Cost of drinks on Cunard line ships


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#61
1,444 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by Solent Richard
It would be interesting to hear who you do cruise with and whether they will let you bring your own wine onboard.

I too can drink wine in my local pub for around £17.50 but never will the ambiance be the same as on Cunard while I just can't for the life of me imagine asking a Greene King Sommelier for advice on what to accompany my rump steak.
You have cruised on Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2, and enjoyed the provision of a very extensive alcoholic drinks list at very reasonable prices and with no service charge.
#62
Overlooking the Straights of Dover
242 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Originally posted by CynthiaRI
Help me do the math on this one.

$35 bottle on board, plus 15% of $5.25. Final Price: $40.25

$18 bottle land, plus $20 corkage fee. Price of $38.00 Plus I assume some gratuity fee to the server.

IIRC the corkage fee includes $5 gratuity, so unless one is daft enough to double tip the saving is bigger than you’re assuming.

It’s traditional to give the sommelier a sip of a fine wine which would skew the sums a teeny bit, but that wouldn’t apply to a wine in the sub $20 retail price bracket.
#63
70 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by kentchris
IIRC the corkage fee includes $5 gratuity, so unless one is daft enough to double tip the saving is bigger than you’re assuming.

It’s traditional to give the sommelier a sip of a fine wine which would skew the sums a teeny bit, but that wouldn’t apply to a wine in the sub $20 retail price bracket.
Sorry, but that's not correct.
Original comment:
That did not include the $20 per bottle corkage fee we paid for our wine at dinner (having researched the list prior to sailing, there was no way I was prepared to pay $35 plus 15% for the same bottle of wine available on land in a bar for $18!).



Bring on a bottle of $18 wine, pay the $20 corkage - total is $38. Assume no additional tip.
Ship bottle of $35, plus 15% tip of $5.25. Total is $40.25
That is still only a savings of $2.25 for the said bottle of wine in the above comment.

#64
Vale of Glamorgan
4,291 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
It wasn't my post but if wine is $18 in a bar, it's probably only £5 in a shop in the UK. Those sums make a bit more sense.
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#65
essex uk and calabria italy
1,052 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by kentchris
IIRC the corkage fee includes $5 gratuity, so unless one is daft enough to double tip the saving is bigger than you’re assuming.

It’s traditional to give the sommelier a sip of a fine wine which would skew the sums a teeny bit, but that wouldn’t apply to a wine in the sub $20 retail price bracket.
Yeah, but does he swirl it around his mouth and spit it back in your glass.
#66
USA
146 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
I think a lot of the perception about prices.... of drinks, excursions, indeed the fares themselves.... is largely dependent on where you live: country, city or town or village. Cunard prices its product in terms of fare according to markets (and the matter of who gets the better deal is another debate entirely) but the drink prices, in dollars, most certainly reflect big city hotel, bar or restaurant prices in the United States and I think also comparable to those in similar places in the U.K. Cunard muddies the waters a bit by all this new "measure" nonsense although, again, I think the smaller measure is a workaround for those complaining about price AND also to get under the $12 limit for the free drinks for Grill passenger promotion that Cunard periodically offers to the US market. The added confusion about charging for mixers is... needless and pointless for sure.

But at least this thread is about something far more important than dress codes, no? Booze and bucks trumps tuxes and gowns any day. Or should.
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#67
Manchester, UK
10,564 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by CynthiaRI
Help me do the math on this one.

$35 bottle on board, plus 15% of $5.25. Final Price: $40.25

$18 bottle land, plus $20 corkage fee. Price of $38.00 Plus I assume some gratuity fee to the server.

So at the most, you're saving $2.25 for that bottle of wine you bring on board to dine with.



I fully intend to bring some bottles along to enjoy in our cabin. But thanks for showing my it's not a true savings to bring wine along to drink in the dining room.
Actually the $18 on land was the price in a bar as I mentioned in my post, what I carried on board cost $9, so $29 in total and a wine I like.

So I think it is a saving. $11.25 per bottle when I do the maths.

No tip to the server either because I served myself, I brought the bottle to the table and wasn’t offered for it to be placed in an ice bucket for someone to serve it to me. Only given a bill to sign for the $20. Why would I tip someone for doing nothing and already been charged $20 for ‘corkage’ and there’s no cork in the bottle?


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#68
Manchester, UK
10,564 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Host Hattie
It wasn't my post but if wine is $18 in a bar, it's probably only £5 in a shop in the UK. Those sums make a bit more sense.


Thank you. Actually it was £6 per bottle


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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#69
Manchester, UK
10,564 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by CynthiaRI
I agree with you completely. And for the more expensive bottles I completely understand. But when someone comments they aren't paying $35 for a bottle on board when they can purchase and bring it on for $18, I feel inclined to point out what they're actually saying. :-)



I have spent a fair amount to cruise with my family of 7. I fully intend to enjoy a beverage or 2 on board, and realize the inflated price that goes along with it.


