Speciality coffee on MSC Cruises

Everything You Need to Know About MSC Cruises’ Drinks Packages

Beverages keep on flowing when you buy a drinks package on your cruise holiday. But those seemingly unlimited drinks from the bars and restaurants come with a hefty initial cost.

One of the big dilemmas I faced when I booked my cruise on MSC Preziosa was whether to book the MSC Cruises Drinks Package or not. I thought I would share my decision-making process in case it helps you assess the ins and outs of the all-inclusive drinks package.


In November 2018, MSC Cruises restructured and renamed the drinks packages in a massive overhaul. The All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package became the Easy All-Inclusive Drink Package, and the All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package became the Premium-Plus All-Inclusive Drink Package. New packages - the Premium All-Inclusive Drink Package and the Non-Alcoholic All-Inclusive Drink Package - were also introduced.

2019/2020 MSC Cruises Drinks Package Prices

Turn your full-board cruise with MSC Cruises into an all-inclusive cruise by bolting on a drinks package. For a daily fee, you can order unlimited beverages (subject to restrictions, see below) from any bar, the buffet, or the main restaurants at no additional cost. So you pay a sum of money up-front instead of forking out for drinks as you go along.

There's just four packages to choose from, and pricing is now simple to understand.

Drinks PackageFrom Price Per Night (GBP)From Price Per Night (USD)
Easy£26$35 ( £28) (21 years+)
$29 ( £23) (12-20 years)
$17 ( £14) (3-11 years)
Premium£35$62 ( £49) (21 years+)
$29 ( £23) (12-20 years)
$17 ( £14) (3-11 years)
Premium Plus£49$79 ( £62) (21 years+)
$29 ( £23) (12-20 years)
$17 ( £14) (3-11 years)
Non-Alcoholic£17 (12 years+)
£12 (3-11 years)
$29 ( £23) (12 years+)
$17 ( £14) (3-11 years)

Source: GBP prices from MSC Cruises UK 2020/2021 brochure; USD prices from MSC Cruises USA website

Easy All-Inclusive Drinks Package

The Easy All-Inclusive Drinks Package is the cheapest package with booze included. It costs from £26 per person per night for Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Emirates, and Southern Caribbean cruises. The brochure appears to imply that other voyages might have higher 'from' rates.

  • Unlimited consumption of all drinks priced up to €6 or $6 (€6 for Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Emirates, and Southern Caribbean cruises; $6 for Caribbean, Northern America, and Japan cruises; and $5 for South America cruises).
  • Get drinks from the bars, buffet, and the main restaurants.

  • It cannot be used in speciality restaurants.
  • It doesn't include souvenir glasses, ice cream, drinks from the minibar, or room service.

So what is included?

TypeExamples of drinks and brands
BeerDraught (Heineken)
Wines by the glassHouse wines (Chardonnay; Cabernet Sauvignon; Sauvignon Blanc; White Zinfandel Rosé; Merlot; Prosecco)
Selected aperitifsWhite Vermouth; Red Vermouth
Selected spiritsBeefeater Gin; Bacardi Superior White Rum; Seagram's 7 Crown Whisky; Jim Beam Black Label Whiskey; Smirnoff Vodka; Dewar's White Label Whisky
Selected mixersWhiskey & 7 Up; Gin & Tonic; Rum & Coke; Whiskey & Coke; Vodka & Lemon
Selected cocktailsScrewdriver; Long Island Iced Tea; Cape Cod; Greyhound; Moscow Mule
Mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails)Smoothies/shakes; Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri; Virgin Royal Punch; Virgin Mojito; Virgin Magic Island; Cuddles on the Beach (Virgin Sex on the Beach); Coco Colada (Virgin Piña Colada)
Soft drinks by the glassFruit juice; sodas; Energy drinks
WaterBottled mineral water
Hot drinksEspresso, Caffè Latte, Caffè corretto, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, Tea (breakfast, fruit, or herbal)

Premium All-Inclusive Drinks Package

The next level up is the Premium Package. This builds upon the Easy package and has more inclusions. It costs from £35 per person per night for Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Emirates, and Southern Caribbean cruises. The brochure appears to imply that other voyages might have higher 'from' rates.

  • Unlimited consumption of all drinks priced up to €10 or $12 (€10 for Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Emirates, and Southern Caribbean cruises; $12 for Caribbean, Northern America, and Japan cruises; and $10 for South America cruises).
  • Get drinks from the bars, buffet, the main restaurants, and speciality restaurants.

  • It doesn't include souvenir glasses, ice cream, drinks from the minibar, or room service.

So what is included? You get everything that the Easy package covers plus more, as it covers drinks with a higher price tag.

TypeExamples of drinks and brands
BeerDraught; Bottles
Wines by the glassSparkling; White; Red; Rosé
Spirits; Mixers; Aperitifs; CocktailsStandard and selected premium spirits; Cocktails; Mixers; Aperitifs
Non-alcoholic drinksSmoothies/shakes; Mocktails (Virgin Cocktails); Fruit juice; sodas; Energy drinks; Bottled mineral water
Hot drinksTea; Coffee; Hot chocolate; Hot and cold speciality coffee drinks; Hot chocolate speciality drinks

Premium Plus All-Inclusive Drinks Package

The top drinks package that includes alcoholic drinks is the Premium-Plus Package, and it stands out from the others as it covers all drinks by the glass. This is the package to choose if you want the widest range of choice. It costs from £49 per person per night for Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Emirates, and Southern Caribbean cruises. The brochure appears to imply that other voyages might have higher 'from' rates.

  • Unlimited consumption of all drinks regardless of price.
  • Get drinks from the bars, buffet, the main restaurants, and speciality restaurants.
  • Drinks and food from the minibar and the room service menu are included.

  • It doesn't include souvenir glasses or ice cream.

So what is included? You get everything that the Premium package covers plus more, as it covers drinks with a higher price tag.

TypeExamples of drinks and brands
Wines by the glassAll
Spirits; Mixers; Aperitifs; CocktailsAll
Non-alcoholic drinksAll
Hot drinksAll

Should you fancy a bottle of wine or champagne, this package entitles you to a 30% discount.

Non-Alcoholic All-Inclusive Drinks Package

Don't drink alcohol but still want the freedom of a drinks package? Here's your answer in the form a a package that covers the soft drinks and virgin drinks without paying for alcohol you have no intention of consuming. It costs from £17 per adult per night and from £12 per child per night for Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Emirates, and Southern Caribbean cruises. The brochure appears to imply that other voyages might have higher 'from' rates.

The caveat is that the packages are only available to adults and children travelling as part of a group or family where someone has purchased an adult alcoholic package. So, a teetotal family has to buy at least one alcoholic package to avail the cheaper rate of the non-alcoholic package for the remaining passengers. I suspect the definition of 'group' and 'family' might mean teetotal couples may not be able to take advantage of this package.

  • Unlimited consumption of all alcohol-free drinks and soft-serve ice cream.
  • Get drinks from the bars, buffet, and the main restaurants.

  • It cannot be used in speciality restaurants.
  • It doesn't include souvenir glasses, ice cream, drinks from the minibar, or room service.

