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Carnival Cheers Program: Considering it again?


fendersrule
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22 minutes ago, Pyxie said:

Don't approach it from a "I have to get my drinks in" goal. This is the same attitude I take with the Disney Dining Plan at their parks. Of course the plan is slated in Disney's favor and you are likely paying for way more food than you can eat, but the benefit is being able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about additional food cost. Same thing with Cheers. Now this is a benefit to some and to others, it doesn't make sense. That's fine. But consider it paying for convenience instead of actually saving money.

I've said it before, but here is my take again. If I didn't buy the cheers package, I wouldn't be able to enjoy drinking on the ship, yes I can afford the drinks, but thinking about the prices.... I just can't stomach it. Cheers allows me to prepay, and then I do not feel bad getting an $11 drink that I might not like.Without cheers I would probably stick to beer. Cheers makes it easier for me to focus on vacation and not worry about the money I am spending.

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1 minute ago, kylesplash said:

I've said it before, but here is my take again. If I didn't buy the cheers package, I wouldn't be able to enjoy drinking on the ship, yes I can afford the drinks, but thinking about the prices.... I just can't stomach it. Cheers allows me to prepay, and then I do not feel bad getting an $11 drink that I might not like.Without cheers I would probably stick to beer. Cheers makes it easier for me to focus on vacation and not worry about the money I am spending.

 

Same here. Actually I've never even bought Cheers, but am considering it for my upcoming cruise. I only buy a couple drinks per cruise and that is because I can't stop thinking about the cost. With Cheers, it would be nice to not have to worry about it.

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2 minutes ago, Pyxie said:

 

Same here. Actually I've never even bought Cheers, but am considering it for my upcoming cruise. I only buy a couple drinks per cruise and that is because I can't stop thinking about the cost. With Cheers, it would be nice to not have to worry about it.

Have you ever splurged and bought drinks at the coffee shop? It is fantastic to get morning drinks there. They also have milk shakes. Without cheers I wouldn't go there. The big one for us is the Alchemy bar, they have some crazy drinks. I'm pretty sure on my last cruise I tried almost all of them.

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2 minutes ago, kylesplash said:

Have you ever splurged and bought drinks at the coffee shop? It is fantastic to get morning drinks there. They also have milk shakes. Without cheers I wouldn't go there. The big one for us is the Alchemy bar, they have some crazy drinks. I'm pretty sure on my last cruise I tried almost all of them.

 

I have not, but that is something else I would enjoy if I had Cheers. I just can't justify all the extra spending otherwise. I'm somewhat of a cheapskate (and that is the reason I still haven't 100% convinced myself to even pull the trigger on Cheers lol).

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1 hour ago, PhillyFan33579 said:


I have never seen Cheers go on sale except for the discount you get for purchasing it before the cruise for $51.95 per person. I actually like that the price is stable, unlike Royal’s deluxe drinking package, which constantly changes prices prior to a cruise. 

That makes sense.  First time on Carnival in a month.  Can you take wine and water?  If so, I don't think I can drink $300 worth on a 5 day cruise.

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16 hours ago, fendersrule said:

Hey now, I make beer...lots of beer. I definitely am I drinker. 

 

There's probably others who have tallied this up for themselves. I'm curious to hear others that may have done this.

 

The BIGGEST problem with Cheers however, is that you're forced to place it on everyone in the room. My GF is a very light drinker. So that's actually one of the reasons why I should probably decline the Cheers this time. 

 

I forgot about that restriction. 

Then here's your answer - Cheers isn't right for YOU. It certainly works for us. And of course it's a money maker for Carnival. Imagine NCL charges $99 + tax / grats per day 

 

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4 minutes ago, jbrooksodh said:

That makes sense.  First time on Carnival in a month.  Can you take wine and water?  If so, I don't think I can drink $300 worth on a 5 day cruise.

You can bring one bottle of wine per person and it must be carried on. 

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16 hours ago, cruiseguy4567 said:

We did the drink package our last cruise.  Hit 15 once on a “at sea” day.  Didn’t take much to get there with an early 2 Bloody Mary breakfast, couple with lunch.  Had a few at the show along with the comedy club and ended with the piano bar.  
 

Wife isn’t a big drinker, but between the two of us, we ended up in the positive a drink or two.  Worth it knowing what my bar bill was going to be for the trip.  
 

