Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ordering Wine On Board

Do you enjoy wine?  I know I do.  And because my job day-to-day requires me to be alert as I drive for a living I rarely drink anything at home.  But boy when I get on a ship I sure enjoy my wine every night at dinner.

Princess recently updated their wine list and there were quite a few of my favourites that are no longer there, but I can say now after sailing recently I have many new favourites. 

A great place to try a glass of wine is Vines (if your ship has it).  Vines will sometimes even let you sample a bit of wine before you buy, especially if you are a regular and you want to try something new before you buy.  Note this only happens if they already have a bottle open.  

Then if you want buy a bottle of wine in Vines and then enjoy a glass and they will store it there with your name and folio # so you can enjoy it the next night.  I love doing this, nothing better than a nice glass of wine on an afternoon at sea while reading a book.  

For dinner I ask my waiter or head waiter for a recommendation.  This has given me the chance to try wines I would not normally try.  Again if you don't finish the bottle your waiter will gladly cork the bottle and save it for another night.  Lately I have found they have given us a small card with the wine and the dining room you had it in that you can present the next night if you are dining somewhere else.  This is handy if you are dining in a speciality restaurant or maybe horizon court. 

My favorite dessert is the cheese plate and the opportunity to enjoy the rest of my wine.   

For those of you who like Princess you probably already know about the wine package.  But for those of you who don't let me tell you a little bit about it.

Wine Package is available on most cruises that are at least ten days or longer.  However we have been on a few longer cruisers where they didn't have it so be warned it may not be an option.  But if it is read on.

It is a bottle promotion whereby passengers can prepay for bottles of wine of varying quantities at a discounted rate. There are two packages that are available and you will need to decide for yourself which one will work for you.

Silver Package -- is any bottle of wine up to and including a cost of $29 in value.  You can buy a 7, 10 or 12 bottle package.  

Gold Package -- is any bottle of wine up to and including a cost of $45 in value.  You can buy a 7, 10 or 12 bottle package.

For us we first went with a gold package, then after that was finished we bought a silver package.  We found it much easier to find wines we liked in the gold range than we did in the silver range.  There are not many bottles that are $29, most of the ones we bought were around $33

Here is how it breaks down for the silver package which is a $29 bottle price  

If you buy the 7 Bottle Pack: total cost is $161 making the average bottle $23
If you buy the 10 Bottle Pack: total cost is $210 making the average bottle $21
If you buy the 12 Bottle Pack: total cost is $240 making the average bottle $20
Here is how it breaks down for the gold package which is a $45 bottle price 
If you buy the 7 Bottle Pack: total cost $217 making the average bottle $31
If you buy the 10 Bottle Pack: total cost is $290 making the average bottle $29
If you buy the 12 Bottle Pack: total cost $336 making the average bottle $28 

They punch the card as you use up your bottles.  If you bought the silver package and you order a bottle of wine that is say $34 what you will find on your bill is the total cost of the wine charged to your account then that evening the bar manager will credit your account the $29 which then means you are only charge $5 for the difference.

Note the 15% gratuity is added to the final cost when you buy the package.  Also if you don't consume all the bottles in your package you can get them and take them off with you. You can use your card in any restaurant (including Horizon court, Specialty Restaurant, or any dining room).  You can not use it in any bar, Vines, or for room service.  But we once ordered one at dinner to be sent to our cabin and we had no problem with that.

Below is a sample picture of our gold 12 bottle package.  We were very happy with these packages and would definitely do it again.  We found on our voyage, which was a very long one (49 days) they started to run out of some wines.  This meant we had to find another wine to pick, but great recommendations from our waiter, head waiter and even the bar manager led us to new favourites.  So don't be afraid to ask for recommendations.

Note if you get the Silver Package ($29 bottles) and you buy a bottle of wine that is $34.  What they do is charge you the $34 and then later that night the $29 credit shows up on your account.  So it is nice to try higher price wines than what you bought and you just pay the difference.


  1. Great info Vickie, very thorough!

  2. Hey Vickie, great blog post! I would so buy the wine package if they offered it for 7 day cruises! So.....I'm getting the All-Inclusive Alcohol Package instead on my Alaskan cruise next week. [gulp!]
    I don't drink much but when on VaCa one does like to splurge and that includes fancy coffee, soda, bottles of water, & a couple glasses of vino!

    So how can one justify spending $56 day on a cruise ship for booze? Easy I think because it also includes all tips plus all sodas, juices, bottles of water & specialty coffees!

    Adding it up? Warning this is my non-math genius way of
    figuring this out so please bear with me!

    Subtract $8 a day because it includes the Soda Plus package
    Subtract $7 a day because it includes the Café Selects Coffee Card & Gelato
    So it really costs $41 a day for the alcohol portion

    Possible Typical Non Port Day:

    $6 morning Latte (double shot)
    2 bottles of water a day $5 (Saw mini bar prices for bottles of water on CC for $2.50?)
    A pint of Guinness with the pub lunch $7
    1 Diet Coke in the afternoon $4
    Before dinner Mojito $9
    Glass of wine with dinner $8
    Specialty coffee after dinner $4
    2 Glasses of wine with show $16
    Hot chocolate on deck which they pass around but are not free = $4
    PLUS - if you order a bottle of wine under $100 you get that 40% OFF that's includes So a $29 dollar bottle of wine is $17.40 - Which I guess you could buy at Vines & take back to your cabin to enjoy on the balcony right?

    What do you think Vickie?

    1. love it Gwyneth... note your prices are not totally accurate but some are lower and some are higher so I am sure it will work out. I think the All Inclusive could be a good deal. I have been known to have two espresso drinks in the morning. Mocktail or two at lunch, soda during the afternoon and two Brambles pre dinner and then wine with dinner. That would definately be more than the per day cost for the All inclusive but we don't do that every day. Also we often trade in our mini bar for two coffee cards so we have quite a few. Enjoy your cruise Gwyneth. What ship are you getting on?

  3. Thanks for the reply, Vickie!
    I Googled my best to try & find the most current prices for things but couldn't - though I don't quite know what a Bramble is (other than the horticulture variety) sounds great!

    Since I'm not Elite with Princess the mini-bar trade-in is moot I believe. I'm sailing on the Island Princess going out of Vancouver - SO EXCITED! & so happy to have found your amusing & informative blog! My blog is all about EdTech stuff! Thanks again!

  4. Hi Vicki, We have just booked our first cruise on the Golden Princess to the South Pacific and are very excited!

    We are trying to work out if the All inclusive alcohol package is worth getting. Can you please explain how it works? Our travel agent is new and has never been on a cruise, so is unsure of the details.

    Thank you,

    1. HI Nicole, Gwentyh above gives a good synopsis of the All inclusive drink package. It really does depend on how much you will drink and if you will drink that much here is a pic of the info on it.

      Make sure to check out my Facebook page for more information too.

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