Posted June 20th, 2018, 02:38 PM
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.