So what is included? You get everything that the Premium package covers plus more, as it covers drinks with a higher price tag.

TypeExamples of drinks and brands
Mocktails (non-alcholic cocktails)All
Soft drinksAll, including Fruit juice; sodas; Energy drinks
WaterAll, including Bottled mineral water; Vitamin Water
Hot drinksAll
Ice creamSoft-serve only

Free all-inclusive drinks

Did you know that Aurea experience passengers get a free Easy all-inclusive drinks package included in their cruise fare? Yacht Club guests get the Premium Plus all-inclusive drinks package. Find out more about the MSC experience levels here.

How Much Does The MSC Drinks Package Cost?

Your itinerary length determines the package price as does the region you are sailing. You cannot order a package on a day-by-day basis. So for example, if you are on a seven-night cruise the pre-booked Easy Package would work out as from £26 per night x 7 night = from £182 per person for the entire voyage. You cannot, for example, go all-inclusive on day two and day five.

Importantly, everyone occupying the same cabin, or travelling together and dining at the same table, must each buy the same drinks package, including children aged three years old or above.

In this example, assuming the from price is used by MSC Cruises, if two adults and two teenagers are sharing a cabin, two Easy Drinks Packages need purchasing - even if only one adult would make full use of the drinks package - plus two Non-Alcoholic packages for the kids. The maths to calculate this is (2 people × (7 nights × from £26 per night)) + (2 people × (7 nights × from £17 per night))  = from £602 for the family of four for the entire duration of the voyage. Remember, the 'from' rate can vary from sailing to sailing, depending on what MSC Cruises sets it as based on the duration and region of voyage.

Wine glass

Buying on board

You do not need to pre-book this drinks package online before you travel on holiday but purchasing the package onboard makes it liable for a 15% bar service charge.

Bar Prices on MSC Cruises

If you are thinking about paying as you go, these are typical prices as supplied to me by an MSC Cruises customer who sailed on MSC Bellissima in 2019.


CocktailPrice From
Spritz [Aperol Spritz, Tropical Spritz, Hugo Spritz, Martini Royale, Rosato Mio, Apple Martini Spritz]€8
Signature/Featured Cocktails [MSC Tiki Mule, Molokai Zombie, Electric Iced Tea, King-Kong, MSC Wine Cooler, Mango Tropical Trooper, MSC Blue-on-Blue, Chili Passion Caipirinha, Coco Loco, Aviation Fizz, Lavender Margarita]€9 to €10.50
Cocktails [Classic Mojito, Mango Mojito, Aloe Vera Mojito, Razz Mojito, Jameson Mojito, Caipirinha, Caipiroska, Mimosa Blossom, Kir Royal, MSC Bellini, Classic Martini, Cosmopolitan, Daiquiri, Long Island Iced Tea, Mai-Tai, Negroni, Bloody Mary, Tequilla Sunrise, Margarita]€7 to €8
'Easy' Drinks [Moscow Mule, Campari Orange, Screwdriver, Rum & Cola, Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Lemon, Whisky & Cola]€6
Alcohol-Free 'Mocktails' [Piña Colada Zero, Strawberry Daiquiri Zero, Mojito Zero, Coco Loco Zero, Sea Breeze, Aloha, Magic Island (kids), Dirty Banana Shake (kids), Fruit Smoothie (kids)]€5


CategoryBy the GlassBy the Bottle
Champagne€11€44 to €63
Sparkling Wine€5 to €7.50€18 to €30
White Wine€5 to €7.50€18 to €30
Rosé Wine€5 to €7.50€18 to €29
Red Wine€5 to €8€18 to €31

Beers, Spirits, Soft Drinks & Hot Drinks

DrinkPrice From
Beer & Cider (20cl to 50cl)€3.50 to €8
Cognac, Whiskey, Grappa, Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila (4cl)€6 to €7.50
Premium Cognac, Whiskey, Grappa, Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila (4cl)€8.50 to €14
Sweet Liqueurs, Sherry, Port, Bitters (4cl)€6.50
Fruit Juices (20cl)€2.50 to €3
Mineral Water (20cl to 1l)€0.75 to €2.90
Soft Drinks (30cl to 33cl)€2.50 to €3
Energy Drink (25cl)€4.50
Coffee€1.70 to €3.50
Alcoholic coffee€7.50
Hot Chocolate€3.50

Bear in mind there is an automatic 15% service charge to add to bar prices.
Source: 2019 menu prices courtesy of Stephane M., Geneva, Switzerland.

MSC Drinks Package vs Pay As You Go

To calculate if a drinks package is worthwhile for your cruise:

  1. Calculate the total cost of the package for your entire group for the entire cruise. For example, two Easy Drinks Packages plus two Non-Alcoholic packages to cover two adults and two teens equates to from £602 for the family.
  2. Take this figure and divide it by the number of people in your group. In our example, that is £602 ÷ 4 = £150.50. This is the average cost of the drinks package per person for the duration of the cruise.
  3. Take this figure and divide it by the number of nights your cruise lasts. In our example, that is £150.50 ÷ 7 = £21.50. This is the average price per person per day of the cruise.
  4. Take this figure and divide it by £3 (the approximate price of a soft drink in Great British Pounds based on a rough currency rate of £1:€1). In my example, that is £21.50 ÷ £3 = 7.16 (so 8, as we round this figure up if it is a decimal).

In this crude example, each member of the family would need to consume at least 8 soft drinks every day to make this package worthwhile.

As a rough guide, each adult needs to typically drink the equivalent of 7 draught beers or 9 sodas every day to get value from the Easy Package, or at least 13 draught beers or 17 sodas each day on the Premium Plus Package for a week-long cruise in the Med.


These quantities may sound a lot but you will be in holiday mode and may drink more beverages than you would at home. You might enjoy a couple of coffees throughout the day, a couple of beers with lunch, some wine with dinner, and a nightcap or two. Factor in hot sunny weather and the drinks may quickly - and easily - rack up.

Remember that MSC Cruises excludes drinks from the standard cruise fare (the buffet is the only exception where self-service water is available). If you like a drink with your lunch or dinner (even just a glass of water), you will need to pay for this. If you buy a drinks package, you can enjoy mealtime drinks without worrying about the cost.

So Is a MSC Cruises Drinks Package Good Value for Money?

Only you can answer this. If everyone in your party will each drink more than the value of the daily price of the Drinks Package, it would be worthwhile as it will save you money.

If you are likely to drink less than the value of the daily price of the Drinks Package, you would be better off paying as you go.

If you are travelling with children, then consider they might get thirsty more quickly in the heat. An all-inclusive drinks package would allow kids to drink as much as they wanted to without you having to worry about racking up a massive bill onboard.

Factor in the peace of mind too. With the Drinks Packages, you know what the end price is. If you opt to pay as you go, you could accrue a bar tab far more, or far less, than the price of a Drinks Package, depending upon how much, or how little, you drink.

