Is the Drink Package Worth It on Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean Deluxe Beverage Package Sign

You may be debating purchasing a Royal Caribbean beverage package before your upcoming cruise. With several different Royal Caribbean drinks packages to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you.

Would you get your money’s worth out of the deluxe package? Is the refreshment package enough? Or maybe you should just buy your drinks a la carte and try to save money.

If these questions have been running through your head, you’re in the right place! This post will explain the options for the Royal Caribbean drink packages, so you’ll know exactly what’s included in each one.

We’ll also provide a simple way to calculate whether or not the beverage packages will save you money on the cruise ship. So, no matter which of the Royal Caribbean cruise ships you will be sailing on, you’ll be able to decide if a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth it for you!

Royal Caribbean Drink Packages

robotic bar with alcohol bottles at top
Bionic Bar on Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean offers several different drink packages for cruise ship passengers. The beverage packages you should be able to find in your cruise planner include the following:

  • Water Package
  • Coffee Card
  • Classic Soda Package
  • Refreshment Package (non-alcoholic)
  • Deluxe Beverage Package (alcoholic)

We will discuss each of these packages in detail below.

Water Package

One of the cheaper Royal Caribbean drink package options is the Water Package. This bottled water package allows guests to order packs of water of 6, 12, or 24 bottles/cans. The bottled water will be delivered to your stateroom on the date you choose. This package typically costs around $29 for a pack of 24 waters.

Coffee Package

In addition to the water package, Royal Caribbean offers a coffee package known as the Cafe Select Coffee Card. This coffee card allows you to purchase 15 specialty coffee drinks onboard the ship. Each time you use the Cafe Select Coffee Card to buy a specialty coffee, the barista will punch a hole in the card.

Cafe Select Coffee Card in Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner

It’s important to note that the Cafe Select Coffee Card cannot be used at the Starbucks on the Royal Caribbean ships. However, you can use it to purchase Starbucks brand coffee at the Royal Promenade.

Classic Soda Package

For the cruisers who love soda, Royal Caribbean offers a classic soft drinks package. This drink package comes with a Coca-Cola souvenir cup that you can use at the Freestyle machines. You may also have your cup filled with fountain soda at the dining venues and bars onboard the ship. The Classic Soda Package is great for those families looking for unlimited soda on their trip. The Classic Soda Package prices may fluctuate based on ship and sailing, but they tend to run around $8.99 per person per day.

Refreshment Package

If you’re looking for all inclusive drink packages without a need for adult beverages, you may consider purchasing the Royal Caribbean Refreshment Package. This beverage package allows for unlimited access to the following non-alcoholic drinks on the cruise ship:

  • Fountain soda
  • Fresh-squeezed juices
  • Specialty coffees
  • Bottles of water
  • Premium teas
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails
Royal Caribbean Refreshment Package in Cruise Planner

Cruisers who purchase the Royal Caribbean Refreshment Package receive a Coca-Cola souvenir cup to hold their non-alcoholic beverages during the cruise. The Refreshment Drink Package cost is typically around $19 per person per day. However, this can change depending on cruise planner sales and the ship/itinerary in which you are sailing.

Deluxe Beverage Package

If you’re looking for unlimited drinks, including alcoholic beverages, the Royal Caribbean Deluxe Drink Package is for you. The alcoholic drink package is the most premium package you can purchase for your cruise. This deluxe drink package is available for cruisers who are of legal drinking age only. Some of the beverages you’ll find included in the alcoholic beverage package include:

  • Beer
  • wine (by the glass)
  • Cocktails
  • Seltzers
  • Liquor and spirits
  • Premium coffee
  • Bottled water
  • Premium tea
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Fountain soda
  • Freshly-squeezed juices

Note that this alcoholic package also comes with a Coca-Cola souvenir cup for your non-alcoholic drinks. The Deluxe Unlimited Drink Packages include top-shelf liquor like Grey Goose, Crown Royal, and Patron. You can order a shot of liquor, a cocktail, beer, glass of wine, etc. and the beverage will be included up to a price of $14.

Vintages Wine Bar on Oasis of the Seas

If the drink you order costs more than $14, you will be responsible for paying the difference. For example, on our most recent cruise, my husband and I purchased the Deluxe Beverage Package. When ordering a glass of wine for $16, the bartender would charge us a $2 overage fee for our drink. That being said, you will find most of the wine prices and cocktails fall within the $14 limit.

Royal Caribbean Drink Package Price

You can book a Royal Caribbean Beverage Package through the online cruise planner up to 72 hours before your ship’s sail date. If you’re considering purchasing a package, we highly recommend that you do so online before your cruise. Once onboard the ship, the prices of Royal Caribbean drink packages are much steeper.

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Cruise Planner

If you book a drink package ahead of time and change your mind, you can easily cancel the purchase in your online cruise account. It’s important to note that the prices listed in the cruise planner do not include tax and gratuity. Once you add the drink package to your cart, you can see the total cost with these extra fees added. If you’re wondering the price of the drink packages, they really fluctuate a lot.

As mentioned above, you’ll find the best price in your online cruise planner before you set sail. Furthermore, the best sale prices often come with the Royal Caribbean Black Friday Sale. This is when the deluxe drink package cost often decreases to 30% off the base price. On my most recent cruise, the Royal Caribbean Deluxe Beverage Package tended to hover around $72-$77 per person per day. With the Black Friday Sale, the package saw a lower price of $67.99 per person per day.

