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JamieLogical

Drinks Package?

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I am always amazed that people buy the drink package.  We booked several cruises on Princess once under their "Sip and Sail" sale.  We got the unlimited drinks package for free.  We took a 15 day transatlantic cruise with 10 or 11 sea days.  Not once did we drink enough that we would have come out ahead financially--even on days that we made that our personal goal.  Also, we had to sign every time we got a drink--just in case we wanted to add extra tip, I guess.  Also, at the end of the trip, we had to go to guest services to get several drinks removed from our bill because they rung them up incorrectly.  I was not impressed.  When we got home, I rebooked the remaining cruises under the new promotion they were offering for free gratuities and onboard credit.  It would stress me out to no end to know that I had to drink "x" number of drinks every day to break even.  We've been on 16 cruises and we get a drink whenever we want one.  Never had a bar tab anywhere near what a package would cost us. 

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14 minutes ago, aimee0715 said:

I am always amazed that people buy the drink package.  We booked several cruises on Princess once under their "Sip and Sail" sale.  We got the unlimited drinks package for free.  We took a 15 day transatlantic cruise with 10 or 11 sea days.  Not once did we drink enough that we would have come out ahead financially--even on days that we made that our personal goal.  Also, we had to sign every time we got a drink--just in case we wanted to add extra tip, I guess.  Also, at the end of the trip, we had to go to guest services to get several drinks removed from our bill because they rung them up incorrectly.  I was not impressed.  When we got home, I rebooked the remaining cruises under the new promotion they were offering for free gratuities and onboard credit.  It would stress me out to no end to know that I had to drink "x" number of drinks every day to break even.  We've been on 16 cruises and we get a drink whenever we want one.  Never had a bar tab anywhere near what a package would cost us. 

 

 

It really depends on what line you are sailing on and how you get the drink package. On NCL, you can choose the package as one of your "free" perks and just pay the gratuity on the package. Break-even when doing it that way comes out to about three drinks per person per day. I definitely drink more than that, so it's an easy choice for me. Also, no need to sign slips each time, you just swipe your card and go.

 

On my upcoming MSC sailing, the "free" drink package doesn't cover much, so we'll be paying to upgrade to the Premium Package, which comes out to $27/person per day. That sounds a little steep, but when you're talking about mixed drinks that cost $9-12 a piece, just a few add up to over $27. I would much rather pay the $27/day with my cruise fare and not have to worry about it on the cruise. Even if I don't get my "money's worth" on a given day. Just not having to think/stress about it is worth it to me.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, JamieLogical said:

 

 

It really depends on what line you are sailing on and how you get the drink package. On NCL, you can choose the package as one of your "free" perks and just pay the gratuity on the package. Break-even when doing it that way comes out to about three drinks per person per day. I definitely drink more than that, so it's an easy choice for me. Also, no need to sign slips each time, you just swipe your card and go.

 

On my upcoming MSC sailing, the "free" drink package doesn't cover much, so we'll be paying to upgrade to the Premium Package, which comes out to $27/person per day. That sounds a little steep, but when you're talking about mixed drinks that cost $9-12 a piece, just a few add up to over $27. I would much rather pay the $27/day with my cruise fare and not have to worry about it on the cruise. Even if I don't get my "money's worth" on a given day. Just not having to think/stress about it is worth it to me.

To buy the package on Princes is $70.79 and Royal Caribbean is $74.34-$82.60 per person, per day and both people in the cabin have to buy it.  These prices include the 18% gratuity. On an upcoming RC 3-night cruise, the drink package would have been $184 per person and that was with a buy one, get one half off promotion.   That's a lot of drinking.  $27 is not bad. 

Edited by aimee0715
typo

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6 hours ago, aimee0715 said:

To buy the package on Princes is $70.79 and Royal Caribbean is $74.34-$82.60 per person, per day and both people in the cabin have to buy it.  These prices include the 18% gratuity. On an upcoming RC 3-night cruise, the drink package would have been $184 per person and that was with a buy one, get one half off promotion.   That's a lot of drinking.  $27 is not bad. 

