One of my biggest pet peeves is when cruise lines offer beverage packages that are not worth their money. You want to get the most out of your vacation dollars and so we would absolutely recommend a beverage package… if it was worth it but more often than not it makes no sense. Here’s why:

When you look at the price of the beverage package, it doesn’t seem that bad. To see if it’s the right choice for you, though, you should really break down the price. Firstly, how much does the beverage package cost per day? On our recent family cruise, my brother purchased the beverage package. It made sense for him to do this but let’s use it as an example. We were on a 10-day cruise and the beverage package cost approximately $600. When we break that down, it’s $60 a day. That’s not too bad but let’s break it down further.

My brother was able to get one drink at a time up to a $10 value. That works out to about 6 drinks a day. However, 6 drinks a day only meant that he would break even. The other problem with our calculations is that we’re assuming he is drinking $10 drinks when in reality most drinks are between $6-8. Now he has to drink closer to 7-10 drinks a day, which once again only means he’s breaking even. Keep in mind that he also has to keep this up everyday.

Now a beverage package can still make sense for you, my brother got his money’s worth, but you really have to think about the cruise you are going on. Would you be going on an excursion that lasts all day? In which case, when you returned to the ship after a long day, you’d need to neck at least 7 drinks in the evening. If you spend a lot of time ashore, for example at the beach, you can often get the local beer quite inexpensively. Obviously your beverage package doesn’t work ashore.

On a lot of cruise lines, if one person in your stateroom wants the beverage package the other person has to also get the beverage package or at least the non-alcoholic beverage package. It does depend on which cruise line you cruise with, though.

I do want to add that the beverage package works on specialty coffees and you don’t have to use it on alcoholic drinks all the time. Also, on our recent cruise we found that there were 2 happy hours each day where you could buy a drink and get the second drink for $1. Beverage package users could not take advantage of this.

So the next time you see a cruise offer where you get to pick your perks (e.g. where the beverage package is included or you can get a flight credit or your gratuities included etc.), or you’re considering the beverage package, do not assume that it is good value! In addition, not all beverage packages are equal! Read the fine print and absolutely do the numbers.

Remember to keep in mind if everyone in the stateroom has to purchase the beverage package, how many drinks a day you’ll have to drink and how busy you’ll be on your cruise before getting that happy little sticker on your cruise card that indicates your beverage package.

About the Author

Rhian Torontow is a Family Travel Consultant with Magical Family Adventures. Rhian creates travel experiences that foster connections in your family that will last a lifetime and transforms your children into open-minded, flexible, well-travelled people. During Rhian’s childhood, her father travelled for work constantly and it was always travel that brought her family back together. You can follow Rhian on Facebook at, Instagram @MagicalFamilyAdventures and you can also connect with her on LinkedIn