What are the NCL Drink Packages? What do they cost? Are they worth it when cruising Norwegian? Here is a 2023 guide on what you need to know for NCL Beverage Packages.
Norwegian Cruise Line offers a few different beverage packages, but their NCL Premium Beverage Package is the most popular one.
This package comes with their Free at Sea promotion, allowing passengers to choose from 5 free perks. Or you can choose them all, depending on the promotion being advertised at the time of booking.
Normally, what’s included with your cruise fare is filtered water, regular coffee, tea, and some fountain juices.
The NCL Drink Packages are a great way to save money on drinks while cruising. You’ll have access to a wider and unlimited selection of drinks by purchasing one of the packages.
Most NCL cruisers take advantage of the Free at Sea Perk, the Premium Beverage Package, which can be a great deal. Even with the 20% service charge/gratuity added to this perk.
If you enjoy cocktails daily while on vacation, choosing the Premium Beverage Package as one of your free perks will pay off.
Read everything you need to know about NCL’s Free at Sea Perks.
If you don’t drink or aren’t one to imbibe, perhaps the soda package would be a better option and save you some money.
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In this article, we will cover the following NCL Drink Packages that are available for purchase via Norwegian Cruise Line:
- Soda Package
- Premium Beverage Package
- Premium Plus Beverage Package
- Hawaii Beverage Package
- Starbucks Package
First, it’s important to note that the NCL drink packages that are alcoholic are only available for passengers 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
Update March 2023: This article reflects recent changes and terms Norwegian has made to drinks packages. Also, note the NCL Corks & Caps package no longer exists.
We answer some of the most frequently asked questions and dive into the NCL drink packages the cruise line offers below.
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.
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.
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Are drinks free on Norwegian Cruise Line?
The free drinks included with your cruise on NCL are ice 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 drink 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.
NCL Soda Package
- One of the popular beverage packages
- $9.95 per person, per day plus 20% gratuity
- unlimited fountain drinks
The best NCL 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.
The soda package is available for purchase on all NCL ships. This package includes unlimited fountain sodas.
It’s important to note that the Norwegian Cruise Line serves Pepsi; however, they are transitioning their ships to Coca-Cola.
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.
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NCL Premium Beverage Package
- Most popular alcoholic beverage package
- $109 per person, per day, plus 20% gratuity
- It’s included as one of the Free at Sea promotions as the Unlimited Open Bar Perk
- Includes sodas and alcoholic drinks up to $15, selected premium drinks that don’t exceed $15
- Not included: Specialty coffee like Starbucks, energy drinks, orders via room service, and mini-bar items
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.
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.
The Unlimted Open Bar Perk now applies to guests 1-8 that are 21 and over. Minors will receive the soda package.
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.
NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package
- Upgraded version of the NCL Premium Beverage Package
- $138 per person, per day, plus 20% gratuity
- Includes all of the benefits of the NCL Premium Beverage Package, plus:
- Specialty coffees, including Starbucks
- Bottled water
- Energy drinks
- Premium Spirits
- 40% discount on flights and wine tastings
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, bottled sparkling water, and energy drinks.
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 costs $138 per person daily, plus 20% gratuities. The total cost will vary depending on the length of your cruise.
Suppose you already have the Premium Beverage Package provided as a Free at Sea perk. In that case, you can upgrade to the most recent promotion program NCL Free at Sea Plus, for $49 per person daily, plus gratuities, to take advantage of the NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package.
It’s only available on cruises of 3 days or more. If you don’t see the offer available on your NCL account, contact your travel agent or personal cruise consultant at Norwegian.
If the option is availabe for your sailing and cruise cabin, you can also just 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 is only an upgrade that applies to your NCL Free at Sea Open Bar and does not include the other NCL Free at Sea Plus promotions.
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 best NCL 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.
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NCL Hawaii Beverage Package
- For Pride of America sailings only
- Similar to the Premium Plus Beverage Package
- $109 per person, per day, plus 20% gratuity
- Included as one of the Free at Sea perks
- Unlimited beverages up to $15
- Included: soda, flat or sparkling bottled water, specialty coffee in restaurants, and freshly squeezed juices
- Not included: specialty coffee outside restaurants, mini-bar, or vending machines.
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.
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
- $12.95 per person per day for unlimited Starbucks drinks
- 20% gratuity added to the total cost
- Includes all specialty coffee and tea drinks served in cups at Starbucks.
- Package only available on ships that have Starbucks onboard.
- Not included: Bottled water, canned drinks, and food at Starbucks.
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.
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 you 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 — a little over the cost of a package for one. 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.
Bottled water, canned drinks, and food at Starbucks are not included. Read the terms and conditions for Norwegian’s Starbucks Package.
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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. You can go to the buffet for free water, coffee, and juices to save money. 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.
What NCL Drink Package do you normally purchase?
Wondering if it’s challenging to plan the cruise? Don’t worry. We have you covered there as well. You can check out How to Plan a Cruise and How to Prepare for a Cruise next.
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Friday 3rd of February 2023
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.
Saturday 4th of February 2023
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.