A Comprehensive Guide to NCL Drink Packages

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What are the NCL Drink Packages? Let’s dive into Norwegian Cruise Line’s Beverage Packages with our 2024 guide.

While your cruise fare includes essentials like filtered water, regular coffee, tea, and buffet fountain juices, enhancing your experience with an NCL Drink Package or opting for the popular NCL Premium Beverage with the Free-at-Sea Promotion offers a wider, unlimited selection of drinks. This allows you to savor some NCL favorite drinks and can be a cost-effective choice if you enjoy more than a few drinks daily.

Use our cruise drink calculator below to compare costs and determine whether purchasing a soda package or paying gratuities for the Free at Sea Open Bar perk makes more financial sense.

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Explore the NCL Drink Packages: costs, value, and your 2023-2024 guide to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Beverage Packages.

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This article will explore the available NCL Drink Packages for purchase through Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian Beverage Packages Available

  • Soda Package
    Unlimited fountain sodas and non-alcoholic beverages for the cruise.
  • Premium Beverage Package
    A wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including cocktails, beer, wine, and sodas.
  • Premium Plus Beverage Package
    An upgraded version of the Premium Beverage Package offering additional premium spirits, cocktails, wines, and specialty coffee, including unlimited Starbucks.
  • Hawaii Beverage Package
    Tailored for cruises in Hawaii, on Pride of America, this package includes a selection of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
  • Starbucks Package
    Unlimited specialty coffees and teas from Starbucks throughout the cruise.

Note: the NCL Corks & Caps package no longer exists.

First, it’s important to note that the NCL drink packages that are alcoholic are only available for passengers aged 21 and over.

Second, the price of the package will vary depending on the length of your cruise. Any examples we provide are based on a 7-day cruise.

Third, Tasty Itinerary is not affiliated with Norwegian Cruise Line, nor do we work for the cruise line.

NCL Drink Packages Explained

fruity drink on cruise railing by the sea

We answer some of the most frequently asked questions and dive into the NCL Beverage Packages the cruise line offers below.

NCL Soda Package

The Soda Package on Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Popularity: A favored choice among beverage packages, especially for non-alcoholic drinkers.
  • Pricing: $9.95 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity
  • Inclusions: Indulge in unlimited fountain soda drinks.
  • Exclusions: No canned soda, mini bar options, or room service delivery.
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Enjoying our fried chicken dinner in the dining room with a Pepsi.

The best Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Package depends on your drinking habits. If you’re a light drinker, meaning you don’t drink alcohol at all, but you do soda, we recommend the Classic Soda Package. This package includes unlimited fountain sodas. The soda package is available for purchase on all NCL ships.

  • Norwegian Cruise Line used to serve Pepsi, but they have officially transitioned their ships to Coca-Cola.
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What is the cost of the NCL Soda package?

The soda package costs $9.95 per person daily plus a 20% gratuity.

Is the NCL Soda Package worth it?

The NCL Soda Package is a great option for those who don’t drink alcohol or want to save money. With the package, you’ll have unlimited access to fountain drinks, saving you money in the long run.

Consider that a cup of soda is around $3-4 each. So if you order 2-3 a day, even if it’s just club soda, it will make up for the price.

If you don’t drink much alcohol, you may consider purchasing a soda package on embarkation day rather than investing in the gratuity that comes with the Unlimited Open Bar Perk ($305 in gratuities for two guests). However, always do the calculations.

The soda package costs about $84 per passenger, which is $168 for two passengers. Wouldn’t the extra $137 towards the Unlimited Open Bar Perk be worth it? That’s what you have to ask yourself. You can enjoy some virgin frozen drinks.

Save now, share with friends, or come back to it later.

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NCL Premium Beverage Package

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Beverage Package

  • Pricing: $109 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity
  • Inclusions: Featured in the Free at Sea promotions as the Unlimited Open Bar Perk
  • Beverage Range: Enjoy a variety of sodas and alcoholic beverages, including options up to $15 and selected premium drinks within the same range.
  • Exclusions: Specialty coffee, such as Starbucks, energy drinks, room service orders, and mini-bar items are not covered.
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Take advantage of the Premium Beverage Package, but note that you will be charged a small tax fee while docked in US ports.

