Jump to content

Looking to hear from people that are HAPPY with the Beverage Package(s)


Recommended Posts

I know a lot of you dislike the packages, but I really would like to hear from those that think either one of the packages is "worth it". I'm not looking for those that got it free either :), just the ones that paid for them. Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have had the SBP "free" on past cruises and enjoyed having it so much that we will most likely purchase it for our next cruise.

When we do the math, it seems to be a good deal for us. A few drinks in the afternoon by the pool, some wine with dinner, an after dinner drink and I love my lattes in the morning with that little extra shot of Baileys.

Of course, on a cruise we drink a lot more than we do at home. All part of being on vacation.

 

Do the math and maybe expect to drink a bit more. And enjoy your cruise.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have paid for the Signature Beverage Package in the past and upgraded the free Explore 4 SBP to the Elite Beverage Package on the Eurodam in December. (Upgrade was $11.50/pp/day.)

 

We bought the SBP on a cruise where we also carried on and paid corkage for quite a bit of wine. It was kind of overkill and we only did it to see how it works. (Purely for research purposes.)

 

We really liked the EBP because it offered better wine choices, including real Champagne. One glass of Champagne paid for our upgrade.

 

You'll have to decide if it's worth it for you based on what you drink. There is a recent thread about what's included. I posted the list of what you can get in each package. That should help you decide.

 

We never had a problem getting a drink in a bar or wine in a restaurant - either with or without a package.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have purchased the SBP and gotten it as part of Explore 4. Just like pre-paid ship excursions, it just becomes part of the overall cruise cost for us. We no longer worry about carrying on bottled water, colas, or wine and I like trying new drinks as well as getting the lattes and cappuccinos. We don't worry if we "break even" every day or not. We just enjoy the all-inclusive feeling it gives to the cruise.

 

We've not upgraded to the more elite package but we may in the future if at some point we can't find a wine we like under the standard package.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a huge credit a few cruises ago so we "bought" the package. We were on the eastern caribbean itinerary with my parents and have done it many times before, so excursions weren't going to be our thing. We figured - why not spend it on booze? I had to add about $200 to make purchase it for both of us.

 

It was.........ok. I like gin and tonic (a lot) and I was able to have them whenever I wanted. I also got to try a lot of stuff that I would never normally buy. But I am also a wine drinker and the stuff on the package is not good. I won't say undrinkable (because I drank it!) but I never would have paid for it. I also drank way too many sweet "poolside" drinks. I am not a juice drinker and everything started to taste the same after a few days. I do like Pellegrino, Perrier and fancy tea, but I don't go out of my way to buy that stuff on a cruise.

 

Was it fun? For sure. Would I buy it again? Nope. If the wine was better I would definitely consider it. My husband would say the same about the beer selection, though he is a serious home brewer and is not happy unless he finds something unusual.

Link to post
Share on other sites
We have had the SBP "free" on past cruises and enjoyed having it so much that we will most likely purchase it for our next cruise.

When we do the math, it seems to be a good deal for us. A few drinks in the afternoon by the pool, some wine with dinner, an after dinner drink and I love my lattes in the morning with that little extra shot of Baileys.

Of course, on a cruise we drink a lot more than we do at home. All part of being on vacation.

 

Do the math and maybe expect to drink a bit more. And enjoy your cruise.

 

This is about the same as we drink (or me specifically). Bailey's & Coffee in the morning, couple of drinks by the pool, before dinner cocktail, wine with dinner, and probably a cocktail or two in the casino......and not to mention I have to fit in a latte in there somewhere.

 

My quandary lies in the fact that I can't get any of the wine or more specifically the tequilla I like in the SBP, I would need to step the pkg up to the elite.....but now we are taking big bucks. It's a shame my husband couldn't get the SBP and I would take the Elite pkg, but I get why HAL does what HAL does.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On very port-intensive cruises, the SBP or EBP may not be worth it, depending on your typical beverage consumption. You can't judge by what you do at home. You are on vacation, you're not driving, so you let go and enjoy yourself. Your beverage consumption on a ship will generally be higher that your normal daily life. But remember, the packages include almost everything you can put into a glass and drink. With the new SBP drink limit at $9, your break-even point is only 5.6 drinks per day, after that you are drinking free. We have had the SBP with Explore-4 and also purchased it. We will not sail without it. But, all of our cruises have loads of sea days, over 21 days, and usually trans-Atlantic or Pacific..

