Beverage cards...worth it?

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#1
6 Posts
Joined May 2008
Hello all...
I have been scouring the holland website, checking if there is any 'on board' gift I might want to purchase before my Alaska cruise in the end of July. The beverage cards seem like they are a good deal, but are they? The soda card is a must, and the wine card looks like it gives you 10 glasses of wine at $4 a glass. Should I buy these ahead of time? Will the price be more on the ship for the beverage card? Are the drinks more than what the cards offer?

Thanks for any help with this question!
#2
Wisconsin, USA
1,168 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
We have pruchased wine cards on our last two cruises and have been quite satisfied with them. There is a bit of savings.
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#3
104,779 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Some people say that they have made out on the soda cards -- others say that the glass was so full of ice that there was very little room for soda. Varies from ship to ship.

We wait and buy the wine cards once we are on board. One time we pre-ordered it and asked for it to be delivered to our cabin - it wasn't. When we asked our concierge about it we were informed that it would be delivered by our wine steward at dinner. Our wine steward knew nothing about it. To make a long story short, after talking to the area captain and the cellar master, they did find the wine card that we had ordered and we got another free.

We have been getting the 20 glass wine card. On some ships you get about 3 ounces of wine -- on others -- 4 ounces. Can't predict what you will get. But we do like them and feel that they are worth the money.
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#4
Beautiful Southwest
8,069 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
For approx. $20 inc. tax and gratuity you will get 20 glasses of soda. These are normal size bar glasses with ice in them. If you want the entrie can it will be two punches on the card. To just purchase a can of soda is $1.95 + 15%. I don't see where we ever saved anything this way. We bring our own soda on and still purchase one soda card to use in the bars and such as I don't like to walk in with my own soda can there in the evenings.
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#5
1,108 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I haven't purchased a wine (I don't drink wine) or soda card. But during my 2 cruises I noticed that those with a soda card, received their soda in a small glass (about 8 oz) filled at least half way with ice and the reminder with soda (so maybe 4oz). Where's if you purchase a soda outright, you get a glass of ice and a can of soda. We're not that big soda drinkers, so we didn't do the card.

I purchased the cocktail card once. It works pretty much like the soda card. The drinks are served in plain 8 oz glasses. So if you get a regular mixed drink, half will be ice the other with the drink. Blended/frozen drinks seemed to be the better value with the card. I think (but could be wrong) that the average price with the cocktail card worked out to 6.50 each. Check the price list to make sure your ordering a drink that is usually at or above that price for the better value.

Enjoy your cruise and your time on a "dam" ship.
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#6
North Carolina
867 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by perca05
Hello all...
I have been scouring the holland website, checking if there is any 'on board' gift I might want to purchase before my Alaska cruise in the end of July. The beverage cards seem like they are a good deal, but are they? The soda card is a must, and the wine card looks like it gives you 10 glasses of wine at $4 a glass. Should I buy these ahead of time? Will the price be more on the ship for the beverage card? Are the drinks more than what the cards offer?

Thanks for any help with this question!
Don't do sodas. The wine card is convenient as long as you are used to getting the "house" wine when you go out to dinner. The beverage card has a limited applicability, you can't just order whatever, there are a set number of cocktails that you can choose. I don't do cocktails that often, but find the daily specials a good value.
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#7
1,108 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by cf_chuck
The beverage card has a limited applicability, you can't just order whatever, there are a set number of cocktails that you can choose.
Like I said I only purchased the card once and that was last August on the Noordam. I was never told there was a set number of cocktails to pick from. I ordered everything from strawberry diaquires to crown and 7 with my card. Never had a problem. Had really good bar staff though who gave me the extra when blended my drink and it didn't all fit in the glass that was provided .
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#8
783 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
I've also been trying to figure out if the soda card is worth it. Love my diet coke! I've decided it's not. I'm used to Princess where they offer a much better deal. You get unlimited soda when you purchase the card. They fill up your glass (even a large one) any time at any bar or the buffet or the dining room. Sounds like on HAL you get a very small portion with lots of ice and a punch on your card. - so it's obviously limited. Not a good deal at all. For my first HAL cruise, if I can manage the logistics, I'll pop in a convenience store after my flight and carry my diet cokes onboard with me.
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#9
North Carolina
867 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by magictam
Like I said I only purchased the card once and that was last August on the Noordam. I was never told there was a set number of cocktails to pick from. I ordered everything from strawberry diaquires to crown and 7 with my card. Never had a problem. Had really good bar staff though who gave me the extra when blended my drink and it didn't all fit in the glass that was provided .
Perhaps my reference to a "set number" is a bit vague. From the HAL site:

"Signature Cocktail Card for 10 signature cocktails
This card is valid for 10 of our well known, freshly prepared signature cocktails as advertised."