Reasons to Buy An All-Inclusive Drinks Package

  • If you enjoy drinking a few alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks each day of your holiday, then a Drinks Package could save you a lot of money. I have heard many stories of people who consumed at least twice the value of their package in drinks on board.
  • Do not think the Drinks Packages are just for those who drink alcohol. Teetotallers should consider the Non-Alcoholic package. If you are likely to succumb to the temptation of smooth Italian coffee or soft-serve ice cream, these are part of the Non-Alcoholic Drinks Package.
  • Some people plan to drink a lot from the outset. If this describes you, book the package to save money in the long run.
  • If you intend to stay onboard at many of the ports of call, you are likely to drink more onboard, so a drinks package might be worthwhile.
  • If you are travelling with kids, the Drinks Packages will stop the cries of "I'm thirsty" and the associated escalating bar tab. It can also make kids feel grown-up as they can order drinks as they please, including fancy non-alcoholic cocktails ("mocktails").

Reasons Not To Buy A Drinks Package

  • Nobody likes overpaying, and to make the package worthwhile, you might find the need to drink a certain amount each day just to break even. This 'target' can take out some of the enjoyment of your holiday if you are the type of person who gets bogged down in the numbers.
  • If you plan to get off the ship at every port of call for as long as you can, you might not drink as much as you expect onboard.
  • Bar prices are reasonable compared to other cruise lines and hotels (see above for examples). If you only ever have an occasional drink, an all-inclusive package is probably not for you.
  • If you are a super savvy saver and head straight to the buffet for a glass of water or a cup of basic tea or coffee and loathe paying for drinks, the package might not be for you.
  • If you are travelling on a budget, the expense of drinks packages for everyone in your group might simply be too high.

Disclaimer: This guide is simply that - a guide. While the information was correct at the time of writing, prices or package details may have since changed. I source all prices from first-hand experience, fellow travellers, online information, and cruise line data. I have rounded up package prices to the nearest Pound, Euro, or Dollar for simplicity. I try to keep this article up-to-date, but if you spot something that has changed, please let me know.

Have you decided to buy or avoid a drinks package on your next cruise? Let me know your reasoning in the comments below.

Upcoming mini cruises


  1. hi. im traveling next week on msc opera Mediterranean cruise. with the easy package up to 6e if i buy a drink for 10 e do i only pay the 4e difference or do i need to pay the full 10e.

  2. Hi, we are looking at a Caribbean cruise in Feb 2023 following 2 years of push backs….there will be 7 of us, 6 adults and one child. One of the adults does not drink alcohol at all. Would we have to but an alcoholic package for both occupants of the cabin or can the non drinker buy a non alcoholic package. Seems to be against all human rights to expect someone to pay for an alcoholic package when they do not drink alcohol. Are there any medical grounds where an alcoholic and non-alcoholic package can be purchased on the same cabin? Seems to be a whole lack of trust from MSC……..

    • I get where you are coming from, but I believe it’s the actions of a few that spoils it for us all. Allowing mixed packages means you’d only require one alcohol-enabled package for a potentially large group of travellers, with that person buying the drinks for everyone. From MSC’s perspective, this is uneconomical. The only viable option that works for the line is to ensure that everyone in the same party has the same level of package, to avoid abuse of any potential loopholes. It does mean, of course, in your instance, the non-drinker will be penalised by paying more for an alcoholic package but only using the non-alcoholic portion. Unfortunately, there’s no workaround, other than nobody taking out the drinks packages (which may upset more of your group). The only viable solution is for the non-drinker to try and get their money’s worth, by maximising the number of hot and cold drinks they consume during the cruise. I tried doing this an its certainly a challenge, but easier with juice/carbonated drinks and fancy coffees for each meal, in the theatre, by the pool, etc. The other way to look at it is to bake it into the cost of the cruise, and once paid, ignore the prices and instead value the convenience and peace of mind of having non-alcoholic drinks available on tap.

  3. Hi David,

    We booked our cruise with MSC for the first time and just trying to find out more details about it. Would you happen to know what kinds of drinks available outside of the drink packages? Will there be sodas fountains or juice options at the buffet area?

    • Without the drinks package, you’ll find the basics (water, tea, and coffee) in the buffet. There’s also a bar where you can purchase drinks as you go, should you fancy something carbonated, juices, etc.

  4. Hi David! I loved that article! If the current situation gets better, I am waiting to go somewhere. Hopefully to use some of your tricks and tips! Have a great day!

    • It’ll take a bit of time but we’re starting to see green shoots of recovery in the cruise industry, especially in the UK. Fingers crossed everything is back to normal very soon.

  5. Thank you for this fantastic information — it is exactly what we needed for help deciding on whether to choose a drinks package for our upcoming MSC cruise.

  6. Hi, cruising on the Seaside in September 2020 with a group of friends. I saw that there were several different drink packages. I see on the website that everyone traveling in a group must have a drink package if they want to dine together, but do we all need to have the same package? For example, some of us want the top package (premium plus) and some want the basic easy package ($6 drinks and below). Can we still dine together if we have different tiers of the alcoholic packages?

      • That is incorrect, everybody in the same reservation (except kids) must have the same drinking package.
        This is written everywhere, plus you cannot make a reservation with different packages to begin with.
        If you book 2 cabins, all adults in those cabins must have the same package (except kids).

        • Yes, everyone in the same cruise booking must share the same drinks package. But Candace asked whether groups with differing drinks packages can dine together, and the answer is yes. That’s the premise behind shared dining tables.

  7. Hi, Brilliant page by the way. We have booked on Splendida next November from Barcelona to Barbados. We have an aurea balcony cabin and it comes with the inclusive easy package which seems very limited in choice of included drinks.. Only one beer available and limited cocktail, spirits. and wines available. It also says it cannot be used in speciality restaurants.
    It’s a 17 night re-positioning cruise so we would want to try a few of the speciality restaurant during the cruise. and we lwould like a drinks package we can use in them and also gives us more choice of drinks during the cruise.
    Do you know if we can upgrade from easy package to premium package? If so do we pay the difference between the two packages or pay the whole amount for the premium package?
    Our drinks package came with the aurea cabin so we didn’t actually buy it. I
    If we can upgrade can we do it on line before we travel or do we have to wait until we board the ship? Thanks for your help

    • As I understand, you’re able to upgrade, at cost, to the next package tier. A phone call to your travel agent or MSC should yield a price for this, but I’d expect it to be somewhere around the difference between the two.

      You can do this prior to your cruise and once you board, although you’ll incur the automatic 15% service charge on the upgrade if purchased on the ship. I’d say it’s definitely worth a call, even just to get the upgrade price so you know what to expect on the ship (should you choose to delay the purchase).

  8. Hello.. Me and the wife have booked on the MSC Armonia in late september and we was wondering… Can you book a drinks package on selected days? I.e just the days that we are at Sea or is it all trip or nothing..
    Thank in advance

  9. I am travelling on msc Fantasia 1st March. Does msc offer any other deals apart from all inclusive? Such as 2for 1 at certain times of the day, or to be able to buy just a wine package or a beer package, as my cruising companion does not wish to go all inclusive.

    • I can’t recall seeing anything on-board, but I think there are various promotions here and there. All-inclusive is where the main focus is, and you’ll find the packages sold on-board for the first day at least.

