How to Save Money with Onboard Drinks

Your food and drink options onboard a cruise ship can sometimes be confusing and first time cruisers might feel a bit lost – especially if you’re trying to save money. Fortunately, the more you cruise, the more tips and tricks you pick up to help you get the best value for money possible and have a more enjoyable experience. So if your cruise holiday is coming up and you want to make every penny count, check out these tips on how to save money on cruises with onboard drinks.

How to Save Money on Cruises: Some all-inclusive drinks packages include cocktails
Some all-inclusive drinks packages include cocktails: Photo Marnie Joyce / CC 2.0

How to Save Money on Cruises: On-board Drinks


Not all all-inclusive options are made equal and some liners – such as Celebrity Cruises – offer different all-inclusive levels, so be sure to choose the one that’s right for you. The most comprehensive and expensive option includes all soft drinks, beer and wine plus local and international spirits. There’s usually a secondary level which includes beer and wine only, plus a tertiary level which includes only soft drinks. If you’re planning on spending most days out and about exploring the port of call, it could work out cheaper for you to buy your drinks individually instead of opting for one of the all-inclusive packages.

How to Save Money on Cruises: Save money by buying beer buckets
Save money by buying beer buckets: Photo Michel Filion / CC 2.0

Beer Buckets

If you’re planning on having a few drinks or are drinking with other travellers, you’ll save some serious cash by buying beer bottles by the bucket instead of individually. Even if you’re the only one drinking beer, you can still buy a beer bucket then take all the ones that you haven’t drunk back to your cabin with you and keep them in your fridge. You can save $0.50 per bottle when you buy a bucket of four beers with Carnival Cruises.

How to Save Money on Cruises: Save money by buying wine by the bottle
Save money by buying wine by the bottle: Photo Eje Gustafsson / CC 2.0

Buy Wine By the Bottle

Wine drinkers can save money in a similar way by buying wine by the bottle instead of by the glass. If you buy a bottle of wine and don’t finish it all, most cruise liners will stick a cork in the top, write your room number on the side and store it in the bar for you. You can even drink the rest of the bottle at a different bar or restaurant because all the venues are just a short walk away from each other. One of the many plus points of cruising!

How to Save Money on Cruises: Bar hop with one cocktail
Bar hop with one cocktail: Photo Ruben I / CC 2.0

Bar Hop with One Drink

For regular bar hop nights out you have to buy at least one drink in every bar – this isn’t the case at all when you’re on a cruise ship. Since all the bars are owned by the same company, you’re free to buy one drink in one bar or restaurant and wander around the ship with it, going to as many other venues as you want. So if you’ve just bought a drink at the pool bar and there’s a show about to start in the theatre, you can move from A to B and take your drink with you without anyone batting an eyelid.

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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2 Responses

  1. Cruise Packing Tips: 5 Things You Can't Bring Onboard | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Some cruise liners let you bring a bottle or two of wine in your suitcase, but the majority have a strict policy against bringing any kind of alcohol onboard. You can read plenty of creative ways to sneak it onboard online, but is the hassle and potential embarrassment of getting found out really worth it? Instead, check out these cruise packing tips and ways on how to save money on onboard drinks. […]

  2. Avatar for Nicola Quinn


    This is a great post that could be very helpful! Thank you for sharing some more information about the all-inclusive option.


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