Watch Your Bar Tab!!

Cruise lines tend to give the overall impression that once you book a cruise with them, everything is included in the original fare. This is far from the truth, and there are many hidden fees, from specialty restaurant cover charges to all alcoholic beverages. This is one major way that they make money from passengers, and more often than not, the drinks are far from being discounted.

On the Voyager of the Seas, there were fourteen bars/lounges where you could do some serious damage to your bank account, not to mention the bartenders in the casino and the nightclub. If you do not pay close attention, the bill at the end of the cruise could ruin the entire experience.

Here are some examples of what you can expect to pay for drinks during a cruise vacation with Royal Caribbean: (Prices are in USD)

Hot Beverages

Hot Chocolate: $1.75

Espresso: $1.95

Lattes and Cappuccinos: $2.75 to $3.25

Wines (By the glass)

Chardonnay: $5.50 to $8.00

White Zinfandel: $6.00

Pinot Noir: $8.00


Heineken: $4.25

Samuel Adams: $3.95

Budweiser: $4.50


These prices are at a fixed price regardless of where they are purchased onboard. However, if you do not buy it at the bar itself, but have a waiter bring it to you instead, you are automatically charged a service tax of 15%. To add insult to injury, the receipt which is brought to you to sign, actually has a box for an additional tip!

The bars and lounges onboard are all plush and extravagant. Soft carpets, polished stools and large flat panel televisions to watch sports are all designed to draw you in and make you hard-pressed to leave. This helps to ensure that you stay for long periods and drop a healthy amount on your tab.

If you are now thinking that you will simply bring your own alcohol onboard to avoid this, it won’t work. The cruise line scans every luggage which is being brought onboard, and anything over the allowed one bottle of wine is confiscated on the spot.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time! I’m just giving a heads up so that future first time cruisers don’t get carried away. It’s best to work out a budget ahead of time, so you aren’t taken off guard. Hidden costs such as a $10 corkage fee for your dinner wine are never advertised. Now that you know what to expect, go out and cruise! A little know-how can make your vacation even better!


About Jodi

I absolutely love to travel. Most days, it's hard to focus on anything else. However, I'd like to change my travel style from now on. I have always been a 'safe' traveler, with hotel reservations made, cruise vacations and a set timetable. I want to break out of that habit, and become an independent backpacker. This blog will serve to document my aspirations to experiment with traveling solo, around the world!

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. True! Sometimes though, it really is all included like on the luxury line Regent and for AmaWaterways, you get wine and beer with dinner. A lot of first-time cruisers don’t know either that gratuities are automatically applied to their onboard account, something extra to watch out for. However, most cruise lines offer the option to pay this daily set amount in advance. Very informative post on cruise drinks, Jodi, something I get asked a lot about too.

    • Hmmm… you’re right. I guess I was mostly referring to the main stream cruise lines. I mean, if you and I are paying thousands of dollars to cruise on those luxury ships, they should include wine and extras lol. Thanks Vanny!

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