The NCL Premium Beverage Package is the most popular and for a good reason. It’s a great value for what you get and one of the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea perks.

As we mentioned, you can choose this package as a Free at Sea perk when booking a cruise if it suits your budget and cruising needs.

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What does NCL Premium Beverage Package include?

The NCL Premium Beverage Package includes a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for up to $15 and 20% off bottles of wine and champagne.

This package does not include specialty coffees, bottled water, room service, or mini bar purchases.

What is the cost of the NCL Premium Beverage Package?

The NCL Premium Beverage Package costs $109 per person daily, plus 20% gratuities. The total cost will vary depending on the length of your cruise.

If you choose this as a free perk, remember that you will have to pay gratuities for the value of the Premium Beverage Package. Which currently adds up to $305 for guests 1 & 2 on a 7-day cruise. Again, we advise you to calculate to see if it’s worth the gratuities.

The Unlimited Open Bar Perk now applies to guests 1-8 who are 21 and over. Minors will receive the soda package if they are guests 2, but not 3-8.

There is an additional tax if you order drinks while docked at a US Port.

You can read the terms and conditions for the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Beverage Package: here.

What happens if you order a drink that is over $15?

If you have the NCL Premium Beverage package that only covers certain alcoholic drinks, liquor, and beverages up to $15, you can pay for the difference out of pocket.

Example: If you order an $18 martini, the premium beverage package will only cover up to $15, so the difference of $3 plus 20% gratuity will be charged to your Seapass. Of course, bartenders will always tell you when a drink isn’t fully covered with the premium beverage package and the cost difference. You can then decide if you want to proceed with the extra cost or not.

Check out NCL’s updated PDF that lists all of the alcohols and beverages that are included in the Premium Beverage Package and the Premium Plus Beverage Package.

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Norwegian Cruise Line’s District Brewhouse is the spot to enjoy various beers.

NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium PLUS Beverage Package

  • Package: An upgraded version of the NCL Premium Beverage Package
  • Pricing: $138 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity
  • Upgrade Cost: Additional $29 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity
  • Enhancements: Enjoy all the perks of the NCL Premium Beverage Package, with additional delights:
    • Unlimited specialty coffees featuring Starbucks
    • Bottled water for added convenience
    • Energy drinks to keep you energized
    • Premium spirits for a heightened experience
    • A 40% discount on flights and wine tastings, enhancing your journey with exclusive savings.

The NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package is the boosted version of the NCL Premium Beverage Package. This package is worth purchasing or upgrading if premium spirits are important to you and you want unlimited access to bottled water, sparkling bottled water, and energy drinks.

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What does NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package include?

The NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package includes all the benefits of the NCL Premium Beverage Package, including specialty coffees (Starbucks), bottled water, bottled sparking water, energy drinks, and premium spirits.

What is the cost of the NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package?

The NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package is priced at $138 per person daily, plus 20% gratuities, with the total cost varying based on the cruise duration.

If you already have the Premium Beverage Package as a Free at Sea perk, consider upgrading to the NCL Free at Sea Plus program for an additional $49 per person daily, plus gratuities. This exclusive upgrade is available for cruises of 3 days or more. Contact your travel agent or Norwegian cruise consultant for assistance if the offer isn’t visible on your NCL account.

If the option is available for your sailing and cruise cabin, you can upgrade from the Premium Beverage Package to the Premium Plus Beverage package for an additional $29 per person per day (adult guests 1 & 2). This upgrade applies to your NCL Free at Sea Open Bar and does not include the other NCL Free at Sea Plus promotions.

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Is the NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package worth it?

If you’re a heavy drinker, this is the package for you. Cruisers love its ease and freedom to order what they want to drink throughout the cruise.

Whether that’s Starbucks coffee all day long or full bottles of wine at dinner, the premium spirits also make this package a great value. If you’re looking for the ultimate Norwegian Cruise Line drink package, the premium plus beverage package is it.

Also, note that if you upgrade to the Free at Sea Plus, the upgrade comes with two additional dinners at specialty dining restaurants for guests 1 and 2, unlimited Internet (no streaming), and $50 off a shore excursion for the 2nd guest.

