"Free Drinks" may SOUND like a good deal, but that doesn't always mean that it is!
A cruise promo that offers "Free Drinks" or "Beverage Credits" may sound like a great deal, but that isn't always the truth! Avoid this mistake by reading our list of 11 signs you should not buy a beverage package.
1. Two cocktails have you under the table. You're not a big drinker, so why pay for drinks you'll never have? You would think this is obvious, but some people feel as though they would get their money's worth by having that drink or two extra per day. Do yourself a favor: sit down and calculate just how much those drinks would cost you if you paid outright. Compare that to the beverage package and see which option is the right fit for you. Not everyone is the same!
2. You've got expensive taste. All cocktails are NOT created equal! Many cruise line beverage packages come with a cost range per drink to adhere to, usually between $9 to $15 per drink. Not to mention, your beverage package doesn't usually apply to drinks from your mini-bar, room service or onboard shops. If you have particular brand loyalty, assume you'll be paying out of pocket for that drink. Specialty cocktails ordered on board usually do not fall under the beverage package umbrella either, so be ready to pay for that as well.
3. Your ship already includes some alcoholic beverages in its fares. Not many people know this, but on many luxury cruise lines like Azamara and Viking Ocean Cruises, you might not NEED the beverage package. Many of these cruise lines offer complimentary house wine, soft drinks, and beer. The beverage package would go toward premium offerings. If you're content with what they offer, you may not need the beverage package at all!
4. Your cruise line allows you to bring some beverages onboard at embarkation. Many cruise lines allow you to bring one or two bottles of wine onboard at your embarkation. Others might allow you to bring water, soda or other beverages on as well. Though there is often a corkage fee for opening said wine, this might be a more cost-effective option if what you bring on-board will be enough for your tastes.
5. You spend a lot of time off the ship. If you're on a cruise with few at-sea days, you might not feel a need to pay for a beverage package you won't even use. You can't use your beverage package at the port, so if you're spending a lot of time onshore, then the money spent will go to waste!
6. Your cabin-mate is a teetotaler. If you have a cabin-mate that isn't a fan of alcohol, whether they're teetotal or just not a big drinker, you might not want to make them uncomfortable by indulging. Some cruise lines even enforce a rule with the beverage package to discourage sharing the package to save money. If one adult in the cabin orders the beverage package, the cruise line may require everyone in the cabin to be 21 and older. Either way, if you are on a cruise line with these stipulations, you may be better off paying for that drink outright.
7. You're part of a cruise line's loyalty program. There are so many perks to joining a cruise line's loyalty program! Often times, these perks are offered in the form of beverage credits or vouchers. Sure, these vouchers have their limits and you may only be allowed to indulge in house wine or basic craft beers (these perks differ per cruise line). But, remember, the money you save can be used toward another package or another activity on the ship!
8. Gin & tonic is your go-to drink. Be aware that not every beverage package is created equal. Often times, these packages do NOT cover cocktails with non-fountain sodas. For example, a gin & tonic wouldn't be covered, yet a rum & coke would be included in the package. This policy would be the same for any drink mixed with a specialty soda.
9. You like to gamble! Casinos at sea are often not the same as casinos on land. Casinos on a cruise don't give free drinks just for playing the slots or tables. However, you DO have the option to play for points to earn a place in the cruise line's player's club, which often gives you free drinks! If you spend most of your at-sea time in the casino, then pass up the beverage package and use that money elsewhere.
10. Smuggling booze onboard doesn't scare you. No matter the rule, there will always be those who wish to break it. There are so many reasons you shouldn't sneak alcohol on-board a cruise ship, but there will always be those who wish to do so anyway. That being said, if you're that type of traveler, there would be no reason to buy that beverage package.
11. You're staying in a suite. If you're staying in a suite, be sure to fully investigate all of the perks included before buying a beverage package. Your suite may come with a fully-stocked mini-bar, invites to exclusive cocktail parties, or access to a suite-only lounge where they offer an open bar! Some cruise lines even offer the beverage package as a perk with your suite booking, so do your research before spending the extra money!
As you can see, beverage packages can be fantastic, but they are definitely not for everyone. It depends on your cruise line, your perks, and your personal tastes! Be sure to do your research and take these points into account before purchasing that Beverage Package.
And, as always, feel free to give us a call with any questions on your future trip!
Original Article by CruiseCritic.com