You’ve probably already noticed that everything is more expensive these days, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
The reasons for this are varied, ranging from rising fuel prices to labor shortages and supply chain issues owing to the covid-19 pandemic.
As a result, people are having to watch their household budgets more carefully, and one result is that your vacations are just a little less carefree. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, but just keep in mind that it’s going to cost you more to get there, for the experience and to eat and drink what you feel like enjoying.
Royal Caribbean Has Raised Drink Prices
Guests who are currently enjoying a fall sailing on Royal Caribbean have noted that the price of a signature cocktail has gone by a dollar or more, so some drinks now cost $14 instead of $13, which used to be the average price, as noted by the Royal Caribbean blog, an independent outlet which is not affiliated with Royal Caribbean.
An 18% gratuity is automatically added for drinks ordered a la carte, and the Royal Caribbean blog says that domestic beers cost $7.49 and $7.99 for imports, while Red Stripe costs $8.25, and “many wines by the glass are still around $10-14 per glass.”
“While cruises offer an all-inclusive vacation experience, the “all” part does not include drinks on most Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line ( (CCL) ) , and Norwegian Cruise Line ( (NCLH) ) cruises. Your basic cruise fare includes meals in a variety of restaurants, but if you want anything other than very basic drinks (water, milk, coffee, tea, and some not-juice juices) you end up paying extra,” TheStreet’s Daniel Kline recently explained.
Some people opt for an all-inclusive drink package, which includes water, juice, coffee, beer, and cocktails. The prices of these packages on Royal Caribbean and otherwise will vary by the sailing and ship, though the Royal Caribbean blog notes that Deluxe Beverage Package (unlimited alcohol package) costs between $65 – $90 per person, per day, for a drink package when purchased onboard. There’s no limit on how much alcohol you can consume, but visibly impaired passengers won’t be served.
The price ranges for the all-inclusive drink package have increased, and they don’t cover everything, exactly. Room service is excluded, and wine is not included. Instead, you get a 40% discount on wines under $100. Wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount. The package included cocktails up to $14 in value.
But there are drinks, such as those served with souvenir cup/glass/mug or inside, say, a pineapple, that cost more, but the drink price is subsidized by the beverage package.
The other option is to pay a la carte, especially if you’re a fairly light drinker. And members of the Royal Caribbean loyalty program Crown and Anchor Society get free drink vouchers if they achieve Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle status, and those vouchers have been adjusted to reflect the new prices.
“I’m on Allure of the Seas right now and this change seems pretty universal at all the bars,” said Kline. “I have not heard too many complaints about it as if you have a drink package or are using drink vouchers you got through your loyalty status level, the change does not really impact you as they adjusted the price limit to match.”
If a customer does order a drink over the $14 limit, the cruise line will charge the difference. Some higher-end spirits and wines do cost more.
“If a drink is close to the limit, it often depends upon the bartender. That’s likely not official policy, but I’ve rarely been charged for a whisky or tequila that’s a little over the previous $13 limit,” Kline added.
There’s Still Ways To Save On Cruises
So the cost of a beverage has gone up, but there are still ways to save on drinking while on a cruise, as noted by Royal Caribbean blog.
- Passengers can bring up to two 750ml bottles of wine in their carry-on luggage.
- You can ask the bartender what the drink of the day is, as there is usually a specialty cocktail on 20% discount.
- Sometimes during holiday celebrations or special events like art auctions, there is free champagne to be found.
- You can always hit up a bar when you reach a port.