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Do most of you book Explore4?


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Do most of you book the Explore4 option?

 

I'm looking at the rates with and without it and, for example, on Koningsdam's 10 day cruise next March the difference is $510 per person. I'm not sure I see the value there, but perhaps I am missing something.

 

Am I?

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You really need to do the math in each situtation.

 

Calculate your water, coffees, sodas, alcoholic beverages etc and you will soon see if it is worthwhile.

 

Generally speaking if you don't drink alcohol or rarely drink it, then it isn't worth it.

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For our upcoming cruise with my wife's dad, we booked without for him and with Explore 4 for ourselves. We'll upgrade to the Elite Beverage Package. By way of comparison, the beverage package wound up costing us around $34/pp/day. Adding the EBP upgrade will bring it to roughly $40/pp/day. A glass of Nicholas Feuillatte Champagne and two glasses of wine with dinner will almost cover that.

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No, never.

 

Not on HAL, not on other lines with similar offers. If it is included, we estimate the value to us, not the cruise line price, when comparing offers between ships.

 

There is no free lunch on a cruise ship.

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Haven't seen it worth less than the per diem charge for the Signature Bev package on any cruise we have booked since the Explore4 started, so, no.

 

Lots of people on this board are able to save by booking Explore 4, so doing the math and finding out how much you would save by paying more for the cruise is the way to go.

 

Of course, how much you really will drink is a huge factor.

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With specialty coffees, water and soft drinks in addition to our umbrella drinks, cocktails, wine and liqueurs, then throw in dinner at the PG, and we've felt in the past that the it was worth it, definitely cheaper that booking without then purchasing the beverage packages and dinners separately.

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I have never booked with Explore 4. However, I do find the signature beverage package has value for me, so I purchase it separately. I've never found an Explore 4 rate for a cruise I was interested in that was better than me just purchasing each component separately. It may be because I'm a solo cruiser.

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Always price out your cruise with and without. We have had it added at no charge to two sailings that we had already booked. It didn't change the cost and the cruise did not go down after the E4 ended. Sadly, our luck ran out this time and there was a cost.

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Do most of you book the Explore4 option?

 

I'm looking at the rates with and without it and, for example, on Koningsdam's 10 day cruise next March the difference is $510 per person. I'm not sure I see the value there, but perhaps I am missing something.

 

Am I?

 

Many people who book $xploreFour do so for the simple reason that they will know they will not face a big drink bill at the end of the cruise. Very much like buying an extended maintenance warranty. It will cost you more on average, but you know what your costs will be. Others are willing to pay more for the convenience.

 

That said, there can be special cases. We normally avoid paying for drink packages. However, we have a Nov 18 cruise that does not offer $xploreFour. We need $1200 of onboard spending to hit 3Star status at the end of that cruise. One way we're considering hitting that mark is to buy a drink package.

 

Unless we buy the package, we will be about $400 short of 3Star and we would have to wait until our cruise in 2020 to cruise as a 3Star. I know, minor point. But worth considering.

 

BTW, there aren't any shore excursions on our Nov cruise that we find interesting.

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For our upcoming cruise with my wife's dad, we booked without for him and with Explore 4 for ourselves. We'll upgrade to the Elite Beverage Package. By way of comparison, the beverage package wound up costing us around $34/pp/day. Adding the EBP upgrade will bring it to roughly $40/pp/day. A glass of Nicholas Feuillatte Champagne and two glasses of wine with dinner will almost cover that.

 

I assume that your DW's dad is sailing in a separate cabin from you and your wife. If that is the case, then your plan of you and your wife having the beverage package and your wife's dad not having it will be fine. However, if you have your wife's dad in your cabin with you, then you may run into the HAL rule that everyone in the cabin must have the package, and if you don't purchase it online, they will automatically add it to the cabin account for the person who does not purchase it. See HAL's rules for the SBP or EBP. "All passengers in a cabin MUST have the same level of beverage package".

