Tuesday, September 29, 2015

All Inclusive Drink Package - My Thoughts

Recently Princess joined many of the other cruise line by introducing an All Inclusive Drink Package.

The cost for this package is $50 a day plus tip = $56.35 per day.  It is sold only on the first and second day of the cruise.  Note if you buy it the second day you will be charge for the entire voyage, including the first day, so buy it as soon as you can.  Note the price and details have changed as of September 2017 see this new blog for more details.

From Princess' page it is describe as 

Take advantage of our All-Inclusive Beverage Package which includes any individual beverage item, such as soda, water, cocktails, spirits, wines, beers, coffee and tea, up to $10 (retail value). Bottles of wine are NOT included in the package; however, when purchased in bars, dining rooms or specialty restaurants, will be available at 40% discount from the menu price. Applicable to all bottles below $100 retail. Note: This package is available for consumption at all bars, public areas and dining venues (not room service and excludes mini bar items). Terms and conditions may apply.

When you buy the package they will put a little sticker on your cruise card.  In the above picture you can see the small blue sticker with the Princess Logo.

When you order a drink the put in your portfolio number and order the drink.  The system knows you have the package and does keep track of how many drinks you are ordering.  

You should each order the drink package. You are not allowed to order and share with others.  Note people have been contacted by officers when issues arise of blatant abuse, ie. drink sharing.  I am not sure what the consequences are though.  If you have had an issue let me know, I am curious.

We have not gotten the drink package since it came into effect.  But we recently did a short three day cruise and thought since we had a good amount of on board credit it may be worth getting, to try it out.  I giggled and said "it is research for my blog".  

I did not buy it ahead of time.  If you buy ahead of time thru your cruise personalizer you will have to pay for it right then.  When you check in, your cruise card will already have the sticker on it.  For us this time we just went to one of the MANY tables set up all over the ship that was selling all the drink package options.

Drink prices are quite fair and comparable to many restaurants at home. Here is a link to the Martini Bar drink menu.  Vines Bar Menu.   And here is a link to pictures of many of the bar menus on board.  

Here is my experience with the drink package

The Positives:

  • We loved the freedom the package brought.  No worries about the added costs of each drink.  No worries if we didn't care for the drink we felt free to just leave it. This happened when I ordered a special margarita that I thought I would try but it was way too sweet for me.
  • I loved trying different drinks that I would never try and even fell in love with some new ones.
  • Crew were so helpful with recommendations for us to try.
  • We certainly drank more than the cost per day (oh that could be a negative too).
  • Love the freshly squeezed orange juice every morning.
  • We didn't hesitate to get bottled water or sparkling water when regular tap water.
  • The Elite Mini Bar set up we usually get we were able to trade it in for two coffee cards for use on another cruise.

The Negatives:

  • It made us drink more than we normally would.
  • We always were aware of how much we had drank and whether we had reached the threshold of $50
  • We drank bottled water or sparkling water when we could of just had regular tap water, so felt a little guilty about that.
  • Drank more soda (usually at lunch) when normally I would of drank water.
  • Certainly consumed more calories.
  • Thought it was odd that some items were not included in the package.  ie. the small bottles of wine sold at Horizon Court for $5.  When I tried to get one they said sorry not included.
  • The cost is high for us considering we rarely drink $50 each per day normally.  

The crew are not getting as much of the tip pool as they would if we just ordered the drink by drink.  Plus they are much much busier.

Certainly noticed a lot more intoxicated passengers (but there is no way to know whether this was because of the drink package).

So in the end would I get it again.  YOU BET, but it would probably have to be on a shorter cruise with many sea days. I don't think I could justify it on a ten day or longer unless I had a lot of on board credits.

The other night we discussed the drink package and we both agreed that if we just ordered whatever drink we wanted whenever we wanted one (instead of feeling the need to meet the threshold) we would probably still come out ahead.

I would certainly jump at the chance to get the drink package thrown in on a cruise booking if it was offered.  

In the end you yourself have to weigh out whether it is right for you.  It is great for some and not so great for others.


  1. that package would apply to the Crooners Bar??

    1. hi Steve - yes you can get drinks at any bar or restaurant on board. The only place it does not apply is to room service

  2. Thanks Vicki! My husband &I are headed out on the Emerald for west Carib.-7 day- on our first cruise in Nov. For 2 months we now we have been going back & forth on whether we should get this package. For 7 days it was quite hefty, but considering we won't be able to cruise more than twice a year until I retire, it seems like a bargain to not have to worry about how many pops, coffees or drinks we have each day. We aren't sure we are going to get off the ship at all of the destinations so this is just that much more valuable for us.
    Would you say the service you received knowing you were this ppd package was lesser since tip pool works differently?

    1. Service was top notch. Just the same as we have come to expect. We particularily liked how the staff were great at making recommendations of things we may want to try because we did have the package.

      Staff - when asked specifically by us about the tips - said because many drink packages are offered when booking as a perk and also because people drink a lot more with the package they don't see the return in tip that they normally would.

      we normally tip a bit more on any voyage even without the drink package to bar staff who go the Extra mile for us. We did the same this trip too. Each day we tipped a bartender (while sitting at the bar) who was extra attentive to our needs.

  3. Can you take your drink with you to your room?

  4. Can You use it at princess Cays?

  5. Thanks Vickie. Our next cruise in 43 days to the Baja Penisula has the drink package included. First time for this package for us and can't wait. Thanks for the update.

  6. We will have the drink package on our August 2017 Alaska trip. It was included as a perk with our booking. I love that it will include specialty coffees. I can save my coffee cards for a future voyage.

  7. Hi Vickie and Bernie,

    I took the liberty of updating the Princess AIBP Evaluator that Kelly94942 created on CC. Here is the link to my Google Document where I will be maintaining this spreadsheet.



  8. Some ports, especially California, charge sales tax on top of the AIBP purchase price. This might be an incentive to purchase it prior to the cruise.

    1. this is very true, Florida also charges tax when in port. However the ship does not process the charge for the AIBP until the evening ensuring you are not charged this tax. I always make sure this is so if I am going to buy. I always want to use my on board credits to pay for it so I wait till I get on the ship to buy.

  9. Hi Vickie,
    We paid for the drink package but saw sip & sail and it looks like if you purchase balcony and above which we did you might receive the package free. Sailing out of Barcelona Sept 9,2017.
    Thx Steve

    1. it you booked the cruise with the promotion that included the sip and sail then you get it. If you did not you probably paid less but have to buy it separately.

  10. The other thing is that it allows you to get the specialty coffees, like cappacino, (not sure how to spell that!) which I love. We have done it quite often, I get 2 bloody Mary's in the morning, several cappacinos in the morning, bottled water, and several martinis/wines, combined with meals and then at dinner, another specialty coffee. We always get the bottled water, so it is good for us.

  11. yes you are right.... i know I need my espresso every morning. And Bernie loves the fresh squeezed orange juice.