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Carnival Cruise Drink Packages: Are they worth the money?

By Hayley Braun | Travel Tips

Now that I'm over 21, my mom and I have a big decision when we cruise as a family: do we get the drink package?!

Every cruise line is different, and every group of travelers is different, so the answer is it depends. We broke down the Carnival Cruise drink package so you can decide if it's the right fit for you!

What is the Drink Package on Carnival Cruise Lines?

  • CHEERS! is Carnival's main all-inclusive beverage program.
  • This program includes both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (up to 15 per day) for a flat rate. The pricing is on a per person, per day basis. Check out our Quick Pricing Calculator below!
  • The program is for guests 21+ years of age.
  • There's also an unlimited soda program (Bottomless Bubbles) if you aren't interested in alcoholic drinks.

REMEMBER:

If you decide to purchase the drink program, be aware that anyone age 21+ staying in the same stateroom will be required to purchase the program as well (no exceptions).

Quick Pricing Calculator

What's included in the "CHEERS!" drink package?

Here's a summarized list of all of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages included in the drink package:

  • All spirits, including cocktails (with a $20 USD or lower menu price per serving)
  • All beer, wine, and champagne by the glass (with a $20 USD or lower menu price per serving)
  • 25% off the menu price for any spirit, cocktail or wine by the glass, costing above $20 USD per serving
  • 25% off the menu price for wine and champagne by the bottle
  • Sodas, virgin cocktails or smoothies, milkshakes, and juices
  • Specialty coffees (regular coffee is available for free at the buffet)
  • Other non-alcoholic bottled drinks and water bottles
  • Additionally, 25% off beverage seminars and classes

    This is a condensed and summarized list based on Carnival's CHEERS! Beverage Program FAQ. Double check their website for more inclusions and restrictions before making a final choice!

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    More Important Info

    A beer bucket on the last Carnival Cruise we went on as a family.

    One of the reasons we chose not to get the Carnival drink package:  My dad and I LOVE an ice cold beer bucket, but you are not able to order it on the drink package due to the 1-drink-at-a-time limit. 

    • Remember, you must be 21+ for the Carnival Cruise drink package, and everyone staying in the same stateroom must purchase the drink package if one of you does.
    • There's no day-by-day option, so you must purchase the package for the entire duration of the cruise.
    • The package is non-transferable and sharing is not permitted.  You can only order 1 drink at a time.
    • You're allowed up to 15 alcoholic drinks per 24 hour period.

    FYI - Other Restrictions

    • The drink package is only for on-board purchases.
    • Cruises leaving from New York and Texas have different laws - check Carnival's website for more info!
    • 2 day cruises, charter cruises, and Carnival cruises from Australia do not have the option for a drink package.

    So... Is Carnival's drink package WORTH IT?

    At first glance, the Carnival Cruise drink package definitely seems like it's worth the money. However, it depends on the people in your party, and how much you plan on drinking each day!

    At first glance:  See the math

    The problem with the drink package is, this equation only makes sense if you're drinking that much EVERY day of the cruise, and only accounting for drinking ON BOARD the ship.

    WE KNOW YOU'RE AMBITIOUS, BUT...

    If you have a lot of excursion days, you may not be day-drinking nearly as much as you think.

    Also, a lot of ports have bars on-shore that you might choose to hang out at instead of drinking on the ship.

    Lastly, if you're drinking the max 15 alcoholic drinks a day, then trust me- you'll want to account for a hangover day too.

    After 1 "Missed Day":  See the math

    As you can see, the second you aren't drinking at "max capacity" for the entire duration of your cruise, this equation flips upside-down fast! This is why we typically chose NOT to purchase the drink package as a family. But again, it totally depends on your party's situation!

    THE VERDICT:  The drink package is usually not worth it when cruising as a family. 

    • If you still think you can drink $50 worth of alcohol, for 7 days straight, not including what you'll drink off the ship and not accounting for time spent at excursions... then the drink package might be for you!  Also, remember, this has to apply to everyone age 21+ that is staying in the same room as you.
    • We spend most port days enjoying the bars on-land, which are not included in the drink package.
    • No matter how determined I am to get the 15 drinks/day max value... there's always at least one hangover that gets in the way of that.
    • Beer buckets, full wine/champagne bottles, large fish-bowl cocktails, and other fun-to-share drinks are not included in the package (because it exceeds 1 drink at a time).
    • When cruising with friends and family, even if you would get value out of the package alone, it may not always make sense financially for the rest of the group. 
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