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kfnesq

Everything you wanted to know about the Premium Plus Bev Package....

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Or maybe you didn't want to know, but I will share anyway, in case it's useful to anyone.  We are just off the Jade 11-day Panama Canal Cruise, and decided to upgrade to the PPBP.  

 

First things first:  WHY did we do it?  Well, I generally drink wine about 95% of the time.  I don't enjoy fruity cocktails and I'm picky about the wine I drink.  Additionally, my husband enjoys higher-end tequila, as well as wine.  When we looked at what is included in the regular package vs. what the upcharges would be for certain things, we decided to try the PPBP to see how it went and if, in fact, it ended up being worth it.  We were also curious as to whether "everything" really was included. So here's the lowdown:

 

We got on board and immediately searched out somewhere to actually obtain this package.  I assume since it's new, although it was advertised on the ship, no one really knew how to actually allow us purchase it, so that took a bit of time. Once we got it, they gave us new cards displaying the PPBP,  but the card ALSO still said, PBP, so throughout the cruise we had to point out the PPBP so as to not get charged. Every bartender we encountered said it was the first time they had seen it, and I firmly believe we were the ONLY people on the ship that had it.  That said, once they knew, they were very willing (and eager) to point out to us everything that was included.  For example, I asked for a glass of water at one point and they were quick to point out that I could get a bottle instead if I wished.

 

So what IS included?  The link on the NCL site describes bottled water, specialty coffees, fresh juices, bottles of wine at dinner, and all cocktails, wine, etc. (in other words, the $15 cap goes away).  We found this to be almost 100% true.  There STILL is a cap, but it's $35.  I assume this is to keep people from drinking the Remy Martin 24/7.  However, the Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label is (an astonishing) $34.95 a glass and IS included.  Did I drink champagne every day?  Yes I did.  The bottles of wine included at dinner were a decent variety and we took advantage of that several times as well.  The wine menus now have the bottles that are include in the package identified with little stars ON all the menus (photos below). Again, we had to explain it to the waiter the first time, but the supervisors/wine stewards all seemed to be aware.  We never had a problem getting bottled water at any time from anywhere.  The coffees at the Java Café (Starbucks) were also included.  Fresh juice is available in the buffet in the morning at the juice bar, and that was also included. Fresh OJ for my mimosa?  Yes please.  The package also included 40% off tastings (instead of the 20% included in the PBP), which we took advantage of as well.  So a wine tasting was around $14 instead of the regular $19.95 (remember there is still the 20% gratuity added though).

 

Was it worth it?  To us, it absolutely was.  I got to order whatever wine I wanted, and didn't have to watch my account for upcharges, etc. Could we have managed without it?  Of course.  But it made our vacation that much more enjoyable. The only negative, if there was one, is that no one really knew about it, so we had to keep telling people we shouldn't be charged, at least the first few days of the cruise.  I let the hotel manager, beverage manager, and concierge all know that perhaps a little more communication about the package should be disseminated to the folks who actually have to deal with it, because I felt bad about constantly having to point it out.  Everyone was really nice and gracious about it, though.  In fact, at dinner, the wine steward began suggesting new wines for us to try, since they were all included anyway (by the glass), and the bartenders knew that when I ordered a gin and tonic, I wanted Hendricks.

 

So that's it.  I'm happy to answer any questions if you have them.  I suspect that not a lot of people will take advantage of this package as it is a significant charge, depending on the length of the cruise.  But if you do, it does work pretty much exactly as advertised, in my opinion.  

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Thank you so much for posting.  I've been waiting for some feedback and opinions on the new premium package.  I've gone back and forth on whether or not to upgrade.  This is helpful.  The bottle of wine with dinner option is enticing.  Really appreciate the information!

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Thank you so much for posting! I've been going back and forth as well... it'll probably end up being a game-time decision, but now I know exactly what I'm passing on/getting, so your information and review were VERY helpful!

 

Do you know if both people in a stateroom have to upgrade? The PBP is probably enough for my husband, but I like having specialty coffees and certain wines/champagnes, so I'm the one who would upgrade.