 

What NCL has done is price the drink package at about $100 a day and then "give it away" as a promo ... but you pay the 20% gratuity on the list price of the package. So it works out to $20 a day. I don't think very many people are paying $100 a day for it. They recently raised prices of some alcohol and then added a "premium" package you can buy on top of the regular package to include those. But to get that drink package deal thrown in you have to book the right class of cabin, and "sail away" rates are usually a few hundred less.

 

Those are the type of games Virgin Voyages is trying to avoid.

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Posted (edited)

Add me to those surprised that VV isn't planning a beverage package offering.  Of course there will be the usual CC contingent whom bemoan beverage packages, sloppy drunks etc. or whom pre-judge folks whom value craft cocktails and decent wine as part of the vacation experience.  VV isn't Carnival and the guest demographic will be very different - I don't see it as a "booze cruise".

 

But add me into the contingent that prefers to have an upfront price, and then relax and enjoy onboard, not wondering how much your bar bill will be at the end of the trip.  It's not about drinking to excess, so much as a mindset - one that All Inclusive resorts fostered, and which has been highly successful for lines like Celebrity and NCL.  Budget and pay up front, relax onboard, no hidden costs or surprises later.

 

If "mixology inspired craft cocktails" are priced at hip & trendy New York pricing, it wouldn't take many $15-$18 USD (+ gratuity?) cocktails, a few glasses of wine at dinner, and a few espresso to quickly have something clost to $150/day bar tab per person. Hardly an excessive amount of alcohol, but a significant daily cost that could easily put VV total pricing per diems well above brands like Celebrity - and perhaps higher even than some of the true luxury players like Seabourn.

Edited by YYC F/A

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33 minutes ago, YYC F/A said:

Add me to those surprised that VV isn't planning a beverage package offering.  Of course there will be the usual CC contingent whom bemoan beverage packages, sloppy drunks etc. or whom pre-judge folks whom value craft cocktails and decent wine as part of the vacation experience.  VV isn't Carnival and the guest demographic will be very different - I don't see it as a "booze cruise".

 

But add me into the contingent that prefers to have an upfront price, and then relax and enjoy onboard, not wondering how much your bar bill will be at the end of the trip.  It's not about drinking to excess, so much as a mindset - one that All Inclusive resorts fostered, and which has been highly successful for lines like Celebrity and NCL.  Budget and pay up front, relax onboard, no hidden costs or surprises later.

 

If "mixology inspired craft cocktails" are priced at hip & trendy New York pricing, it wouldn't take many $15-$18 USD (+ gratuity?) cocktails, a few glasses of wine at dinner, and a few espresso to quickly have something clost to $150/day bar tab per person. Hardly an excessive amount of alcohol, but a significant daily cost that could easily put VV total pricing per diems well above brands like Celebrity - and perhaps higher even than some of the true luxury players like Seabourn.

We won't know for sure until they start sailing, but maybe that is exactly the type of cruiser they want - the ones who wouldn't blink an eye at paying New York hip and trendy pricing for as many drinks as they want each day. There are many types of people in the world and there is a hat for every head, so we will see. It can't be all things for all people - too many cruise lines are doing that these days and it is just so generic and boring. We've booked a 4 nighter and we will either LOVE it or it will be the first and last time we sail, but we're open to finding out what it is all about. I'm OK with not loving it and leaving it for folks who do. Can't wait to find out.

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On 3/29/2019 at 7:13 AM, YYC F/A said:

Add me to those surprised that VV isn't planning a beverage package offering.  Of course there will be the usual CC contingent whom bemoan beverage packages, sloppy drunks etc. or whom pre-judge folks whom value craft cocktails and decent wine as part of the vacation experience.  VV isn't Carnival and the guest demographic will be very different - I don't see it as a "booze cruise".

 

But add me into the contingent that prefers to have an upfront price, and then relax and enjoy onboard, not wondering how much your bar bill will be at the end of the trip.  It's not about drinking to excess, so much as a mindset - one that All Inclusive resorts fostered, and which has been highly successful for lines like Celebrity and NCL.  Budget and pay up front, relax onboard, no hidden costs or surprises later.