Link to post
Share on other sites

We've had Explore 4 on two cruises & have two future cruises with it. Several specialty coffees, water for excursions, sodas, pre dinner cocktail and wine with dinner. All without having to sign a receipt-my favorite part! Would not sail without it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Going on our first HAL cruise and have gone back and forth on whether or not to upgrade to the EBP. There is a very nice Champagne at that level and many more options for Scotch & Bourbon for DH. Plus I hear the Spanish Coffee is amazing. Probably going to just pull the trigger so it is one less thing on our mind for the week.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Link to post
Share on other sites

We've had the promotional BP (Explore4) included on several cruises and have also done the single drink & wine packages instead and I guess it pretty much depends on your 'vacation' drinking habits, number of sea versus port days, and other considerations (cold versus warm weather itineraries).

 

We enjoy lots of sea days so AM lattes /special coffees, drinks around the pool, wine for the cabin, pre-dinner cocktails, wine with dinner (five swipes of the card will get you a bottle of Navigator quality wine, or at least it used to) and an after dinner drink at the show or Crow's Nest plus bottled water for the room and port days seems to make it worth while.

 

With that said, if the cruise is fairly short (less than 15 days) and has plenty of ports with minimal sea days we wouldn't purchase the BP and would just purchase a couple of wine packages (one for the MDR, one for the cabin) and just purchase a cocktail or two after getting back from a 'port' day by Happy Hour. Fortunately we get the 50% off the packages at this point in time with the Mariner 'thingy'.

 

Here's a link to a beverage calculator that someone on the Princess board created. The pricing is fairly similar to the HAL pricing and it might give you an idea if the HAL BP might be worth it or not for you.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2506365&highlight=beverage+calculator

 

In any event, have a great cruise.

Bob:)

Link to post
Share on other sites

We've sailed 30 some cruises. We got spoiled getting our first SBP with the Explore 4 promo. It's kind of like sailing in a Neptune Suite. Once you have all the benefits, it's hard to go back.

 

1.The best thing about it is never having to think twice (or feel guilty) about ordering anything to drink. You get the opportunity to be adventuresome and test and try drinks you might not order! If you don't like what you ordered, you leave it behind and don't feel like you just threw away the cost of the drink!

 

2. When we initially sailed without the package, I would always think twice about every time I ordered a drink! How big was my bill getting and what would my shock be at the end of the cruise?

 

3. Total relaxation - we have a date with each other over 2 glasses (each) of champagne every morning....Poolside "fun drinks"....a glass of cheer during Bingo.....specialty coffees and deserts mid-afternoon.....refreshing waters for your backpacks for excursions....cocktails before and after dinner.....at BB Kings, the shows or piano bar! The whole day sails by and you never think twice about placing your order!

 

3. Signature vs Elite - I am very happy with Signature - the bulk of all my alcohol choices (commonly top shelf at most restaurants) are included. The lack of great wines in the package doesn't bother us. We satisfy our wine desires with purchasing wonderful bottles of wine (off the Pinnacle wine list) with our dinners.

 

3. If we don't have the package as a promo, we now always buy the package, regardless of the length of the cruise or the port intensiveness of the cruise. (yes, you do get more bang for the buck on cruises with more sailing days). And if we buy it, we always choose to buy the package pre-cruise so it's already paid for ahead of time. What a pleasure not having the downer of a big beverage bill at the end of the fabulous cruise!

Link to post
Share on other sites
We've sailed 30 some cruises. We got spoiled getting our first SBP with the Explore 4 promo. It's kind of like sailing in a Neptune Suite. Once you have all the benefits, it's hard to go back.

 

1.The best thing about it is never having to think twice (or feel guilty) about ordering anything to drink. You get the opportunity to be adventuresome and test and try drinks you might not order! If you don't like what you ordered, you leave it behind and don't feel like you just threw away the cost of the drink!

 

2. When we initially sailed without the package, I would always think twice about every time I ordered a drink! How big was my bill getting and what would my shock be at the end of the cruise?

 

3. Total relaxation - we have a date with each other over 2 glasses (each) of champagne every morning....Poolside "fun drinks"....a glass of cheer during Bingo.....specialty coffees and deserts mid-afternoon.....refreshing waters for your backpacks for excursions....cocktails before and after dinner.....at BB Kings, the shows or piano bar! The whole day sails by and you never think twice about placing your order!

 

3. Signature vs Elite - I am very happy with Signature - the bulk of all my alcohol choices (commonly top shelf at most restaurants) are included. The lack of great wines in the package doesn't bother us. We satisfy our wine desires with purchasing wonderful bottles of wine (off the Pinnacle wine list) with our dinners.

 

3. If we don't have the package as a promo, we now always buy the package, regardless of the length of the cruise or the port intensiveness of the cruise. (yes, you do get more bang for the buck on cruises with more sailing days). And if we buy it, we always choose to buy the package pre-cruise so it's already paid for ahead of time. What a pleasure not having the downer of a big beverage bill at the end of the fabulous cruise!

