Should you get a drinks package?

Posted on 1 Feb 2022 , updated on 21 Jan 2023

There are lots of decisions to make when planning a cruise holiday, including what is the best itinerary for you, ship size, cabin type, and cabin location, but one decision most Aussies find very important is “Should I get a drinks package?”

There is no blanket right or wrong answer, and there are lots of factors to consider in this decision. You need to take into account:

  • Do I drink enough to justify the cost?
  • How many sea days vs port days?
  • Am I entitled to free drinks as part of a loyalty program?
  • Is the package currently on sale?
  • Is my liver ok?
  • Oh! Could I survive on mocktails?

Many of the major cruise lines cruising from Australia will sell various beverage packages, from soft drink and water packages through to ultimate packages which are pretty much all inclusive.

Let's delve a little deeper into some of the factors you should consider.

How much will you drink?

When you think of your answer to this, you need to really consider two questions:

How much will you drink on a sea day, and how much will you drink on a day when you are in port?

If your cruise has an overnight stay or late departure in any ports are you likely to stay ashore for dinner in the evening?

Depending on the package you are considering, it may also be worth remembering if you like to have a proper coffee in the morning with breakfast, or a freshly squeezed juice?

If you are on a longer cruise, sure you may drink more at the start, but will you end up with drinking fatigue? Really, how much can your liver handle?

Will you get free drinks?

Aside from the above consideration on how much will you drink, how many of those drinks would you have to pay for?

There are ways on cruises to score free drinks. From prizes for making a fool of yourself in various competitions, to attending art shows, jewelry sale launches, and Captain’s Reception. If you only enjoy the occasional drink, these may be enough with only the addition of a couple of drinks to not skip a drinks package.

Will you get free drinks from your loyalty club membership, whether that be Elite on Captains Club, or Diamond on Crown and Anchor?

Is it a bargain?

Often it is cheaper to buy a drinks package before your cruise than it is onboard. More often than not, cruise lines will offer sales on their beverage packages that can make it a good deal - if you buy it at the right time. It is worth knowing what the regular price is and keeping an eye on your online cruise planner to see the current going rate.

So what’s your decision?

Without a crystal ball it is impossible to know for sure what the right decision is until you get that statement at the end of your cruise. Whatever choice you make, you are on holiday, so enjoy it and have no regrets.


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