I read this article from Budget Travel today, and it piqued my interest because the last time we went out a cruise, we couldn’t decide if we should try to sneak on some booze or just pay for the drinks on the ship. We made our final decision when we realized that drinks on the ship were at least $5-$8 each, times two for the both of us, which amounted to about $70 a day in drinks or over $350 for our 5-day cruise. I based this estimate on us having five $7 drinks per day per person, which is not a lot on a cruise. Can you guess which option we went with?
Now, though, it appears as though cruise lines are offering more of an all-inclusive option. Royal Caribbean is the first out of the gate to offer such an alcohol-included package that costs about $310 per person for a week-long cruise. That’s about $45 in drinks a day, assuming the average price of a drink is $7. Not terrible, but still — $620 per couple is a lot of money to spend on alcohol! Maybe it’s just sticker shock; we would have spent over $500 for the both of us in drinks if our cruise had been 7 days, and it wouldn’t have even been unlimited.
I’m sure this type of all-inclusive alcohol program will sell very well, because when most people are on vacation, they do not want to worry about how much they’re paying for things or about keeping track of drinks per day to stay within their budget. Cruises are huge, floating hotels, and anything the cruise ship can do to make the vacation easier for passengers is usually welcome. What would really be cool is if cruise ships allowed people to pay for these packages over many months, so that you’re not hit with one huge bill as you leave the ship. “Thanks for coming, here’s your $600 bill!” Yikes.
Perhaps it is time to retire the sneakiness. Perhaps.