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Buy the Signature Beverage Package or Not - Noordam Sept 2017


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My husband and I are booked on the Noordam for 11 nights departing Sept 24, 2017. We can't decide whether or not to pre-purchase the Signature Beverage Package which is maximum of 15 drinks per day, none over $9.00US. The agent quoted us $568 per person. It seems incredibly high and I can't find a price list on line anywhere. Is it worth considering NOT buying the package and buying drinks individually or is the hassle-free option of not having to think about what we're ordering it worth the big cost? Would we have to pay for all coffees, bottle waters, soft drinks etc at lunches and dinners?:confused:

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Soft drinks and bottled water would have to be purchased.

 

Will you be drinking 6-8 alcoholic drinks each day (including port days)? That is usually the break even point for most drink packages. If you are going to drink a number of specialty coffees, sodas, and bottled water as well as a few alcoholic beverages each day, the package would likely be a good deal.

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I am with KK on purchasing the package...for my husband and I, it would not be worth it.

 

We had the SBP free as part of Explore 4 in March and while it was very nice not having to worry about that expense, we certainly would have spent more on the package than we would have on individual drinks. We usually consume 3-4 drinks per day per person, below the 'break even' of the package.

 

I'll certainly take it for free if part of a great deal, but I'll never buy it outright.

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We had the package (Explorer 4 promo)

When we did the Med last Sept. 12 days.

I kept every receipt just to see the justification in the future for us.

We drank a lot of waters great coffees all the time at Explorers Cafe and all our cocktails. Over $1,200.00 total! We were shocked. Now we received another SBP package for our 28 day cruise (explorer 4) and for us we are glad to have.

Denise:)

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Assuming you know what you normally drink, it's pretty easy to do the math. The cost of liquors, beers and non-alcoholic beverages are here:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2518056

 

You can see what's included in my handy-dandy chart. (Scroll down for Cognacs. I got that wrong on the first pass.)

 

You can assume that most drinks, including specialty cocktails, will be under the limit. HAL is nice that way. There might be a handful of specialty drinks that aren't covered by the SBP, but not many,

 

The wines on the SBP will average around $7 - $8 if you want to do the calculation. Your choices will typically include:

 

Sparkling:

Prosecco Treviso

House Sparkling - It's a cremant. It's not going to knock your socks off, but it will do if you don't like the sweetness of prosecco.

 

White Wine:

Pinot Grigio

Riesling

Chardonnay (Usually 2 choices)

Sauvignon Blanc

 

Red Wine:

Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon

Shiraz

 

Blush:

White Zinfandel.

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We've done it both ways and will not buy a beverage package at face value, ie, ~$55 PP PD. We've kept track of our beverage purchases and they generally come to around $25 PP PD. FWIW, Princess is offering a Sip and Sail promo that gives a choice of a similar beverage package or $150 PP OBC or $21.50 PP PD indicating that Princess thinks that is the break even point.

 

But, many people say they're glad they bought the package. Some drink a lot of beverages while others like the convenience. You can look at the beverage package like you would an extended warranty. It is an expensive way to ensure you won't get a big bill.

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The SBP is $51.69 per person, per day, ($44.95 + 15%), not $55. With the increase to $9 per drink on many ships, the break-even point is 5.6 drinks, based on a typical $7.95 cocktail + 15% service charge. After 5.6 drinks, you are drinking free. Just about anything you can drink is included, bottles of water, sodas, mixers, beers, wines, and almost all cocktails, under $9 menu price. We find the SBP to be very beneficial, especially on long cruises with many sea days. If you are a very port-intensive cruise, it may not pay for itself, depending on the lengths of your off-ship tours. Everyone can judge if the package will be beneficial to them based on their holiday beverage consumption. When you are on holiday, you usually let go a bit and leave the driving to the captain. So you enjoy yourself. You can't use your typical work-day beverage consumption as a judge if the SBP will benefit you.

