A to Z of Cruising – C is for…

Here is the third installment of my A to Z of Cruising, do you know where in the world most cruises visit?  What do I like to drink more than anything whilst on a cruise?  Read on to find out and don’t forget to let me know what else you’d like to feature in this A to Z of Cruising.

Crew

It wouldn’t be right to start off this post without mentioning the fantastic crew who help to make your cruise holiday so special.  The crew work tirelessly to keep everything running smoothly from the room attendants, restaurant servers, laundry staff and customer services personnel; there is so much behind the scenes work that goes on to ensure that you have a relaxing and enjoyable time on board.

Cruise ship staff typically work six to nine month contracts and many send money home to help support their families.  Living on board for several months at a time can be quite difficult and the majority will work 12-hour days, seven days a week but it does mean that they can save the majority of their earnings.

I’ve made friends and stayed in touch with some of those special crew via social media, it’s fascinating to learn about ship life and the countries that they are from. It’s here I’d like to give a special mention to Lucy from Mexico and Vinnay from India; both of these people made our cruises memorable.

Caribbean

With almost 40% of all cruises going to the Caribbean, it is one of the most popular destinations for cruising.  Itineraries range from two days to two weeks and visit multiple islands throughout the trip, generally there are less sea days on Caribbean cruises as the islands are close together which means you can wake up to a different port every morning.

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The beauty of Caribbean cruising is that you can pack lots of different islands into one trip and you can do a range of excursions such as cultural tours, water sports and beach days.  Check out my cruise guides to some Caribbean destinations here.

The most affordable time to take a Caribbean cruise is late summer and autumn but this is because it’s hurricane season.  Summer 2017 proved that hurricanes can have a major impact on the Caribbean islands and many cruises were either cancelled or their itineraries changed.  If you can, the best time to cruise in the Caribbean is between December and April as these are the driest months of the year.

Caribbean Princess

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One of the newly refurbished ships in the Princess fleet is the Caribbean Princess, which went into dry dock in April 2017 for a $8.2 million makeover.  To discover the ship’s new features, you can check out my blog post 8 new reasons to try the Caribbean Princess.

Carnival Corporation and PLC

Carnival Cruise Line, well-known for it’s iconic red funnel, is one of ten cruise brands owned by Carnival Corporation and PLC.

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Cruise brands in this group are: AIDA, Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Fathom, Holland America, P&O, Princess and Seabourn.

Cocktails

To me, a cruise wouldn’t be the same without a cocktail!  I’m by no means a heavy drinker but a cocktail is one of the little luxuries that I never get to enjoy when I’m at home.  Cruises have an array of delicious cocktails to choose from, with classics such as pina coladas to milkshake-style offering such as a Banana Banshee. Cheers cruisers!

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Did you enjoy reading this blog post?  I would love to know what other entries you’d like me to include in my A to Z of Cruising, if you have any ideas or feedback, let me know in the comments below.

Until next time – happy cruising!

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How much is the Princess Cruises’ drinks package?

Cruises now offer an array of drinks packages, but which is the right one for you?  Do you need one?  Read on to learn about the different options available from Princess Cruises and how to decide which drinks package is the best option for you.

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

  • Premier Beverage Package
  • Unlimited Soda and More Package
  • New Grounds Coffee Card

Premier: cocktails, wine, beer, spirits, sodas, specialty coffees, teas and bottled water.  This is limited to drinks up to $10 each but not bottles of wine so if you like your wine, just order it by the glass.  From 19th September 2017 this package now costs £55.19 per day including gratuities.

It’s also important to note that there is now a limited of 15 alcoholic drinks per day BUT 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 drinks package if the other person isn’t going to drink as much.

Princess Cruises premier drinks package includes cocktails in

Unlimited Soda and More: unlimited fountain soft drinks, mocktails, juices, and complimentary hot chocolate.  Ideal if your unlikely to drink very much during your cruise.  Alcoholic beverages can be purchased individually and will be added to your on board account.  This package is £6.44 per person, per day.

New Grounds Coffee Card: you can purchase a Coffee Card, which entitles you to 15 hot or cold specialty coffees along with unlimited brewed coffee and teas for £28.52.  You just present this card, which will be stamped every time you redeem a coffee so depending on your caffeine requirements, you can make one card last you the whole trip.

Before my first cruise with Princess, I spent some time thinking about whether I needed to fork out for the drinks package as it did seem like a lot of money to spend on booze.  I like to have a drink on holiday but usually only in the evenings.  I decided to do a few calculations and came to the conclusion that the All-inclusive Package, which was £43.11 at the time (now Premier Beverage Package) was actually worth getting as by the time I’d had a few cocktails and glasses of wine each day as well as coffee, I was up the daily package price.

On my next cruise, I am now faced with the Premier Beverage Package option, which is £56.19.  It has made me think long and hard about whether it’s actually worth purchasing.  My itinerary is very port intensive, which means I will have less sea days to make use of the package.

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 Cafe 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?’

BUT I have come to the decision that personally, it’s not worth paying £56.19 a day (over £100 for both of us – over £1000 for the cruise!). We are toying with the idea of just loading some on board credit on to our cruise cards or purchasing the Unlimited Soda and More Package.

If you like cocktails, you should consider how many you’re likely to drink, I estimate that you need to drink at least 8 cocktails each day to cover the cost of the drinks package.  This leaves an additional 7 alcoholics drinks that you can have as well as unlimited no-alcoholic drinks.

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.  For myself and my partner, it’s not worth purchasing the drinks package for our next cruise but if we were to go on a Hawaiian cruise with 10 sea days I would not hesitate to buy the Premier drinks package.

Cheers!

How much is the Princess Cruises' drinks package?

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

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