Monday, March 21, 2011

Booze Cruises from Royal Caribbean! But Do They Mean Free Drinks?

Bolero Bar, Voyager Class RCL ships (photo by R. Stowe)
Teetotalers beware: Royal Caribbean may now be stealing the mantle of "party cruise" from Carnival Cruise Lines.

RCL announced this week that it would be testing an "all you can drink" program on three of its ships: the Independence of the Seas, the Legend of the Seas and the Grandeur of the Seas. For $29 per day, passengers can purchase a "Beer and Wine" package which will give them unlimited suds and house wines, plus a 25% discount on all other potent potables. For $39 a day, the tipples are upgraded to beer, house wines, cocktails and a 25% discount on premium liquors. A "Premium Package" includes all of the above, plus wines by the glass that normally cost $10 or more, premium liquors and a 25% discount on bottles of wine and "specialty" liquors.

Why the "largess"? My guess is that the cruise line execs are hoping the guests are too drunk too realize that these packages aren't likely to pay off.

Maybe I'm a cheap date, but even with 3 cocktails over the course of a cruising day (used to blot out the incessant pop music blasting over the speakers), I've never spent more than $20 total onboard a ship for booze. Compared to my hometown of New York City, I've always found the bars on RCL ships to be moderately priced. Maybe I'm naive, but I'd guess most of my other fellow passengers were imbibing roughly the same amount.

As for those who do regularly exceed the pass prices on their bar tabs: um, do you really want to encourage these folks to drink more? Don't we already have enough folks falling off cruise ships?


  1. I guess I just don't get why you would pay that much money to not remember your entire cruise. Hah!

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