  10. On the ‘Easy Package’ can you order a gin and tonic and also a simple gin with ice and lemon? ie one way of getting a double G&T without having to pay extra

    • You can order one drink at a time per package. I’m guessing that if you get a different bar tender in swift succession, it might be possible, but I wouldn’t fancy my chances.

  11. Wow I can’t believe how many comments there are on this post! David, I read most of them and didn’t see anyone comment about both adults in the stateroom having to purchase the same package. I understand why they do it, but I don’t drink. At all. Not even soda- just water and maybe some tea here and there or a decaf coffee. My husband on the other hand was so excited about the premium plus package as he drinks whisky, brandies and cognacs. It would’ve been such treat for him to be able to try all of them in the specialty restaurants and elsewhere on the ship. Is there any way around us both paying $600 a piece so my husband can enjoy a few drinks in the evening?

    • I’m afraid the rules are there to prevent abuse of the packages (which then penalise those of us who don’t drink much). Without the rules, the system is open to abuse. It’s a similar position on most cruise lines, or at least the ones I’ve sailed with. One package could be used to ply the entire cabin with drinks, so the cruise line loses out on revenue for the remaining adults.

      Unfortunately, there isn’t a way around it (that I’m aware of), other than avoiding the package and opting instead to pay as you go. It comes down to whether you’re more likely to spend more in individual drinks onboard than the package. There’s also peace of mind to factor in, knowing there’s no nasty surprise at the end of the cruise with a package.

      While it might not help much in your decision, MSC does a great range of ‘mocktails’ and their speciality coffee is WAY better than their free stuff. And if you purchased the package, your husband would have a financial incentive to make full use of the premium whiskies, brandies, and cognacs available on the ship!

      • I have just found this as well. So been looking forward to this cruise leaving in April 2020. Went to book Prem drink package for myself as i like a drink, To be told my girlfriend that i am traveling with needs to book one as well and she doesn’t drink any Alcohol at all. She is willing to buy the Non alcohol one, but i was told both packages need to be the same.
        This is so unfair and is absolutely ridicules rule. Wish i knew this before Booking and paying as wouldnt have booked this cruise. Now not looking forward to it at all. As very Angry and disappointed

        • It’s a rule designed to protect the system from abuse, but it does seem to unfairly affect those couples and families where only one person drinks booze. In such a case, it may well be worthwhile considering paying as you go, but you need to cost this carefully against paying for two premium packages. Some people will save, others would be better off with the package.

        • Maybe consider Royal Caribbean next time. Although they too have the same policy as MSC regards both adults booking the same package, when I called customer service I was able to book an alcohol inclusive package for my husband and a non alcohol one for me – that was in October 2019. You has to speak to someone it wasn’t possible to book it like that online.

          He was one of those people who got more than 2+ times the value of what we paid – although I think he was forced to drown his sorrows since I lost my passport and he was on his own for the first 9 days, before I was able to catch up with the ship! When I asked at guest services Royal Caribberan kindly refunded my drinks package for the days I wasn’t onboard.

  12. Hi,

    Does anybody know if I have to pre-purchase the Easy Drinks Package for the Seaview Cruise?

    I didn’t realise I would not be able to customise the cruise 3 days before departure.


    • You can pre-purchase the package up to a few days before the cruise when everything becomes finalised. After this point, you can buy when you board the ship, but it will incur the 15% service charge.

  13. Does anyone know if you can use a different credit card once on-board an MSC cruise for charges (extra drinks, food) than what was used to pay for the cruise? Can that be “tied” to your cruise wrist band so that the charges go to a different card?

    • I believe that to be the case. When you check-in at the port, the staff swipe your credit card through a reader and that puts it on file. You can also pre-load your onboard account with cash. So long as the credit card used onboard is in your name (or that of someone in your party), it shouldn’t be an issue.

    • You certainly can, no problem.

      On MSC European cruises you will find your cruise card(s) on the bed in your cabin.

      When getting on the ship they take your photo which is then linked to your cruise card. You then have 48 hours to visit one of the credit card authorisation terminals normally around the reception area, here you swipe your cruise card and then enter your credit card, this can be any credit card, it does not have to be linked to the original booking and you are also given the option of linking other cabin members etc to it if you wish, or alternatively, decline this option and then they can register another card against their cruise card.

      It seems with a debit card you authorise a certain amount and if this is not all used you have to go to Reception to get a refund in cash, they will not credit this back your card. This can be a real pain as on the disembarkation morning the last thing you want is to join the long queue of other guests sorting out all their bills and errors.

      Hope this helps, MSC make this very easy, particularly giving your 48 hours to sort it out once on board.

  14. We have purchased the Easy Drinks Package for our upcoming Caribbean cruise. If we purchase a premium beer that cost more than the allowed $6 limit, do you know if we would pay the full amount or would pay the balance over $6? Great review, very helpful! Thanks

      • I have been told by travel agent only difference, I think I will try and get an answer from msc but am finding that there customer service is not very good.

      • You have to pay the full amount + a 15% service charge – most “premium drinks” were coming out at £10 per drink.

    • I can confirm after a cruise in April on the MSC Bellissima in the Med that you are not allowed to pay “only” the balance. If you want a drink that is above the limit of EUR6.00, we had to pay it in full (plus the 15% charge at the end of the cruise).

      About your next cruise, will you board the Divina in mid-December from Miami ?

  15. we are booked on the orchestra of the seas for 30 day to south Africa
    we booked in September 2018. we spoke to he agent regarding the drinks packages who said there were 2 packages and stated we could add these anytime upto the cruise without incurring the 15% surcharge.
    ive now noticed that the packages have been divided into 3 and the top package which is £400 more to get the previous top package. my question is will they hour the deluxe old package at the original cost and do you know what the prices of the old two packages were.
    many thanks

    • The packages changed late last year. Pre-paid packages are being honoured as far as I’m aware, but if you didn’t pre-book your package before the change, your option is now one of the three new packages.

  16. Hi.. my wife and I are due to board MSC Lirica from Venice for 12 nights in Nov 2019. Having read your advice in making the necessary calculations to compare pay-as-you-go against a drinks package, is it possible to get the latest prices rather than use your table which was compiled in Nov 2018. Can I assume that all the Voucher packages have now closed as the only offers available is Easy Package at £324pp and Premium Package at £432pp? Thanks

    • Sourcing an up-to-date price list isn’t the easiest task, but I have been, and still am, on the lookout for a reliable up-to-date list. As far as I understand, the vouchers are no longer available on the majority of sailings. From the UK information I have, the drinks packages are the main focus of what’s available now.

      When you log into the MSC website with your booking reference, you’ll find a list of what options can be pre-booked. I suspect you’ll see the three drinks packages (Easy, Premium, and Premium Plus) but not the vouchers. I’d be grateful if you could share with other readers what is available to pre-book on your particular booking. Similarly, I’d urge any other fellow reader to do the same, so that we all can benefit from that information.

      To all readers, if you’re able to take photos of the menus while on board and send them over, I’d again be very grateful. I don’t have a booking with MSC right now so don’t know when I’ll next be able to get that information. You can contact me here. Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Philip.