On our upcoming cruise the end of the month we both qualified for the casino “Drinks On Us” program.  From what I was told when I called Carnival is that it puts you on a 15 drink limit and can only get the drinks while in the Casino.  Read you must be gambling, but they told me I could just use my card at the bar.  They also told me that I had to consume the drink in the Casino, that “they’d be watching” me if I left the Casino with the drink.

 

Anyone have experience with the “Drinks In Us”?  Would like to confirm the limitations. 

 

They do enforce the 15 drink limit (and it counts toward the 15 if you have CHEERS).  You must be playing in the casino to use the Drinks On Us and you can not use it at the casino bar.  As for being watched and having to consume the drink in the Casino - I've not only never experienced this, but also don't know who would be "watching". 

 

You can order a drink from the waiters while at a machine, then have to wait for the waiter to return (can be awhile if the casino is busy).  Once you've received your drink, I would think you can go wherever you want.  There's no way someone will follow you around and make sure you continue to play while drinking.  

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Guys, drink prices are not really that bad on the ship for the most part. Beers are $6.50 for a 16Oz pint (craft). Mixed drinks are around $8.50. Compared to many airports, stadiums, this is actually considered "cheap". That's only "a little more" than my neighborhood bar, although my neighborhood bar makes stronger mixed drinks that the Lido deck place. 🙂

 

Some people on this thread buy Cheers and don't even calculate if they are coming out or not. They just buy it for the convenience. I get it, but it doesn't aid or help the discussion. You really should figure out if you're coming out ahead or not. Coffees are $3, so don't over-value those. Two coffees = 1 "cheaper" drink like a Beer.

 

8 Beers on Carnival is $52. If you are a beer drinker, you will have to average 8 beers per day over 7 days including port days, to break even. This may sound easy to most, but keep in mind if you are getting shitfaced at an all inclusive beach and manage to get back into the ship, you'll need to drink 8 beers on that day, OR you will need to + 2 beers for the other days. That's what happened to me in Cozumel at Mr. Sanchos. 🙂

 

6 Beers on Carnival is $51. If you are a mixed drink person, you will have to average 6 mixed drinks over 7 days, including port days, to break even. Same as above, it's a marathon, not a sprint, so if you have a zero day, or got heavily loaded in port, you will have to make up on the other days.

 

Get Cheers if:

 

1) You are mentally and physically booze-cruising, not just "having a couple drinks a day."

2) You are a "luxurious" drinker that demands only the best quality liquors. Cheers is great for that.

3) You plan to drink "semi heavily", like to try new things, and love specialty coffee. 

4) You don't do port days. 

Edited by fendersrule
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I've had it 3 times now. 

 

What I like:

Don't worry about cost of drinks you just order

Milkshakes & Specialty Coffee

Great deal if you are going to be drinking 10+/day

Free bottled water

 

What I don't like:

Gratuity being added at purchase, because I like to tip per drink, and end up double tipping.

The pressure I feel to drink, often leads to me drinking too much too early.

Makes me want to not get drinks in port

Carnival doesn't include their private islands with he plan, while Norwegian does.

Everybody over 21 has to buy it (I don't blame them, but with a 15 drink limit, wish they didn't).

 

I don't plan to get it again, but I say that every time and talk myself into it. 

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That's a good post. Fully agree!

 

The last point you made is a serious flaw in the program that I'm hoping they resolve somehow because otherwise it's a good program. Making everyone in the stateroom do cheers is a band-aid for a different issue. It's obvious that some people will "break" the rules, but there are many other people that seriously cannot drink for a medical issue, religious issue, or they just drink very light, or don't want to drink at all while cruising. That's a lot of "real" people. Carnival is very strict on this--they won't accept a doctor's note, either. 

 

What's also good about the Cheers program is that it allows you access to specialty liquors that you would normally never buy to begin with...think of really aged scotch. 🙂

 

I'm probably going to do cheers again this time only because I was able to talk my girlfriend into it last night. That's $450 additional that we were not budgeting for the cruise. I will "probably" get my money's worth (and I will have to try like you mentioned because there is pressure when you have port days), but she will not get her money's worth. We figured that the path of least resistance is to just get cheers for us both rather than no one get cheers. Again, working very heavily in Carnival's favor!

