The last couple of years have seen the main stream cruise lines like, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, NCL & MSC offering FREE DRINKS PACKAGES throughout the year as part of their promotions but are they really a good deal or are they just a sales gimmick?

Well to answer that you need to understand a couple of things first!

  1. MSC – They have by far the cheapest Drinks Package of all the cruise lines. For 7 Nights in Europe their Premium Drinks Package is €203pp So this is ALWAYS great value . This is a double edge sword of course, because if it’s promoted as FREE DRINKS you’re only really getting €203 off Per Person.
  2. Celebrity Cruise Lines are offering FREE DRINKS on Ocean View Cabins and Above.
  3. The average cost of a drinks package is approx. $60pp per day, this usually includes: Soft Drinks, Tea/Coffee, Wine and Cocktails to a specific value, Beer & Spirits.
  4. Even when the cruise lines are offering FREE DRINKS they always offer an alternative without drinks. They always have an option where you can book an Inside Cabin or guarantee cabin at a much cheaper price but it doesn’t include the FREE DRINKS.
Multi coloured Cocktail

So with that in mind, the question remains are they worthwhile or just a sales ploy?

Well after comparing the prices of several cruises, the average difference between booking a guarantee cabin with no drinks and a numbered cabin with the FREE DRINKS was approx. €340pp – €400pp. So if you pay more you get the exact location and cabin number you’re booked into and you get FREE DRINKS INCLUDED.

The Difference in price between booking an inside Cabin with no Drinks and an Ocean View Cabin WITH FREE DRINKS is approx. €280pp -€600pp but this includes both the cabin upgrade and the FREE DRINKS PACKAGE.

So it would seem if you are going to use a drinks package the FREE DRINKS are a good deal.

Drink Prices without a drinks package on each Cruise Line varies but in general a bottle of beer is approx. $5.50, Cola is $2.50, Spirits are $5.50, Glass of Wine $7.00

2 Glasses of Cola with Straws & Lemon Slices

Which brings me on to my next point; I’m a big fan of drinks packages whether paid or Free as I think it’s great to know it’s all paid for before you travel but there are some exceptions to this:

  1. If you don’t drink alcohol then the FREE Drinks Package has no value at all. A soda package for 7 Nights is approx. $12.99pp per day so there is quite a big price difference.
  2. If you plan on being off the ship in every port and gone all day long then the Drinks Package is a waste even if it’s FREE, you are better to book the guarantee cabin.
  3. It will always be cheaper to book an inside guarantee cabin, you won’t get the FREE DRINKS but it will keep the price to a minimum.


In my opinion if you want a particular cabin and you plan on spending quite a lot of time on board or your itinerary has a lot of sea days then the FREE DRINKS is definitely a good deal.

Whatever package you decide is best for your cruise. Happy Sailing.

Best Wishes

The Cruise Queen x

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