Home Cruises Why Is Alcohol Not Included In The Price Of A Cruise & Only As A Drink Package Or Per Glass?

Why Is Alcohol Not Included In The Price Of A Cruise & Only As A Drink Package Or Per Glass?

by SharonKurheg

Cruises are fun. You have a room & a chance to relax, you can take part in fun activities, explore places you maybe have never visited before, and oh, the FOOD! You can EAT ALL THE THINGS! All for one all-inclusive price.

But if you want alcohol? That’s not included. You have to buy it per drink, or get a beverage package.

What’s up with that?

There are actually several reasons why alcohol isn’t automatically included in the price of a cruise:

They make cruise lines a lot of money

You knew money had something to do with it, right? Cuz let’s face it – however much cruise lines make, they want to make more. So they upcharge whatever they can. Internet. Spas. Classes. Professional photos. And yep, drinks. Some cruise lines will upcharge for coffee and/or soda because those are the drinks many people prefer. But what else do many adults want to drink? Alcohol.

Alcohol packages run the gamut from less than $20 per day for alcohol only with meals, to well over $100. The average cost is about $60. That’s per person, per day. And even if you buy your booze “per drink,” you’re still paying a premium. After all, if you’ve ever bought beer, wine and spirits for home consumption, you know that booze costs significantly less than that (and since they buy in bulk, you can bet that cruise lines are paying less than you for those cans and bottles, to begin with). So they’re making a fortune on your ability to drink Bud Light (Ew. Bud Light is like pee water. You can do better.), frou-frou drinks and some wine or bubbly stuff with dinner.

People don’t know when to stop

You know it as well as I do – what happens when some people have the opportunity for unlimited free booze? They drink too much and do stupid stuff. That can become a liability. Hello, lawsuits!

They’d have to give discounts and refunds…

You pay for a cruise per person in the room, regardless of age. If the price of your cruise included alcohol, you shouldn’t have to pay the same amount for your 14-year-old because (s)he legally wouldn’t be able to take part in drinking alcohol.

…And that could eventually hurt their bottom line a whole lot

There are also those who just don’t drink at all, due to religious, medical or other personal reasons. Why should they want to pay the same amount for a cruise as those who will imbibe?

So families with kids, plus anyone who just doesn’t drink alcohol might just decide to NOT CRUISE if they’d have to pay the same thing as those who are going to drink.

I guess the cruise lines have figured out it’s better to just charge separately for alcohol.

*** Feature photo (cropped): Melissa Hillier/flickr

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Christian March 5, 2020 - 2:19 pm

You can slice it any way you want, but there’s only one real reason not to include alcohol: money. There’s lots of all-inclusive hotels that do just fine handing out unlimited booze. The cruise lines see this as a way to soak a captive audience. I’m not a fan of nickel-and-dining in general and even less when I’m being viewed as a chicken to be plucked. That’s a large part of why my wife and I don’t cruise much anymore.


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