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7 minutes ago, Lucinarei said:

Thank you so much for posting! I've been going back and forth as well... it'll probably end up being a game-time decision, but now I know exactly what I'm passing on/getting, so your information and review were VERY helpful!

 

Do you know if both people in a stateroom have to upgrade? The PBP is probably enough for my husband, but I like having specialty coffees and certain wines/champagnes, so I'm the one who would upgrade.

Yes, unfortunately both people have to upgrade (I assume to avoid one person buying everything for both people).  It's funny, my husband doesn't really do any specialty coffees, and the ladies at the Starbucks kept asking him why he only got black coffee lol.  They were like, you should try a latte, a mocha, a frappacino…. 🙂

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4 minutes ago, kfnesq said:

...the ladies at the Starbucks kept asking him why he only got black coffee lol.  They were like, you should try a latte, a mocha, a frappacino…. 🙂

 

Yup, that would be my husband too! 🙂

 

Thanks for the answer- that will definitely figure into the decision. 🙂

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kfnesq:

Thanks for a wonderfully informative and well-written report. I'm going on the Bliss in two weeks (L.A. to Vancouver) and already have the PBP (or whatever the "basic" alcoholic beverage package is called). Do you know if I can upgrade to the PPBP by simply paying the difference in price between the two packages (and, if so, how much that would be, per day)? Like you, I drink wine every day of my life, and there are some very good over-$15 ones on the lists you've published. If the upgrade cost isn't ridiculous, it might be worth it.

Jim

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1 minute ago, jimdee3636 said:

Do you know if I can upgrade to the PPBP by simply paying the difference in price between the two packages (and, if so, how much that would be, per day)? Like you, I drink wine every day of my life, and there are some very good over-$15 ones on the lists you've published. If the upgrade cost isn't ridiculous, it might be worth it.

You can, but only (as far as I know) once you are on board. It's an extra $29.95 a day, plus 20% gratuity (can't get away from that!), so about $35 per person per day extra.   For us, we absolutely got our money's worth, especially with some bottles being included. FWIW, if you're a Cabernet drinker, the Oberon was very good (normally $22.95 a glass).

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24 minutes ago, kfnesq said:

You can, but only (as far as I know) once you are on board. It's an extra $29.95 a day, plus 20% gratuity (can't get away from that!), so about $35 per person per day extra.   For us, we absolutely got our money's worth, especially with some bottles being included. FWIW, if you're a Cabernet drinker, the Oberon was very good (normally $22.95 a glass).

Thanks for the information and for the advice about the Oberon. I'll have to think about whether the $29.95 (plus 20%) upgrade is worth it. It certainly would be if I decide to drink lots of Veuve Clicquot. But if I'm drinking mostly wines in the $22.95 range it might not be (because with my existing beverage package such wines would only cost $7.95 per glass (plus 20% of $7.95). Of course, there are also the included bottled waters, espressos, etc. in the PPBP. I think I'm convincing myself to spring for it!

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Thanks for the information and well balanced review. We’re debating for our next cruise.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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8 minutes ago, jimdee3636 said:

I think I'm convincing myself to spring for it!

Yeah, once we decided to spring for it, we certainly got our money's worth lol!  Like I said, champagne every day is an option....  🤣

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Can just 1 of you upgrade? I love wines but hubby is a beer drinker

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9 minutes ago, rachiem said:

Can just 1 of you upgrade? I love wines but hubby is a beer drinker

According to post #5, all members of the party must upgrade.

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Just now, Georgia_Peaches said:

According to post #5, all members of the party must upgrade.

Sorry, missed that post...Will bear it in mind though as we did the upgrade package on Celebrity last year and really enjoyed trying the wines

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5 minutes ago, rachiem said:

Sorry, missed that post...Will bear it in mind though as we did the upgrade package on Celebrity last year and really enjoyed trying the wines

Agree.  Just trying to decide if the cost to upgrade makes sense for us.  OP gave some great perspective on how the additional cost might be utilized.

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I'm probably going to do the upgrade on my Bliss sailing. My TA got me in under the group package that has already paid for all my gratuities including the UBP one so I figure why not?  Having a glass of champagne at dinner will cover my up charge and i can guarantee you it will be more than one glass.

