Whether or not to you should purchase a Norwegian Cruise Line drink package, when you don’t have the Free at Sea promo, is really a math project. How much can you actually drink in one week?
Is Norwegian’s beverage package really worth the cost? Let’s break it all down to basics.
To help your decision, I’ve also included the Unlimited Open Bar Package and the upgraded Premium Plus beverage package menus.
Why Buy a Norwegian All-Inclusive Drink Package?
Mostly, because you’re on vacation! With any one of Norwegian’s beverage packages, you won’t have to reach for your wallet or mentally tally how much you’ve spent on booze. There’s not a much worse way to end a cruise than to get the final bill and go into shock for what you’ve spent on drinks.
But, if you don’t think you can drink enough to break even, it’s not worth it. Basically, with the least expensive Premium Beverage Package, you’d have to put away close to six to ten drinks a day.
While this doesn’t include certain Lavazza specialty coffees, bottled water or fresh juices, you can get your drinks at any bar or restaurant onboard plus it’s good at Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.
Norwegian offers five drink packages. They range from just about every ultra-premium brand an adult could request down to two kids’ unlimited soda programs.
Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Packages Details
Premium Beverage Package
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Beverage Package (formerly known as the Ultimate Beverage Package) includes a variety of spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer. The drink value can be up to and including $15 USD. Plus you can order unlimited fountain soda and juices at all bars, lounges, restaurants and Great Stirrup Cay.
If you want to purchase a bottle of wine, a 20% discount will be applied.
What the Premium Beverage Package Does Not Include
The Premium Beverage Package does not include room service, package sales, daily cocktail specials or buckets of beer. Also not included are the designated Super Premium brands (subject to change), bottled wine, mini bar purchases, bottled water and fresh squeezed juices.
Lavazza coffee beverages, energy drinks and drinks from vending machines are also not part of the package.
Guests are allowed to buy two (2) beverages per person per transaction.
The good news is that you can take advantage of this package at all restaurants, lounges, bars and Great Stirrup Cay.
If you buy an item over $15 USD, the overage plus 20% gratuity and service charge will be applied to your onboard account.
COST: $99 per person per day plus 20% gratuity and beverage service charge.
Package cost for a seven-day cruise: $831.60 per person out the door.
View the Premium Beverage Package Menu
Premium Plus Beverage Package
If you only buy top shelf alcohol, this is the package for you. The Premium Plus Beverage Package includes beverages by the glass for Veuve Clicquot, Patrón Añejo, Hendrick’s Gin and more.
Also included in your by-the-glass package are unlimited soft drinks, beers, spirits, cocktails, wines and select bottles of wine with dinner. In addition, still and sparkling water, energy drinks, and specialty coffees are included.
An interesting option about the Premium Plus package is that if you purchase the Premium Beverage Package, you can ask to upgrade to the Premium Plus when you are onboard.
COST: $138 per person per day plus 20% gratuity service charge.
Total cost for a seven-day cruise: $1159.20 per person.
Soda Packages (ages 3 and up)
If you just gotta have that soda, here’s the drink package for you. Fill up as much as you like on Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Mt. Dew, Ginger Ale, Tonic water, Club Soda.
You must purchase this for the entire cruise and it’s non-refundable.
COST: $9.00 per person per day plus 20% gratuity and beverage service charge.
How to Buy a Drink Package for Your Norwegian Cruise
Remember, if your cruise promotion includes the basic Unlimited Open Bar package, you can upgrade to the Premium Plus.
It’s pretty easy to add a beverage package to your cruise. Once you’ve booked your cruise, simply head over to ncl.com. Then up in the right-hand corner, log in to myNCL.com with your username and password. That takes you to Explore & Plan.
From there, in the left-hand column, choose Beverage Packages. Simply choose your package and pay for it. It will be automatically added to your account.
Unlimited Starbucks Package
Coffee lovers can rejoice with this Unlimited Starbucks package. The package includes all the classic coffees and teas plus Starbucks trademarked Frappuccino choice and other specialty beverages.
How much does it cost? $12.95 per person per day. plus the 20% gratuity. You must be 18 years or older at time of sailing to purchase this package.
Do the Hawai’i Cruises Have Beverage Packages?
If you’re lucky enough to take Norwegian’s Pride of America Hawai’i cruise, you should know that there are special beverage packages just for these cruises.
Called the Hawai’i Beverage Package, it’s priced at $109 per person per day, with a wide variety of beverages that cost up to $15.00. If your drink costs more than $15, the overage will be applied to your onboard account. As always, there’s a 20% gratuity charge.
The package is available to guests 1 and 2 on the reservation and you can request up to two beverages per person per order.
The Hawai’i Beverage package also includes sodas, freshly squeezed juice, bottled water (flat and sparkling), non-alcoholic beer, and specialty coffee (only in the dining rooms).
This does not include specialty coffee outside of restaurants, room service, any mini-bar purchases, or vending machines.
Hawai’i Coffee Packages
Starbuck’s coffee packages, including Frappuccinos and Teas are $12.95 per per per day plus 20% gratuity.
Hawai’i Soda Packages
Serving Coca-Cola products, you can add a soda package with unlimited refills for anyone ages 3 and older for $9.95 per person per day. And yes, there’s the 20% gratuity added.
Water Packages Aboard Pride of America Hawai’i Cruises
Norwegian has three water packages. You can purchase six one-liter bottles for $19.95, 12 one-liter bottle for $34.95 and 24 one-lite bottles for $49.95. As always, there’s the 20% gratuity fee to add.
What are Norwegian Drink Package Rules?
As you can imagine, the cruise line has its list of rules about their drink packages. Before you decide to purchase one of these, read over the rules so there are no surprises once you’re onboard.
- You must be at least 21 years of age at time of sailing to purchase any alcoholic package and to consume alcohol.
- Packages must be purchased by all qualifying individuals residing in the stateroom or additional staterooms under the same method of payment for the entire length of the cruise.
- Packages may not be shared and are non-transferable and non-refundable.
- Eligible guests are entitled to two beverages per person per transaction.
- Includes all beverages by the glass. Beverage selection is subject to change onboard.
- Only Premium Plus includes fountain soda, freshly squeezed juice, bottled water (flat and sparkling), energy drinks, non-alcoholic beer, wine dispensers, and specialty coffee.
- For non-select bottles of wine (champagne and sparkling included), “Wine and Spirit Experiences”, tastings, and flights, guest will receive a 40% discount when purchased on board.
- Does not include: Room service, mini bar purchases, vending machines
- Guest’s check may reflect applicable VAT and/or taxes for certain ports or itineraries.
- Package can be used in onboard restaurants, lounges, bars and Great Stirrup Cay.
- Offer is not applicable on Harvest Caye, nor sailings that are two (2) days or less.
- A 20% gratuity and beverage service charge will be added to all package purchases.
- No substitute for package if guest cannot consume all beverages included.
- Package price is subject to change.
- Other terms and conditions may apply.
Conclusion: To Buy or Not to Buy
Personally, I’ve never purchased a beverage package…other than a water package. But with individual drink prices on the rise, with Norwegian as well as other cruise lines, buying a beverage package might make more sense. Especially if you do the math.
Yes, even with the almost-yearly increases in the cost of drink packages, if you like more expensive wine, or simply drink a whole lot of beer, you’re probably better off with an all-inclusive drink package.
And besides, it must be really nice to say, “I’ll take another” to the waiter instead of doing the mental math and thinking about end-of-cruise sticker shock.
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I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.