Avalon's 2012 Pre-purchase Drink Package

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#1
Surprise, AZ
571 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Folks - I just received information and pricing regarding Avalon's Pre-purchase Alchohol and Non-Alchohol drink package for 2012 for a12-day cruise I've booked for this year. Some of you weighed in on this topic (the purchase of such a package) in earlier threads in December and the general consensus seemed to be that purchasing these drink packages weren't generally worth the price, given the fact that complimentary wine and beer is offered at dinner (and sparkling wine at breakfast), added to the fact that passengers are free to bring their own soft drinks, wine, and spirits onboard themselves at any time. Now that I have received Avalon's program details and pricing for the 2012 season, I would have to conclude that your initital thoughts were absolutely correct. Purchasing the all-inclusive alcohol drink package is hugely expensive - $427 USD for a 12-day cruise ($331 USD for the non-alcohol package) per person, AND the package EXCLUDES first-tier liquors such as Bombay, Tanquerey, Makers Mark, Grey Goose, Ketel One, Glenmorangie, and Glenfiddich. It would seem that Avalon sets the price high enough, while excluding many popular first-tier products, for the express purpose of discouraging most interest in this program. At $35/day for the program per person (not per couple), one would have to drink an awful lot of liquor (in addition to the wine and beer already being offered as complimentary) in order to just "break even" on the cost of the package. Note that the "alcohol" package for the 12 day cruise is only $96 USD more than the non-alcohol package. One would have to drink an awful lot of Coke, Pepsi, etc. each day - $27 USD worth per person - to make that package "cost effective" as well. I don't think I could physically drink that much Coke in one day - let alone having to do it every single day over the 12 day period! By the end of the cruise, I'd be in diabetic shock - not to mention becoming an alcoholic! This is one "add on" that I will definitely "skip". Regards to all.
#2
Lake Monticello, VA
855 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Thanks for the update. I am glad that I did not ask about the package. Neither of us can drink that much!
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Pat



Avalon Artistry: Magnificent Europe 4/26/08 - 5/11/08
Avalon Affinity: Windmills, Vineyards and Paris 5/10/09 - 5/24/09
Avalon Creativity: Paris to Normandy Battlefields 4/13/10 - 4/20/10
Avalon Scenery: Burgundy & Provence 4/20/10 - 4/27/10
Avalon Imagery: Blue Danube to the Black Sea 4/1/12 - 4/16/12
Avalon Expression: Magnificent Europe (Budapest to Amsterrdam) 7/3/13 - 7/17/13
#3
Surprise, AZ
571 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Webfoot - I can "hold my own" at most local watering holes but I think if I tried to get my "money's worth" on this package, I wouldn't be seeing much of Germany! Half the time would be at the bar and the other half of the cruise would be spent in the stateroom! Regards.
#4
Mackay Australia
786 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I know after my trip that I must be spoilt but having to pay for soft (non-alcoholic) drinks is just another extra to be added to the cost of the trip like optional excursions and I prefer to have all mine included in the price.
#6
1,098 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Does the $35/day include tip? If so it is not such a bad price. It amounts to a little over 3 drinks per day. Even if it does not include tip the price is really not much more than you would pay in a reasonably upscale restaurant.

We are not talking about your local VFW here.
#7
12,388 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Thanks for the info. I've never seen it offered or even mentioned before.

Regarding the non-alcoholic package, I guess whether it's a good deal or not depends on what you're paying for the Diet Coke on the ship or on land. We paid $54 for very small bottles of Diet Coke for our family of 4 in Paris at a casual pizza restaurant a few years ago. That was pretty much the going rate. Friends paid $8 per Diet Coke in Europe last year. Anyone know what Avalon charges for their soft drinks?
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#8
Surprise, AZ
571 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Goose30 - Thanks for your reply. I'm pretty sure that the drink package does not include any "tips". Also keep in mind that in Europe, unlike in the U.S., food and beverage servers (all workers) are actually paid livable wages. Americans inadvertantely brought the "concept/custom" of tipping to Europe and most Europeans (who used to be offended by the practice) have grown quite comfortable with it overtime - from Americans. Most Europeans do not tip their fellow countrymen. Tipping in Europe wasn't the norm before the "yanks" arrived.

