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Advise on drinks packages vs pay as you go

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I am aplogies for basic question but I have never sailed on Carnival before although I have sailed on other cruiselines. Thinking off doing a short 5 day cruise in December and was wondering what the best route was for gettings my drinks on baord. We do like to have a nice social drink but we could easily just drinks sodas during the day and pay for Cocktails and Martinis etc around meal times and in the evenings? would that work out less than a full on drinks packakge? I understand both parties in the room would have to purchase one as well? I don't really want to be paying $500 or whatever it is for alcohol! as we are also thinking of doing a b2b this being the second one and we probably being drinking less at this stage. 

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Many people on CC have indicated that it is worth it to them to buy Cheers.  My husband and I have not purchased it, because there is no way I could drink 5 cocktails every day, for 5 days.  I guess I'm a lightweight!!  We bring on our allowed 2 bottles of wine, I purchase maybe 2 or 3 drinks a day, and he gets buckets of beers, his drink of choice.  It really is an individual decision, based on alcohol consumption.  You can also bring on canned sodas, if you so choose.

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If you are in the "just a drink or two in the evening" category, the Cheers package probably won't be worth it for you. Especially doing a b2b and most likely will not be wanting to drink every night of that, I think you'd come out better paying as you go. I think even the ultra premium martinis wouldn't be more that $12-13 a piece, and even drinking 2 of those a night coupled with as many as 10 sodas during the day wouldn't even get you to the breakeven point.

 

Now if y'all are like my DH and myself, and know you will drink around 4 premium cocktails a night along with a half dozen non-alcoholic drinks during the day, then Cheers is more worth it in that you know you will spend that amount or more anyways and it's nice to already have it paid for.  

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My "rules of thumb" is this...compare your last 2 cruises drink bills on a per day average (include any specialty coffee drinks, like Starbucks on RCCL) and see if that total comes near the cost of Cheers.  Within 80% (over $40 per day per person)--buy Cheers, you can upgrade drinks to more top shelf stuff. 

Check number of sea days and times in ports.  Sea days are usually better for Cheers.  If time in  port is relatively short 8A-3 or 4P and sea days are more than 2, consider Cheers. 

If $ and days don't quite ad up, look into purchasing OBC or  Bar Credit, in advance.  Bar Credit you have to use or lose.  Unused OBC can be refunded.

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My husband and I bought the drink package for a four day cruise and we did use all of it.  Bought specialty coffee, drinks at Alchemy Bar, etc.   it was only a one stop cruise so we were able to get our $ worth because we spent the majority of time on the ship.  

 

We’ve discussed it for 7 day cruises but find that for the cost, it’s not worth it for us.  We are for the most part social drinkers also & normally by the 5th or 6th day we’re over the alcohol.   I would suggest saving your $ for your port days or pictures.  

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In the several cruises DH and I have been on, we haven't purchased the CHeers package.  He's mostly a craft beer drinker, and I like wine and cocktails.  We typically drink 1-2 each per day.  We're fine with the coffee in the dining room in the am.  

 

I purchase water from the Fun Shops ahead of our trip, then we bring insulated tumblers and water enhancers for flavor.  If you are driving to your port, you can also carry on a 12 pack of soda per guest.  If not, you can also order six packs from the Fun Shops.  The price on those works out to be what you'd pay per drink at any of the bars, and you do get the whole can rather than a glass. Insulated tumblers work great for these too.

 

You can research prices of the drinks you like, then budget accordingly.  On a 7 day, we spent just under $200 on drinks for both of us, and we had just what we wanted.  

 

Even with the ability to get water, soda, coffee, and shakes, I just wouldn't consume enough to make it worthwhile.

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On 2/4/2019 at 5:25 AM, pcvtmom said:

Many people on CC have indicated that it is worth it to them to buy Cheers.  My husband and I have not purchased it, because there is no way I could drink 5 cocktails every day, for 5 days.  I guess I'm a lightweight!!  We bring on our allowed 2 bottles of wine, I purchase maybe 2 or 3 drinks a day, and he gets buckets of beers, his drink of choice.  It really is an individual decision, based on alcohol consumption.  You can also bring on canned sodas, if you so choose.

Yeah for me it’s not worth it because we are not big drinkers.  We will drink a little but if I drank that much I would be sick lol.  So I will bring my 2 bottles of wine.  Hubby doesn’t like wine so I get 2 lol and I probably won’t even drink both of those.   We will bring soda in because we can.  I normally drink water and hubby tea so we probably won’t drink all of that.  We will have water delivered to the room before. Probably 2 cases will do us.  Good luck ! Some people say that it’s worth it and others say it’s not. Really depends on how much you all are gone drink.  Wish I could put them down but I am a light weight in my old age and hubby doesn’t really drink a lot either.  Also a couple of our excursions have unlimited alcohol so we will have a couple drinks there I’m sure 

Edited by Mommawo

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I know its overpriced but I order my husband a bottle of crown (and Coke 6pack) for the room and bring two bottles of wine on board for me.  We do order an occasional drink on board in addition but our drink tab for the past 3 cruises never went above $150 per cruise.  This works for us.  The last 2 cruises we had Lido cabins so mixing drinks was not a hassle. 