As per my reply, please re read my post. I mentioned a wine I could buy for $18 in a licensed premises, not the store where I bought it from at 50% less than that.


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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#70
Lancashire
353 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Ooops I just deleted my wordy post before posting so to summarise. We have 2 x 2 week sailings from Southampton over the coming months. We drink red wine for my husband and white for myself, opting for the cheapest bottles available from the wine list. At home we buy the M&S wine when it’s on offer at 2 for £12 and buy 6 save 20% making each bottle £4.80. We’ve thought about doing this before but haven’t bothered as it’s “too much hassle”. Can someone tell me please, if you’ve taken your own onboard, when do you take the wine to the MDR and do you take it when you need a new one or hand them over earlier in the day, one at a time or all your stock. Thanks.
PS I can see why people take an expensive or special bottle onboard but wondered how much of a cheapskate I would look if we take our lower priced bottles on.


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#71
UK
2,196 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by Tangoqueen
Ooops I just deleted my wordy post before posting so to summarise. We have 2 x 2 week sailings from Southampton over the coming months. We drink red wine for my husband and white for myself, opting for the cheapest bottles available from the wine list. At home we buy the M&S wine when it’s on offer at 2 for £12 and buy 6 save 20% making each bottle £4.80. We’ve thought about doing this before but haven’t bothered as it’s “too much hassle”. Can someone tell me please, if you’ve taken your own onboard, when do you take the wine to the MDR and do you take it when you need a new one or hand them over earlier in the day, one at a time or all your stock. Thanks.
PS I can see why people take an expensive or special bottle onboard but wondered how much of a cheapskate I would look if we take our lower priced bottles on.


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We took our bottle of sparkling wine down the night before we wanted it (for my birthday) and gave it to the sommelier. It was waiting for us in an ice bucket when we arrived for dinner, no messing . Can't remember how much it was but we don't spend big on wine and incidentally we are still waiting to be charged corkage
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Past Cruises:
2018 Southampton-San Francisco - Cunard. 2017 Eastbound T/A - Cunard. 2016 Westbound T/A - Cunard: Bahamas & Florida - NCL: 2015 Eastbound T/A - Cunard: 2014 Westbound T/A - Cunard: Norway/Iceland - P&O: 2013 Canary Islands - NCL: 2011 Eastbound T/A - Cunard: 2011 Southern T/A - Celebrity: 2011 Australasia - Princess: 2009 Australia/New Zealand - Royal Caribbean: 2005 Norway - Louis Line: 2004 Alaska - Celebrity: 2000 Eastern Caribbean - Royal Caribbean
#72
57 Posts
Joined Apr 2018
Originally posted by majortom10
Like for comparison for Cunard to US prices might seem OK but it is obvious that drink prices in US are generally dearer than UK that is why most, not all, say drink prices on Cunard are expensive for UK cruisers.
Nope, I'm English. If I was comparing them to the pub at the end of my road then yes they are expensive.

I also think the vast majority of people who complain about prices are on this forum and not actually drinking in the bar on Cunard. Not once did I hear a complaint. I expected to pay a higher price. Can you imagine if the drinks were as cheap as the pub down the road, the complaints then would be of a ship full of drunken louts!
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QM2 TA 10th June 2018. Loved every minute.
#73
57 Posts
Joined Apr 2018
Originally posted by Tangoqueen
Ooops I just deleted my wordy post before posting so to summarise. We have 2 x 2 week sailings from Southampton over the coming months. We drink red wine for my husband and white for myself, opting for the cheapest bottles available from the wine list. At home we buy the M&S wine when it’s on offer at 2 for £12 and buy 6 save 20% making each bottle £4.80. We’ve thought about doing this before but haven’t bothered as it’s “too much hassle”. Can someone tell me please, if you’ve taken your own onboard, when do you take the wine to the MDR and do you take it when you need a new one or hand them over earlier in the day, one at a time or all your stock. Thanks.
PS I can see why people take an expensive or special bottle onboard but wondered how much of a cheapskate I would look if we take our lower priced bottles on.


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Well this cheapskate brazenly carried said bottle first to the pub [unopened] had a pre-dinner drink then carried it into the restaurant. I did not notice anyone faint nor point any fingers. Really don't let this forum put you off. Our sailing last week on QM2 was full of so many different kinds of people from all walks of life including a Dame we met. All wonderful down to earth people without any judgments.
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QM2 TA 10th June 2018. Loved every minute.
#74
Manchester, UK
10,564 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Solent Richard
It would be interesting to hear who you do cruise with and whether they will let you bring your own wine onboard.

I too can drink wine in my local pub for around £17.50 but never will the ambiance be the same as on Cunard while I just can't for the life of me imagine asking a Greene King Sommelier for advice on what to accompany my rump steak.
To answer your questions (apologies for the length of it too, but from the comments on this thread I believe I need to justify my views) we cruise primarily with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and MSC. RCI & Celebrity allow 2 bottles of wine/champagne at initial embarkation per cabin for in room consumption, in public areas they attract a $15 corkage fee ($25 for Celebrity).

