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