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We did the Cheers for the first time last week.  My Hubby is a bigger drinker than I.  He probably came closer to "break even" but not enough to make it worth it for us.  It cost us approximately $725 for the Cheers.  With the Carnival App displaying each drink we had and the cost, we quickly learned none of our drinks were ever over $9.95.  We drank Chocolatini, Kiss on the Lips, Mocha Chocolate Getaway, Blue Margarita, Bourbon & Coke, few glasses of wine, and a few sodas.  If we would have just paid as we went we would have paid less than $600.  For us, it just didn't work out.  It seems like the port days were what did us in.  We found when we returned to the ship about 4ish, we only could manage about 3 - 4 drinks the rest of the night.  It is not a bad deal if you will drink at least 35 alcohol drinks p/p, we just couldn't do it.

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We did it on our last 7 day cruise, and its a chunk of change to pay up front BUT....if your a drinker then it will be worth it.  Hubby hit the 15 two days and i hit it one day.  And before anyone says that you'll be a sloppy drunk, that is not the case.  We would get up early walk around have couple bloody mary's and then get the Vitamin waters and sodas ALL DAY long, then with supper have 2-3 drinks and we are night owls so we would hit the live music and have a few drinks after supper.  We average waking at 6am and going to bed at 1:30am so that's a long day of all kinds of drinks, not just alcohol. I didn't think of it as we have to drink 15 drinks a day, I just calculated how much money we would have spent and we came out ahead!!  On our 5 day cruise coming up we will purchase it again.  My husband really just likes the convenience of being able to get what you want when you want it and not worry about how much it costs or he try's something new and he may not like it. 

but its whatever you think you will drink, you shouldn't feel like you HAVE to drink to save money, it's everyone's own personal decision!!

 

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We pay the 100 for a liter of scotch. It lasted us all 5 days with a drink or 2 on embarkcation.  Nothing says vacation more than an umbrella drink when you arrive on board. A liter of scothch is 22 shots

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This is a discussion my dh and I were just having. We sail next week. My original plan was to carry on our two bottles of wine (to be used in dining room) plus pay as we go. 

 

But out when I stopped and started figuring the drinks we might have, we were basically almost at the cost of the package. So while it seems like such a large amount to spend, I am thinking it’s a better deal.  I’m figuring that 2 coffee drinks each, a soda or two, a mimosa with breakfast, a beer or two in the afternoon, before dinner drink at  Alchemy, wine with dinner and a drink at a show in the evening-that make some the package worth it.

 

Now, do I drink like this at home? Not even close. But we’re on vacation and like to splurge. 

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We typically purchase a wine package onboard and order a bottle/mixer package for our room.  Rest is pay as we go where we would typically be 2-3 a day.

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While I understand their need for the policy, having to buy it for all people in the cabin is what stops us from getting it.  The wife typically drinks only water during the day and will have 3 cocktails on a heavy night.  Usually it's only 1.  I'm a beer drinker and will have a couple of day.  Looking at the price for our upcoming cruise, the Cheers package will cost us $980 for an 8 day cruise.  I don't think we've ever spent more than $3-400 on drinks ever.  I also feel like that if I had the drink package, I would end up over-indulging simply to try and make sure I get my money's worth.

 

Your best bet is to think back to what you've spent on past cruises and go from there.

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I love the idea of being free to drink as much as I want, but the reality is, my primary beverage is water, and I've never actually been drunk, so I don't think I could drink enough. If we could share it between my husband and I, it would be worthwhile, but not as it is currently structured. Between the 2 of us we could do 5 cocktails a day, but it isn't worth it for each of us on our own.

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On 2/4/2019 at 3:27 PM, crewsweeper said:

My "rules of thumb" is this...compare your last 2 cruises drink bills on a per day average (include any specialty coffee drinks, like Starbucks on RCCL) and see if that total comes near the cost of Cheers.  Within 80% (over $40 per day per person)--buy Cheers, you can upgrade drinks to more top shelf stuff. 

Check number of sea days and times in ports.  Sea days are usually better for Cheers.  If time in  port is relatively short 8A-3 or 4P and sea days are more than 2, consider Cheers. 

If $ and days don't quite ad up, look into purchasing OBC or  Bar Credit, in advance.  Bar Credit you have to use or lose.  Unused OBC can be refunded.

This is great advise! 

