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Cost of drinks on Cunard line ships

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i am new to Cruisecritic but my wife and I have cruised several times. Overall I like Cunard ships and the general ambience is great. However we do have a complaint about the cost of drinks on board. To pay around $40 + 15% service for bottles of mediocre wine and excessive prices in the bars is extortionate. We never book as early savers and so do not usually qualify for on board spend. We feel that we are subsidising those with on board spend by paying these prices.

No wonder the bars are nearly empty after dinner. We would usually have a bottle of wine between us for dinner but cut down to a half on Cunard. It has put us off taking a Christmas cruise with the line this year.

End of rant!

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We're not wine connoisseurs, but like a glass or two with a meal. We're going to take a few bottles from our cellar (which looks like a cupboard in the kitchen) and pay the $20 corkage on the bottles we take to the dining room. Should save a few £/$! And going down one deck from our cabin to the Promenade Deck with a glass should be nice on warm evenings.

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Or cruise was Dubai - Southampton last year. We did find that Cunard were pretty lenient about taking bottles of alcohol onboard after port stops. Not sure how they feel about drinking your own in public areas. Good luck and enjoy your cruise.

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And going down one deck from our cabin to the Promenade Deck with a glass should be nice on warm evenings.

 

Das ist verboten.

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Wines by the bottle are over prized enough on Cunard, but you get scammed when you order wine by the glass! They sell you wine at 150 ml (one fifth of a bottle) and 250 ml (one third of a bottle). Anywhere else, when you order 250 ml, you get a small carafe or a wine glass indicating the measurement. Not on Cunard, you just have to trust them..., but when you see the amount of wine in your glass, it sure does not look like one third of a bottle.

 

At Cunard, all alcoholic drinks are outrageously over prized! It must be Cunard's British heritage, to sell expensive drinks, carefully measured in tiny measurement cups. They sell you martinis in tiny glasses that are still less than half full unless you pay for a double shot. Anywhere else you get a reasonable amount of liquor poured into your glass. Cunard is being cheap when it comes to alcohol.

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Wines by the bottle are over prized enough on Cunard, but you get scammed when you order wine by the glass! They sell you wine at 150 ml (one fifth of a bottle) and 250 ml (one third of a bottle). Anywhere else, when you order 250 ml, you get a small carafe or a wine glass indicating the measurement. Not on Cunard, you just have to trust them..., but when you see the amount of wine in your glass, it sure does not look like one third of a bottle.

 

At Cunard, all alcoholic drinks are outrageously over prized! It must be Cunard's British heritage, to sell expensive drinks, carefully measured in tiny measurement cups. They sell you martinis in tiny glasses that are still less than half full unless you pay for a double shot. Anywhere else you get a reasonable amount of liquor poured into your glass. Cunard is being cheap when it comes to alcohol.

 

Nothing to do with British heritage because Cunard spirit sizes are not what is served by law in the UK and drinks prices in general around the UK are cheaper than onboard Cunard ships and in the US.

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Posted (edited)
Wines by the bottle are over prized enough on Cunard, but you get scammed when you order wine by the glass! They sell you wine at 150 ml (one fifth of a bottle) and 250 ml (one third of a bottle). Anywhere else, when you order 250 ml, you get a small carafe or a wine glass indicating the measurement. Not on Cunard, you just have to trust them..., but when you see the amount of wine in your glass, it sure does not look like one third of a bottle.

 

At Cunard, all alcoholic drinks are outrageously over prized! It must be Cunard's British heritage, to sell expensive drinks, carefully measured in tiny measurement cups. They sell you martinis in tiny glasses that are still less than half full unless you pay for a double shot. Anywhere else you get a reasonable amount of liquor poured into your glass. Cunard is being cheap when it comes to alcohol.

In the UK, 250 ml is a common large glass served in a glass not a carafe and often unmarked. A measure is used when pouring instead. Edited by Host Hattie

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Hatie. I think the point here is that we are trying to bring to Cunard’s attention cients objections to overpriced slcoholic drinks on their liners not the finite way they measure them. I believe rightly or wrongly they are losing clients and onboard business by their charges. Maybe they could provide an answer and not a cc moderator telling us what we already know.