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20 minutes ago, fendersrule said:

🙂

 

I'm probably going to do cheers again this time only because I was able to talk my girlfriend into it last night. That's $450 additional that we were not budgeting for the cruise. I will "probably" get my money's worth (and I will have to try like you mentioned because there is pressure when you have port days), but she will not get her money's worth. We figured that the path of least resistance is to just get cheers for us both rather than no one get cheers. Again, working very heavily in Carnival's favor!

 

 

It seems you've already made up your mind, but just another perspective.  IMO, I think you're looking at this wrong, if the question you are asking is "will I get my moneys worth" and "will she get her moneys worth?"  You know the break even point is about 5 drinks, or 3-4 drinks and coffee and water and such.  If there are a couple days you hit 15 drinks, and I think you mentioned 7 drinks earlier in this thread, and you guys get bottled waters to take into ports with you, and start the days with coffees, it's possible you'll do more than 50% of the drinking but the package will be worth while.  Since you can't purchase it for just you, it sounds like your math needs to combine what you both drink to see if its worthwhile. 

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1 hour ago, Jamesatgsu said:

 

Everybody over 21 has to buy it (I don't blame them, but with a 15 drink limit, wish they didn't).

 

 

 

This is my biggest problem with cheers and why I will never get it. I'm a light drinker at home and can be a light to moderate drinker on vacation depending on whether or not I get a drink package. I have only gotten it in the past when it was "included" on norweigan or celebrity I enjoyed having it even though I wouldn't have come close to getting my "money's worth" if I had paid full price. But it did create a more care free vacation experience where, sure, I'll have another glass of wine, as opposed to, no thanks, not for $12. But my husband doesn't drink. He also doesn't do the coffees/milkshakes/energy drinks, etc. He's an iced tea and lemonade guy at home and on vacation.  I can almost justify it for myself as a splurge but I can't justify paying for both of us just for the convenience for me.

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15 hours ago, Stacie. said:

 

If I got the cheers package would they allow me to get a zero proof drink and one with alcohol at the same time or would I have to wait the five minutes in between drinks? Also can I get a cocktail and a can of soda at the same time or would I have to wait?

 

I have only read of getting water at the same time on the same card.  You might need to wait for anything else, but a possible work around is to (with a please, thank you, and tip) ask if you can order both and have them swipe the first while preparing the two together then doing the second swipe after the drinks are ready - less total wait time.

 

3 hours ago, Pyxie said:

Don't approach it from a "I have to get my drinks in" goal. This is the same attitude I take with the Disney Dining Plan at their parks. Of course the plan is slated in Disney's favor and you are likely paying for way more food than you can eat, but the benefit is being able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about additional food cost. Same thing with Cheers. Now this is a benefit to some and to others, it doesn't make sense. That's fine. But consider it paying for convenience instead of actually saving money.

Cheers is a good program for those who would otherwise purchase a lot of drinks - especially if all who are required to purchase Cheers are similar drinkers.  It is somewhat silly for those who wouldn't purchase many drinks regardless (like me), and a middle ground for those who are paying for convenience.  Convenience comes at a price, but that's a pretty steep price for many - and likewise a reasonable cost for others.

 

3 hours ago, kylesplash said:

I've said it before, but here is my take again. If I didn't buy the cheers package, I wouldn't be able to enjoy drinking on the ship, yes I can afford the drinks, but thinking about the prices.... I just can't stomach it. Cheers allows me to prepay, and then I do not feel bad getting an $11 drink that I might not like.Without cheers I would probably stick to beer. Cheers makes it easier for me to focus on vacation and not worry about the money I am spending.

 

If $500 was more than enough for your cabin for drinks (an example, I don't know your drinking habits) - rather than nearly $800 for 2 adults on 7 days - would pre-loading your account (cash, Cruise Cash, Cruise Bar Cash, or gift card) - would you be able to relax about the drinks and take a chance on new drinks?

People can spend their money however they want, I just wonder if this option is considered much.  I know I would rather spend $300 less for all I can drink, but I'm only a moderate alcohol drinker and wouldn't do the other drinks regardless.  Many of our cruises have had rough enough seas that I might not drink as much on a sea day as I first thought.

 

2 hours ago, jbrooksodh said:

That makes sense.  First time on Carnival in a month.  Can you take wine and water?  If so, I don't think I can drink $300 worth on a 5 day cruise.