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you have to look at your itinerary. if you are in port say , 3 times, you can't use the package. It comes to about 15 drinks a day.  for we had our 2 bottles of wine. I brought a swell bottle for water. we brought the 4 cases of soda (one per family member) and then If I wanted a booze drink here or there, i would pay. 

 

 

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you have to look at your itinerary. if you are in port say , 3 times, you can't use the package. It comes to about 15 drinks a day.  for we had our 2 bottles of wine. I brought a swell bottle for water. we brought the 4 cases of soda (one per family member) and then If I wanted a booze drink here or there, i would pay. 

 

 

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Here's my advice; if you're not a heavy drinker get a $500 Carnival gift card from AARP for $450.  When you get on the ship have that applied to your S&S card and it should more than cover your drinks plus more.  On the last night transfer the balance to your Players Club in the casino and cash it out.

 

Our cruise coming up in 9 days has 4 sea days and we only plan on getting off at one port so we applied our gift cards to the Cheers program.  Unless I drink a lot of shakes and coffee's I suspect I still could have come out ahead without Cheers, but this way we can order what we want without worrying about it, but that comes at a fairly steep price.

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On 2/5/2019 at 4:32 PM, a1m1y9 said:

We did the Cheers for the first time last week.  My Hubby is a bigger drinker than I.  He probably came closer to "break even" but not enough to make it worth it for us.  It cost us approximately $725 for the Cheers. 

 

If we would have just paid as we went we would have paid less than $600.  

Your drink total was $600...if you paid as you went you would have to add the 18% gratuity to each drink which would bring the total to $708.  

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Ray thanks for pointing out gratuity, I did not count the gratuity in my costs since I did not count it for Cheers.  Cheers is $858 with 18% gratuity my drinks then per your calculation were $708 with gratuity.

 

To each person it is personal choice, for us we spent $150 more than what was necessary with Cheers.    

 

But good point by Eliot, we used the AARP gift cards to pay for all of cruise and tips.  I should have purchased AARP gift cards for Cheers too.  That would have brought us closer to break even!  Thanks for the reminder Eliot! 

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I agree....it is a personal choice for each. 

 

I know from our history we are going to be close if we go by the drink, but that also brings budget watching into play.  The package to me offers value outside of the price of the drinks, it lets me relax without worrying about budget and frees me to try things I normally wouldn't.  I am more apt to grab that morning latte or a Poweraid for the beach, a top shelf martini over a beer, all things I would not normally enjoy if we were on a budget. 

 

I know we have exceeded the value of the package many times, others we have been close enough to call it a wash.  The freedom and 'all inclusive' aspect it brings to the vacation holds value for me.

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We drink sodas during the day and one or two alcoholic drinks at night, so usually get the soda package and pay for any alcohol on top. With the additional wine we can bring on board we don't feel like we're missing out.  

I do wish Carnival did a premium non-alcoholic drinks package like some of the other lines do, so that I could include premium coffee and milkshakes etc. 

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3 hours ago, Amyracecar said:

We drink sodas during the day and one or two alcoholic drinks at night, so usually get the soda package and pay for any alcohol on top. With the additional wine we can bring on board we don't feel like we're missing out.  

I do wish Carnival did a premium non-alcoholic drinks package like some of the other lines do, so that I could include premium coffee and milkshakes etc. 

 

We tried this with Princess and were surprised how many limitations there were (specialty coffee and canned soft drinks were two of the limitations).

 

To have a truly inclusive N/A package that covered everything Cheers does except alcohol (coffees, milkshakes, etc).  What would be a reasonable price?  It looks like Bubbles is around $8.50/day and Cheers $52/day.  The average would be around $30 per day, which I think is around the cost of 6 mocktails (similar break-even to Cheers with cocktails).  Would enough purchase at $30 per day to justify the 3 options?  I can see the appeal for many customers, but am sure a lot of others would still complain about something with the program.

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7 hours ago, ray98 said:

I agree....it is a personal choice for each. 

 

I know from our history we are going to be close if we go by the drink, but that also brings budget watching into play.  The package to me offers value outside of the price of the drinks, it lets me relax without worrying about budget and frees me to try things I normally wouldn't.  I am more apt to grab that morning latte or a Poweraid for the beach, a top shelf martini over a beer, all things I would not normally enjoy if we were on a budget. 

 

I know we have exceeded the value of the package many times, others we have been close enough to call it a wash.  The freedom and 'all inclusive' aspect it brings to the vacation holds value for me.

My opinion mirrors this one. I spend a little less if I go without Cheers, but I get more drinks on Cheers that I typically will not splurge on. On a normal non-Cheers cruise, I am not getting specialty coffees or any soda and I tend to drink more beer.  When I did Cheers, the Alchemy and rum bars were more fun, just trying things I normally wouldn't order.

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