Beverage packages on cruises seem to be a topic of high interest to many readers of this blog. We’ve shared our experiences with the Signature Beverage Package on Holland America Line several times, most recently in this December, 2015 post: An Improved Signature Beverage Package on Holland America Cruises.
In addition to being popular, posts on cruise beverage packages tend to stimulate a lot of questions.
When we cruised on Holland America’s ms Zuiderdam during the New Year’s Holiday, we enjoyed the Signature Beverage Package as a perk of booking our cruise during last fall’s Explore 4 promotion.
As we received our boarding package with cruise key cards, there was a small piece of paper included that detailed the “rules” of the package.
Mr. Jones said, “I’m taking a photo of this. It answers all of the questions.”
- A 15 percent service charge is automatically applied to your purchase. When you buy the Signature Beverage package either on board your cruise or online before you sail, 15 percent is automatically added to the entire amount to cover tips. However, if you receive the package through the Explore 4 promotion, the 15 percent service charge is included. This doesn’t mean that you can’t show your favorite bartenders a little love with extra cash tips.
- Up to a 15-drink maximum/day. If you drink more than 15 coffees, or sodas, or smoothies, or cocktails, or combination of drinks covered under the package in a single day, you will be charged for those exceeding the 15 drink limit. Yes, 15 is a lot of beverages, but we hear that some people can exceed that number.
- Participants may only order 1 drink at a time. This is pretty clear: no ordering a bucket of beer or two drinks at a time on the beverage package.
- Includes beverages priced at an $8 or lower menu price. Any drink on the menu that is $8 or less is covered by the package. If the drink on the menu is $8.95, you will be charged $8.95 for it. There is no “pay the difference” option like there is on some cruise lines beverage packages.
- Package excludes Mini-bar, In-Room Dining and Half Moon Cay. The bars on Holland America’s private island Half Moon Cay offer stellar views and cold drinks, but all of your drinks on the island will show up on your bill as they aren’t covered by the Signature Beverage Package. Ditto for those sodas in your mini-bar. You can, however, request a can of soda or a bottle of water from a bar on the ship under the package, and then take it to your stateroom to enjoy it.
- All adults 21 years of age or older booked in the same stateroom must also purchase the package. If you are a drinker, and your cabin-mate(s) are not, you cannot buy the package unless adult in your stateroom buys the package.
- Package is not transferable or refundable. You can’t change your mind half way through the cruise and get your money back. Likewise, if you were given the Signature Beverage Package through Explore 4, you cannot “gift” it to someone who does not have the package.
- Sharing is not permitted. You cannot order drinks with the package and give them to someone else.
- Must be 21 years or older and agree to not give to minors. You can’t share drinks, and sharing them with someone under 21 might get you kicked off the ship.
- Beverage management reserves the right to revoke the package if misused and refuse service for any reason. In other words, if you try to “break” these rules, you will lose your package benefits. Or, if you are viewed as intoxicated, you will not be served any more drinks, regardless of how many of your daily “15” you have consumed.
Questions? Post them in comments below.
These posts are on drink packages offered by other cruise lines:
- Details About The Ultimate Beverage Package on Norwegian Cruise Line
- Is the All-Inclusive Beverage Package on Princess Cruises a Good Deal?
- Is the Premium Beverage Package on Royal Caribbean Cruises A Good Deal?