Princess Cruises Drinks Package Guide

One of the most popular questions I get asked is ‘Is the drinks package worth it?’ Princess Cruises offers a selection of drinks packages, but which is the right one for you? Do you need one? In this post I take a look at the Princess Cruises drinks package options, including the new Princess Plus.

What drinks are free on Princess Cruises?

The following drinks are included in your cruise fare: non-bottled water, iced tea, lemonade, tea and non-specialty coffees.

Some Princess cruise will have kettles in the staterooms. These tend to be those cruising out of Southampton and Asia. A selection of tea and coffee making sachets will be available in the staterooms and replenished daily.

Can you bring your own alcohol on Princess Cruises?

Each passenger of drinking age (this differs depending on the embarkation port) can bring one bottle of wine or champagne onboard. If you wish to enjoy this bottle onboard, there is a corkage fee of $15.

If you decide to purchase alcohol in port during your cruise, it will need to be declared when you return to the ship. It’s safely stored for you and returned on the evening before you disembark. The same happens with alcohol purchased in any onboard shops.

You can pre-purchased drinks on the Cruise Personaliser before the cruise. For example, you can purchase your favourite bottle of wine or spirit to enjoy during your cruise. This does not attract an additional corkage fee.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises offers four drinks packages

Princess, like many of the other cruise lines offer a selection of drinks packages to cater for different needs.  There are four drinks packages currently available:

  • Premier Beverage Package ($70.79 USD pppd incl. 18% gratuities)
  • Premier Coffee and Soda Package ($23.59 USD pppd incl. 18% gratuities)
  • Classic Soda Package ($11.79 USD pppd incl. 18% gratuities)
  • New Grounds Coffee Package (price varies depending on number of servings)

Premier Beverage Package

What’s included?

  • Cocktails
  • Wine by the glass
  • Beer
  • Spirits
  • Fountain sodas
  • Fresh juices
  • Gong Cha (bubble tea)
  • Specialty coffees/teas
  • Frappes from Coffee and Cones
  • Milkshakes (when available)
  • Red Bull energy drinks
  • 500ml bottled water
  • One litre bottle of still/sparkling water (if dining in a specialty dining restaurant)
  • Any other drink up to value of $12 each
  • Gratuities

What’s not included?

The following items are not included in the Premier Beverage Package but you can get a 25% discount on them:

  • Canned soda
  • Bottled juices
  • One litre bottles of water
  • Bottles of wine

My advice would be to order your favourite wine by the glass instead. Take a look at the newest wine list for Princess Cruises.

If you want to take a bottle of soda, water or juice back to your stateroom or when you are visiting a port, bring a reusable drinks bottle that you can fill with the draught beverages. This way you can still take full advantage of the drinks package (whilst reducing the amount of single-use packaging used).

The Premier Beverage Package cannot be used to purchase bottles of wine or spirits in the onboard shops.

Margarita cocktail Princess Cruises drinks package

It’s also important to note that there is now a limited of 15 alcoholic drinks per day BUT non-alcoholic drinks are unlimited. Each daily allowance resets at 6.00am.

Not everyone in the cabin needs to purchase this drink package any more.  This means that if you are travelling as a couple, only one person has to purchase this Princess Cruises drinks package if the other person isn’t going to drink as much.

Premier Coffee and Soda Package

What’s included?

  • Fountain soda
  • Mocktails
  • Juices
  • Complimentary hot chocolate.
  • Premier coffees/teas
  • Gong Cha (bubble tea)
  • Frappes from Coffee and Cones
  • Smoothies
  • Milkshakes (when available)
  • Red Bull energy drinks
  • Souvenir tumbler
  • Gratuities

What’s not included?

The following items are not included in the Premier Coffee and Soda Package but you can get a 25% discount on them:

  • Canned soda
  • Bottled juices
  • One litre bottles of water

This package is ideal if you’re unlikely to drink very much during your cruise. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased individually and will be added to your on board account.  There is no age restriction for this package so could be a good option for younger passengers.

The Premier Coffee and Soda Package cannot be used to purchase any items from the onboard shops or via Room Service.

Caribbean Princess cruise bar

Classic Soda Package

What’s included?