      We have recently returned from a 7 night cruise on the MSC Lirica and had the Premium Package (PP), it works out at £36 a day, which to be honest is a bit of a steal as there are so many more options than on the EP and for just £9 a day extra makes for a much more enjoyable cruise. The EP gives you access to a draft beer and 1 bottled beer (around €6) and glasses of house wine (€5) which are okay, but a limited range of cocktails and 3 whiskies but no brandy, while the PP opens up almost everything from a huge range of beer options (€6.50+), too many wines to mention (€6.50 to 9.00), VSOP brandies, premium gins and a very large cocktail selection etc (€8+) as well as all the coffees (€2.50+)etc.

      You immediately save the 15% service charge if purchased in advance and you can literally leave the ship having spent nothing on beverages, this service charge really mounts up over time and the packages remove this cost.

      As a test this time, it became a bit of a mission, we decided to try and account for our spending, not too difficult as you are normally given a receipt. Our packages cost £512 for the 2 of us and our total spend over the 7 days was in excess of £1000. Now you could argue that if we were not on a package we may have only had one coffee rather than 2, or one Aperol rather than 2, now we are not really big drinkers, nor are we 1 glass of wine a day people, but it’s not that difficult to rack up quite a bill and with you on the ship for 12 days this is worth considering.

  17. Hi. I’m confused. Can somebody please unravel my brain? When we booked our drinks package it was the old Restaurant and Bar. I believe this will be honoured but how will I know what drinks will be included off the menu? TIA.

    • Most non-premium brand drinks were included in the old package. In essence, it was a hybrid between the current Easy and Premium package, so the vast majority of the drinks available on those newer packages should be available on the old Bar & Restaurant package.

  18. Hi, we’re going on the MSC sinfonia in 13 days 2 adults and 2 children aged 7 and 2 (so 2 year old won’t need a drinks package) and I can’t decide on whether to have a drinks package and if so which.
    We seem to have a package included already that says mineral water and tea and coffee at lunch and dinner and we will get off the boat every day that we can and spend a good few hours off the boat.
    My husband does like a drink though so I’m thinking the easy/basic package would be ok, but it says you can’t use this in speciality restaurants and I wondered what restaurants these are?
    I assume the buffet will be ok, but we have an early dining slot so would we not be able to have the drinks in this restaurant?
    Hope that makes sense and thanks in advance for your reply

    • It comes down to how much you plan to drink as a family on-board as to whether the package is worthwhile. It’s a tricky decision as your drinking habits might change on holiday. My son generally drank more frequently on my last cruise but the weather was nice and hot. There’s a peace of mind factor with a drinks package, although on my last cruise, my family drank nowhere near the value of the package. Plenty of other families tell me it was a very smart decision as their groups saved a lot of money buying the package versus paying as they went.

      The drinks packages are for consumption in the restaurants and bars, so being on an early sitting for dinner won’t affect your package. Speciality restaurants are those that charge extra for food, and the drinks packages are not valid in these locations. The newer ships have plenty of these outlets, but I’m not sure Sinfonia has (m)any.

  19. Hi, booked a year ago traveling on Magnifica out of Venice in two weeks, booked restaurant and bar drinks package. I had no idea MSC had changed their drinks packages. “Balcony for the price of inside” and the restaurant and bar drinks package are what got us financially hooked to the brand. If they are honouring the paid for packages, but by comments on this forum the menus have changed, is a a case of the embarrassing, “sorry that isn’t included”, exchange? Grateful for info from anyone who has travelled in the same position.

    • I’m sure they’re honouring old pre-paid packages with the selection of drinks that were included on that. Best check with MSC or your travel agent to be sure, so as not to have an unpleasant surprise on your arrival.

  20. Hi David,
    Booked on MSC Meraviglia Caribian Cruise next year with the Aurera experience.
    Now the easy package is included, but if I want to upgrade to the next level premium package, do I have to pay the whole higher price or just the price difference between the packages?

    • Based on the previous packages, the difference would be due. Under the new packages, I’m not so sure, but would hope that policy remains. A quick call to MSC or your travel agent should confirm this one way or the other.

      • On my last trip with MSC in April I found following text on the package flyer:

        from EASY to PREMIUM: €9/Pers

        MSC Drinks package upgrade prices onboard

        Enjoy your cruise!


  21. Hi everyone – first time on MSC – where can the book of vouchers for drinks be pre-ordered? I cant see them on the manage booking tab. Looking at the coffee and water packages,

    • Congratulations on booking your first cruise with MSC. I hope you have a great time.

      The drinks system on MSC is in a state of change at the moment. I have heard mixed reports about drinks vouchers with some saying they are no longer available and others reporting that they are. It may be a case that older ships have been using up their stocks of voucher booklets, or it may be that these are still in use for certain sailings where the all-inclusive packages aren’t available.

      As you can’t see them on your pre-booking screen, it appears that they aren’t available in your region for your sailing. There’s a small chance they may be available on the ship, but I would be doubtful. If you decide to pay as you go for drinks instead of booking a package, I’d ask at the bars when you get onboard to see if the booklets are available. But I’d advise budgeting on the assumption that they are not. That way, if they are available it’s a happy bonus but if they are not, that is expected news.

  22. Hi myself and my best friend are sailing on msc Magnificat in June this year , we have both bought the Easy package, we don’t want to run up any extra bills; but are confused at what we can drink; can we have cocktails and prosecco included in this.. we are first time cruisers and are very apprehensive of running up bills pulse help

  23. I have paid over £ 700 for the top end drinks package for two people on my cruise which is in two weeks and have just read in the small print that you can not use your “premier drinks package” while watching the Cirque soleil show which we have booked on” two” occasions , this is NOT what we booked the package for but completely the opposite , can you please confirm if this is the case as we may now need to cancel our Premier drinks package as it wont be cost effective at all, if this is the case we will actually lose out on 4 nights of our drinking package (between us) which seems ridiculous.
    Kind Regards Tom Feeney

      • Considering we have paid an extra £32 each on top anyway (£64) its very harsh to say you have to pay for drinks on top of our Premier Plus package, I will be cancelling now, I will be going back to Princess cruises now, as they say Once bitten twice shy. Thank you for your help,

        • I’m sure someone at MSC understands the logic, but from a customer perspective, I don’t get it either. If I buy a drinks package, then I would expect all qualifying drinks to be included regardless of venue. Mind you, I struggled to get my head around free water on tap in the buffet but having to pay for it a few decks down in the restaurant on Preziosa a while back. Perhaps this policy might change in the future once they’ve gathered enough feedback.

  24. Hi y’all question: sailing in June on the Seaside and have the Easy Drink Package..alcoholic drinks up to 6$. My question is if I want a drink that costs say 8$. Will I be charged the 2$ difference or will I have to pay the full 8$??

    • My understanding is that drinks not included in the package (so drinks over $6 in your example) would be charged for in full, so an $8 drink would cost that, and not $2.

  25. Do you have an updated version on your drink it least it seems to be all 2017 we are going in October 23 day cruise from New York we would like an individual price listing on drinks to make up your mind which package to get the tossing up between paying as we go and get the easy one thank you

    • I’m still trying to get hold of the latest pricing since the packages changed. I don’t have an MSC cruise booked myself so am relying on others for the data. As soon as I get the data, I’ll update the pricing to reflect any changes.

