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Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

Sydney, Australia
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Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

Hot off the press ... Extract from Cruise Weekly - 8th January 2014

Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean have become the first lines to introduce drinks packages, including alcohol, on Australia-based ships.

AUSTRALIANS often miss out on the benefits offered to American and European cruise passengers, but this season has seen one company bring all-inclusive deals down under.

Celebrity Cruises, which operates Celebrity Solstice from Sydney, as quietly continued its special beverage deals while based in local waters.

At the top of the list is the premium package, allowing access to the full range of beers, spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass (priced up to $12), as well as frozen drinks, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas, smoothies, premium bottled water and Red Bull. The cost is approximately AU$52 per night (plus 15% service charge) and must be purchased for every day of the cruise.

The classic package (AU$43 per night, plus service charge) includes beers up to $5 per serving, and spirits, cocktails, frozen drinks, and wines by the glass up to $8 per serving.

Non-alcoholic plans are also offered, including selected soft drinks, juices, coffees, teas and bottled water, priced from approximately AU$13 per night.

In December, Celebrity's sister brand, Royal Caribbean, unveiled two new alcohol packages to be sold across its entire fleet, including the Sydney-based Radiance of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.

While this perk is already available on 13 Royal Caribbean ships around the world, a company spokesperson told Cruise Weekly it would be rolled out in Australia by “early 2013”.

The packages will only be sold on sailings of seven nights or longer and passengers must make the purchase on the first day of the cruise.

If a guest buys a package, it must also be purchased by each adult passenger staying in the same cabin. Previously, only wine packages were sold to Australians on Radiance and Rhapsody.

Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Lines, which is trialling an all-you-can-drink program on several of its ships, has confirmed that it will not be offered on Carnival Spirit.

“At this point, Carnival Cruise Lines has no plans to expand our alcoholic drinks package to our Australia-based ship, Carnival Spirit,” said Jennifer Vandekreeke, Director, Carnival Cruise Lines Australia.

“However, our 'bottomless bubbles' nonalcoholic drinks package has been available since we started sailing from Sydney Harbour

in October.”

P&O and Princess also do not offer drinks packages in Australia.

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1. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

We cruised the Mediterranean on Celebrity Sihouette in May with three other couples. The males purchased drinks packages and the ladies opted for pay as you go. I'm not aware of the policy of both passengers staying in the same cabin being required to purchase the drinks package. Each person had to present their card when purchasing a drink so there was no chance of getting "free" drinks for your partner.

For those who like their cocktails I suggest you take the details of your favourite cocktails as the menu is very limited and staff don't seem to have much idea of how to make anything not on the menu.

Also we found that if the cocktail of your choice is on the higher priced package, ask for a half. It does work and you should get it .

Happy drinking!

Edited: 08 January 2013, 22:41
Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

It may be a policy brought in for cruises based in Sydney ... I don't know as I never buy those packages ... I don't think I could get value out of it to the extent that others seem to

St. Lucia
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3. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

It is only the policy for Royal Caribbean, regardless of where the ship is based, that each passenger in the stateroom purchase the drinks packages. Celebrity has been doing the drinks packages for several years now and has worked out the kinks, so to speak. RCIs packages are very new to the fleet (only a scant 2 or 3 months) and currently, their rules are every passenger in the cabin must purchase, or no one can purchase. On RCI, they also must be purchased for the entire cruise, you cannot wait for a day or two and gauge your drink consumption or drink prices, they have to b purchased the first day, for the entire cruise.

If the Celebrity packages have to be purchased for every day of the cruise - that is a new policy, apparently only on Oz based cruises. On cruises to Europe, Caribbean, Alaska, and so on, you can wait til you are onboard for a day or 2 or 3 and then purchase for the remainder of the cruise - you can't purchase day by day though, say day 2 and then day 4 or something like that - when you do purchase, it has to be for the remainder of the nights of the cruise. Many people wait till the second day to buy the packages as the first day is embarcation and only really a half day - so the "must be purchased for every day of the cruise" is apparently only in OZ waters.

I am glad to see them taking their policies worldwide - and recognizing that there is a huge market with our friends in the south - and for those Northern Hemisphere folks who want to visit "down under".

