When considering additional costs for a cruise vacation on a Carnival fun ship, one of the concerns is always beverages. Drink prices for most beverages are not included in the price of the cruise fare. While prices can change at any time, understanding what drinks may cost on your next cruise can help the overall vacation budget and give vacationers a chance to try new cocktails.
Carnival Beverage Prices
Unless you are drinking free tap water, coffee, milk, or juice provided by the ship, expect added costs to quench your thirst. Like many of its competitors, Carnival Cruises tacks on a 15 percent gratuity to its beverage prices.
Pricing provided here is based on sample beverage prices found on Carnival's website in 2018, along with other sources. Keep in mind prices and beverages available are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on port of embarkation. Prices are quoted in in U.S. dollars.
Still and Sparkling Water
Bottled water ranges from $1.25 to $5.00 per bottle. Several options are available, which is why there is such a wide price range. Regular bottled water is at the low end of the range, but prices are higher for choices like San Pellegrino, Perrier, Vitamin Water, and coconut water. Of course, tap water is available in the restaurants at no cost.
You can also purchase bottled water on the ship. A 12-pack of 16.9 ounce bottles costs just $4.50. You can order in advance of your cruise, and your purchase will be waiting for you in your room. Or, you can order from room service during the sailing. With this option, a 15 percent gratuity will be added.
Carnival ships carry a wide variety of soft drinks.
- A standard 12-ounce can of soda sells for around $2.25.
Speciality soft drinks range from $1.95 to $4. Choices include Powerade, Honest Tea, and Ginger Beer.
Energy drinks start at $4.95, with prices increasing based on brand.
Specialty Hot Beverages
Specialty coffees and other hot beverages are available at the on-board coffee bar. CruiseMapper reports prices on several options.
- Lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas cost between $2.95 and $3.50 depending on size.
- You can get an espresso for $1.95, while a double espresso is $2.25.
- There is a 50 cent fee to add a shot of syrup.
- Hot chocolate costs between $1.95 and $2.25 depending on size.
- A chai tea latte ranges from $2.95 to $3.50 based on size.
- Adult cruisers can get a spiked coffee for $5.75.
Domestic and Imported Beer
Carnival's website indicates that beer prices range from $5 to $7.95. Most beers are sold in a 16-ounce size, though some are 12-ounces. Cruzely provides insights into prices for specific types of beer.
- According to Cruzely, the charge for a 16-ounce domestic beer is generally $5.95. This includes Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. Bud Light Lime is priced at $6.50.
- Non-alcoholic beer is sold for $4.50. Angry Orchard cider and Mike's hard Lemonade are sold for $5.95.
- Carnival offers several different 12-ounce imported beers, including Corona, Stella Artois, and Dos Equis for $5.50 each, and six other 16-ounce varieties including Heineken and Pilsner Urquell for $6.50 each.
- They also have a selection of craft beers priced between $5.95 (including Blue Moon and Sierra Nevada) and $6.25 (including Sam Adams and Angel City Brewery).
- They offer Estella Daura gluten-free beer for $5.50.
- Non-alcoholic Buckler beer is available for $4.50.
Champagne and Wine
Bottles of wine sell from $22 and up, depending on the type and vintage. At the bars and lounges, a 6-ounce glasses sell for between $5.95 and $12.50.
- If you plan on drinking wine or champagne with each meal, the dining staff can hold a bottle for you, therefore making a bottle purchase a better deal than individual glasses.
- Some ships offer additional events for wine lovers. A hosted wine tasting often ends with a sales pitch for the onboard wine package. Purchased bottles can be saved for the end of the trip, or kept by the sommelier and consumed over the course of the cruise. These are usually premium vintages, and the per glass price compared to the menu makes them worth consideration.
In regards to corkage fees, Carnival Cruises continues to charge $15 per bottle for personal wine consumed in any of the restaurants.
Drinks made with hard liquor and shots cost between $6.25 and $17 each. Pricing varying significantly by brand as is typical for any establishment that sells hard liquor. For example:
- A vodka and soda made with Skyy vodka is priced at $6.25.
- Stepping up to a Jack and Coke will raise the price to $7.25.
- If you opt for a top-shelf liquor like a shot of Patron Silver, the cost goes up to $10.95.
The Carnival website indicts specialty cocktails cost between $8.95 and $12.95 each. Specific pricing for a few of their most popular drinks is as follows:
- A margarita will cost you $8.95.
- You can get a pina colada for the slightly lower price of $8.25.
- A cosmopolitan is priced at $9.25, so it's a little more expensive.
How to Save Money on Drinks
There are ways to cut down on your bar tab while onboard Carnival cruise ships. Some of the most popular include:
- Bottomless Bubbles. Carnival's Bottomless bubbles package costs $7.50 per day for adults and $4.95 per children, plus a 15 percent gratuity. This program entitles you to unlimited standard soda and juice throughout the duration of your trip. Purchasing the card in advance or on the first day of the cruise is the best option because prices are not reduced as the cruise goes on.
- CHEERS! Beverage Program. If each member of your cabin over the age of 21 is willing to invest $51.95 per day per person (plus a 18% gratuity), the ships offer an adult beverage program. All drinks under $20 are included in the program, which allows for 15 drinks in a 24- hour period. This program is offered on three-day or longer cruises. This program also includes free sodas and non-alcoholic frozen drinks, as well as discount on bottles of wine and other beverage purchases.
- Drink specials. Carnival publishes "drinks of the day" in its daily newsletter. You can save a few dollars by purchasing these beverages. Additionally, most Carnival ships offer "early bird specials" on select featured alcoholic beverages, such as Bloody Marys and mimosas. You can save money by ordering these drinks before noon or before dinner at your favorite bar.
- Bar and soft drink credits. Carnival allows passengers to purchase credits for use on soft drink and bar sales. The credits come in the form of tickets and sell for discounted rates prior to setting sail.
- Think before you drink. Monitor the tab by keeping a running total of the number of drinks you consume daily. Set a daily limit beforehand. Knowing when you have reached your limit is also a good way to avoid excessive drinking and huge beverage bills.
Carnival's Beverage Policy
Carnival's beverage policy is as follows:
Bringing Water and Soft Drinks
The Carnival beverage policy was significantly updated in 2015. Each guest is currently allowed to embark with one case, (12 cans or fewer) of 20-ounce smaller sodas or waters. Bottles are not allowed at all; you can only bring canned beverages on the ship. These can be transported in a 12"x12"x12" or smaller cooler. No larger coolers are accepted.
In addition, vacationers are allowed to bring one bottle of wine or champagne per adult upon embarkation. The bottle must be packed in carry-on luggage. No other types of alcohol may be brought on the ship at embarkation. If bottles of alcohol are purchased in ports of call or at onboard gift shops, they are held by the staff until the end of the voyage.
The minimum age for the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Carnival Cruises' bars, lounges, and gift shops is 21 years of age. However, the company does reserve the right to refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone. In addition, if you appear younger than 21, you will be asked to show a picture identification prior to being served.
Understanding Beverage Costs
Drinks, whether alcoholic or soft drinks are not included in cruise prices. Understanding how much they typically cost can help you plan your vacation budget and raise a toast to a great cruise.