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Premium Plus Beverage Package Experience


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I debated doing a full trip report and just wound up putting a review up on the review page for my Pacific Coastal on the Bliss from 4/28/19. I did, however, want to provide what my experience was with upgrading to the Premium Plus Beverage Package (PPB). My TA had booked me under the old group package so my DSC and gratuities were covered so my basic drinks package, the now named Premium Beverage Package (PBP) was truly free.  Since I was skipping the spa this time (I felt it was too small on the transatlantic) and wasn't going to shell out the now exorbitant Vibe costs (plus I got there too late anyways) I figured I'd upgrade to the premium package since if there's one thing I enjoy on a cruise it's drinking. 

 

I will say that they were not marketing the premium package at all.  I had to ask where I could upgrade it and it was only being sold at the Atrium bar and he was tucked around by the internet area side with an easy to miss sign up on the bar by him. For the six days it came out to $208.80 broken out as $34.80/day and I could get any beverage up to $35.00, bottled water (both still and sparkling), a bottle of wine at dinner that you could choose from a set selection, and Starbucks. Oh, and the buffet bartender told me I could get the fresh squeezed orange juice as well but I never wanted one. I did need to go to Guest Services once I purchased it and have them make me a new card to show I had it. The thing about that was there were others that had upgraded and their cards only showed the a PPB on theirs while mine came out with a PBP/PPB on it for some reason. 🤷‍♀️

 

Until the bartenders knew I had it, I did need to point it out as when I ordered something that was usually an upcharge or not included they would tell me that and I would just say "not for me" and point out I had the plus package.  By the second time I went to get my sparkling water bottle up in the buffet the bartender would recognize me and just grab it when he saw me walking that way.  Which reminds me that buffet bar had the small bottles of water while most of the other bars just would grab you the big ones.  I pointed it out to Fourbucks when I went to get my first coffee and he let me know that it would show as a charge on the receipt and I would need to sign the receipt so that they had it for inventory purposes but that it would not be charged to my account. That was accurate for the whole cruise. The only time I had an issue was when I ordered the Chimay Reserve bottle from the District. Even though the server knew I had the plus and didn't bring me a receipt to sign for some reason it still showed up on my account. I went down to guest services and had to explain to the clerk that I had the Plus version so it should be covered. He wound up calling a manager who said, yes, this is covered and they took it off my bill. Otherwise I had no other issues but another cruiser had an issue in The Cellars where they were confused on what was covered by the glass vs. by the bottle. I don't think it was ever resolved since they shut down the Cellars once we hit Victoria.

 

The bottles of wine were only available at dinner and they didn't care if you shared them with other people. I do not have a picture of the bottles available since I went to Le Bistro for the first night and requested a glass of Veuve Clicquot and the manager asked me if I wanted just the glass or would I like the whole bottle since it was included in the Plus package and you better believe I went for the whole bottle. I also got my Platinum bottle of wine there but had them bring it out unopened since that afternoon I got invited to a wedding the next day while boozing it up with Clarence (The Chocolate Cowboy) at the outdoor Sugar Cane bar and I brought that as a gift. The only other thing about the wine was that while they were listed on the menus at the bars, the bar didn't always have the higher priced wines there.  I tried to order a $25 glass of Pinot Grigio at the Observation bar but after they did a search they told me they didn't have it actually at the bar so I settled for what they did have.  

 

All in all I did enjoy not having to worry about if what I wanted was included or not and for this particular cruise I felt I got my money's worth. However, if I had paid the gratuities for the base package and then added on to it, I would have felt differently and not have thought it worthwhile.  My next cruise is the Encore Transatlantic for 9 days.  I have the same deal with the paid gratuities and it would cost (baring any price changes) $313.20 for me to upgrade for those nine days. Right now, I probably won't but I plan to re-evaluate once on board. Oh, one other thing and this is for the Pacific Coastal and Canadian ports only, each time we were in port they did charge tax and that was not included so you did have to pay that. Also, Canadian liqueur laws only allowed for one bar on each deck that had one to be open while in port so it was a bit chaotic on the last night.

 

First drink after upgrading was a prosecco (they didn't have any champagne stocked at Mixx bar at the time) and Chambord which would have been extra on the PBP.

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The problem child Chimay, which was really good and I think about $26.

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And the Starbucks with a cute kitty artwork they did for me on the 2nd to last morning (probably because I tipped them for the week). Oh, it was easy to take my coffee over to the Atrium bar and get a shot of whatever in it when I wanted.

 

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Thanks for the info on the plus package Coffee Goddess!  I tried to send you a message to inquire about your TA who offers you those awesome deals on the paid grats on the PBP  but I can't send a message via cruise critic message for some reason.  Would you be okay with emailing me with your TA's info?  bakers05 at verizon.net

 

Thank you!

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50 minutes ago, CaliMom05 said:

Thanks for the info on the plus package Coffee Goddess!  I tried to send you a message to inquire about your TA who offers you those awesome deals on the paid grats on the PBP  but I can't send a message via cruise critic message for some reason.  Would you be okay with emailing me with your TA's info?  bakers05 at verizon.net

 

Thank you!