  26. Hi First of all your blog very helpful so thankyou so much. Im seeing that MSC changed there policy on unlimited drinks packages compare to last year summer. We are taking cruise 2020 Jan and now they dont include regular ice cream with the package,because I read only soft serve ice cream with non alcohol package and i think that does not mean the regular ice cream.. So can you confirm that does this non alcohol package include the milk shakes and sluhes ? Because we use to choose ice creams and they make ice cream milk shakes and all were included with the unlimited package. So please confirm this my kids are so sad to hear that. Thanks

    • As I understand it, the non-alcoholic package mainly includes mocktails, soda, tea and coffee, water, and soft-service ice cream. It sadly doesn’t include the irresistible gelato but it does include the whipped stuff that comes out of a machine. While alcohol-free cocktails, sodas, and energy drinks are included, items on the “ice cream menu” are not, and so I suspect the ice cream milk shakes would fall under this category as would slushes.

      It would be worth checking out what (if any) voucher bundles are available to pre-book for your cruise. The kids-only Doremi package includes 10 vouchers for milkshakes, ice-cream shakes, virgin cocktails, canned sodas or fruit juices. It may be worth getting one of these (if available on your cruise) to use alongside the drinks package. That way you’d get the water, mocktails, and sodas under the non-alcoholic package and use the vouchers for ice-cream shakes.

      From an ease and convenience point of view, I’d prefer to see gelato and gelato-based drinks at least included in the non-alcoholic package at some point in the future. The staff must have a tough time keeping track of what is and is not included in each package. But for the time being, it seems that is not the case.

      • Thanks David I really appreciate it. Yes I hope they include the gelato again on some package and yes I see there is a package for ice cream coupons but not sure if it going to be for the bellissima. Will pre book and see.
        Where can I see the bellissima gelato menu ?

        • I don’t think there’s a published menu. On MSC Meraviglia, the gelato (MSC’s own, not the Jean-Philippe ice cream which is classed as a speciality restaurant item and charged a la carte) came in around half a dozen flavours.

  27. I`m trying to book the F1 racing simulator on the Bellissima before I embark on the ship…is this possible as the website does not allow me to do this or l didn’t know if its another website error ???

  28. Hi All, just returned from 7 day cruise from Spain on Bellisima last week of March 2019.
    Fantastic cruise! First time in Europe. Anyway,
    we didn’t purchase any drink packages at all as we don’t really consume much alcohol or soda. But on our second day we were given three drink coupon booklets. 2 were for alcoholic drinks and one was non alcoholic.
    24 total alcoholic drinks and 18 total non alcoholic. We could use them anywhere on the ship, including specialty restaurants, which were very good by the way! At the time of booking we were not aware of the coupons being included. For what it’s worth, maybe for-go purchasing package until you board and find out if you are eligible for included coupons. Pretty substantial savings if they are!
    2 adults and one minor in our cabin. And FYI, if you like beer, you will love Franziskaner! Happy cruising! Dan In Fla.

    • That’s very interesting Dan, especially as you were unaware of the vouchers being included. I’d heard reports that the vouchers were being phased out but perhaps they are not.

  29. Hi David, I will be traveling with Msc Musica to the Portuguese island from Durban on the 4 day cruise (3 nights) on 23.4.2019. I notice that not much is been said about the Cabin package. For instance is there a standard price for it or do you have to detail your own package. What would you recommend for a four day cruise. We are not extensive alcohol drinkers. Is it generally more expensive than other cruiselines to purchase drink packages on South African linked lines. Thanks for taking time to respond. Christival Marais

    • The options available on South African cruises are normally different to those in Europe and America. If you log into your cruise planner on the MSC Cruises website, you’ll see all the options available to you on your particular voyage. If you do this, please do share what’s available back here as it’ll help fellow cruisers planning a short break out of South Africa.

    • Hi Christival.

      You can purchase your drink packages on board. Not expensive at all. Staff will come around while everybody is settling in onboard. Let me know if you have more questions.

        • These may be silly questions, but I need clarity. I have a Cabin with balcony booked Is there a drinking package attached to the balcony cabins as well as a wifi package, as this was indicated when I purchased the cruise package? Are the modes of payment limited to opening an account on board; i assume my debit or credit card will be acceptable. Thanks.

          • Hi Christival

            Sorry missed this question. There are station where you can activate debit and credit cards onboard. You can also deposit cash on to your cabin, that you will use to swipe when you do transactions.. We normally do cash to avoid unnecessary costs to your debit or credit card.


  30. Hi ,we are cruising Oct 2019 and have the fantastica ex booked. Since there will be no drink vouchers anymore,will they have some kind of substitution?

    • Good question. It feels very fluid at the moment. I think they’re really trying to push the simpler all-inclusive packages to reduce the many variants under the old systems. Passenger demand will always play in any decision, so I imagine if enough people ask, it ought to be given consideration.

      • We have just returned from a 7 night Cuba cruise and had the Easy Package.

        This does cover most of the basics, which you have fully detailed earlier in this blog, my only complaint was that there were 3 whisky brands on offer but not one cognac/brandy which seemed odd and you could not get an Aperol Spritz included, yet this was cheaper than a glass of Prosecco which was included, but I suppose you have to draw a line somewhere.

        Otherwise it worked well across drinks, coffees, water etc and we more than got our money’s worth with no bill at the end of the cruise, but you did have to check sometimes with the waiting staff just to make sure what you were ordering was included and with many package options for US guests even they got confused.

        Many people ask about cider and this was available on board but was not part of the Easy package, as it is priced just above the $6 limit.

        To enjoy a much larger selection of all drinks that really does cover nearly all options then the Premium package is the one to choose, this is only slightly more expensive in Europe but quite a bit more for Caribbean sailings so it can be a tough decision.

        MSC seems to be bundling these packages with some future bookings, we have already booked a 10 night Caribbean cruise for March 2020 booking a balcony cabin for only slightly more than an ocean view, but it came with the Premium drinks package included which for a 10 day cruise is over £450 each so this was quite a saving for 2 persons.

  31. hi there am travelling on MSC translantic on 24 Sep does anyone know if Baileys Irish Cream and Disarona Amereto is on the new easy package or do we have to go all inclusive

    • My understanding is that you’d need at least the Premium package to include Baileys Irish Cream or Disaronno Amaretto. Your travel agent or MSC should be able to confirm if this is the case. If you get a concrete answer, please do let me know here as it may be useful to others reading this page.