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Hatie. I think the point here is that we are trying to bring to Cunard’s attention cients objections to overpriced slcoholic drinks on their liners not the finite way they measure them. I believe rightly or wrongly they are losing clients and onboard business by their charges. Maybe they could provide an answer and not a cc moderator telling us what we already know.
In that case you will need to contact Cunard directly, they don't post on this board.

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In the UK, 250 ml is a common large glass served in a glass not a carafe and often unmarked. A measure is used when pouring instead.

 

Indeed. In fact, I've never eaten in a smart restaurant on land where measures are used - the sommelier normally pours from a bottle at the table. It would look tacky in my view if Cunard moved to using measures for wine.

 

I also know this has been said before, but as someone who is lucky enough to stay at some fairly nice hotels around the world for work, Cunard drinks prices really aren't that bad. Yes they are more expensive than my local pub, but they are cheaper than a lot of high-end restaurants and hotels.

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Indeed. In fact, I've never eaten in a smart restaurant on land where measures are used - the sommelier normally pours from a bottle at the table. It would look tacky in my view if Cunard moved to using measures for wine.

 

I also know this has been said before, but as someone who is lucky enough to stay at some fairly nice hotels around the world for work, Cunard drinks prices really aren't that bad. Yes they are more expensive than my local pub, but they are cheaper than a lot of high-end restaurants and hotels.

We held my 65th in a 4star hotel in the South of England last year and the prices were roughly the same as Cunard.The difference is we don't drink in a 4star hotel every night for a fortnight.

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Curious. We have parallel and ongoing threads on the Cunard Board 1) extolling formal wear aboard ships in the evening and 2) complaining about the cost of drinks aboard the same ships and that one can buy the same wine or spirits cheaper at your local or at your supermarket. Which begs one to ask the last time you wore formal dress and ambled down the road to your pub for a pint or two.

 

The reality is that Cunard drink prices are on the high side for ships yet entirely in keeping with the prices charged say at a Chewton Glen or Victoria Hotel or any top end London or New York hotel. Indeed, cheaper than the later two examples in most cases. In the U.S., you'll pay $17.95 for a martini in most top end big city hotels.

 

Reading these threads one conjures up the incongruous image of tuxedoed and gowned passengers in their cabins at cocktail hour drinking their £6.95 cava from Tesco.

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It's interesting that the defenders of the pricing are the ones that don't pay anyway with their barrowloads of OBC.To clarify,on our recent 19 day QE cruise I actually paid £50 every night out of my own pocket for our drinks.Zilch OBC for us.

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Curious. We have parallel and ongoing threads on the Cunard Board 1) extolling formal wear aboard ships in the evening and 2) complaining about the cost of drinks aboard the same ships and that one can buy the same wine or spirits cheaper at your local or at your supermarket. Which begs one to ask the last time you wore formal dress and ambled down the road to your pub for a pint or two.

 

The reality is that Cunard drink prices are on the high side for ships yet entirely in keeping with the prices charged say at a Chewton Glen or Victoria Hotel or any top end London or New York hotel. Indeed, cheaper than the later two examples in most cases. In the U.S., you'll pay $17.95 for a martini in most top end big city hotels.

 

Reading these threads one conjures up the incongruous image of tuxedoed and gowned passengers in their cabins at cocktail hour drinking their £6.95 cava from Tesco.

 

Thank you! Very well said! :)

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those very expensive prices on Cunard started when Cunard was purchased by Carnival

years ago the drinks and wines were even cheap -

if you do not take a package Oceania is even more expensive

the time of real duty free drinks and wines on cruise ships is gone ...

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The reality is that Cunard drink prices are on the high side for ships yet entirely in keeping with the prices charged say at a Chewton Glen or Victoria Hotel or any top end London or New York hotel. Indeed, cheaper than the later two examples in most cases. In the U.S., you'll pay $17.95 for a martini in most top end big city hotels.

 

Reading these threads one conjures up the incongruous image of tuxedoed and gowned passengers in their cabins at cocktail hour drinking their £6.95 cava from Tesco.