MSC do not allow any. We are to sail with NCL later in the year and they allow wine/champagne to be brought on board at initial embarkation and are charge $15 per 750ml bottle or $30 per magnum regardless of where you consume the bottle.

A beverage package on RCI can be purchased for $49.50 pppd (including gratuity) if purchased by D+ members, or in a sale prior to travel, that enables drinks up to $13 per serving. This package also enables you to purchase wine by the bottle with a 40% discount off bottles costing less than $100. Celebrity classic beverage package is often included in the cruise fare and for $11.80 pppd you can upgrade to the premium package which again, like RCI covers all beverages up to $13 per serving.

Very few of our wines of choice on either RCI or Celebrity are priced above $13, on average $9 - $12, unlike Cunard where we found very little less than $13 for a 250ml measure, which obviously would then attract a 15% gratuity.

The prices on MSC are even more reasonable at $7.50 per serving plus 15% gratuity which is why they can ban the carrying of wine onboard at embarkation.

As for NCL, the Ultimate Beverage package covers servings up to $15 and prices of wine appear to be around $12 per large glass.

As for ambiance, our view is that in the Britannia dining room, Commodore club, Queens Room, Chart Room and definitely the Golden Lion on QM2 this felt no more exclusive than Vintages (RCI), or Cellar Masters (Celebrity) which are the signature wine bars on those lines, each with very experienced sommeliers. The wine bars on MSC, again although the staff may not be considered by some as sommeliers, are extremely knowledgeable on the wines offered, especially when you consider the prices charged and they serve beverages with complimentary tapas.

None of this to us, justifies what we consider high prices on Cunard.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#75
essex uk and calabria italy
1,052 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by cook68
Nope, I'm English. If I was comparing them to the pub at the end of my road then yes they are expensive.

I also think the vast majority of people who complain about prices are on this forum and not actually drinking in the bar on Cunard. Not once did I hear a complaint. I expected to pay a higher price. Can you imagine if the drinks were as cheap as the pub down the road, the complaints then would be of a ship full of drunken louts!
An Englishman doesn't complain old boy.One just doesn't drink so much as one could,lol.
#76
Manchester, UK
10,564 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Tangoqueen
Ooops I just deleted my wordy post before posting so to summarise. We have 2 x 2 week sailings from Southampton over the coming months. We drink red wine for my husband and white for myself, opting for the cheapest bottles available from the wine list. At home we buy the M&S wine when it’s on offer at 2 for £12 and buy 6 save 20% making each bottle £4.80. We’ve thought about doing this before but haven’t bothered as it’s “too much hassle”. Can someone tell me please, if you’ve taken your own onboard, when do you take the wine to the MDR and do you take it when you need a new one or hand them over earlier in the day, one at a time or all your stock. Thanks.
PS I can see why people take an expensive or special bottle onboard but wondered how much of a cheapskate I would look if we take our lower priced bottles on.


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Our wine was chilled in the cooler in the room and then I carried it into the dining room each evening and placed on our table. Simple.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#77
59 Posts
Joined Apr 2018
Originally posted by cook68
Nope, I'm English. If I was comparing them to the pub at the end of my road then yes they are expensive.

I also think the vast majority of people who complain about prices are on this forum and not actually drinking in the bar on Cunard. Not once did I hear a complaint. I expected to pay a higher price. Can you imagine if the drinks were as cheap as the pub down the road, the complaints then would be of a ship full of drunken louts!
Interesting idea. The all German TUI Cruises (joint venture of TUI and RCI) does include most alcoholic drinks in the fare. Evidently it's easier to sell an expensive cruise to Germans than to lure them into expensive bars onboard. This concept seems to be working, So far I haven't heard anything about problems with drunk people.
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There are two kinds of contemporary passenger vessels: The Queen Mary 2 and shoeboxes.
#78
San Francisco, CA
1,430 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
For what it's worth, a couple of years ago, we cruised with friends on Celebrity. The basic beverage package was included in our fare and we upgraded to deluxe which allowed us unlimited drinks in the bars (all labels) and a generous dining room allowance for wine. I think most shipmates were in the same situation (at least to the gratis basic package). I had expected that there might be problems of overindulgence. However, the atmosphere really was no different than a "normal" cruise with per drink pricing (at any level). Personally, on a 14 day cruise, I may have had one last martini before bed that I might have bypassed otherwise on one or two occasions - but primarily it simply made things easier (also for picking up a bottle of cold water from any bar at any time - including before going ashore).

It may have not really affected alcohol consumption to any great degree. Anecdotally, it reminded me of one summer when I was cooking at a dorm kitchen and a vacation-replacement supervisor insisted we put the ever-popular french fries in a pan in the self-serve vegetable cart in the dining room instead of the usual long lineups when they'd have to come to the counter for more fries.
We used fewer fries. (but the experience was so counter-intuitive that we went back to the old way after she left)
= Mark