Does NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package include Starbucks?

Yes! Starbucks and specialty coffees are included with the NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package.

You can read the terms and conditions for the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Plus Beverage Package: here.

NCL Hawaii Beverage Package

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Hawaii Beverage Package

  • Package: Exclusive to Pride of America sailings
  • Similarity: Resembles the Premium Plus Beverage Package
  • Pricing: $109 per person per day, plus a 20% gratuity
  • Inclusions: Featured as one of the Free at Sea perks, the Hawaii Beverage Package offers unlimited beverages up to $15, encompassing:
    • Soda
    • Flat or sparkling bottled water
    • Specialty coffee in restaurants
    • Freshly squeezed juices
  • Exclusions: Specialty coffee outside restaurants, mini-bar selections, or vending machine purchases are not covered.
holding a pina colada with the norwegian cruise line logo on cupPin

The NCL Hawaii Beverage Package is great for those cruising to or from the islands on the Norwegian Pride of America sailings. This package is similar to the Premium Beverage package. The biggest difference is that it does include bottled water and specialty coffee in dining rooms.

This package is offered as a Free at Sea promotion if you add it to your cruise fare.

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What does the NCL Hawaii Beverage Package include?

The NCL Hawaii Beverage Package includes unlimited beverages from non-alcoholic to alcoholic drinks for up to $15. That includes all bottled water, restaurant specialty coffee, and fresh juices.

What is the cost of Norwegian’s Hawaii Beverage Package?

The NCL Hawaii Beverage Package costs $109 per person daily, plus 20% gratuities. The total cost will vary depending on the length of your cruise.

Note that if you choose this as a free perk, you will have to pay gratuities for the value of the NCL Hawaii Beverage Package. Which currently adds up to $305 for two people on a 7-day cruise.

Read the terms and conditions for Norwegian Cruise Line’s Hawaii Beverage Package.

Unlimited Starbucks Package

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Unlimited Starbucks Package

  • Package: Unlimited Starbucks drinks
  • Pricing: $12.95 per person per day, with a 20% gratuity added to the total cost
  • Inclusions: Enjoy limitless indulgence in all specialty coffee and tea drinks served in cups at Starbucks.
  • Availability: Exclusive to ships featuring Starbucks onboard.
  • Exclusions: Bottled water, canned drinks, and food purchases at Starbucks are not covered.
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What is the cost of the Starbucks Package?

The Starbucks package on the Norwegian Cruise Line costs $12.95 per person per day for unlimited Starbucks drinks. It adds to a total of $108.78 per person based on a 7-day cruise.

The package has to be purchased for everyone staying in the same cabin if they are 18 and over.

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Is the Starbucks Package worth it?

If you’re a huge specialty coffee drinker not planning to upgrade to or purchase the Premium Plus package (it comes included), YES.

And if you’re not purchasing any drink package but love your lattes, frappuccinos, and teas, the cost of a Starbucks package is a good alternative.

When we cruised the Norwegian Joy, we spent $19 with a tip at Starbucks for two lattes one afternoon. The Starbucks drinks a la carte are slightly more expensive than on shore, but we believe it was better prepared than any Starbucks on land near us.

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List of the cost of coffee at the Starbucks on the Norwegian Encore.

Bottled water, canned drinks, and food at Starbucks are not included. Read the terms and conditions for Norwegian’s Starbucks Package.

Drink Prices on Norwegian Cruise Line

We recently sailed on the Norwegian Encore. While we had upgraded to the NCLs Premium Plus Package, I did keep an eye on the cost of the drinks.

Here is a price list of some of the common drinks. You can calculate if a Beverage Package, whether the Free-at-Sea or the Premius Plus package, works for your budget.

Or if you plan to pay for drinks without a beverage package. 

Don’t forget to add that 20% gratuity that will be added automatically with each drink ordered.

The Free-at-Sea Beverage Package covers alcoholic drinks up to $15. If you order anything over $15, you can pay for the difference and gratuities. That includes if you decide to order your drink with top-shelf liquor rather than well. 

