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.

Margarita cocktail

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 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?’

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.

Sapphire Princess cocktail 1
The Sapphire Princess cocktail is available with the Premier Drinks Package on Sapphire Princess from spring 2019

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.

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

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 and happy cruising!


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

Related post: Princess Cruises launches new ‘Sapphire Princess’ cocktail in partnership with Bombay Sapphire Distillery  

Related post: Cruise Ship Review: Sapphire Princess Public Areas & Dining

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Cruising from San Francisco

Waiting to board your cruise ship is so exciting, if you have some time to spare before you board, why not make the most of your time in San Francisco and start your holiday early?

Last year we started our cruise from San Francisco, a popular port for many cruises to start from, in particular those going to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico, with around 80 cruise calls each year.

From the airport you’re looking at around a 45 minute drive to Pier 27 on the Embarcadero, be aware that traffic can get pretty bad along this road so make sure you leave plenty of time to arrive.  We did… we had no other choice, our internal flight from Las Vegas was early in the morning, like, 6.00am in the morning, which meant that our airport transfer picked us up at the airport and we were dropped off and stood waiting to board with all of our luggage by 8.15am.  We stood and watched the passengers from the previous cruise disembarking, which was fun – I love people watching but after a while we started to get a bit hungry and decided that we needed to get some breakfast.

We spotted another English couple who had been on our flight stood nearby waiting also, so we struck up a conversation with them to try and devise a plan to get breakfast.   Our predicament was that we had all of our luggage with us and there was nowhere nearby that was serving food.  In the meantime I was also speaking to my Mum who was back in England.  She got straight on Google Maps and started looking to find nearby places to eat (in hindsight we should have done our homework before we got there – thanks Mum!).  So with our new friends looking after our luggage, we headed off in search of breakfast.

The first place we came across was called the Pier 23 Café but it was closed (we found out later that it opened at 10.00am) so we crossed the Embarcadero and found a lovely little place called the Blue Barn Café  a few streets away that made delicious sausage and egg rolls, made to order.  We headed back to Pier 27 with sausage and egg rolls, one in each hand, for our new friends looking after our luggage, feeling triumphant that we had found something to eat.

Depending on when you arrive at Pier 27 (or Pier 35 on days when there are multiple cruise ships docked), you may not have to wait as long as we did.  Perhaps consider staying somewhere the night before and take advantage of a late check-out?  This would allow you time for a leisurely breakfast and the chance to take a stroll down to Fisherman’s Wharf, without being lumbered with all of your cruise luggage.  We were fortunate enough to spend two days in San Francisco after disembarkation and so we were able to do some sightseeing at the other end of our holiday.  It’s such a great city it would be a shame to fly in and out without stopping to experience what it has to offer.

If there is anything I’ve learnt from this, it’s to make sure that I do my research on facilities around the cruise port in advance – toilets, restaurants etc. and to make the most of our time, before and after the cruise, to maximise our holiday.

Happy cruising!

Related post: A Grand Cruise to Hawaii

Related post: Visiting Pearl Harbor, Oahu

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