Personally, we love the Celebrity Packages and have been using them since they were introduced in 2010. The RCI packages, we will wait on as they are not as comprehensive as Celebrity's and they require both in the cabin to purchase.

Enjoy your future sailings!!

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

"I am glad to see them taking their policies worldwide - and recognizing that there is a huge market with our friends in the south - and for those Northern Hemisphere folks who want to visit "down under"."

ReedPrincess,

it would be nice and certainly a " level playing field " if the policies were the same world wide. And yes I was aware that RCI had a drinks package elsewhere in the world.

The policies are not so much put in place for people from the Northern Hemisphere who want to visit the South Pacific, but more likely due to Aussies and New Zealanders making demands for same "priviledges" and access to goods and services as our North American cousins.

The sticky about "Regional pricing" and the "closed shop" approach regarding price differentials between the US and other markets is just one element.

Let's face it, the cruise fare can be one of the cheaper parts of buying a holiday ... the REAL money is made on board and a drinks package is just the start of it.

Edited: 09 January 2013, 06:51
Wigan, United...
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5. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

It doesnt matter to me if they have drinks packages available or not, there is no way I can make them pay.

If you ask me they encourage irresponsible consumption a lot of the time as well.

* awaits friendly fire *

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

I agree with you Steve... IME the only time it becomes "responsible service of alcohol" on many ships is when someone starts to stumble or falls over on top of someone ... in the meantime, hand over your cruise card and have another !

If we were to buy an alcohol package - we'd be looking at the best part of $100 per day ... and when you add that to the auto gratuities, and anything else you buy on board, it's hardly a cheap holiday ! We'd be lucky to spend $100 for the two of us on alcohol / soft drinks et con a 7 day cruise let alone $700 !!!

St. Lucia
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7. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

Yes, DougOz, I am very aware of regional pricing and the differences in policies for different countries, etc - as you can see, I am also from a "foreign" country as far as cruise pricing is concerned and am affected by regional pricing. I was giving praise to the 2 lines for finally expanding what has been available (albeit briefly in RCIs case) to those sailings from the northern hemisphere departure points - and recognizing that some folks from up north who have traveled down under have also complained about not having the same amenities available as the sailings out of the US or Europe. Keep in mind - drinks packages were actually available on several ships that were based in the Med for RCI for several years before they decided to expand to all their ships around the world. I think it is great that RCI and it's sister brands are finally recognizing that there are other markets and that they are making efforts to improve their services in those markets.

I do hope, for those in the under-serviced markets, that soon you will see more - and nicer- ships. I do think the huge change in port fees for Sydney will make a big impact on that though! Probably not the best timing! Got to love the way gov'ts go about their business sometimes.

Enjoy your future cruises!

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

Reed princess,

times are tough everywhere and the State Government recognises that the industry is booming here with RCI "bringing it" to Carnival Corp who has for far too long set the prices here.

In early 2007 a 13 day cruise with P&O cost in excess of 2,000 pp for an outside cabin on a lower deck .. now with more competition, the price has dropped to around $1,300-$1,500 or so for the same cabin depending on time of the year.

During the peak of the season last year I think there was about 6 ships in port - two or three of them had to weigh anchor and tender ! With that many passengers coming in to Sydney, the Government saw an opening and went for it ... much like cruise lines and the drinks package !

St. Lucia
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9. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

Oh yeah, I get that too - our gov't is currently in negotiation with RCI to buld a new port (which, to be honest, I hope does not happen, as RCI has little consideration for the natural environment when they build their ports - note Falmouth in Jamaica - environmental nightmare), but you do just have to love gov'ts when they see the fatted calf and go in for the kill - thinking, of course, they will reap more tax benefitis and not looking long term, so to speak, at how much the raises in port fees will affect cruise fares, in turn affecting passenger demand. It will take a while, of course, but no doubt there will be an affect in the coming years as they keep steadily rising - and the cruise lines pass that on to their passengers!

Best of luck to you and enjoy all your future cruises- 3.5 weeks till our next one on Oasis!

Cairns
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10. Re: Drinks packages for cruises from Australia

Do you know if they have XXXX beer on the NZ cruise?

Thanks