 

 

Why should Cunard drink prices be judged alongside top end big city hotels? Cunard is not a top end cruise line and is not in the same calibre as a top end luxury hotel in a big city like NY. Cunard drink prices should be compared among its cruise line peers, in which case Cunard is quite a bit more expensive for lower quality drinks. It's also the only line I've sailed where the mixer is charged seperately from the alcohol, which is nothing more than a back ended way of charging more for the drink. Again I don't care if this is the way some hotels or pubs in the UK do things, or even P&O for that matter which I understand is the case. It's not industry standard. If Cunard really wants to do things the British way, then change over the onboard currency to pounds instead of US dollars. Never understood that one, but funny I never see people complain about it.

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Our complaints over drinks prices on Cunard are since the change in measure sizes for spirits and the additional cost of the mixer, making the cost increase significantly in one go. The cost of the wine is also very high compared to the other Carnival owned ships that we have been on.

 

 

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Our complaints over drinks prices on Cunard are since the change in measure sizes for spirits and the additional cost of the mixer, making the cost increase significantly in one go. The cost of the wine is also very high compared to the other Carnival owned ships that we have been on.

 

 

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Exactly. Same with me. I think this change occurred around the same time QM2 came out of her major refit. I never had issues with drinks on Cunard before that.

 

I sail on most cruise lines, and not a single one charges separately for a mixer. It’s also nice to see some American style free pouring on many lines, even Princess a sister line to Cunard and also with ships registered in Bermuda. Not so on Cunard. It’s an exact pour.

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Exactly. Same with me. I think this change occurred around the same time QM2 came out of her major refit. I never had issues with drinks on Cunard before that.

 

I sail on most cruise lines, and not a single one charges separately for a mixer. It’s also nice to see some American style free pouring on many lines, even Princess a sister line to Cunard and also with ships registered in Bermuda. Not so on Cunard. It’s an exact pour.

I hate to disagree as we're fighting the same corner,but after 10 Princess cruises we've always had liquor poured via measuring thimbles (seems like a good name for them,lol).Cheers,Brian.

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I hate to disagree as we're fighting the same corner,but after 10 Princess cruises we've always had liquor poured via measuring thimbles (seems like a good name for them,lol).Cheers,Brian.

 

 

 

I was just on ROYAL PRINCESS a couple months ago and I’m Elite status with them so I’ve sailed them often. Most of my bartenders would pour the alcohol in a standard measure then pour a little more from the bottle into the glass as they poured the alcohol from the measure into the glass. Of course I could only see this if I was sitting at the bar chatting with them. But even when I ordered a drink in a lounge it was stronger than what I get on Cunard. I’m guessing the American standard pour is larger than that of Cunard.

 

Sorry you didn’t have the same experience.

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It does pay to be a teetotaler on cruises and no mistake. I don't think Cunard is alone in making the passage fare more of an entry fee at the gate of an amusement park and everything inside costs... extra. Nickel and dimeing.. except it's not that cheap. Oceania's drink prices are... high. But so is their $60 pp per day drinks package. Indeed, I am convinced they make it high to encourage folks to buy the package. We found we could drink pretty well and often on QE last year (we bought the best wine package as well) and SAVE money compared to the Oceania drinks package.

 

The pressure to have fares more inclusive (as Viking and Azamara do) is clearly out there but Cunard is catering to a more diverse market than they are and, of course, non drinkers would object for all good reason.

 

But yes, the days of the $3.00 bottle of Soviet sparkling wine and those huge brown bottles of Polish beer for .65 cents on STEFAN BATORY are gone for good. Then again, so is STEFAN BATORY.

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We held my 65th in a 4star hotel in the South of England last year and the prices were roughly the same as Cunard.The difference is we don't drink in a 4star hotel every night for a fortnight.

 

The other difference is that the hotel was paying very high duty and VAT on all the alcohol it sold.

 

e.g around 50p duty and 20% VAT on a pint of beer; £2.16 + 20% VAT on a bottle of wine.

 

Cunard, and all the other cruise lines, don't do that.

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those very expensive prices on Cunard started when Cunard was purchased by Carnival

years ago the drinks and wines were even cheap -

if you do not take a package Oceania is even more expensive

the time of real duty free drinks and wines on cruise ships is gone ...