I realize I'm probably light-years "behind the curve", but historically, tips were given for "exceptional service" rendered - not merely for "showing up at work" and performing assigned duties - like pouring drinks. I also don't agree with allowing employers (mainly in the U.S.) to abrogate their responsibilities for paying employees livable wages. In Europe, livable wages for all are a matter of national law; just like national health care and nationally mandated vacations. I regularly leave 20% tips in the U.S. in restaurants and bars, where hourly wages range between $2 - $5 an hour. Having said that, I don't believe I've ever paid $11 for a drink in a bar or restraurant. Well, Maybe perhaps once, when I ordered a shot of 18-year old McCallan. After that, I bought the bottle in a liquor store and drank it at home! But I also would never go to New York City (where a $12 bar drink is probably the "norm") and I avoid going to establishments where many customers use the opportunity just to show everyone how much money they have (I'm not saying that any of my fellow posters are doing that). If you're used to regularly (and willingly) paying over $11 for a typical well-drink in a bar (remember, Avalon's drink package EXCLUDES all premium brands), and doing it 3 times a day for 12 straight days, then you live in a different world than I do. As for "DriveslikeMario" - I guess I'd be looking for a "water fountain" before paying $8 for a can of Diet Coke - even if it was served on a silver tray and included a clean glass with it!

I lived in England for 4 years, Japan for 2 years, and Germany for 1 year - and never paid $8 for a coke - but I also stayed away from the "tourist establishments". With first/business class air upgrades over and back to Europe, plus the upgrade to a suite on the boat, plus extra nights in Avalon-booked hotels before/after the cruise, our trip is costing well over $19,000 for two weeks. Price is not the object - the "principle" is. Avalon is getting quite enough for what they are promising/providing (the "jury is still out on that")! I was just stunned that Avalon would EXCLUDE the high-tier liquors from their drink package, given what they were charging for those packages. I don't understand the logic? Call me "cheap" - but I will be packing my own bottles of Glenfiddich in my luggage - since it's allowed. Perhaps cruisers from other countries are "used" to paying the higher prices. I would assume their national average wages are commensurately higher, as well (along with their taxes), to allow for those higher prices. Regards to all
#9
Australia
179 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Hi all
We were on a Royal carribean cruise around New Zealand dec last year the price for a Booker Bourbon was $8.00 US including 15%Compulsory tip.
Not to bad considering what thieves all cruise lines are when it comes to drinks.
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#10
Mackay Australia
786 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
As I posted earlier when you sail with Tauck all non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary including a fully stocked fridge in your cabin but upon reading other posts I thought I'd have a look at the bar list that I appropriated (Ok stole) just to see what we paid for our bar drinks during our September cruise. This is but a small example.

A large draft beer - 3.50 Euro
Glenfiddich Single Malt - 7.20 Euro
Ballantines - 5.00 Euro
Crown Royal - 5.20 Euro
Stolichnaya Vodka - 4.60 Euro

Martini - 6.50 Euro
Bloody Mary - 4.60 Euro

AND during happy hour most drinks were half price.

Whilst I'm not a renowned world traveller I thought the prices on offer in the bar were very reasonable compared to those prices we paid in restaurants and bars across Europe.
#11
Surprise, AZ
571 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
OzJohnno - Thanks much for the info. It helps to have this additional "piece of the puzzle" answered. At current exchange rates (1 Euro = $1.30 USD) it would put the price of a large Draft beer at $4.55, a Bloody Mary at $5.98, and a shot of Glenfiddich (hopefully, it would be a "generous pour" - I guess that's where the benevolent tipping would be useful) at $9.36, and if those prices are reduced somewhat during "happy hour", then they're all fairly reasonable and certainly less costly on average, than if one were to buy Avalon's advertised "Pre-paid Drink Package". Best Regards.
#12
1,098 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Not to turn this into another tipping thread, because I really don't care about anyone's tipping preferences, take a look at Avalon's webpage. Even though you are in Europe tips are not included in the cruise fare. That does not mean you have to tip but they are probably appreciated regardless of the high wage they may be paid.
#13
Surprise, AZ
571 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Goose - You're absolutely correct. And when I booked our cruise, I had Avalon add the "Prepaid Cruise Director & Crew Gratuity" fee to our invoice, right upfront. That was an additional $346 USD (2 X $173) added to an already substantial invoice. So I'm hoping that everyone on the boat will feel/know that I've already "done my bit" for them and that they won't be expecting any more at the end! Regards.
#14
Lake Monticello, VA
855 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
pingpong1: thanks for mentioning the gratuities. Just paid them today! We will probably tip more at the end of the cruise but we are glad to get this paid before we go!
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Pat



Avalon Artistry: Magnificent Europe 4/26/08 - 5/11/08
Avalon Affinity: Windmills, Vineyards and Paris 5/10/09 - 5/24/09
Avalon Creativity: Paris to Normandy Battlefields 4/13/10 - 4/20/10
Avalon Scenery: Burgundy & Provence 4/20/10 - 4/27/10
Avalon Imagery: Blue Danube to the Black Sea 4/1/12 - 4/16/12
Avalon Expression: Magnificent Europe (Budapest to Amsterrdam) 7/3/13 - 7/17/13