Cruise Drink Prices
Drink prices on cruise ships can vary widely depending on the cruise line, the types of beverages offered, and the alcohol used for mixed drinks and cocktails. The following guidelines, however, can give passengers an idea of what drink prices to expect on their next voyage so they can happily toast their vacation without drowning in a big bar tab.
Drink of the Day
Many cruise lines offer drink of the day specials for a cheaper price than similar beverages that are not featured. These cocktails are often themed, such as a Bahama Mama during a port day in Nassau, or a Tequila Sunrise when the ship visits ports in Mexico.
The bartenders on board cruise ships can mix a wide range of unusual and exotic blends, such as multiple martini flavors including chocolate, apple, orange, or classic martinis. A basic martini will generally cost between $5 and $7, while a more unique option will usually cost slightly more.
Not all passengers want to drink alcohol, and sodas are also available on cruises. An individual soda will cost from $2 to $5 depending on the size, but most cruise lines offer unlimited soda or non-alcoholic drink packages that can be a better deal for guests who will enjoy multiple drinks each day. Soda deals for adults and children may be priced differently, and prices will also vary based on the length of the cruise and types of drinks included.
Frozen margaritas in pineapple, mango, strawberry, blue raspberry, and other flavors are popular drinks on cruises because of their festive nature. Like all specialty drinks, however, the price will be higher for more unusual flavors or larger drinks.
Many cruise lines offer morning drink specials from $4 to $6 on bloody marys or mimosas. This can be a pleasant way to add a bit of tang to the morning cruise ship menu.
On most cruise ships, wines are available either by the bottle or by the glass. Passengers who only drink a small bit of wine will get a better deal by the glass, but if you have a favorite vintage the best overall deal is to purchase an entire bottle. If you are drinking the wine with dinner, your server will keep the bottle chilled and serve it to you during additional meals. Wine prices vary from $15 to $50 or higher per bottle based on the vintage, and the wine lists on different ships can vary considerably.
Many cruise ships offer a limited number of non-alcoholic drinks for free, including lemonade, fruit punch, iced tea, and basic coffee. More exotic juices such as pineapple or papaya may be available for free during breakfast hours, or they may cost from $3 to $5 per glass.
While basic coffee (regular and decaf) is available for free, specialty coffee bars offer a limited selection of more unique beverages including cappuccinos, espressos, and blended coffees for a fee. Prices generally range from $3 to $5 per cup.
Bottled beer of different brews is available from most cruise ship bars, and bottles are generally more expensive than draft selections. Major brews such as Miller, Budweiser, and Heineken are usually available, as well as small selections of local brews from the cruise destinations.
Drink of the day specials can often be purchased in novelty souvenir glasses such as plastic coconuts, tikis, or glasses with the cruise line logo. These souvenir cups come with a price, however, and the cost of the same drink will be $2 to $3 higher than the same drink in a non-souvenir glass. It should be noted, however, that the souvenir glasses are usually significantly larger than non-souvenir servings.
In general, draft beer is similarly priced to bottled beer, or it may be slightly less expensive. The draft selection on a ship may not be as extensive as bottled choices, but there may also be one or two brews only available through drafts.
On most cruise lines, an automatic gratuity (usually 15 to 20 percent) is added to any bar service, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Additional tips are not required, but passengers may choose to tip their servers or bartenders extra, especially for exceptional service.
The drink prices on cruise ships can vary widely based on the type of beverage, size of drink, and daily specials, but understanding the types of drinks available and the range of prices can help passengers toast their cruise vacation without drinking away their budget.