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Purchasing bottles of wine on board

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My wife and I will be on the Royal Princess in June for a Greek Isles cruise but have never cruised before, so please excuse my ignorance. I have read up on the alcohol packages/restrictions and understand you can bring on one bottle of wine per person at no charge when initially boarding and can bring additional bottles at a corkage fee of $15 per bottle, which turns a $15 bottle of wine purchased in Athens into a $30 bottle for consumption in your room. But if I can purchase a bottle of wine on board for around the same price I would prefer to do that rather than hauling my own on board. So my question is do they have a store on board where you can buy a bottle of wine when at sea to take back to your room, and if so, what is the approximate price range. The prices per glass at the bars and restaurants look reasonable but sometimes we might prefer to sit on our balcony and read, and have a glass or two of wine while doing so.

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My wife and I will be on the Royal Princess in June for a Greek Isles cruise but have never cruised before, so please excuse my ignorance. I have read up on the alcohol packages/restrictions and understand you can bring on one bottle of wine per person at no charge when initially boarding and can bring additional bottles at a corkage fee of $15 per bottle, which turns a $15 bottle of wine purchased in Athens into a $30 bottle for consumption in your room. But if I can purchase a bottle of wine on board for around the same price I would prefer to do that rather than hauling my own on board. So my question is do they have a store on board where you can buy a bottle of wine when at sea to take back to your room, and if so, what is the approximate price range. The prices per glass at the bars and restaurants look reasonable but sometimes we might prefer to sit on our balcony and read, and have a glass or two of wine while doing so.

 

Just go to the on board wine bar called Vines. Look up the selection of wines available. Purchase the bottle and take it to your room.

 

If not mistaken, any alcohol purchased at the on board shop (not the bar) will be place in storage until the last night of the cruise.

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The only shop selling alcohol on board does not carry wine. In addition, all of the alcohol there is sold duty free and is held until the last night of your cruise.

 

You can order a bottle of wine in a dining room, have a glass or two with your meal and bring the rest back to your cabin or you can just order a bottle from room service.

 

With regard to pricing, you typically save a few bucks if you buy the same bottle of wine on shore and pay the $15 corkage. If the wine packages are offered on your cruise then it is typically cheaper to buy the same bottle on board with the package.

 

 

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Any bottle of wine purchased at any bar or in the DR can be brought back to your cabin. Bottles are also available from room service. There is no delivery charge for room service, but many passengers do provide a dollar or two cash tip. Bottles of wine carried on board free of charge are for in cabin use only. If you bring them to a DR or public area you will be charged the US$15 corkage. Bottles for which you have paid corkage are marked. These can be carried to and used anywhere on the ship. Bottles not fully consumed in a DR can be stored by the DR staff for your next meal in any restaurant on the ship. You can pour a glass in your cabin and bring it basically anywhere on the ship. I think the lowest price for a bottle of wine is around $22 or maybe $26 for a house quality wine. Prices go up from there.

What Princess does not tell you:

At many ports of call passengers purchase wine and carry it on board. Sometimes they just walk right through, sometimes they are charged the corkage.

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Unfortunately, the prices, selection and quality of wines that you will find in wine shops in Athens makes bringing wine on board a losing proposition. Any wine that you can buy for $15 to then have another $15 tacked on to it will not be worth the effort compared to what you can buy on board for $25-$40. I too am sailing out of PIraeus in June and have done a bit of homework and I am finding entry level bottles of U.S. wine selling for $40+ and decent bottles of French and Spanish wine selling for $80+. And those bottles are frankly comparable to what can be purchased on board. I will definitely pop in to a few wine shops while in Athens during our pre-cruise stay to see if I can do better. But I am not getting my hopes up. We'll probably buy two bottles locally to take on board for free. But I can't see taking on a week's worth of wine like we usually do.

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We've purchased the wine package on cruises before and you can just let the dining staff know that you would like to carry a couple of the bottles from your package back to your room. They will cork them for you or leave them intact, depending on your wishes. Your room steward will even have a corkscrew available for you to use .. or at least find one for you ... and will provide you with glasses so you can consume the wine out on your balcony.

If we sail out of our home port (San Francisco), we take our own wine but if means not lugging wine across country, we definitely just purchase the wine package. The discount given makes it almost as big of a savings as just bringing our own, just maybe without all the vast selection we have right here in the bay area.