As one bartender explained this to me, the Signature Cocktails are all made with well brands. Call brands and top shelf brands are generally not included. If you were able to get a crown and 7 using the card, you were fortunate.
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#10
19,303 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Krazy Kruizers
Some people say that they have made out on the soda cards -- others say that the glass was so full of ice that there was very little room for soda. Varies from ship to ship.

We get a glass with a little ice and the soda can, at least on the Westerdam (was one punch for one card). It sounds like on the Noordam you only get half a can....
#11
104,779 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by Jade13
We get a glass with a little ice and the soda can, at least on the Westerdam (was one punch for one card). It sounds like on the Noordam you only get half a can....
It does vary by ship and bar tender.
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#12
Sunny San Diego
2,548 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
If I were to purchase a "Beverage Card" could I use it to buy a Margarita in one of the Lounges or is this card strictly for sodas? I don't drink sodas - plain old tap water is good enough for me (with ice cubes even better), but I do like my Margaritas and the HAL Bartenders I have encountered do make very good ones.

Valerie
#13
East Coast
342 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
We bought both a wine (for me), and a cocktail card for hubby on our last 10 night Ryndam cruise.
The service in the bars was so erratic, and in the show lounge frequently non-existant that we found it difficult to use them up.
Also did not know in advance "happy hour" was offered in the Ocean Bar ( 2 for 1), but did not include either of these cards.
We enjoyed brought aboard wine on our balcony much more-and frequently would just pour a glass and carry it into the dining room and forgo waiting for the wine stewards to appear.
#14
Warwick, R.I. , USA
37,377 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by SDHALFAN
If I were to purchase a "Beverage Card" could I use it to buy a Margarita in one of the Lounges or is this card strictly for sodas?
Took me a whole to find the new post after I realized this is an old thread.


Right now there's still several "beverage" cards. There's the soda card, wine card, and cocktail card. Double check the price of your margarita on a per drink basis, compared to the cost per drink when using the card. It might be less; mine is (daiquiri-very similar drink).
I did use the cocktail card on one cruise as I found it worth it not keeping track of all those little purchase slips.
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#15
Sunny San Diego
2,548 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by RuthC
Took me a whole to find the new post after I realized this is an old thread.


Right now there's still several "beverage" cards. There's the soda card, wine card, and cocktail card. Double check the price of your margarita on a per drink basis, compared to the cost per drink when using the card. It might be less; mine is (daiquiri-very similar drink).
I did use the cocktail card on one cruise as I found it worth it not keeping track of all those little purchase slips.

Thanks Ruth. I don't remember how I found this thread - probably was bored and just scrolling through a couple of pages of posts.

I would imagine that the Margaritas and Daiquiris are similarly priced.

Valerie
#16
Tucson, Arizona
216 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by SDHALFAN
Thanks Ruth. I don't remember how I found this thread - probably was bored and just scrolling through a couple of pages of posts.

Valerie
Valerie, thank you for resurrecting this thread. Lots of great info. It has answered many questions I was going to ask about the cards. I just purchased the wine card for my mom and myself, so it sounds like a good value. I'll wait on the cocktail card for now.
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#17
Vancouver, BC
17,081 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
We bought the 20 glass wine card for our Alaskan cruise. It was a steal!!!
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#18
Ft Myers Beach, FL
557 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
The wine card is a great price if you are willing to drink the house wine. We have had very good results with it. We do not buy the soda card, just take our own on with us. And we buy the one or two mixed drinks that we consume per cruise. We actually use the wine card more than anything else.

Harlan
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#19
Vancouver, BC
17,081 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Originally posted by dutch46
The wine card is a great price if you are willing to drink the house wine.

Harlan
I think it was the Merlot that we were disappointed in, everything else was pretty good and we loved the Chard.
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#20
657 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We have been delighted with the wine card. The wine is better than the house wine at most modest local restaurants, but I'm sure many wine fanciers would turn up their nose at it.
On the ship, I drink only the cabernet sauvignon because I like rieslings for white and I don't think they have a house riesling. Besides, I want to live a little longer and reds are supposed to do it. The red is a bit better than I drink at home so for me it fits in with the cruise atmosphere.
Many other passengers say they often are given more than a half glass of red, but I never have been. The wine stewards seem to be very skilled at giving me just the tiniest bit less than half a glass, but I think it has something to do with the way they're compensated and I don't mind; in fact, it's fun to watch and see how close they can get to a half glass without actually giving me quite that much. They probably sense immediately that I'm not a big tipper.
About every fifth day, I have an extra glass to catch up.