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500 bucks for two people on a 7 day cruise. Ouch. To me, that’s very much not worth it. You could bring 33 bottles of wine on board for the same price. Not that you ever would, but I’m trying to illustrate the fact that if you want to mainly enjoy better wine, there are more cost effective ways of doing it.

 

If wine isn’t your thing, then the upcharge isn’t worth it as the rest of the selection in the PBP is pretty good. There’s always someone who isn’t happy, but most people will fare just fine with the normal drink package. 

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Good for you !!!! I am glad that you got to enjoy what you wanted on your holiday .....sometimes an extra little splurge can be worth it .

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Something I found a little confusing - the stars on the menus, those are for wines you can order "free" by the bottle, right?  Because there were other wines under $35/glass with no stars - those are still included in the pkg, right, but only by the glass?

I could enjoy - take the opportunity to learn about WHY some of these wines are much more expensive - but DH doesn't drink wine and is absolutely fine with Absolut & tonic, which is "free" under UBP so I guess this isn't happening for us....sigh....

 

I really hate the policy of EVERYONE has to buy the same thing.  

 

I guess if I care that much I'll pay out of pocket for the more expensive stuff, will still be cheaper than $35/day x 2, can get a lot of upcharged wine for that!

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16 minutes ago, erdoran said:

Something I found a little confusing - the stars on the menus, those are for wines you can order "free" by the bottle, right?  Because there were other wines under $35/glass with no stars - those are still included in the pkg, right, but only by the glass?

Correct.  All wine by the glass is included (unless it's over $35 but I didn't see any that were).  The bottles you get "free" can be ordered at dinner only (at any restaurant), BUT you certainly don't have to finish them and you can take them with you, leave them at a bar on the ship and drink them later, take them to your room, or whatever.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, slugg said:

500 bucks for two people on a 7 day cruise. Ouch. To me, that’s very much not worth it. You could bring 33 bottles of wine on board for the same price. Not that you ever would, but I’m trying to illustrate the fact that if you want to mainly enjoy better wine, there are more cost effective ways of doing it.

 

If wine isn’t your thing, then the upcharge isn’t worth it as the rest of the selection in the PBP is pretty good. There’s always someone who isn’t happy, but most people will fare just fine with the normal drink package. 

Well,  I fly to all the ports so bringing any more than a couple bottles of wine on board is unwieldy for me.   Secondly, I think I mentioned in my original post that most people wouldn't take advantage of this package.  AlI I was trying to do was share my experiences in case other people were wondering how it works and then would be able to make a more informed decision.  Which I kind of was what thought cruise critic was for. 

Edited by kfnesq

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21 minutes ago, kfnesq said:

Well,  I fly to all the ports so bringing any more than a couple bottles of wine on board is unwieldy for me.   Secondly, I think I mentioned in my original post that most people wouldn't take advantage of this package.  AlI I was trying to do was share my experiences in case other people were wondering how it works and then would be able to make a more informed decision.  Which I kind of was what thought cruise critic was for. 

And I shared a critical analysis. No need to be offended, sweety. 

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So here's my thought....I am a fine wine/liquor distributor and I drink great wine ALL the time (yeah, I really hate my job...)  I am seriously debating this package if available, reason being my wife and I are booked in two separate cabins (connecting with kids).  She doesn't really drink a ton of wine, and we both drink a ton of bourbon.  I hate to "cheat the system", but would anyone say something at the bar if I order two "PPBP" drinks or two bottles of water at the same time????  I did get the PBP with my "Free at Sea", and did pay gratuities on that already.  It just seems overkill to have to spend $250 more pp, when I already paid....When we sailed RCL in July, we did pay $45pp plus gratuities, and definately got our monies worth.  

Not sure if I talked myself into it, or just talked myself out of it, because I'm pretty confident Bulleit is included, and I can drink a "regular" glass of wine at dinner, and if I wanna splurge on something like an Oberon, it's only a few bucks more...I think I can survive a week without "the great stuff"....  

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