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Here has been our experience on procuring wine in ports while cruising on Princess. We enjoy trying local wines from those countries on the itinerary that produce it. While in port, we will select a local wine to enjoy in the cabin, prepared to pay the 15 dollar fee. For us, it is worth it since we do not have a lot of opportunity to get a truly local vintage. More times than not the security person says "enjoy your wine, sir". This happened, for example, when we found a Hawaiian wine that we enoyed, sort of, on our last cruise. We always let the security folks know that we have purchased the wine and do appreciate their (Princess) graciousness when they waive the fee. We have not found this on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, where each and every bottle has incurred a corkage fee.

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We've purchased the wine package on cruises before and you can just let the dining staff know that you would like to carry a couple of the bottles from your package back to your room.

I don't think that the wine package is available on all cruises. I think it is for cruises of 10 days in length or longer. My cruise personalizer does not show a wine package as an option to pre-purchase. I can buy the AIBP, but not any wine package. And the AIBP is a losing proposition if you only (or mostly) drink wine.

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I don't think that the wine package is available on all cruises. I think it is for cruises of 10 days in length or longer. My cruise personalizer does not show a wine package as an option to pre-purchase. I can buy the AIBP, but not any wine package. And the AIBP is a losing proposition if you only (or mostly) drink wine.
Unfortunately, the wine packages can't be purchased in advance and don't show as one of the beverage options on the website. We had information about the wine packages in our cabin on only one cruise. Otherwise you learn about them when dining room staff attempt to sell you a package. They are not available on cruises of less than 10 days. This is even the case if you booked a 10 day or longer cruise that is a combination of two or more shorter cruises. There may be the occasional variation to this policy but that appears to be rare. The wine packages are a good deal if offered.

 

 

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Unfortunately, the prices, selection and quality of wines that you will find in wine shops in Athens makes bringing wine on board a losing proposition. Any wine that you can buy for $15 to then have another $15 tacked on to it will not be worth the effort compared to what you can buy on board for $25-$40. I too am sailing out of PIraeus in June and have done a bit of homework and I am finding entry level bottles of U.S. wine selling for $40+ and decent bottles of French and Spanish wine selling for $80+. And those bottles are frankly comparable to what can be purchased on board. I will definitely pop in to a few wine shops while in Athens during our pre-cruise stay to see if I can do better. But I am not getting my hopes up. We'll probably buy two bottles locally to take on board for free. But I can't see taking on a week's worth of wine like we usually do.
Some ports are just not as wine friendly as others. Departing from Rome or Venice or Barcelona offers much better options than Piraeus. Sometimes you need to consider that when choosing an itinerary [emoji6]

 

 

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Some ports are just not as wine friendly as others. Departing from Rome or Venice or Barcelona offers much better options than Piraeus. Sometimes you need to consider that when choosing an itinerary [emoji6]

True enough. But the Athens-to-Athens itinerary appeals to us so much more than any that start/end in Barcelona or Rome that we were willing to bite the bullet and "drink down" this vacation. Will probably drink the ship dry of whatever their best Rose is.

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How do the Princess wine packages work? I looked at the Princess website, but only found information on individually prices bottles of wines; nothing on packages. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

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How do the Princess wine packages work? I looked at the Princess website, but only found information on individually prices bottles of wines; nothing on packages. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

 

You won't know until you board if a wine package is offered or not. It's only ever offered on cruises of 10 days or more. Do a search here on CC for "gold package" or "silver package" and you should find info on pricing, etc. Either that or just Google for "Princess wine package".

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This is from Princess: "As provided in the Passage Contract, guests agree not to bring alcoholic beverages of any kind onboard for consumption, except one bottle of wine or champagne per adult of drinking age (no larger than 750 ml) per voyage, which will not be subject to a corkage fee if consumed in the stateroom. Additional wine or champagne bottles are welcome, but will incur a $15 corkage fee each, irrespective of where they are intended to be consumed. Liquor, spirits or beers are not permitted. Please remember that luggage will be scanned and alcohol outside of our policy will be removed and discarded.*"

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Several times I checked the wine list, before I purchased a wine package, to see if I liked any of the wines. Unfortunately, when I tried to order wines that I liked I was told they were out of stock.