 

Yeah, PM doesn't work here I don't know why it's an option. Also, NCL stopped those paid gratuities for the groups so any new bookings won't get those options anymore for group bookings.☹️

Edited by CoffeeGoddess
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1 hour ago, CoffeeGoddess said:

 

Yeah, PM doesn't work here I don't know why it's an option. Also, NCL stopped those paid gratuities for the groups so any new bookings won't get those options anymore for group bookings.☹️

Oh well that's a bummer for any future bookings we're planning.  We'll have to decide if it'll be worth it for us to do the upgrade or just pay the difference on some of the wine I like lol.  My husband's a jack and coke (pepsi on NCL) guy and is fine with just the regular package but he does visit Starbucks at least once a day so this info was really helpful for our upcoming cruise on the Joy since they have multiple Starbucks on board :)  Thanks again!

Edited by CaliMom05
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  • 5 months later...

Thank you SO MUCH for this detailed report about the PPBP! This is the best info I've found anywhere.

 

I do have a question -- at Starbucks, were the Teavana hand-shaken teas / Frappuccinos /  Smoothies included, or was it only coffee / espresso beverages? I'm particularly interested in the hand-shaken teas and would like to know before I upgrade to the PPBP on my cruise.

 

Thanks so much for all the detail.

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I get the teas at Starbucks as well. Basically anything on the menu should be covered but not the snacks or baked goods. 

 

There is an amendment to my previous post, Veuve Clicquot is no longer available by the bottle according to the list below that is on my current Encore sailing.  Moet has replaced it but you can still get the Clicquot by the glass.

 

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They did let me get a bottle of the included wine at lunch in Savor but your milage may vary.

Edited by CoffeeGoddess
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A lot of time TA’s have $xxx to work with to incentivize you to do business with them.  If they aren’t allowed to pay for the tips for your UBP then ask them for it in OBC and use that to upgrade to the fancy booze pkg instead.

 

You guys make it look really tempting but for us on a 14 day x 2 = 28 x $35 that works out to close to $900 and hubby isn’t a wine or Starbucks guy .. sigh...and I’m too cheap to pay the extra!

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2 hours ago, CoffeeGoddess said:

I get the teas at Starbucks as well. Basically anything on the menu should be covered but not the snacks or baked goods. 

 

There is an amendment to my previous post, Veuve Clicquot is no longer available by the bottle according to the list below that is on my current Encore sailing.  Moet has replaced it but you can still get the Clicquot by the glass.

 

20191108_124216.thumb.jpg.90c51f8716d44df6625fb82587028b8b.jpg

 

They did let me get a bottle of the included wine at lunch in Savor but your milage may vary.

 

I have the premium plus for our Encore Cruise for NYE. I see the general description says bottles during dinner but the T& C says bottles while dining. I consider eating lunch to be dining and I believe the T & C small print trumps the general description.

 

Mary Ann

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Thanks for this. Still trying to decide if it is worth it for me on Dec 1 cruise on the Getaway.

I am solo, in the poker tournament and have 3 port days booked with excursions.

I love champagne, fresh OJ, and top end spirits, gin, vodka, tequila. Hate Starbucks but would drink a speciality coffee after dinner. Water is good!

Decisions, decisions 😱

 

Edited by Deeliteful
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Veuve is still listed on the website, but obviously not on the menu on the Encore posted, so it will be interesting to see if it changes on the other ships, and they can change the offerings on board per the fine print at anytime.  Regardless, I will still do the upgrade on my next cruise since I enjoyed the other champagne Nicholas Feuillatte just as much maybe even more that the Veuve since it is slightly sweeter.  But I predict NCL will raise the cost of the upgrade, since right now it seems like they are losing on the deal with the bottles of wine.

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At the onboard Starbucks on our cruise in October only the espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos were covered on our Premium Plus Beverage package.  We were told that frappuccinos or other drinks on the menu were not included.

Edited by Motegi
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11 hours ago, Motegi said:

At the onboard Starbucks on our cruise in October only the espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos were covered on our Premium Plus Beverage package.  We were told that frappuccinos or other drinks on the menu were not included.

 

I have had no problems with cold brews or the teas. I don't like the frappuccinos so don't order them but I bet if I went down there right now they'd make me one no problem.

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I purchased the upgrade for my husband and myself on our September Getaway sailing and was told that Starbucks drinks were not included. We had already purchased our morning coffees and sure enough they were in our bill. I asked the concierge and he confirmed with me that Starbucks was not included. Has this changed?

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8 hours ago, CoffeeGoddess said:

Maybe it's different on ships that don't have an actual Starbucks store but both Bliss and Encore I haven't had any issues.

 

We did Bliss last year and it wasn't included.  We used our Starbucks cards from home instead.

 

Last month on the Sky (which now has an actual Starbucks onboard since the most recent major drydock) we only had a limited selection of coffees that were included with the Premium Plus package.  And the cashier had to manually zero out the charge for the order at the register for those items.  Some of the cashiers did not know how to do it and we had to get those charges reversed at Guest Services.  On a couple of occasions the cashier just decided not to key in the items at all because it was a hassle... which I thought was really strange.  

 

So it appears that the included items vary by ship.  

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