7 Ways to Drink Cheap on Your Cruise

We’ve all been there — you get your final statement on the last night of the cruise and nearly fall over trying to understand how you drank that much alcohol. Those frozen drinks on the lido deck and late nights at the piano bar add up quickly! Fortunately, there are a few ways to slim down your bill without cutting out the booze.

Carnival miami vice drink

7 Tips for Drinking Cheap on a Cruise

1. Bottle Service

Some cruise lines offer bottle service, meaning you can have bottles of liquor delivered to your room for much less than what it would cost to buy the same amount of alcohol at the bar.

If you’re smart enough to bring your own 12-pack of soda with you at embarkation, you can mix your own drinks in your cabin and save some money from tipping a bartender, too.

2. Beverage Packages

Most cruise lines offer beverage packages for $60-80 per day that are all-inclusive, so you can order drinks and never worry about a bill.

For example, Carnival’s Cheers! package includes all alcoholic drinks with a $20 or lower menu price; soda; specialty coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos; and other drinks such as energy drinks, juices, coconut water, Gatorade, etc.

Make sure to read the fine print, though, as each line differs in what its packages may offer. For example, on most lines, everyone in the same cabin who’s old enough must purchase the beverage package, while kids in that cabin must purchase a soda/nonalcoholic package.

3. Liquor Tastings

Check your daily cruise itinerary for when the ship hosts a liquor tasting, and be sure not to miss it.

The hosts are always more than generous with giving you all the shots – I mean, tastings – that you request, and they never seem to mind whether or not you even end up buying a bottle (but of course, you usually do, and why not? It’s duty-free!).

liquor tastings cruise ship

4. Drink Up in Port

A lot of shore excursions and all-inclusive beach breaks offer an open bar. Drink up! If the drinks are unlimited, they’re usually not very strong, so take advantage of them. Frozen drinks tend to contain less alcohol, so stick to bottled beer and liquor to really get your money’s worth.

Keep in mind, even if you’re just hanging out in the port, it’s easy to find a local bar or restaurant port serving cheaper drinks than the ship.

READ MORE: The Pros and Cons of Future Cruise Credits

5. Mixology Class

If you’ve cruised on a Carnival ship with the beloved Alchemy Bar, you may have heard of the mixology class offered by Carnival’s “cocktail specialists.”

The mixology class is just $20 and gets you four martinis and two shots in addition to valuable cocktail knowledge. What’s that saying? Give a man a drink, get him tipsy for a day; teach a man to mix the drink, and keep him tipsy for a lifetime.

torshaven lounge mixology viking sky

6. Bring Wine Onboard

It’s important to remember that many cruise lines have policies that allow each passenger to bring one bottle of alcohol aboard.

This small luxury can be a great way to save money, as purchasing your preferred drink from a large-scale retailer like Total Wine or even your neighborhood grocery store will likely be significantly less expensive than what you would pay for the same bottle on the cruise.

The price difference can be substantial, giving you more flexibility to enjoy your vacation without worrying too much about the costs.

7. Gift Cards

If you know you’re cruising in advance and it’s a special occasion, have people buy you cruise line gift cards instead of presents. This way, you can use the gift card as a bar card.

But you don’t have to celebrate a special occasion for this to work; you can buy the gift cards yourself in advance and essentially have your onboard expenses paid for. Who doesn’t want their vacation paid for in full?

How do you drink cheap on a cruise?

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Featured Photo: Flickr/Madonovan

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