 

Cunard was purchased by Carnival in 1998 and we cruised before that and drinks and wine were always expensive and drinks in bars and wine in restaurants have never been duty free.

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Hello folks ...

Instead of dancing around the issue with obtuse references, what are some actual examples of prices for wine / beer / liquor on board Cunard?

And tell me you're joking that mixed drinks are priced separately for the liquor and for the mix!

PJ

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Hello folks ...

Instead of dancing around the issue with obtuse references, what are some actual examples of prices for wine / beer / liquor on board Cunard?

And tell me you're joking that mixed drinks are priced separately for the liquor and for the mix!

PJ

 

 

 

Here’s a link to a drinks price menu in a bar on QV

 

https://carnivaluk.metafaq.com/resources/carnivaluk/life-on-board/QV_chart_room.pdf

 

Go to page 41 to see the additional mixer costs and from page 23 for the spirit prices and don’t forget to add 15% extra to the total

 

 

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Here’s a link to a drinks price menu in a bar on QV

 

https://carnivaluk.metafaq.com/resources/carnivaluk/life-on-board/QV_chart_room.pdf

 

Go to page 41 to see the additional mixer costs and from page 23 for the spirit prices and don’t forget to add 15% extra to the total

 

 

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Thanks for the link. I subsequently found the QM2 link as well (but don't ask me to find it again!)

Well, I guess those prices seem reasonable in the circumstances.

Sure they're overpriced, but no more than most urban bars.

With some moderation, I suppose I'll survive ...

PJ

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Hopefully ! We usually drink cocktails (me) & beer (him) in the bars and wine by the bottle in the restaurants.

We travelled with friends for New Year a couple of years ago, one evening in the Queens Room she ordered a large glass of red wine & he wanted a Godfather, Amaretto & whisky. I nearly fell off my chair when the bill arrived !

 

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CMV charges separately for mixers, first time first time I have seen this. I have sailed with 7 different cruise lines. At least I will be prepared for my QE cruise.

 

 

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We held my 65th in a 4star hotel in the South of England last year and the prices were roughly the same as Cunard.The difference is we don't drink in a 4star hotel every night for a fortnight.

 

 

Or 56 days even.

 

But hey, isn't this a holiday we are on?

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i am new to Cruisecritic but my wife and I have cruised several times. Overall I like Cunard ships and the general ambience is great. However we do have a complaint about the cost of drinks on board. To pay around $40 + 15% service for bottles of mediocre wine and excessive prices in the bars is extortionate. We never book as early savers and so do not usually qualify for on board spend. We feel that we are subsidising those with on board spend by paying these prices.

No wonder the bars are nearly empty after dinner. We would usually have a bottle of wine between us for dinner but cut down to a half on Cunard. It has put us off taking a Christmas cruise with the line this year.

End of rant!

 

Hatie. I think the point here is that we are trying to bring to Cunard’s attention cients objections to overpriced slcoholic drinks on their liners not the finite way they measure them. I believe rightly or wrongly they are losing clients and onboard business by their charges. Maybe they could provide an answer and not a cc moderator telling us what we already know.

 

Good morning Crewserman.

I have read your comments with interest as I am probably diametrically opposed to you with my views on drinking alcohol, and in particular wine, onboard any cruise ship.

Both my wife and I enjoy wine most evenings with our dinner at home and, purely on the grounds that we believe wine enhances the dining experience, we continue the practice onboard.

While I would not dream of factoring in the cost of wines and other beverages when I book a cruise I am aware that, with few exceptions, most cruise lines wine and beverage prices are on a par with Cunard.

The real joy with Cunard though is that I know I'm going to be attended by a dedicated Somelier who will give me not only outstanding service, but advice if ever I needed it.

But the point I would make really like to make is that should I ever start worrying, or moaning, about the price of what I consider part and parcel of the overall experience then my measure of enjoyment of the cruise starts to diminish.

And that Sir, is a strict No-No.

8407159929_67d3afbe11_z.jpg

Cheers.

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The other difference is that the hotel was paying very high duty and VAT on all the alcohol it sold.