 

If "mixology inspired craft cocktails" are priced at hip & trendy New York pricing, it wouldn't take many $15-$18 USD (+ gratuity?) cocktails, a few glasses of wine at dinner, and a few espresso to quickly have something clost to $150/day bar tab per person. Hardly an excessive amount of alcohol, but a significant daily cost that could easily put VV total pricing per diems well above brands like Celebrity - and perhaps higher even than some of the true luxury players like Seabourn.

 

What he/she said ........  🥂

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I am in agreement with Jaime on this one.  Since we sail Haven on NCL, the drink package is automatically included, as well as specialty dining, excursion credits, butler, concierge, etc.  When I looked at the pricing on the VV cruises, I was surprised.  It is as much or more than my Haven Caribbean 7-day cruises.  And I would still have to pay for drinks.

No thanks!

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2 hours ago, Over the Water said:

Can someone post a picture of the cost of drinks so WE can determine if they are "reasonable" prices?

 

I am sure once sailings begin, information on drink pricing will be shared broadly on these forums.

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On 6/11/2019 at 7:44 PM, Over the Water said:

Can someone post a picture of the cost of drinks so WE can determine if they are "reasonable" prices?

Welcome to CC. That is unlikely to happen till next April after the first sailing.

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I think one thing that people forgot is that when I book a land based trip, I can buy a bottle of local spirits and wine to drink in my room and often around the pool. We are highly limited in the ability to do that on a cruise ship. So the individual cost of drinks on a cruise effect us much more than any land based trip we take. 

 

We have sail sail a few times on MSC yacht club and they include drinks in the private spaces and around the ship.  The YC allowed me to bring all my spirits bought on shore back with no questions, restocked my mini bar every day with all kinds of drinks and snacks, and offer butler delivered drinks and snacks at all times.  Given VV advertising, I expect this as standard kind of level of provided amenities and was surprised when it was only limited beverages. 

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Shhhhhh! Please don't bring up the Yacht Club. It is hard enough to secure space as it is. Please, everyone, just disregard the last post! 🤣

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I've never sailed without a drink package thanks to the advice of a friend before my first cruise. But if I had a dollar for every time I have heard a story from someone saying something along the lines of "I stupidly didn't buy the drink package on my first cruise and ended up owing $900 or $1100 or even $1500 at the end of the cruise, so I learned that lesson the hard way," I would probably have enough money to cover drinks on a Virgin Voyages sailing. 😋

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On ‎3‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 5:38 PM, aimee0715 said:

I am always amazed that people buy the drink package.  We booked several cruises on Princess once under their "Sip and Sail" sale.  We got the unlimited drinks package for free.  We took a 15 day transatlantic cruise with 10 or 11 sea days.  Not once did we drink enough that we would have come out ahead financially--even on days that we made that our personal goal.  Also, we had to sign every time we got a drink--just in case we wanted to add extra tip, I guess.  Also, at the end of the trip, we had to go to guest services to get several drinks removed from our bill because they rung them up incorrectly.  I was not impressed.  When we got home, I rebooked the remaining cruises under the new promotion they were offering for free gratuities and onboard credit.  It would stress me out to no end to know that I had to drink "x" number of drinks every day to break even.  We've been on 16 cruises and we get a drink whenever we want one.  Never had a bar tab anywhere near what a package would cost us. 

I think if you want to spend your cruise with boozing as your main priority the packages are the way to go.  If drinking isn't that big of a priority it doesn't make much sense.

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On 3/19/2019 at 5:38 PM, aimee0715 said:

I am always amazed that people buy the drink package.  We booked several cruises on Princess once under their "Sip and Sail" sale.  We got the unlimited drinks package for free.  We took a 15 day transatlantic cruise with 10 or 11 sea days.  Not once did we drink enough that we would have come out ahead financially--even on days that we made that our personal goal.  Also, we had to sign every time we got a drink--just in case we wanted to add extra tip, I guess.  Also, at the end of the trip, we had to go to guest services to get several drinks removed from our bill because they rung them up incorrectly.  I was not impressed.  When we got home, I rebooked the remaining cruises under the new promotion they were offering for free gratuities and onboard credit.  It would stress me out to no end to know that I had to drink "x" number of drinks every day to break even.  We've been on 16 cruises and we get a drink whenever we want one.  Never had a bar tab anywhere near what a package would cost us. 