  32. We have just returned from a week’s Mediterranean cruise of the MSC Meraviglia. On the first night, we reckoned it was cheaper to buy the premium package at 40 Euros per day (80 for the both of us times 7 days) which worked out at 640 euros including taxes! Our limit was 10 euros a glass (we could not buy a bottle!!). Our reckoning if we had 6 glasses of wine each over a lunchtime and dinner plus any teas, coffees, cold drinks, water we would be making a profit it you like. E.g 6 glasses at 7.50 euros is 45 euros at least. I don’t know whether there is an algorithm on waiters (phone sized unit) you have to sign every time drinks are ordered with also states your cabin number, but we found after a few days of frequenting their champagne bar before dinner (8.75 euros a glass) that we were told they had run out and would we like a prosecco! A similar thing happened when we latched onto Chablis (7.50 euros a glass) as a very nice tipple to have with our dinner. Again they waiter said they had run out of it. Now on a cruise ship than can cater for 5,700 passengers, it seems strange that they run out of these lovely wines. Are we drinking them dry? Or are they finding they are making a loss with us two ordering the best we can? Don’t go for the 6 Euro a day package. There is very little booze under 6 euros that you can buy that is any good. Otherwise, the cruise ship was fantastic as was the food on board.

    • Thank you very much for sharing your experience here Bill. I am sure readers will take note of this. I’m glad you got the same impression on MSC Meraviglia as I did. It’s a very sleek, modern cruise ship and it was a pleasure to sail on her.

    • Hi Bill,

      My wife and I are cruising the Mediterranean in March 2019 to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We are torn between the Premium and Premium-Plus drinks packages (mainly because my wife is worried she won’t be able to get Champagne by the glass with just the Premium Package). Could you give me your opinion on whether we should go for the Plus option? Is it a serious problem that we won’t be able to drink the champagne you suggested above (because it might be sold out?).

      We can afford the Plus package, but we’re travelling from South Africa, and the Rand doesn’t go very far…we think the additional monies saved may be better spent elsewhere.


    • Looking at a 20+ day cruise on MSC Bellissima. I’m very curious as to what the 6 Euro drinks package means and what drinks are included. We are not big drinkers and have never purchased a drinks package. 6 Euro a day seems very generous. I might consider it depending on any information put out in this forum. Thank you.

  33. Thank you so much!! Your infos are very well detailed and covers all my questions!! I am just not sure what this means …….’approx’ ….. ??
    Thanking you in advance.
    I am sailing this ship next week and i shall keep you posted on new prices and booklets if any.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I use the symbol to mean ‘approximately’. My currency conversions use a current rate, so fluctuate on a day-to-day basis. That’s why I advise to use the figures as an approximate guide.

      I hope you have a great trip and please do send me anything that would help other readers understand the changes.

  34. Hi, does anybody know when the package price went up in November, we booked on the 23rd, for med cruise from Marseille on the 18jan (booked in France, where trying to contact somebody on Mac is hard work, unless to book!) Hoping that we can get the pre price.
    Also has anybody managed to get a wine package on board, recently, it’s not available online. Must say as well, I think it’s crazy to expect kids over 3 sharing your room to have to have same package as adults. Glad didn’t bring my grandchildren!

    • I believe the old packages are only being honoured if you purchased it at the time you booked your cruise, or booked the drinks package afterwards but prior to the change. I could be wrong, but a quick call to your travel agent or MSC should give you a concrete answer.

      • We are just back from a cruise and yes the existing packages are being honoured. It is very confusing and we were given conflicting information from MSC prior to sailing . We booked the deluxe package and basically could get everything apart from Johnny walker blue label and a fine cognac. We even got champagne but they don’t advertise this well. You need to ask. Don’t accept the American champagne as it is foul. The people at the bars know from looking at a code on your card what package you have and we found them pretty good. They won’t give you drinks that are not included.

        • Thanks for sharing your experience with everyone here. It must be a challenge for bar staff working out who is eligible for what, but the transition period won’t last too long. I bet they can’t wait!

  35. Hi I am going on the msc Magnifica in October I have the premium drinks package do you know if this includes Canadian Club and Smirnoff Vodka or do I need to up grade thanks Dave

    • I believe these brands should be included in the Premium package, although as the packages and drinks prices have recently changed, I cannot be 100% certain. A quick call to MSC or your travel agent should give you a firm answer.

  36. Hi David,

    We booked Back in June to sail this march on Seaside. we initially got the ALL-INCLUSIVE DELUXE DRINK PACKAGE ADULT. As you said these will be honored is that right? Do you think the older package is better or the newer? I only found out today about it and prior all i have heard about is the Gelato and crepes are amazing so was looking forward to them as much as we liked haha (These are now not available on the new package)

    Would I be right in saying the main difference is all drinks are available in new package (no ice cream or crepes)

    whilst on old one its 90% of drinks bar the top premium, plus you get ice cream and crepes.

    We are not “high end” drinkers so the top premium drinks is no real loss, cocktails,beer water soft drinks mainly.

    • I believe MSC is honouring pre-purchased drinks packages but a quick call to MSC or your travel agent should confirm that’s the case for your booking. Personally, I think the older Deluxe package is better solely for the included gelato (but then again, I chomped my way through plenty of that on my last cruise thanks to the Deluxe package). The old and new packages are broadly similar although they’ve tinkered with pricing of the included drinks, so it’s not an exact match. If it were me and I pre-booked the old Deluxe package and MSC are offered to honour that, I’d stick with it.

  37. While they may be honoring the older packages that no longer exist, they have compensated for this by raising drink prices to be just above what your package limit is. For example, the classic drink package cap was $7 per drink. Most alcoholic drinks now start at $7.25, beer excepted.

  38. We have a cruise booked for November 2019 so when I heard about the new drinks package I phoned MSC (Spain ) today and got the old All Inclusive restaurant and bar drinks package added to our booking ,we will be traveling from Geneoa to Miami for 32 days so it is €21 per night ,so very happy with that ,so if you have booked your cruise before November add your drinks package asap

  39. In November 2018, MSC Cruises took the step to simplify the drinks packages to make life much easier for everyone. Be aware that the comments dated before November 2018 may well refer to the old all-inclusive packages while comments after this date may refer to these or the new Easy, Premium, Premium-Plus, and Non-Alcoholic all-inclusive drinks packages.

    • Hi David, bought drinks package for our cruise next June, I see now it’s for drinks up to €6,
      I like a cocktail or spirit and soda,which are priced at €€6.50 and €7. So what are my options, can we pay the extra or can you buy spirit and mixer separately..
      Not suitable at all for us if we can’t.
      Many thanks Mary Lyons.

      • The changes are still taking place so I think there’s a lot of confusion around. As far as I understand from those that have been in touch with MSC directly, they look to be honouring the terms of any packages purchased before the changes took place. I would urge you to contact them (and ideally get something in writing in case the ship disagrees with what head office has told you) to find out how the changes impact your purchase.

        Please do share your experience as I am sure there will be plenty of readers in the same boat over the coming weeks and months.

        • Sailing 29 december on the MSC Splendida from Dubai and july on the MSC Meraviglia from Kiel.
          Booked long before they changed the drink packages. The december trip I booked directly by MSC, as a fly/cruise/drinks package, the july trip through a travel agent quite same formula.
          I wrote both of them to ask what will happen with my all-in bar&restaurant package (allegrissimo) which was included with my bookings. Still waiting for an answer from MSC but my travel agent confirmed I will have the premium package to replace the booked all-in bar&restaurant package.
          I’ll keep you informed if I have more news.
          BR, Carlo

          • Many thanks for sharing this Carlo. Getting the Premium package as a replacement for the all-inclusive Bar and Restaurant package seems like a reasonable deal, although the package isn’t quite a carbon copy. Fingers crossed you hear the same from MSC as from your travel agent. Please do share your results as your experience will undoubtedly help many others in the same situation.

