely a money maker for the cruise lines.
Norwegian Cruise Lines’ drinks package, available on the Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Jade, is priced at $49.
Celebrity Cruises began offering a variety of beverage packages across its fleet in 2010, and now offers a premium alcohol package for $54 per night with an added 15% service charge per night.
Information from: “Cruise Lines Expand All-You-Can-Drink Packages” by Andrew Sheivachman on ASTA December 17, 2012
With mainstream cruise lines charging extra for alcohol, gratuities, shore excursions, transfers, kids programs, specialty dining and much more- the luxury cruise lines price is more in reach than consumers may think. Add in the larger staterooms, smaller ship size and higher staff to guest ratio and the vacations are close in price but not in experience.
Our cruise travel specialists can help you decipher what cruise line is the best for you and your family.
Call Carefree Vacations at 1.800.CONFIRM (266.3476) or request a quote
Jennifer McGuigan for Carefree Vacations
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