TRAVEL HERE: STEPPING UP FROM SODAS
Some people think everybody on a cruise is looking for a multi-day drinking binge. To a certain extent, they have a point. There are a whole lot of people drinking a whole lot of adult beverages on most cruises – and I think I know why.
Pay As You Go VS Drink Packages
I’m a wine with dinner person, but big ship cruising isn’t geared for that. Glasses of wine hover at $10-12 – and who can drink just one? The bottled wine choices are limited and while I can understand why, they certainly charge through the roof for what they have. To make that even more challenging, I drink white and Bill drinks red. He’s fine with a beer, but they’re around $8 and his favorite, Bud Light costs more, because for some reason all American beers cost more. I consider beer to be wasted calories. We have a bit of dilemma in this department.
On Norwegian they did have a wine program and I embraced it the same way I have the soda programs, but apparently the Royal Caribbean cruises target those people who want to drink mixed drinks – and a lot of them. Margaritas, Mojitos, Pina Coladas and all their sisters and brothers are the beverages featured in the Adult Beverage Packages. In fact wine drinkers can’t even get bottles of wine through the programs, they only get discounts. So it’s not just my imagination that they discriminate against wine.
If you pay as you go on a cruise and you prefer beverages that aren’t on the free list, you can rack up a pretty penny pretty quickly
- A a bottle of water while you work out
- Breakfast with coffee and juices
- Mid-morning soda
- A beer with your hamburger for lunch
- Sitting at the pool in the afternoon a margarita or two & probably a bottle of water or two
- Dinner a couple of glasses of wine
- A Cocktail at the show.
Now, this would be a lot of drinking on a regular day, but you’re on a cruise, so you indulge yourself. Do you have any idea what you have just spent? The coffee and juices were free, but you have spent $4-12 on every other item. You just spent $64 dollars and to add injury to insult they will add a 18% tip to your bill for each drink. Your bill just went up to $75.52.
So, then you think you’ll look over the free beverages again, but remember you’re on a cruise. You wish you could splurge a little, so you go back over the beverage wish list, wondering how much of it you would actually drink. Somewhere along the way you must decide what works best for you. The all-you-can drink beverage package is about $65 a day. It includes mixed drinks, beers, wine by the glass and sodas. You also get a hefty discount on bottles of wine. I wouldn’t blame anyone for getting the package, so they can just order what they want when they want it without worrying about it.
But be careful, they still add something for tips. They also only cover beverages up to a certain price point – twelve dollars on my latest cruise. So if the drink of the day is $14 (and I saw some that were) you just got charged! A friend of mine said she and her husband used to get one adult beverage package and would just avoid ordering two drinks at once, but the cruise lines figured that trick out. If one person in the cabin gets an adult beverage program, any other adults in the room are also charged for one. They get you coming and going.
We decided to pay as we went. The cruise line allowed us to bring two bottles of wine on board and there was no corkage fee. For a four day cruise that was really all we needed, but guess who was drinking red wine. Besides, I knew they would be serving free champagne at some of the events and I had the soda program to fill in.
We were fine, but I can imagine that if you splurge for the adult beverage package, then you want to be very sure that you take advantage of it. Hence the boat sometimes feels like it is full of drunk people.
The big pool was the scene of several bacchanals. We didn’t spend much time there, but a few times when we passed by, there were very drunk ladies parading around the dance floor, showing us more of themselves than we really wanted to see. Not sure why there’s never a stunning looker among the drunks, but we’ve found that to be true on virtually every cruise. We also wandered into a bar late one evening to see an event that promised to be humorous, but the karaoke wasn’t quite over when we got there. Talk about drunk people!
So that’s the skinny on beverages. I’ll cover a few more pre-cruise choices you can make next week.