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Is the Carnival beverage package worth it?

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Hello sunshine! In our vacations pipeline, we currently have a Carnival cruise, already paid, for an unknown destination (into the unknownnnnnnn!!!!) We were supposed to leave from New York to Bermuda at the end of May. Still, as you can imagine, the cruise was cancelled.  Nevertheless, we are facing the same issue: Is the Carnival cruise beverage package worth it?  We used to purchase the Bottomless bubbles, and  I am considering the Cheers package, but before spilling an additional thousand dollars, you know me, I will break the numbers.

After a few cruises where we purchased the Bottomless bubbles beverage package and finally realizing it might not be worth it. I decided to raise the veil on the numbers and facts and check the reall reason why we need to purchase the package.

When travelling down south, we all enjoy the all-inclusive formula, which allows you to consume whatever you want, without worrying about the upcoming bill. On a cruise, it’s slightly different.  Your meals are included, but not the gratuities, let alone the drinks! This is why so many people rely on the drink package, the non-alcoholic or alcoholic version.  However, they tend to be quite pricey, moreover when you need to add gratuities on this package!

Just like I did for Disney budget, I checked what was more worthy.

Pinnable image - Is the Carnival Drink package worth it- Carnival horizon ship docked - Yellow and orange cocktails side by side on a glass table with ocean in background

What beverage are you allowed to bring on a Carnival cruise?

First and foremost, are we allowed to bring our beverage on a Carnival cruise? If so, no need to worry about the drink package’s worth! Although it might be slightly different from a cruise line to another, you cannot bring an entire week of drink and beverage.

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However, it is worth it to bring as much as you can; therefore, you are entitled to a twelve-pack of cans.  Read carefully: a twelve-pack of CANS, no bottles, no juice boxes, CANS.  Now, that being said, all family member can bring a pack, for us, we typically bring one pack of sparkling water, and one of ginger ale. With that, we have everything we need for every dinner on a 7 nights cruise.

Additionally to the sodas, each adult can bring a bottle of wine OR champagne—one bottle of one or the other. For us, it means that we can bring two bottles of wine, meaning that we are all set for 2 dinners on the cruise.

What drinks are actually included in a Carnival cruise?

To check whether or not the beverage package on a Carnival cruise is worth it; it is best to be aware of what beverage are included.  At the buffet, on Lido deck, you will typically find a water machine along with juices in the morning, which are replaced for iced tea and lemonade at lunchtime. However, don’t quote me on that, juices, lemonade and iced tea might rotate.  In the morning, you can also find coffee “on tap” on Lido Deck. Therefore, if we look at this with an economic eye; morning and lunch, you can have free beverages, we only have dinner left to take care of, and for dinner, we have the cans we brought.

Piano bar, red louge chairs at round tables. Red decor
WIth so many beautifull options to enjoy drinks it’s hard to say no!

If beverage are provided for all meals, why should I purchase a Carnival cruise beverage package?

If you enjoy a bubbly drink such as sparkling water or sodas, you will have to pay out of pocket. Furthermore, if you want to relax with an apéro, a boozy cocktail in the afternoon or an apérol spritz before dinner, be prepared to spend around 10$ per fancy drink.

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If you are happy with juices in the morning and at lunch, and sodas you brought for dinner, stop reading right here. Don’t purchase the drink package.  If you would like to treat yourself with a few cocktails, hang on, I am about to get real about the numbers.

Havana lounge, orange sofas in a turquoise decor
Havana lounge

How much does a Carnival beverage package costs, is it worth it?

Carnival horizon ship docked

Bottomless package

The package includes sodas and juices
It does not include sparkling water
cost: 8,50$/night/adult or
5,95$/night/child

Cheers package

Includes sodas, non-alcoholic bottled beverages, beer and wine by the glass ($20.00 or less) speciality coffee, frozen cocktails and discounts on wine/champagne bottles or alcohol by the glass above $20.00
Cost: 51,95$/night/adult

The nitty-gritty

Now, just like Carnival, I might have lied about the above numbers. In fact, to those prices, you need to add an 18% gratuities.  As a result, the Bottomless is around 10,03$/night/adult and 61,30$ for the Cheers package.

Soda on the ship will cost around 4$; therefore, if you drink more than two sodas per day, it might be worth it to commit for the Carnival cruise Bottomless drink package. However, keep in mind that you still have your 12 cans in your stateroom.

On the other hand, realistically, a cocktail or a regular glass of wine will cost around 8-10$. Therefore, if you plan to drink around 7-8 alcoholic beverages per day, the Cheers package might be an option to consider.  Nonetheless, anything less than 7 alcoholic drinks per day, it’s more appropriate to pay out of pocket.

Pina Cola in a glass with a pineapple slice on the rim next to a miller lite beer in an aluminum can on a marble table
Always nice to relax with a drink

HOWEVER, before you jump right onto your credit card to purchase the desired package, remember that you still have to pay port of call days. Therefore, you are likely to spend the day on land.  Eat and drink in the city, and yet have your package on the ship. For a 7 nights cruise, where you spend three days out, you need to plan to drink 3 sodas per day or around 11 cocktails per day onboard.

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two Mango mojitos with the La bodega restaurant menu in the background
Delicious Mango Mojitos in Puerto Rico, not in the beverage package

Is the Carnival cruise beverage packages worth it?

Finally, based on the numbers, I believe that there are some situations where the Carnival beverage packages are worth it. For instance, very long cruises, it would be hard to bring enough sodas to last more than ten days; in this situation, the bottomless package is appropriate.  If you are part of a wedding or a bachelor/ette party, you are likely to party hard. The Cheers package is likely a good option.

The other reason why you might want to splurge for the drink package is for the convenience.  I agree it’s super convenient, and sometimes,  I go for the convenience rather than the budget.  That being said, I think that for most situations, the drink packages are way too expensive for what it is truly used out of it.

I think it has never been more appropriate than now, have a drink, stay for a while!

pinnable image - Is the Carnival beverage package worth it - Carnival Horizon ship main Bar area
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Pinnable image - Is the Carnival beverage package worth it - Havana Bar area on Carnival Horizon ship orange sofas in a turquoise lounge
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Pinnable image - Is the Carnival beverage package worth it - Pina colada and miler light beer on a table side by side - piano bar area.
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