Each adult 21 or over can take one 750mL bottle of wine.  Non-alcoholic beverages (including water) are limited to twelve 12 oz or smaller cartons or cans.  Bottled water is available from the website for cabin purchase at $5 for twelve 16.9 oz bottles.

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2 hours ago, fendersrule said:

Guys, drink prices are not really that bad on the ship for the most part. Beers are $6.50 for a 16Oz pint (craft). Mixed drinks are around $8.50. Compared to many airports, stadiums, this is actually considered "cheap". That's only "a little more" than my neighborhood bar, although my neighborhood bar makes stronger mixed drinks that the Lido deck place. 🙂

 

Some people on this thread buy Cheers and don't even calculate if they are coming out or not. They just buy it for the convenience. I get it, but it doesn't aid or help the discussion. You really should figure out if you're coming out ahead or not. Coffees are $3, so don't over-value those. Two coffees = 1 "cheaper" drink like a Beer.

 

8 Beers on Carnival is $52. If you are a beer drinker, you will have to average 8 beers per day over 7 days including port days, to break even. This may sound easy to most, but keep in mind if you are getting shitfaced at an all inclusive beach and manage to get back into the ship, you'll need to drink 8 beers on that day, OR you will need to + 2 beers for the other days. That's what happened to me in Cozumel at Mr. Sanchos. 🙂

 

6 Beers on Carnival is $51. If you are a mixed drink person, you will have to average 6 mixed drinks over 7 days, including port days, to break even. Same as above, it's a marathon, not a sprint, so if you have a zero day, or got heavily loaded in port, you will have to make up on the other days.

 

Get Cheers if:

 

1) You are mentally and physically booze-cruising, not just "having a couple drinks a day."

2) You are a "luxurious" drinker that demands only the best quality liquors. Cheers is great for that.

3) You plan to drink "semi heavily", like to try new things, and love specialty coffee. 

4) You don't do port days. 

 

Only problem with that is that you can't just throw away the "convenience" factor for those who find value in it. You may not personally find value in it and care more about the bottom line. That's fine. I personally place quite a lot of value on the convenience and peace of mind aspect of not worrying about individual drink prices. Because I know myself well and I know that I won't buy drinks at all if I have to think about it. That may not make sense to others, but that's me.

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2 hours ago, fendersrule said:

Some people on this thread buy Cheers and don't even calculate if they are coming out or not. They just buy it for the convenience. I get it, but it doesn't aid or help the discussion. You really should figure out if you're coming out ahead or not.

 

 

Now you know why Carnival offers Cheers and why many other companies offer subscriptions and "unlimited" plans. To many, there is a perceived value more than an actual value. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with buying something you find convenient. Carnival is not selling this to limit anyone's bar bills.

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6 hours ago, crewsweeper said:

 

You are correct in noting that port intensive days are less likely to reach even the breakeven level.  That's why an itinerary with more sea days is better.   And using Cheers for Alchemy or top shelf at other bars is indeed a good use of the program.  

I am going on my first Carnival cruise and will buy the Cheers … we have 3 sea days and 3 ports, 2 of which I will probably not get off ship, so I think it will be good to have the Cheers. My question.... you say "top shelf" or Alchemy Bar is good use...is there a cost per drink maximum $$ or is the only limit 15 drinks per day??  Most other cruise lines have a $12/drink max so even with the drink pkg I was limited.

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You should get the cheers if you are not getting off the ship, that kinda makes it an easy. Remember though, EVERYONE 21+ in the stateroom gets cheers as well, whether they like it or not. If you're OK with that, then...

 

Cheers will work on any drink $20 or below. It has a maximum of 15 drinks per day. Cheers will not work for pitchers, "buckets", or any other "group" cocktail. It does not work for room service cocktails, nor will it work with a wine dispenser (like in the Library). 

 

You will be hard pressed on finding drinks that are over $12 on Carnival. I'm not sure if it's possible, maybe the Steakhouse or something?

 

As I've mentioned, drink prices without Cheers is very reasonable. 

 

ALL of drinks at Alchemy bar are either $8.50-11. Same for Havana bar. Same for probably every bar.

 

That's the reason I created this thread is to get people thinking. Because all beers are basically $4.50-6.50, and because all mixed drinks are basically $8.5-11. 🙂

 

A single serving of hard alcohol ranges from $5.25 - 11.95 depending on quality.