Note that some drinks may vary in price by $1-2 throughout the fleet.

  • Boxed Water: $4 
  • Sparkling Pelligrino: $7
  • Soda: $3-4
  • Bottle of Beer: $7-8
  • Starbucks: $3.50-$6.45
  • Wine/Sparkling Wine: $8-$31 per glass
  • Popular Cocktails: $9 to $12
  • Whiskey Libations: $11 to $14
    The whiskey flights with top-shelf liquor at Malting’s are $20.
  • Martini’s: $11 to $18
    The espresso and chocolate martini everyone loves is the most expensive at $18. Martini flights are $20. 

Cruise Drink Package Calculator

Don’t stress about which package to choose. Our cruise drink package calculator will help you determine if the gratuities charged for the Free-at-Sea NCL Drink Package is worth the cost. Or if you should consider upgrading to the NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package.

See which NCL drink package is the best bang for your buck. You might realize that you do not plan to drink as much to justify the cost of any of them, and it will be cheaper to pay for drinks as you go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are drinks free on Norwegian Cruise Line?

No, drinks are not free on the Norwegian Cruise Line. Not even if you choose the Norwegian Premium Beverage Package as a Free at Sea perk because you still have to pay a 20% beverage service charge of the value of the package ($305 in gratuities for two passengers for a 7-day cruise), however, it is still a fantastic value.

Does NCL drink package include gratuity?

No, the gratuities are not included with the NCL drink packages. An additional 20% service charge will be added to the value of the drink package.

Is NCL drink package worth it?

The NCL drink packages can be worth it if you justify the price and gratuities paid with the number of drinks you think you’ll consume. If you like to drink multiple alcoholic beverages daily, the gratuities paid for the NCL Premium Beverage Free at Sea perk will likely be worth it.

The best to find out if any of these drink packages are worth it is by calculating if the amount of drinks you’ll have throughout the cruise will add up to the amount of the package or more.

Calculation example: ($10 per drink) x (how many drinks a day) = estimated total for one cruise day (total of one cruise day) x (# of days of your cruise) = estimated total for the entire cruise.

You can check out some NCL Drink Prices below and use our handy Cruise Drink Package Calculator.

Does NCL Premium Beverage Package include bottled water?

The short answer is no. Bottled water is not included with the NCL Premium Beverage Package.

Be aware there are conflicting reports as NCL temporarily included 6 1L water bottles (delivered to your stateroom on embarkation day) with the Free at Sea NCL Premium Beverage Package. According to reports, that is no longer the case. Customer service onshore and offshore can’t seem to provide a straight answer.

Bottled water packages can be purchased separately.

The only beverage package that does include unlimited bottled water (still and sparkling) is the NCL Premium PLUS Beverage Package.

Are drinks free on Norwegian Cruise Line?

The free drinks included with your cruise on NCL are iced tea, regular coffee, filtered water, and some free fountain juices in the buffet.

Sodas, specialty coffee, alcoholic drinks, frozen drinks, and bottled water are an extra charge unless you have an NCL Beverage Package that covers these drinks.

Are frozen drinks included in NCL drink package?

Frozen drinks are included in the Premium Beverage Package, Premium Plus Beverage Package, and the Hawaiian Beverage Package.

Does my Free at Sea Open Bar apply if the 2nd guest is a minor?

If your 2nd guest on your Norwegian cruise reservation is minor and you choose the Open Bar Free at Sea perk, the child will get the soda package.

The NCL Drink Packages provide great drink deals while cruising if you plan to take advantage of them. There are a variety of packages to choose from, so find the one that best suits your needs.

If you don’t drink soda or consume alcoholic drinks, don’t feel obligated to purchase a drink package. To save money, you can go to the buffet for free water, coffee, and juices. Filtered water and regular coffee are always provided in the dining rooms.

Cruise tip: Pack a thermal coffee mug or water flask, and refill these at the buffet. This is one of many things we list in our cruise packing list.

You can also always order drinks à la carte. Just make sure you do those calculations before the first day of your cruise. You can always add a beverage package on embarkation day.