Royal Caribbean Deluxe Beverage Package Sign
Black Friday Pricing for Deluxe Beverage Package

Additionally, we want to mention that Royal Caribbean requires all guests purchasing the Deluxe Beverage Package to do so for ALL people in their stateroom who are of legal drinking age. In other words, if two adults are staying in a cabin and one wants the Deluxe package, the second person must also purchase it. That being said, I have heard that if you call Royal Caribbean, they may allow you to buy the package for only one person.

Is the Drink Package Worth It?

Many cruisers have a difficult time determining if the Royal Caribbean drinks packages are worth it or not. The truth is, it really depends on the type of drinker you are. Since my family and I have experience with the Deluxe Drink Package, I will explain the main factors for us getting the package. Then you can decide if it sounds like a good value for you.

Oasis of the Seas ship docked
Drink packages can be used on Labadee.

Prior to our trip, I calculated that the Deluxe Beverage Package was worth it if you plan to have at least 6 drinks per day. Initially this seemed like a lot to me, especially since we were traveling with our two young kids. However, I realized that I wasn’t including non-alcoholic beverages in my calculations. This is how I made the deluxe drink package work for me each day:

  • Specialty Coffee in the Morning (sometimes two)
  • Mimosa with Breakfast
  • Protein shake from Vitality Cafe
  • Cocktail on Pool Deck (sometimes two)
  • Glass of Wine at Dinner
  • Chocolate Martini at End of the Night
  • Bottles of Water (roughly 6 per day)

We made a point to order a bottle of water each time we got a drink from a venue. This allowed us to free up space in our suitcases instead of having to pack our large Hydro Flask re-fillable water bottles. Overall, I really felt like the drink package was worth it for us, especially since I bought it during the Black Friday Sale.

After purchasing it, I immediately felt a sense of relief in knowing that a bar tab was one less thing to have to worry about at the end of the cruise. Additionally, two of our stops on our Oasis of the Seas cruise were at Labadee and CocoCay. Since both of those ports are owned by Royal Caribbean, we were able to use our drink packages on the private islands, so we got even more use out of them.

Entrance to CocoCay with tall water slides
You can also use drink packages on CocoCay.

If you’re interested in reading a full account of my family’s seven-night cruise, you can check out our Honest Review of Oasis of the Seas. In that post, I detail each day of our trip and include lots of tips we learned along the way. Ultimately, only you and your family can decide if the drink package is a good deal or not.

Cruise Planner

We were able to find great value in it since we paid for our drinks upfront instead of being faced with a large bill at the end of the vacation. I suggest following the costs of Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages in your online cruise planner. Once the special offers and Black Friday Sale prices are announced, you can determine if the price is a great deal or not. And, remember you can always cancel the package up to a few days before your sailing if you change your mind or if you find a lower price.

What Drinks Are Free on Royal Caribbean?

If you’re not planning to purchase additional beverages on the cruise, you’ll find lots of free drinks on the Royal Caribbean ships. Royal Caribbean International provides several beverage options for guests as part of your base cruise cost. Some of the free drinks you will find onboard include:

  • Milk (including chocolate milk)
  • Water (not bottled water)
  • Lemonade
  • Flavored water
  • Juice (apple juice, orange juice, etc. & not freshly squeezed)
  • Regular coffee
  • Tea

The good news is if you and your family tend to stick to the beverage options listed above, you won’t need a drink package on your trip. All of these drinks are free of charge and readily available onboard.

alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks with text overlay Royal Caribbean Drink Package Worth It?

Additionally, if you plan to indulge in beverages in addition to the free drinks listed, you may consider bringing your own items onboard. Royal Caribbean International has strict guidelines in place for what guests are allowed to carry on the cruise ships. On embarkation day, each stateroom is permitted to carry on two 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne as long as one guest in the cabin is of legal drinking age.

Royal Caribbean will provide a corkscrew for guests enjoying their drinks in the stateroom. However, it’s important to note that you will be charged a corkage fee if you consume your bottle of wine in a dining venue. In addition to this carryon alcohol policy, guests sailing with Royal Caribbean are also able to bring 12 cans/bottles of non-alcoholic beverages onboard the ship on embarkation day. 

Final Review of the Royal Caribbean Drink Package Options

Overall, we found that Royal Caribbean provides lots of options for adding beverages onto your basic cruise fare. With packages for water, sodas, refreshments, and alcoholic beverages, they seem to have you covered no matter what you enjoy drinking. As mentioned above, you can often find a great deal on the drink packages in your cruise planner prior to sailing. If that’s the case, we wouldn’t hesitate to buy a Royal Caribbean beverage package on our next sailing.

Are you also considering the Wi-Fi package? If so, you’ll want to check out our full review here – Royal Caribbean Internet Package.

Do you purchase Royal Caribbean’s drink packages on your sailings? Comment below to share if you think they are worth it or not!

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    1. Hi Marcia,

      I don’t think I would purchase the drink package if I only planned on having two drinks per day. Plus, your Diamond benefits already discount the two drinks you have. Hope that helps!

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