 

 

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1 hour ago, sanger727 said:

 

This is my biggest problem with cheers and why I will never get it. I'm a light drinker at home and can be a light to moderate drinker on vacation...

 

 

Well sure, this is why you and others should not get the package.  If a person does not think they can average 5 drinks a day or more over the duration of the cruise will be better off purchasing drinks on their S&S card.

As mentioned, some have other reasons for wanting Cheers that include the need to not worry about the final bill, and to try new cocktails.  

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1 hour ago, SClakeliving said:

I am going on my first Carnival cruise and will buy the Cheers … we have 3 sea days and 3 ports, 2 of which I will probably not get off ship, so I think it will be good to have the Cheers. My question.... you say "top shelf" or Alchemy Bar is good use...is there a cost per drink maximum $$ or is the only limit 15 drinks per day??  Most other cruise lines have a $12/drink max so even with the drink pkg I was limited.

$20 

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7 hours ago, Pyxie said:

Don't approach it from a "I have to get my drinks in" goal. This is the same attitude I take with the Disney Dining Plan at their parks. Of course the plan is slated in Disney's favor and you are likely paying for way more food than you can eat, but the benefit is being able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about additional food cost. Same thing with Cheers. Now this is a benefit to some and to others, it doesn't make sense. That's fine. But consider it paying for convenience instead of actually saving money.

Thank you.  That's the way we've decided to look at it for our upcoming first cruise too.  Between dh and I we'll probably break even.  We could save money by ordering a bottle, taking on soda, drinking tap water instead of bottled, etc. but that all sounds like a hassle to us.  I figure if we don't quite break even then the extra cost we'll just call a "convenience fee".

 

FWIW we always get the Disney Dining Plan (even the deluxe plan on occasion) too because packing sandwiches or eating burgers all week just isn't the way we choose to vacation.  I know some people say to just buy gift cards and "prepay" that way but I know myself and I'd spend my week ordering the sirloin instead of the filet I want to try just to save a few bucks (not that that few bucks would make or break us, its an unconscious thing).

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2 hours ago, SClakeliving said:

I am going on my first Carnival cruise and will buy the Cheers … we have 3 sea days and 3 ports, 2 of which I will probably not get off ship, so I think it will be good to have the Cheers. My question.... you say "top shelf" or Alchemy Bar is good use...is there a cost per drink maximum $$ or is the only limit 15 drinks per day??  Most other cruise lines have a $12/drink max so even with the drink pkg I was limited.

As others have said,  most of the more expensive drinks are around $12.

Carnival's top shelf is probably a land based bar's middle shelf. The Alchemy is unique because of the mixology going into the cocktails. 

One point not covered here is tips. You don't pay the 18% gratuity on each drink. As I recall the 18% is charged on the package when you buy it. (Please correct if that's not so). You do sign for each drink, and there's a line to add a tip, which many do. But you need to consider the tip on non-package drinks when comparing total costs to Cheers.

 

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3 hours ago, VentureMan_2000 said:

 

Well sure, this is why you and others should not get the package.  If a person does not think they can average 5 drinks a day or more over the duration of the cruise will be better off purchasing drinks on their S&S card.

As mentioned, some have other reasons for wanting Cheers that include the need to not worry about the final bill, and to try new cocktails.  


well. Fine. But they are being penny wise and pound foolish. Not only are they not selling me cheers for $385 since they will never get me to pay $770 for it. But one of the unintended consequences of this decision is that more often than not,  now Norwegian or celebrity is getting my cruise fare over carnival due to this perceived value. 

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6 minutes ago, sanger727 said:


well. Fine. But one of the unintended consequences of this decision is that now Norwegian or celebrity is getting my cruise fare over carnival due to this perceived value. So they are being penny wise and pound foolish buy forcing me to pay an extra $385 and therefore losing out on $1,000+ in cruise fare.

I believe you are absolutely correct in your assessment. Carnival WILL loose your business, as that is your absolute, uncontested right. And I hope you will have a better experience with NCL, or Celebrity than with Carnival. You deserve it. However what you haven't considered is Carnival's decision if you do! Think of it this way...

 

for every customer Carnival loses because of this line of reasoning, there are 5 or 6 potential passengers to take your place. There is an unending supply of future customers out there waiting to replace you or me. The demand is unending.  This is the same as with hotels and with airplanes, I would think. 

 

I mean you no disrespect, but that is how I see it. 

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