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Before you set sail, here are some related articles you don’t want to miss:

Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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  1. Why is the “Plus” package not offered on Pride of America? The article mentions that the Hawaiian Package is comparable to the NCL Ultimate Beverage Package. Why don’t they also offer a comparable “Plus” Package? My wife and I enjoy fine wine and the Hawaiian Beverage Package limits us to glasses of wine of $15 or less. This is unfair and will ultimately cost NCL revenue as it encourages us to bring our own bottles, and incur the corkage fee, instead of purchasing them from NCL.

    1. I understand the frustration. You will have to contact Norwegian Cruise Line to give them your thoughts. Hopefully, they are working on a special “plus” upgrade program for the Hawaiian Beverage Package. Meanwhile, I wish that the bottled water included in the Hawaiian Beverage Package was included in the Premium Beverage package without having to upgrade to Plus for an additional cost.

  2. So here is our issue.
    I drink strictly Starbucks, no sodas whatsoever. My husband only drinks Diet Coke. There are only two of us in the cabin. So do we have to get drink packages galore or what?

    1. Hi Holly – That’s where it gets tricky. NCLs policy is that all passengers within the same cabin must purchase the same package. It is not helfpul in situations like this.

      I can totally relate as my husband doesn’t drink alcohol and yet I do, this becomes an issue sometimes when cruising. I pay for alcohol as I go now. However, from personal experience we have been able to purchase a soda package just for him and not me once onboard NCL ship in the past. I’ve read others that have done similar, even with upgrades when one person upgrades a package and the other doesn’t, once onboard. You can try to go that route and wait to see if they’ll allow you to make these separate purchases on board, but it is not a guarantee.

      The other dilemma is that I believe that the Starbucks package is sold online and not onboard, don’t believe that has changed. We do have an upcoming cruise on NCL and I’ll be on the lookout to see.

  3. Thank you so much for all the incredible info! Headed out of NYC to Bermuda this summer with our giant family of 21 people ranging from 5 to 80 years old! Trying to manage the expectations of the 20-year old’s in the group in regards to the drinks package. A promotion that was included is the Ultimate Beverage Package for Groups. During a phone call with NCL they explained it as 2 drinks per person per transaction. So I assume that works great say at the pool bar or casino, but they said that would be 2 drinks per sit down meal. Do you know if that’s enforced or is it a little more open at the dinner table to order say a pre-dinner drink, 2 glasses of wine with dinner and then a cordial? Would tipping the waiter help or make things awkward? Sorry first cruise for all of us! Thanks again 🙂

    1. Hi Catherine – NCL’s policy states, a passenger with the Unlimited Beverage Package can order 2 drinks per transaction. Meaning that you can order 2 pina coladas at a time, if you wish.

      Perhaps when speaking to customer service, they are see dinner as one transaction and stating that you’ll only be able to have 2 drinks max. That’s not the case, I’ve never experienced any limits ordering multiple drinks at dinner, including a cordial.

      What I have experienced at times is the waiter being so busy that I don’t get the chance to order another drink. You should be able to order unlimited drinks that are included in the package.

      It doesn’t hurt to get a pre-dinner drink and bring that with you to dinner. Many passengers do this, especially during busy dinner times. There are bars usually easily accessible not far from the dinner venues.

      Tips are always appreciated. We always tip at the end of our meal if the service was excellent. Of course, you can tip ahead when placing your drink order and whisper, “keep ’em coming.” I’m sure they’d be happy to oblige.

  4. We have the beverage package and three specialty dinners on the Getaway this fall. Is the beverage package included when we are at one of the specialty restaurants?

    1. Hi Claudia – Apologies for the late reply, we just got off an Alaskan cruise on Norwegian. To answer your question, the beverage package can be used in the dining room and are subject to the same guidelines and restrictions. So if you have a Premium Beverage Package, you can order cocktails and wine up to $15 (you can always pay the difference if you do order anything over $15). If you have the Premium PLUS Beverage Package then you can literally order anything from top shelf cocktails, expensive glasses of wine and even the specialty coffee.
      Have a great cruise!

  5. Why don’t any of these blog entries state how much a soda costs? If I knew how much a soda costs, I can determine if the ~$10/day is worth it for me. Thank you!