 

Of course it would be strange to get the drink package on a 15 day cruise. Generally when people talk about buying drink packages they're talking about 3-7 day cruises

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On 6/26/2019 at 4:49 PM, hotsauce126 said:

 

Of course it would be strange to get the drink package on a 15 day cruise. Generally when people talk about buying drink packages they're talking about 3-7 day cruises

Why would it be strange to get a drink package on a 15 day cruise?  

 

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As a millennial and a person who cares not to think about looking at the incurred cost on my cruise sheet daily, I would like the option of a drinks package. 

 

Unless these drinks are merely $2-8 dollars per drink (yes; that cheap as I would expect prices beneath land-based operations), I would be very concerned I may be racking up quite the bill. 

 

I don't go on vacation to do math and create a budget (that is what my pre-planning is for). I go on vacation to order whatever drink I want knowing I have already secured the cost of the beverage and not feeling concerned for not finishing the drink if I don't like it.

 

 

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so far if you go on virgin no package for you!  

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On 6/30/2019 at 1:08 PM, willsears94 said:

Unless these drinks are merely $2-8 dollars per drink (yes; that cheap as I would expect prices beneath land-based operations), I would be very concerned I may be racking up quite the bill. 

 

Why on earth would you expect prices beneath land-based operations? I would expect them to be the same as a big city, like they are on most other cruise lines.

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On 7/1/2019 at 6:36 PM, Nightrythm said:

 

Why on earth would you expect prices beneath land-based operations? I would expect them to be the same as a big city, like they are on most other cruise lines.

 

I'm guessing because there is a FAQ on the VV site that says....

 

" What's a holiday without a few choice cocktails? Your sailing includes our basic bevvies and, while we don't have traditional drink packages, our drink offerings are very reasonably priced."
 

 

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On 7/1/2019 at 8:36 PM, Nightrythm said:

 

Why on earth would you expect prices beneath land-based operations? I would expect them to be the same as a big city, like they are on most other cruise lines.

Drink prices used to be less than a big city, like New York, until drink packages were offered.

The price per drink went up to encourage people to buy the packages and it worked.

Individual drink prices on a cruise are still less than New York City bar prices.

 

Cruise lines pay a lot less for liquor than bars do in US cities.

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20 hours ago, mark290 said:

Cruise lines pay a lot less for liquor than bars do in US cities.

The price to the distributor is probably close, but the cruise line doesn't have a bunch of taxes to deal with, other than a few places like Galveston departures.

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On 2/14/2019 at 12:57 PM, fulhamgirly said:

It's just water, juice, tea and coffee

 

Actually it includes soft drinks and sparkling water.  So no stupid upcharge just to have a soda or sparkling water.  

 

"Stay hydrated with filtered still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, sodas, teas or even drip coffee if you need a boost."

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On 6/30/2019 at 4:08 PM, willsears94 said:

As a millennial and a person who cares not to think about looking at the incurred cost on my cruise sheet daily, I would like the option of a drinks package. 

 

Unless these drinks are merely $2-8 dollars per drink (yes; that cheap as I would expect prices beneath land-based operations), I would be very concerned I may be racking up quite the bill. 

 

I don't go on vacation to do math and create a budget (that is what my pre-planning is for). I go on vacation to order whatever drink I want knowing I have already secured the cost of the beverage and not feeling concerned for not finishing the drink if I don't like it.

 

 

 

First off, you won't be paying for any 'speciality dining' so for us, that offsets the cost of $9 - $15 drinks which is what we usually pay on Celebrity, Royal and Princess for drinks.  We have paid as much as $300 - $500 for speciality dining on cruises so reallocating that money we don't need to spend on Virgin to alcohol is no problem.  We'll spend less than that on alcohol over the course of a 5 day cruise.

 

As for not finishing the drink if you don't like it, I've had that happen quite a few times when paying for the drink and the server or bar has simply made me a new drink of my choice.  In fact that just happened on the Crown Princess a few months ago when they gave me an undrinkable Old Fashioned.  They replaced it with a Moscow Mule.  

 

So there should be no concern if you don't like a drink or even a meal if you paid for it, I've not known cruise bars to refuse to replace the drink for something else.  They want you to be happy and if that means tossing a drink, it's not a big deal for them.

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