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Thanks for all the info! I was under the impression that you could only bring wine aboard on the initial boarding and that any wine purchased on shore during the remainder of the cruise would be placed in storage with no option to pay the corkage fee and bring the bottle to your room. Being able to buy a bottle at any port during the cruise and pay the corkage fee to take it back to your room provides us the flexibility to see the options on board and decide afterwards rather than having to decide what to do prior to initially boarding the ship. Based on what I have learned on this thread we will simply bring our two free bottles with us on the initial boarding and play it by ear afterwards.

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You won't know until you board if a wine package is offered or not. It's only ever offered on cruises of 10 days or more. Do a search here on CC for "gold package" or "silver package" and you should find info on pricing, etc. Either that or just Google for "Princess wine package".

 

Thanks for the suggestion. The latest information I could find was from 2015 and 2016, and was hoping for more current pricing & brand name information. It looks like it is usually cheaper to just pay the corkage fee, rather than buy it on board, depending on the wine. But since our upcoming cruise has 10 or 11 sea days, we may have to resort to a wine package! I will check it out once we are afloat.

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Doesn't wine purchased on board carry a mandatory gratuity on top of the posted price? That should be factored in when comparing bringing wine on paying (only) the corkage fee.

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Thanks for the suggestion. The latest information I could find was from 2015 and 2016, and was hoping for more current pricing & brand name information. It looks like it is usually cheaper to just pay the corkage fee, rather than buy it on board, depending on the wine. But since our upcoming cruise has 10 or 11 sea days, we may have to resort to a wine package! I will check it out once we are afloat.
There have been very few changes in the wine list for the past several years and the 2015/2016 information should apply.

 

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Edited by IECalCruiser

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Doesn't wine purchased on board carry a mandatory gratuity on top of the posted price? That should be factored in when comparing bringing wine on paying (only) the corkage fee.
Yes, there is a mandatory 15% gratuity for wine purchased on board and the wine packages also have a 15% gratuity added. Depending upon where you board, you will probably be paying sales tax (6% in FLL or 8.75% in San Pedro for example) or VAT when you buy wine ashore so this will somewhat offset the impact of the gratuity added for buying wine on board.

 

 

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There have been very few changes in the wine list for the past several years and the 2015/2016 information should apply.

 

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Yes, there is a mandatory 15% gratuity for wine purchased on board and the wine packages also have a 15% gratuity added. Depending upon where you board, you will probably be paying sales tax (6% in FLL or 8.75% in San Pedro for example) or VAT when you buy wine ashore so this will somewhat offset the impact of the gratuity added for buying wine on board.

 

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As noted, gratuities are added to any on board wine purchases. Here is a link to the most recent posting that shows the availability and cost of wines that were available in Fall 2015. It was prepared by steelers36 and accounts for the corkage and gratuity fees. The site is shown in the first posting of the thread: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2295996&highlight=wine

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Here has been our experience on procuring wine in ports while cruising on Princess. We enjoy trying local wines from those countries on the itinerary that produce it. While in port, we will select a local wine to enjoy in the cabin, prepared to pay the 15 dollar fee. For us, it is worth it since we do not have a lot of opportunity to get a truly local vintage. More times than not the security person says "enjoy your wine, sir". This happened, for example, when we found a Hawaiian wine that we enoyed, sort of, on our last cruise. We always let the security folks know that we have purchased the wine and do appreciate their (Princess) graciousness when they waive the fee. We have not found this on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, where each and every bottle has incurred a corkage fee.

Another reason we only cruise on Princess....

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We purchase the wine package on every cruise. Sometimes it isn't advertised but the DR staff will sell it if they are asked. We were on 3 7days b2b last year and was able to purchase it and was able to carry it over from cruise to cruise. We sometimes ask for a bottle to bring back to the cabin. We also bring a bottle or two on board with us. Quite often we have brought wine and/or beer back on board at ports and we have never been asked to pay corkage or had it taken from us.. We don't hide the fact that we have it, just carry it on in our backpack. Others may have other experiences but that is what happened with us.

