Some cruise travelers like to order beverages à la carte, but a significant number of cruisers prefer to purchase a drink package and not worry about the final tab. If you're planning a trip aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, several drink package options are typically offered, but these may vary by sailing.
Complimentary Drinks on Carnival Cruises
Your basic Carnival Cruise Lines rate includes limited beverages. In the main dining room, Lido Restaurant (open 24/7), and specialty restaurants, you can get the following drinks at no charge.
- Non-bottled water
- Iced tea (unsweetened)
- Hot chocolate
- Non-specialty hot coffee and tea
CHEERS! Program Information
The CHEERS! Beverage Program allows Carnival passengers to pay a flat daily rate for beverages, rather than paying per drink. Guests must be 21 and over to purchase the CHEERS! plan, and each adult assigned to the same stateroom must purchase the same plan.
Purchase ahead of time and the discounted daily price is about $50 per person, plus 15% gratuity. If you wait until you're on board to sign up, the price increases by about $5 per person, per day. Once on board, you can purchase the CHEERS! package at any bar location.
To purchase CHEERS! in advance, you can:
- Purchase online at Carnival Fun Shops
- Contact the Fun Shops Department via phone at 1-800-522-7648, seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time
The cut-off to pre-purchase a drink package is 10 p.m. Eastern Time the evening prior to your cruise departure, so keep that in mind if you're on the fence. The $5 daily discount may not seem like much, but on a long cruise, it can add up.
CHEERS! Included Beverages
A large selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are included in the CHEERS! package.
- All spirits, including cocktails, whiskey, and cognac, provided the price is $50 US or less per serving
- Beer, wine, and Champagne by the glass, provided the price is $50 US or less per serving
- Specialty coffees and hot teas that are served in the main dining room, along with coffee bars and specialty restaurants
- Milkshakes (where available)
- Branded drinks like Rockstar energy drinks, Powerade, Vitamin Water, and Honest Tea
- Zero-proof frozen cocktails, smoothies, sodas, specialty sodas, juices, and coconut water
If you purchase a spirit, cocktail, or wine by the glass that is more than $50 US per serving, you'll get 25% off. You also get 25% off the menu price for wine and Champagne by the bottle, and on any larger-format water bottles purchased outside of the main dining room or specialty restaurants. Select sailings have beverage seminars and classes, and passengers who purchase the CHEERS! package will receive 25% off these too.
While most beverages are included in the CHEERS! package, there are several exclusions. These are:
- Beverages sold in souvenir glasses
- Full bottles of liquor
- Beverages offered on the gangway
- Any room service, mini bar, and in-stateroom beverage programs
- Large format cocktails design for sharing, like floaters, pitchers, tubes, and buckets
- Self-service beer stations and enomatic wine machines
- Other beverage-related programs, including merchandise, cigars, and cigarettes
- Beverage purchases on Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays in the Bahamas
Beverage Program Rules
When you're trying to figure out whether a drink package is worth it, there are some rules to consider. You can only order one drink at a time, and sharing is not permitted. This also means that if you try to order a double shot of a beverage, it won't be allowed since that is considered two drinks.
If you're a fast drinker and want to order several rounds of shots, you'll need to wait five minutes in between drinks. And, you're only allowed up to 15 alcoholic drinks in any 24-hour period (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.). Once you reach the limit, they will not serve you additional alcoholic beverages (even if you want to pay outside the program).
Bottomless Bubbles for Unlimited Soda
Carnival's Bottomless Bubbles is the unlimited soda program that allows fountain soda and juice throughout your cruise. Like the CHEERS! program, prices are per day, per person, and are subject to $15% gratuity. This is good for a 16-ounce glass of soda or a 10-ounce glass of juice. Like the CHEERS! package, you must wait five minutes before ordering another drink. The cost is generally between $5 and $10 per day.
Purchasing the Bottomless Bubbles package is done in the same manner as the CHEERS! package; however, there is no discount for pre-purchase.
Included and Excluded Beverages
Bottomless Bubbles includes sodas and juices, but excludes a variety of other beverages onboard. Excluded beverages are:
- Non-alcoholic beverages outside of soda and juice
- Beverages promoted in souvenir glasses
- Bottled water
- Specialty coffee
- Beverages on the gangway when disembarking
- Room service or interactive TV system and in-stateroom beverage programs
- Beverages at Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays in the Bahamas
Important Notes About Beverage Programs
There are some important terms to be aware of before you purchase a Carnival Cruise Lines drink package.
- On certain European itineraries on the Carnival Horizon, there is a 10% value added tax (VAT).
- Carnival also reserves the right to implement price adjustments - either up or down - on the day of sailing, which will replace any previously advertised prices.
- Due to state laws, they cannot sell the drink packages until 6 a.m. on the second day of the sailing if the cruise departs from New York or Texas home ports. That means if you buy CHEERS! or Bottomless Bubbles on the first day of one of these itineraries, all drinks that day would be charged to your shipboard account.
- CHEERS! is not available on two-day cruises, charter cruises, and ships departing from Australia (Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend).
- If a guest purchases a round of drinks for himself and a group of friends who have not purchased the drink package, one drink will go on the CHEERS! account and the rest will be credited to the guest's Sail and Sign account to pay with the credit card on file.
- When you use this program within US waters, there are applicable state and local sales taxes charged to the guest's account. An example would be a $3 drink with 10% tax that is ordered while in port at Texas. The guest's account will then be charged for the $0.30 in tax.
Is a Drink Package Worth It?
If you're the type who is always out on excursions during the day and maybe only has one glass of wine with dinner, a drink package may not be a good value. However, if you have more than a few beverages, signing up for a program may be in your best interest. What's more, it will provide peace of mind when you decide to order that third glass of wine with dinner.