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My husband and I are booked on the Noordam for 11 nights departing Sept 24, 2017. We can't decide whether or not to pre-purchase the Signature Beverage Package which is maximum of 15 drinks per day, none over $9.00US. Would we have to pay for all coffees, bottle waters, soft drinks etc at lunches and dinners?:confused:

 

We had the beverage package has part of the Explore 4 promotion. It did include soda, bottled water and specialty coffees. It even included the milk shakes from the pool grill/bar. We aren't much for mixed drinks but love red wine. The wines selection was limited. Most were more than 9.00 per glass. We did find a couple that we liked and drank those all week.

 

The only negative was there were a few times when we would have liked a drink but could not get bar service.

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Just FYI. The SBP does not apply to your mini bar, if you have one . I wouldn't purchase one but I'd sure take it if it were included in a package.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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We had the beverage package has part of the Explore 4 promotion. It did include soda, bottled water and specialty coffees. It even included the milk shakes from the pool grill/bar. We aren't much for mixed drinks but love red wine. The wines selection was limited. Most were more than 9.00 per glass. We did find a couple that we liked and drank those all week.

 

The only negative was there were a few times when we would have liked a drink but could not get bar service.

I am curious about this. Why could you not get bar service? I would not like to think the drink staff/bartenders were ignoring the SBP guests. :confused:

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We have never come close to a drink package making sense. Most of the alcoholic drinks we consume are during happy hour, our average (including soft drinks, coffees etc) is around $15/day/pp. The key is as others pointed out, just do the math on what you typically average (include port days) and see where you fall out.

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I am curious about this. Why could you not get bar service? I would not like to think the drink staff/bartenders were ignoring the SBP guests. :confused:

 

The bartenders do not know that you are on the package until you present your card. It was more about a general lack of staff in the lounges. In one case, the bartender took care of the most obnoxious passenger instead of who was next in line.

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I am curious about this. Why could you not get bar service? I would not like to think the drink staff/bartenders were ignoring the SBP guests. :confused:

 

We had the SBP in March on the Zuiderdam and I can assure you we did not experience a lack of service at all when it came to the bars.

 

It was obvious that we were on the package as our cards had the large circular sticker clearly visible when we put them on the bar, but the servers and bartenders were as attentive as ever the entire trip.

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The bartenders do not know that you are on the package until you present your card. It was more about a general lack of staff in the lounges. In one case, the bartender took care of the most obnoxious passenger instead of who was next in line.

 

We had the SBP in March on the Zuiderdam and I can assure you we did not experience a lack of service at all when it came to the bars.

 

It was obvious that we were on the package as our cards had the large circular sticker clearly visible when we put them on the bar, but the servers and bartenders were as attentive as ever the entire trip.

Thank you both for the clarification. I've read on other CC boards about a reduction in bar staff on other lines resulting in slow service. It sounds like this may have been the case with the poster I quoted but hopefully not a general trend.

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Thank you both for the clarification. I've read on other CC boards about a reduction in bar staff on other lines resulting in slow service. It sounds like this may have been the case with the poster I quoted but hopefully not a general trend.

We had the beverage package in December on the Eurodam and the bar service was great.

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The beverage package of 15 drinks includes sodas, coffees etc. in addition to more potent stuff. It is nice to have an espresso after dinnerand it is included. Also check your bill the first night. Somehow our cards were accidentally not activated. had to get this rectified.

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The bar staff gets their 15% no matter which way your beverage is paid for, be it SBP, EBP, or straight purchase. They really don't case, they want their service charge. If you experienced slow service, it had to be related to a short staff situation or a full complement of guests. But short staffing in beverage service makes no sense from a business point of view. The more drinks you sell, the higher the profits in the food & beverage dept. If you intentionally short-staff a bar, you are only cutting your own department's profits. Not a good business practice.

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On the SBP can a person get 2 or 3 bottles of water at one time and take them to the cabin ?

Yes, we got bottled water to take on shore the next day. They will even give you the large 1 liter size if you want them. I never tried to get three--we usually did one per card.

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Has anyone bought a Quench package and a beverage card just to cover alcoholic beverages? I am wondering if this allowed, since I am not much of a drinker or just purchase OBC just to cover alcoholic drinks I may purchase on board.

 

 

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