 

Thank you for the response to my question. You answered everything I needed to know.

 

Because we didn't book under one of the promos, I was vacillating back and forth on whether or not not purchase. I think after many hours of comparing the main attraction for me anyway is the better tequila choices. Jose Cuervo is not tequila in my mind. I enjoy sipping a nice tequila but all of them would be excluded in the Signature Pkg. Patron Anejo is $13.95 and I could see myself sipping on a couple of these in the evening. That alone is $27.90.....My bar tab at the end of the cruise would be huge if I only had 2 daily shots if Patron....:o

 

I like the fact that I won't feel "guilty" as you said when ordering a new drink in the slight chance I may not care for it. We also have quite a few sea days and we are going thru Panama which I know is HOT which means I will probably drink a bit more.

 

My drink estimates:

2 shots of Patron Anejo: $27.90 (after dinner/casino)

1 Passion Blossom 13: $9.95 (pool)

1 San Pellegrino: $4.50

1 Baileys & Coffee: $6.95

1 Red Bull: $4.95

2 Glasses of Wine with Dinner: $24.50

 

Total: $78.75 x 16 days = $1,260 And this doesn't include any water, specialty coffees or soda.......

 

These seems like a conservative estimate of what I would drink. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I could easily see myself sipping on 2-3 cocktails while lounging in my cabana poolside.

 

If I were to choose the SBP, I could probably make do, but I wouldn't get my tequila or my wine choice. Being a Southern California gal, I like my tequila :D

 

The bummer of this is, my husband would fit under the SBP pkg quite easily....he drinks vodka and beer. It would be nice if he could get the SPB and I could get the EBP, but apparently it's either one or the other if I understand this correctly.

 

I've even contemplated purchasing a bottle of Patron and keeping it in my room.....But seeing as I just had a knee replacement and I have an aft cabin, I doubt I would keep making the trip to my room to pour myself a glass.

 

So......Laurie, just suck it up and pay for the EBP and quit worrying about it, you are on vacation ;p

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're so right Laurie! And with there EBP you will get better wine by the glass choices. Buy now and then have a sip of patron to celebrate your upcoming cruise! We done the Panama there times and love it!! It's like 4 cruises in one: Caribbean/Panama/Central America & Mexico! Cheers!

Link to post
Share on other sites
We've sailed 30 some cruises. We got spoiled getting our first SBP with the Explore 4 promo. It's kind of like sailing in a Neptune Suite. Once you have all the benefits, it's hard to go back.

 

1.The best thing about it is never having to think twice (or feel guilty) about ordering anything to drink. You get the opportunity to be adventuresome and test and try drinks you might not order! If you don't like what you ordered, you leave it behind and don't feel like you just threw away the cost of the drink!

 

2. When we initially sailed without the package, I would always think twice about every time I ordered a drink! How big was my bill getting and what would my shock be at the end of the cruise?

 

3. Total relaxation - we have a date with each other over 2 glasses (each) of champagne every morning....Poolside "fun drinks"....a glass of cheer during Bingo.....specialty coffees and deserts mid-afternoon.....refreshing waters for your backpacks for excursions....cocktails before and after dinner.....at BB Kings, the shows or piano bar! The whole day sails by and you never think twice about placing your order!

 

3. Signature vs Elite - I am very happy with Signature - the bulk of all my alcohol choices (commonly top shelf at most restaurants) are included. The lack of great wines in the package doesn't bother us. We satisfy our wine desires with purchasing wonderful bottles of wine (off the Pinnacle wine list) with our dinners.

 

3. If we don't have the package as a promo, we now always buy the package, regardless of the length of the cruise or the port intensiveness of the cruise. (yes, you do get more bang for the buck on cruises with more sailing days). And if we buy it, we always choose to buy the package pre-cruise so it's already paid for ahead of time. What a pleasure not having the downer of a big beverage bill at the end of the fabulous cruise!

 

Thank you for the response to my question. You answered everything I needed to know.

 

Because we didn't book under one of the promos, I was vacillating back and forth on whether or not not purchase. I think after many hours of comparing the main attraction for me anyway is the better tequila choices. Jose Cuervo is not tequila in my mind. I enjoy sipping a nice tequila but all of them would be excluded in the Signature Pkg. Patron Anejo is $13.95 and I could see myself sipping on a couple of these in the evening. That alone is $27.90.....My bar tab at the end of the cruise would be huge if I only had 2 daily shots if Patron....:o

 

I like the fact that I won't feel "guilty" as you said when ordering a new drink in the slight chance I may not care for it. We also have quite a few sea days and we are going thru Panama which I know is HOT which means I will probably drink a bit more.