 

e.g around 50p duty and 20% VAT on a pint of beer; £2.16 + 20% VAT on a bottle of wine.

 

Cunard, and all the other cruise lines, don't do that.

 

Ah, but while the VAT is paid by the Customer the hotel/restaurant reclaims the VAT element they paid to their supplier: the net difference being forwarded to HMRC.

 

Yes the customer feels the burden of the VAT but effectively the hotel's profit is linked to the net cost.

 

Meanwhile I', happy to state that while I'm drinking wine ashore I'm supporting things like the NHS and my military pension through my VAT element and while on board I'm supporting my Carnival dividend. :evilsmile::evilsmile:

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We take very few organised shore excursions - usually just one per trip - so I take the view that money saved in this respect can be enjoyed sipping cocktails in the Commodore Club, which is one of my very favourite things to do. I haven't felt that cocktail prices have increased significantly in recent years: I don't drink spirits and mixers but can understand the frustration of those who do following the introduction of the separate charge for the tonic or whatever. My other half sometimes has a mocktail in the evening, or he will have a whisky or sometimes a beer. A bottle of wine at dinner will last us a couple of nights. We tend to be fairly slow drinkers too, so whilst our account gets charged with something everyday, we've never been shocked when our final bill has arrived.

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Ah, but while the VAT is paid by the Customer the hotel/restaurant reclaims the VAT element they paid to their supplier: the net difference being forwarded to HMRC.

 

The mechanics of how VAT is paid along the supply chain does not alter the fact that along that chain, a net total of £4 VAT will be paid to HMRC on a bottle which retails at £20; a cost which Cunard doesn't have to bear.

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The mechanics of how VAT is paid along the supply chain does not alter the fact that along that chain, a net total of £4 VAT will be paid to HMRC on a bottle which retails at £20; a cost which Cunard doesn't have to bear.

 

...and your point is?

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I think the point is that Cunard are making out like bandits on the drinks prices! But that tells us nothing about what the margins are on each trip. If margins on the room rate are low then the bar bill is the main source of profit. And Cunard have to make a profit to satisfy shareholders. They aren't a charity.

 

That being said I do find the prices a little on the high side. I don't drink much at home but do like a cocktail or two before dinner, wine over dinner and possible a cocktail or two after dinner. It adds up quickly and we do get a bit of bill shock at the end even though we are pretty good at estimating our costs. The Australians on our last cruise removed tips to offset the bar bill which is an option I won't take but I can see why other people might. If its gets too much for me to afford I'll start looking at other lines or just reduce the amount of trips I take.

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All I know is that on our last cruise on QE, which was just after the price increases and measurement changes, I hav enever in over 40 cruises with different cruise lines seen bars throughout the ship empty. Many in Queens Room were drinking water, and not by the bottle, and while many have said well dancers get hot and drink water they were not drinking other drinks as well and not everyone drinking water was dancing. Such a shame because I think the price of the drinks in which what I am used to paying in my part of the UK even in 4 star establishments is extortionate spoils the atmosphere in an evening on a ship and sometimes as early as 1030 were empty. We sat in one bar and got talking to a couple over a drink and we were the only ones in there and the waiters were hanging around that cannot be right.

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I was just on ROYAL PRINCESS a couple months ago and I’m Elite status with them so I’ve sailed them often. Most of my bartenders would pour the alcohol in a standard measure then pour a little more from the bottle into the glass as they poured the alcohol from the measure into the glass. Of course I could only see this if I was sitting at the bar chatting with them. But even when I ordered a drink in a lounge it was stronger than what I get on Cunard. I’m guessing the American standard pour is larger than that of Cunard.

 

Sorry you didn’t have the same experience.

That's just the courtesy top up to compensate for any spillage when tipping in the thimble.Not really a free pour.The reason you think the drinks are weaker on Cunard is that they are now served in 1 and 2 ounce measures,so you have to ask for the larger one.Princess still serve 1 1/2 ounce measures as apparently Cunard used to.Cheers,Brian.

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...and your point is?

 

That comparing Cunard and hotel prices is unfair on the latter, since they pay duty and VAT on the alcohol they sell, which Cunard don't.

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