  • Fountain soda
  • Mocktails
  • Juices
  • Smoothies
  • Souvenir tumbler
  • Gratuities

What’s not included?

  • Canned soda
  • Bottled water
  • Bottled juices
  • Specialty or premium coffees/teas,
  • Hot chocolate
  • Ice-cream based drinks or any
  • Drinks from onboard shops

This package is ideal if you’re only likely to drink non-alcoholic cold drinks. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased individually and will be added to your on board account.  There is no age restriction for this package so could be a good option for younger passengers.

The Classic Soda Package cannot be used to purchase any items from the onboard shops or via Room Service.

New Grounds Coffee Package

This package replaces the previous coffee cards.

How does it work?

You can pre-purchase a specific number of specialty coffees that can be used throughout the cruise. The number you are able to purchase will depend on the length of your cruise. Complimentary brewed coffee and hot chocolate is available and does not count towards the number of pre-perchased specialty coffees.

You can use the New Grounds Coffee Package at any venue onboard that serves espresso.

You cannot use this package for any canned or bottled cold coffees or Room Service. It can no longer be transferred to your next cruise.

International Cafe Sapphire Princess
The International Cafe

Princess Cruises Drinks Package Calculator

If you like cocktails, you should consider how many you’re likely to drink, I estimate that you will need to drink at least 6 cocktails each day to cover the cost of the Premier Beverage Package.  This leaves an additional 9 alcoholics drinks that you can have, as well as unlimited non-alcoholic drinks.

This Cruise Line Drinks Package Calculator is a great way to help you decide if you should get a Princess Cruises drinks package.

Things to consider

There are a number of factors to consider when trying to decide if a Princess Cruises drinks package is worth it. The drinks package calculator (above) is a fantastic way to do the maths but you should also consider the itinerary and who you are cruising with.

Does your cruise have a lot of sea days? If so, it may be worth purchasing one of the drinks packages. In contrast, a port-intensive itinerary may mean that you are off the ship most days and wouldn’t use the drinks package as much.

If your itinerary includes a visit to Princess Cays, you can use your drinks package ashore.

If you’re cruising with children, it may be worth looking at the Classic Soda Package. They only need to have four or more drinks each day to make it pay. Find out how Princess Cruises caters for families.

Drinks Package Psychology

The beauty of the Premier Beverage Package is that once you’ve got it, you don’t have to worry about the bar bill at the end of the holiday.  If you fancy an extra Margarita, you don’t have to think about the cost, you can just sit back knowing that it’s already paid for.  You can grab a coffee from the International Café in the morning, sip cocktails by the pool in the afternoon and enjoy wine with your dinner without that nagging feeling of ‘should I have another?’

What you shouldn’t do is feel that because you’ve bought the drinks package it’s essential that you get your money’s worth!

Sapphire Princess cocktail
The Sapphire Princess cocktail is available with the Premier Drinks Package on Sapphire Princess from spring 2019

Princess Plus

A new package called Princess Plus could be the answer to your dilemma. Princess Plus offers cruisers the Premier Beverage Package, Wifi and Gratuities (worth $95.28 USD pppd). The actual price in USD for Princess Plus is not clear but for British passengers, Princess Plus is £35 pppd.

This means that a British passenger can enjoy around £70 worth of extras for just £35 each day.

If you breakdown the cost of drinks, wifi and gratuities, can can get an idea of the value.

Princess Plus

Even if you don’t plan to use WiFi, it’s still cheaper to purchase Princess Plus if you are thinking about getting the Premier Beverage Package when combined with the gratuities.

Final Thoughts

There is no definitive answer to the question ‘should I buy the drinks package?’ as it all depends on the number of port days and the amount of alcoholic drinks you are likely to get through. 

Hopefully, this guide has helped to explain what each Princess Cruises drinks package includes and how you can calculate if it’s worth purchasing.

Princess Plus is a game changer, and is certainly worth considering, given the value it offers.

Updated for 2020: Princess Cruises drinks package guide.
In this post I take a look at the Princess Cruises drinks package options, including the new Princess Plus. Updated for 2020 onwards.

Further information about the drinks packages from Princess Cruises can be found here.

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