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We purchase the wine package on every cruise. Sometimes it isn't advertised but the DR staff will sell it if they are asked. We were on 3 7days b2b last year and was able to purchase it and was able to carry it over from cruise to cruise. We sometimes ask for a bottle to bring back to the cabin. We also bring a bottle or two on board with us. Quite often we have brought wine and/or beer back on board at ports and we have never been asked to pay corkage or had it taken from us.. We don't hide the fact that we have it, just carry it on in our backpack. Others may have other experiences but that is what happened with us.
We were on a 14 day B2B of two 7 day cruises and even with an appeal to the Maitre 'd, we could not purchase a wine package. While good for you, it might not be the standard on all ships.

 

 

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I'm doing a B2B on the Royal later this month. If a buy a bottle of scotch, will they deliver it to my cabin on the last night of the first leg?

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I'm doing a B2B on the Royal later this month. If a buy a bottle of scotch, will they deliver it to my cabin on the last night of the first leg?

 

one can only hope:cool:

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I'm doing a B2B on the Royal later this month. If a buy a bottle of scotch, will they deliver it to my cabin on the last night of the first leg?

 

Not if they are on the ball.

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On the order sheet for liquor it asks if you are on a back to back. I’m guessing if you tick yes you won’t get it delivered on the last day of your 1st cruise

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I have purchased a wine package on each of my last several cruises, and usually have good luck with them not running out of my preferred choices. However, if they do run out, sometimes they will offer something a little pricier as a substitute for what I usually order, and at the same price as the one I wanted, which I consider more than fair.

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We have had our alcohol delivered on a back to back which was fun! Mistakes happen:cool:

 

We love our wine and usually do 10 day cruises, so get the wine package. We are not very discriminating and so are content with most dry reds. The decision on the wine card is a no brainer if you are not really fussy about types of wine. Those who are knowledgeable and have strong preferences often carry on and pay the corkage. We carry on one bottle each and then buy the card.

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it is a quality issue. wines sold on the ship are ok but usually not outstanding. you may find some very fine wines in port and it might be worth $15 to bring that wine to dinner to enjoy. you may find some very fine wines from the area you are visiting and from the geographical area - like Europe. you might have a chance to visit a winery or a wine shop/cellar that has tastings. we found some fantastic roses wines in Bratislava, for example, that were made from several varieties of grapes. around $13 euros. so delicious. nothing like this can be found on the ship.

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can you only purchase the 'wine package' onboard? - and what does it include?
They are only offered on board. You can buy 7, 10, or 12 bottle packages. The Silver Package is $161 for 7 ($23/bottle), 210 for 10 ($21/bottle), or $240 for 12 ($20/bottle) and you get any bottle of wine up to $29. If you purchase a bottle that is more than $29 then you just pay the difference between the bottle cost and $29. There is also a Gold Package. I don't remember all of the costs but I believe it is $336 for the 12 bottle package ($28/bottle) and you get any bottle of wine up to $45. There is a 15% gratuity added to the packages just as there is a 15% gratuity added to individual bottles. There is no gratuity added to the price difference of the bottle over $29 or $45. If you buy wines that are mostly less than $38 or $39 a bottle then the Silver Package is probably the better deal.

 

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I was on the Athens to Athens trip on the Royal last year and was able to purchase a bottle of wine in every port and bring it back without any fee. The problem is, you don't know what you are buying and it could be hit or miss. Just ask some locals where to get wine. It was never a far walk and sometimes in a small grocery type of store.

The previous year I did the Barcelona to Rome trip and also was able to buy a bottle in ports and bring it on without charge. Laughably, the 5 Euro bottle of white I bought at the Andalusian Horse tour was FANTASTIC while the 19 Euro bottle in France was not to my liking. They are great to try out but if you really don't want to be disappointed, stick to buying brands you know on the ship.

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The wine package is not necessarily available even on cruises of more than 10 days - it was not offered on our September Star 15 night cruise. First time we've had that happen, and it did make buying wine more expensive. We would have brought more onboard if we had known in advance.

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If it is available and you purchase a wine package and you do not use all your punches on the punch card, can the punches be used on a subsequent cruise??

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If it is available and you purchase a wine package and you do not use all your punches on the punch card, can the punches be used on a subsequent cruise??

 

Good question - I don't think I have read that one before. I bet the answer is no though, and it doesn't work like a coffee card. Otherwise, may as well buy the largest package all the time.

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