 

My drink estimates:

2 shots of Patron Anejo: $27.90 (after dinner/casino)

1 Passion Blossom 13: $9.95 (pool)

1 San Pellegrino: $4.50

1 Baileys & Coffee: $6.95

1 Red Bull: $4.95

2 Glasses of Wine with Dinner: $24.50

 

Total: $78.75 x 16 days = $1,260 And this doesn't include any water, specialty coffees or soda.......

 

These seems like a conservative estimate of what I would drink. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I could easily see myself sipping on 2-3 cocktails while lounging in my cabana poolside.

 

If I were to choose the SBP, I could probably make do, but I wouldn't get my tequila or my wine choice. Being a Southern California gal, I like my tequila :D

 

The bummer of this for me is, my husband would fit under the SBP pkg quite easily....he drinks vodka and beer. It would be nice if he could get the SPB and I could get the EBP, but apparently it's either one or the other if I understand this correctly.

 

I've even contemplated purchasing a bottle of Patron and keeping it in my room.....But seeing as I just had a knee replacement and I have an aft cabin, I doubt I would keep making the trip to my room to pour myself a glass.

 

So......Laurie, just suck it up and pay for the EBP and quit worrying about it, you are on vacation ;p

Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if you get SBP included on a promotion you pay for it. We had Explore4 and when we switched from an Inside to a Balcony we were given the option of giving up Explore4 and getting various OBC combos for three different fares. When I backed out the Pinnacle Grill and other Explore4 benefits and factored in the OBC on the fares without it I could get the "true cost" of the SBP part. It worked out to a break even of about 6 drinks for each of us. So we were still paying for it in the end.

 

We hit 7-8 per day mostly because when asked if we wanted a double (counts as two) we frequently did. Usually the last drink of the day that we took back to the cabin for a nightcap there. For us it was very much worth it for SBP but would not have been for EBP since everything we wanted was OK on SBP. We're not that particular and actually fell in love with the Tatoosh Bourbon which was included on SBP.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Even if you get SBP included on a promotion you pay for it. .

 

Not always. We booked our last cruise without Explore 4. Our TA added Explore 4 which gave us two Pinnacle dinners, the SBP and $300 each in suite OBC. The price did not change. ALWAYS do your research.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not looking for those that got it free either :), just the ones that paid for them. Thanks!

 

You might get more answers if you hadn't limited responses. There are a lot of good observations even from folks who did receive the package free.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have gotten the drink packages on all of our cruises ever since they started offering them. Regardless of what is displayed, you do pay for them. In most every case you can get a lower priced cruise if you opt out of the free or included drink package.

If you drink a couple of drinks a day, then the package isn't worth the money. But throw in the extra drinks you can get like waters, specialty coffees, fresh squeezed OJ and it may be worth it. For us it was. Plus no bill at the end of the cruise was important. Having to schlep through the receipts, and we have been charged for drinks we did not get, was a pain. But then having to argue to get a refund and the time it took, usually at the end of the cruise was just another reason to get the package.

 

Dan

Link to post
Share on other sites
We have gotten the drink packages on all of our cruises ever since they started offering them. Regardless of what is displayed, you do pay for them. In most every case you can get a lower priced cruise if you opt out of the free or included drink package.

 

Dan -

 

I can post our confirmations or email you if you want, but our price before Explore 4 and after was exactly the same. Explore 4 gave us two Pinnacle dinners, the SBP and $300 per person suite OBC. The best - and I mean the best - price our room ever got to was around $150 less - after final payment.

 

It does not always work out that way, but you really can't make a blanket statement that Explore 4 is always more.

 

I'm seriously considering putting together a post that says, "Person X Lies! Here's proof!" ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Dan -

 

I can post our confirmations or email you if you want, but our price before Explore 4 and after was exactly the same. Explore 4 gave us two Pinnacle dinners, the SBP and $300 per person suite OBC. The best - and I mean the best - price our room ever got to was around $150 less - after final payment.

 

It does not always work out that way, but you really can't make a blanket statement that Explore 4 is always more.

 

I'm seriously considering putting together a post that says, "Person X Lies! Here's proof!" ;)

 

My bad. I was going by what knowledgeable folks here posted. I always take it or pay for it.

 

Dan

Link to post
Share on other sites

We've purchased it 3 times and once paid for our drinks. We spent slightly more paying for our own and even if we hadn't, we like buying it ahead of time and then not worrying about it. We get specialty coffee in the morning and drink each day. My husband drinks beer and I drink Grey Goose and club. We are talking our second 10 day cruise to Panama Canal in Jan. We are in one of the ports all day and Aruba is 1 pm to 11. I thought about not getting the package because we'll most likely be off the ship the majority of those two days, but decided it's just better to not count pennies along the way. But that's just us.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A with Chris Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises!
      • Register Now for Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Royal Caribbean
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...