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Wine and Beverage packages? Worth it, not worth it?

Wine and Beverage packages? Worth it, not worth it?

Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 05:20 AM
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Wine and Beverage packages? Worth it, not worth it?

We're taking a 12 night Baltic Cruise at the end of this month.

One wine package on Celebrity is 7 bottles for $350. I did a quick price check on tne wines listed and the cost implies a 50% markup per bottle above even retail prices from a few major wine shops in my area.

There is a premium beverage package for $59 a day that includes anything up to $12 per drink. The total cost would be about $710. I estimate that equates to roughly 5 to 6 drinks per day at an average price of $10 a drink.

A few questions:

In your experience, how strict are the cruise lines - Celebrity Specifically - with preventing you from bringing alchohol on-board after visiting a port?

I've not been able to get a good answer from Celebrity on prices for a glass of wine or cocktail. For those who sailed Celebrity recently, do you have any information on prices?

We're thinking of getting a soda package as we're traveling with our two youbng kids. Not sure I want them drinking the 4 glasses of soda each per day to make the cost worth it. How strict should we expect the cruise line to be if we get one soda package and just let the kids split it?

Thanks
Ryan is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 05:43 AM
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Maybe the answer would be on http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=31 It says you can bring wine on board.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 06:42 AM
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I say stay away from that Premium beverage package, you might feel the need to drink more than you would otherwise want. That premuim wine package sounds fair, if you like the wines. On HAL, I found there were some good wines in the $30/bttle range-various Happy Hours - and a few 'Drink of the Day' specials for $5.50 each.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:37 AM
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You can bring wine aboard on Celebrity but not liquor. The do charge corkage in the dining room - last time we did it the charge was $10/bottle. If you don't consume it all they will cork and and save it for the next time. Some passengers have packed (very carefully) liquor in their suitcases with no problem. When you come back from a port however if you are carrying a bottle of liquor they take it and store it until you disembark. Wine, however has never been a problem.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:56 AM
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We did a Baltic cruise on the Constellation last August. At the time they were offering wine packages at 3 different levels, pretty much based on the quality of the wine selection for each. Out of our group of 4, my dad and I were the only ones who would really be consuming any wine. We each got a wine package and split the total cost between us.

We got the least expensive wine package and the most expensive wine package, with 3 bottles in each. Besides the wine, the most expensive package also came with entry to the basic wine tasting seminar (for two people) and entry to the wine and food pairing seminar (for two people). The wine and food tasting seminar also gives each person a set of 4 Reidel glasses.

We did not have a premium beverage package available on our cruise. We had ordered a bottle of Macallan for one of the cabins, but also spent time in the very nice lounge area that provides free tapas from around 4-7 p.m. every day. I recall that the selection of single malt scotch ran around $13-$18, bourbon around $12-$16. Not sure what the mixed drinks were, but they were less.

We did not try to bring alcohol on to the ship from a port, but they will run your bags through a scanner every time you reboard the ship.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 11:48 AM
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Yes, you can bring your own wine but they will charge you corkage fee. If you drink it in your own cabin, there may not be a fee. They are quite stricy about liquor and beer.

Is the pacjkage worth your while? Depends on how much you drink. Do you finish a full bottle a day? or only half a bottle? We are not heeavay drinkers and usually only drink 1/2 a bottle a day. So the wine package won't work for us. Wine by the glass ranged from $7 to $12 depending what you order.

You cannot compare Cruise ship wine prices to retail store. A better comparison is to a typical hotel diniing room. I think the mark up rnage from $10 to $20 a bottle, so if you buy a cheap wine (like $8 in the store), you will pay $20 to $25 on the ship. If you buy a $20 wine (store price), you may pay $35 to $40 on the ship. For the expensive stuff, the mark up is more than $20 but is still a better % of the price.

We typically order a bottle of wine based on what the menu offers. Finish half a bottle and ask them to save it for the next day. We also order dessert wine or drinks from time to time so without the package, it is more flecxible for us so we can have beer rather than wine, and have a glass of port wine or sherry instead so we are not stuck with the package.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2010, 04:30 AM
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Regarding letting kids split a soda package - I think that is dishonest.

The way soda packages work is you get a sticker or some sort of identifier on the kid's cruise card. So the only way it would truly work is to have someone approach the bar twice with this card. I am sure if you tip the server an additional amount or if you just flash one card to a server and fidget around like you can't find the other one they might let it go - when we have cruised on various lines sometimes they checked really well, sometimes not. And the soda card gets you a fountain soda, not a can you can split.

To me it is no different than going to an all-you-can eat buffet in a land restaurant, paying for one person, and then having others eat off your plate - dishonest.

When we cruised with our kids we just sucked it up and bought the soda package. Sure it is over-priced, but that is how they get away with charging ever-lower fares to cruise. (Rather like baggage, meal, etc fees airlines charge). You are going to pay for whatever they drink anyway except tap water and perhaps the lemonade or fruit punch available in the buffet - and that has just as much sugar as soda.

Some people find this fee-for-everything very annoying. I try to let it go and be prepared ahead of time that this is just how you pay for things on a cruise. Especially for a family, it is likely still cheaper than flying and paying for hotels and restaurants unless you go nuts with beverages and other add-ons on board.

NCL, Celebrity, and Princess - I have seen all of them confiscate and hold for end of cruise any alcohol bought on shore.
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Old Jul 6th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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Gaul, I think yo menat post this on the brinb your own soda to dinner tread ...

I agree with you that I don't mind paying for the "extras" as I can pick and choose my own extras. They can easily up the whole fare and include everything. If bozoe is part of the fare, I will be paying for everyone else's boozing. That's why I avoid all the all-inclusives, especially those in Mexico that included all you can dink booze.

When I pay for the fare on a cruise, I know what is incldued and what is not. When I book a hotel room, the same rules applies. Parking, inetrnet and breakfast could be part of the package or can be extra depends on where and who. There is no issue as long as you know ahead of time.

Mt favorite hotel at Hollybeach cahrges $16 a day for valet parking and it is the only parking available. Most big city downtown hotels charges for overnight parking. That's part of the deal.
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Old Jul 6th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Actually I meant it for this post - the final paragraph of OP asked about soda package for their kids - whether it was possible to buy one and use it for both kids.

Was not commenting on bring your own soda since I try to avoid commenting on questions originally posted years ago - figuring OP already went on the trip or received an answer.
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Old Jul 7th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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Sorry Gail, totally missed it. My apologies.

I agree with you 100%. Splitting it would be dishonest although I have seen it happens many times before.
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Old Jul 19th, 2010, 05:32 AM
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I got a soda package for my DH online before the cruise but when we got onboard it was on sale for $15 less, so if you're considering it you may want to wait. He may not have gotten his money's worth but it is so convenient to just show his seapass and not have to sign each time. I have stopped drinking carbonated drinks so I didn't get one.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 12:34 PM
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Glad we didn't do either package.

My kids didn't need that much soda and they didn't need to carry around a cup with them. Not having the package meant we limited them to at most one soda per day and milk with their meals.

We had shipboard credit from AMEX and four complimentary bottles of alcohol from the cruise line so packages would have been a waste.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 02:02 AM
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Glad it worked out for you. Obviously if you are going to limit their soda intake by parental preference, a soda package would not be worth it. And for future reference, you really don't need to carry a cup around all day - they give you a sticker for your cruisecard and serve you soda in a clean glass each time.
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