Alcohol on Board

Alcohol on Board

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Alcohol on board is rather expensive. The average cost of a cocktail in the bar of a cruise ship amounts to 6-10 EUR whereas the price of an inexpensive standard bottle of wine in the restaurant starts from 25 EUR. Please, read this article to find out the ways to reduce your alcohol expenses being on a cruise.


Wine Packages 


A wine package represents a tailor-made set of some bottles of wine that is purchased in advance and is enough for the entire cruise trip. As the bottles are sold wholesale their cost is significantly lower as compared to their price in case they are purchased separately onboard. Such a package includes 4-6 bottles of wine as a rule. You can drink them during your lunchtime or dinner, you can take the half-finished bottle to your cabin as well or leave it on your table after dinner, and a waiter will bring it again when you visit the restaurant next time. You can do whatever you want with your bottles of wine because it is your wine that you have already paid for. Such packages can also include mineral water and their price varies from 80 up to 180 US dollars. Some cruise lines offer special coffee and beer packages as well. If you can not do without an everyday cup of coffee you might be interested in such offers. Detailed information concerning such packages, their description, and prices can be found on the sites of the cruise lines.


Bringing Alcohol on Board


The idea of buying some bottles of inexpensive alcohol in a supermarket before your cruise and taking it with you on the ship would be good, but bringing your own alcohol on board is strictly prohibited by all the cruise lines. However, sometimes some exclusions exist, when, for instance, Princess and Celebrity cruise lines allow you to bring 2 bottles of wine onboard in the port of embarkation. If you make an attempt to bring alcohol onboard it will be taken away from you, placed in the storage room, and returned to you only when you leave the ship after your trip is completed. Concerning the items bought in the Duty-Free shop located on the cruise ship, the situation is the same. You will not be allowed to drink this alcohol on board, so you will be able to get it only after your cruise is completed. These rules established by all the cruise lines are quite understandable, otherwise, nobody would buy alcohol in the bars located on the shipboard.


And yet, no matter what rules are established by cruise lines, it is possible to bring alcohol on board. There is no harm in trying to do it because in the worst case, your alcohol will be taken away from you and returned when your cruise is completed. The most efficient way to bring your alcohol on board is to put it into your luggage that is to be passed in the port of embarkation, preliminary having poured it out into plastic bottles. In any case, don’t abuse the quantity of alcohol. One or two bottles can remain unnoticed so we recommend that you should not stuff your entire suitcase with them. However, if your cruise card contains an All-Inclusive sign the cruise security is quite loyal towards the luggage taken on board as a rule.


All-Inclusive Packages in a Cruise


All-Inclusive packages allow you to save your budget significantly on a cruise. Usually, they include the following:


  • Alcohol drinks, except premium brands (cocktails, draft beer, some types of wine, and hard liquors)
  • Soft drinks (mineral water, coffee, unpackaged juice, as well as fresh-squeezed juice sometimes
  • Ice cream


Only the drinks of premium brands as well as cocktails made based on them are not included in this package (for instance, Remy Martin, Hennessy, as well as expensive types of whiskey, and rum). However, Premium all-inclusive packages including premium brands of alcohol drinks are available too. The contents of the mini-bar located in the cabin are also included in this package. The price of premium packages is twice as high as that of the standard ones.


How does it work? You order a cocktail in the bar, and you are taken it as well as the bill containing zero total amount for signing. We recommend that you should make sure that the amount is really equal to zero as not all the drinks served on board are included in the all-inclusive package. However, all the drinks which are not included in the package are marked with a special “star” mark and it is comparatively difficult to be mistaken but still possible, especially having drunk 5 or 6 cocktails. 




The all-inclusive package cost is calculated based on the cruise duration. The cruise line establishes the fixed price of the package for one day, and if your cruise trip lasts for 7 days for instance you should multiply this amount by 7. And yet, it is impossible to buy such a package for 2 or 3 days as it must be purchased only for the whole number of days your cruise lasts, moreover, numerous companies (MSC, and Costa, for instance) require you to buy it for all the people living in your cabin. It means that if there are two of you staying in one cabin both of you must pay for the packages. If your children are traveling with you it is obligatory to buy special children packages for them as well.


Please see the example of the calculation for the MSC Cruises. The cost of the All-inclusive package is equal to 32 EUR for an adult, and 23 EUR for children. Thus, the cost of the package for a 7-days-cruise will amount to 224 EUR. If there are two of you in the cabin, the price will be 448 EUR. If you are accompanied by two children, the amount will be added by 322 EUR more. So, the total amount for four passengers will be equal to 770 EUR. The amount is undoubtedly impressive and can be even compared with the cruise cost. 


On the other hand, if we take into account the approximate calculation of costs of drinks not included in the package per person on a cruise we will see the following:


  • Two cups of coffee (espresso and cappuccino) at 1,7 EUR and 3,5 EUR
  • Two glasses of wine for dinner at 6-10 EUR each (they are comparatively small as a rule)
  • Two cocktails in the evening at 6-10 EUR each
  • A bottle of water for 3 EUR


In total, we have got 32-48 EUR spent. As you can see the daily cost of the package has been exceeded already. Moreover, this calculation does not include juice, chocolate bars, and ice cream. Moreover, let’s be honest, two cocktails a day can not be enough for most passengers having their leisure time on the cruise. You should also take into account that every purchase made on the cruise is taxed by a 15 percent service charge. In the case, you choose an all-inclusive package you are not required to pay such a service charge.


Undoubtedly, it is only up to you to decide whether the purchase of such a package is required personally for you or not. And yet it should be noted that some cruise lines offer competitive prices for their all-inclusive packages. 

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