 

The SBP comes out to $51.70 per person, per day. For a 10 day cruise, the cash cost would be $517.00. If your cruise of 10 days costs $510 more than without Explore-4, then you are breaking even, except that you also get a $35 Pinnacle Grill dinner. Price it out, because the break-even point of the SBP is 6 drinks, priced at $7.50 plus 15% SC. After 6 drinks, you are drinking free.

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I assume that your DW's dad is sailing in a separate cabin from you and your wife. If that is the case, then your plan of you and your wife having the beverage package and your wife's dad not having it will be fine. However, if you have your wife's dad in your cabin with you, then you may run into the HAL rule that everyone in the cabin must have the package, and if you don't purchase it online, they will automatically add it to the cabin account for the person who does not purchase it. See HAL's rules for the SBP or EBP. "All passengers in a cabin MUST have the same level of beverage package".

 

The SBP comes out to $51.70 per person, per day. For a 10 day cruise, the cash cost would be $517.00. If your cruise of 10 days costs $510 more than without Explore-4, then you are breaking even, except that you also get a $35 Pinnacle Grill dinner. Price it out, because the break-even point of the SBP is 6 drinks, priced at $7.50 plus 15% SC. After 6 drinks, you are drinking free.

 

DFIL is in his own cabin. We're not really a "more than double occupancy" people. He's paying the single supplement of 200%, with only person's worth of taxes and fees. He's good for one or two beers / cocktails and a glass of wine with dinner - tops. Paying double the Explore 4 fare wouldn't make sense in his case.

 

Our fare, backing out the Pinnacle Grill dinner was $340/pp more on the 10 day cruise. We will have a glass of Champagne before dinner ($15) and a wine to pair with our starters and one with our mains. (Figure an average of $12/glass or $24.) Of course we're going to pay the $5 day to upgrade to the Elite Beverage Package. So we're roughly at break-even with our dinner wine. Add in a few bottles of water and some nice coffees and we're easily covering. Every time I have a Maker's Mark, I'll feel like I'm making money. ;) I have been known to have more than one.

 

I calculated our Pinnacle at $17.50 because we are 4*. Gotta be accurate.

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Not after the first time when we realized how much more it costs in comparison to going with a lesser expansiive offer and my husband just buying the few alcoholic drinks he might use.......way too expensive unless both people drink a lot ......you hear that you can get all type of beverages including bottled water, which you can, but we still dont come close to the lesser prices that we can get without explore 4......but to each their own and some people really like it

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Anecdotal meandering here, so feel free to ignore......:D

 

Four years ago my sister and I were doing a Collector's Cruise on Oosterdam, a b2b Vancouver - Seward - Vancouver. We had the Explore 4 promotion included with our booking; I think it was a new promotion at the time. On the return leg from Seward, we received a letter from the hotel manager indicating politely that we really weren't utilizing the beverage package component to its maximum, and the letter essentially summarized by suggesting that we imbibe more to take advantage of the Explore 4. We tried our darndest, but we just couldn't drink enough, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, to maximize the value of the beverage package. We failed;p

 

As four star Mariners, we already receive 50% off the wine packages, the Pinnacle Grill, and the coffee drinks at the Explorations Cafe. The Explore 4 promotion really doesn't offer us much, over and above that. But it's different for everyone, of course.

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The added drink packages & other so called perks started as a marketing tool by Celebrity cruises ,where we have over 50 cruises of our total 80 cruises to date .

 

in my opinion the price with the perk packages is way too high vs the plain vanilla cruise pricing .in other words a marketing gimmic .It caught on so Celebrity also broadened what perks are included ;however ,if a person stopped to analyze the cost vs the cruise in plain vanilla pricing ,they soon find out the better deal is plain vanilla pricing

 

To stay competitive with Celebrity ,this marketing concept spread across the entire main line cruise lines & yes the cruise lines are very happy for all that extra profit they now make .,much like what the airline industry has done with paying for bags ,seats with more leg room ,ie

 

We never opt for other than plain vanilla cruise pricing even with deposits that are non refundable ;which is another tactic being used by the main line cruise lines .

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