          • Update: got confirmation from MSC-belgium: Packages bought/confirmed before the changes from mid november, will stay unchanged on board.
            They added that all drinks without (*) on the drinkmenu wil be available for free, as it was before when packages still were named: allegrissimo/all-inclusive restaurant&bar.
            The e-mail is in Dutch but I will have it on me when I board on december 29!
            Keep you informed after the trip.
            BR, Carlo

          • Just returned from our middle east cruise with MSC Splendida.
            The drink packages: it is complicated, as well for us, the tourist, as for the bar staff.
            They have now the old and the new packages together (that’s a total of 10 different packages or so…) at the same time and new drink menu’s. No more asterix to show what’s included in the old “all-in bar and restaurant”. So it’s a bit a trial and error situation where you ask confirmation about a drink you like to order if it is included or not before you order. Anyway, the cocktails and mixed drinks we like are still available to us with our old package. They wouldn’t have been available (price!) with a new easy package. Let’s hope on our July cruise it will still be the same. I’ll keep you informed.
            BR, Carlo

          • I suspected that might be an issue. It’s such a long overdue change to simplify the system, but to do so there’s a crossover period where both systems are in place. Hopefully the new system will make life simpler for all in the not too distant future.

          • Carlo, thanks for your comments, If possible, would you mind to share the code of the drinks in your card (i.e. 434), I believe that is what the waiter reads before charge you (or not).
            I was told that Easy was only a change of name in the Package (As I previously had bought “all inc Bar & Rest like you in other Trips).
            I saddly bought the “Easy” this time, even my wife doesn´t drink alcohol, and, as you said, I´ve seen the new prices and won´t be able to get what I want (Red label at least).
            I am just hoping to get the same code as you and be able to get the “slightly above 6” drinks.
            Also… no ice cream either? LOL
            Anyway, will be cruising from Kiel in the Meraviglia too, but in May, seems like a beauty!

          • JP, my code on cruise card was 431.
            We were able to order the drinks like we used to order on previous cruises. Indeed, the 6€ limit will make it hard to find something nice to drink 🙂
            Ice cream was still available to us. Wish you a nice cruise and please let us know how it worked out for you. Sheers, Carlo

      • We have the included easy package. Does it include the iced coffees and the chocolate bar? The iced coffees are around 4.50usd.

        • This is a grey area. Items on the “ice cream menu” are not included, so my hunch is that iced coffees would not be included, even though they would qualify under the pricing threshold. It’s definitely a question for MSC or your travel agent to confirm, but my suspicion is that these are excluded. If you do find out, please do leave a comment and share your experience with other readers. There are plenty of other travellers with the same question, so first-hand information is always invaluable.

  40. Hello! We will be cruising on the Divina 09th December, we are sooo exited and travelling all the way from Greece. I have noticed online yesterday that the drinkpackages have changed? When cruising with Costa in the Meditterean, we only decided on embarkation to go for the different packages like beer, wine and waterpackage which were not available to purchase online, as while waiting to go onboard, staff were selling these. Will this be also the case in Miami with MSC or not and do we need to decide before. With the new packages there is only different All inclusive to choose from.

    • There’s no need to pre-book. The ship’s staff will only be too happy to sell you a package when you board. However, the benefit of pre-booking (at least in the UK right now) is that it avoids the 15% service charge that’s added to the package price when you buy on board.

  41. I’m travel on MSC Musica 19 November 2018 – is Extra Light wine available in Bars and Restaurants
    (i.e. Drosty Hof Extra Light or Robertson Extra Light) on the drink packages ??
    and if I order 1 x Spirits and Soda Mix (i.e. Whisky and Soda), will I be charged for 1 or 2 drinks ??

    • Good question. I can’t see any wines expressly marked as ‘Light’ on the menus I have so I can’t be sure they are available. I can see Light beers listed, not that this helps here!

      A spirit and soft drink is known as a mixed drink on MSC, and have their own prices if you are paying as you go (budget around the €7 / $8 mark per drink plus 15% service charge). Mixed drinks are included in the all-inclusive drinks package.

    • Brands can change, but looking at the menus I have access to, Jameson Irish whiskey is on the standard all-inclusive list, as is Johnnie Walker Red Label and Jim Bean Black Label.

      Upgrade to the premium all-inclusive package for tipples including Johnnie Walker Black Label, Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, and Jack Daniel’s Black Label.

      • Thank you, very helpful, it doesn’t mention spirits on the price list above, So I thought they might’nt be included.

        Just wondering if transport is available at ports to take you to nearest towns, if you don’t have a tour booked . I would like to know if there is transport
        available at the ports on our Greek Isles trip, to take passengers into nearest towns, beaches, etc. We may not take guides tours at every port.

        • No problem! As for transport, there’s usually a shuttle service available from the ports that are a fair distance from the town/city. This is usually charged for. It’s worth researching each destination in-depth as sometimes there are public transport options available at a fraction of the price.

  42. Hi! This has been very helpful so far, thank you, however I do have some questions.

    We’re on MSC Divina from late Dec 2018 for 11 nights and the online booking website gives me the options of a soda package, wine packages, all inclusive drinks, etc, however there is no mention of coffee!

    Does the regular dining area include tea/coffee/water? I think I am happy to pay as I go for alcoholic beverages as we don’t drink much however I might die without caffeine. There is no mention of the coffee package you’ve listed above.

    Also, there’s a package to add bottles of water. Surely water is included? This seems a bit nuts…

    • The all-inclusive package includes coffee – I made full use of the speciality coffees when I last had the package! There’s free coffee in the buffet, but it’s dreadful stuff.

      Unlike on other cruise lines, water is usually charged for by MSC. It is mineral water and it comes in plastic bottles. Again, this is included in the all-inclusive package. Again, it’s also available free in the buffet but it’s charged for in the restaurants (no, it makes no sense to me either).

    • We are on on MSC Lyrica in December, whilst we enjoy a drink, its not worthwhile buying the drinks packages, which range from £396 for 2 for all inclusive, or £770 for the luxury package.
      I have gone for the Cabin packages:
      Coffee package £23,
      Wine and water (4 bottles, and Water 7 bottles) £61
      Beer (15 draft, cans or bottles) can be consumed in restaurants or bars for £52
      Total £136, which works out at £6.18p per day per person

  43. Hi,
    I find the pricing by region of the packages confusing. How much would the package be on a transatlantic cruise departing Genoa, arriving Havana. Would it be Europe or Caribbean prices?
    Many thanks Sharon

    • It depends on the number of nights as to the cost. Just multiply that by the price per person, and then by the number of people in your booking to get the total cost. As an example, I’ve found a 17-night itinerary from Genoa to Havana. So it would be 17 nights multiplied by the number of people in your booking, and then this is multiplied by the price of the drinks package above. That gives you the total cost.

      As your cruise departs from Europe, the prices on the ship should be in Euros.

  44. Can you tell me what cocktails are included in the all inclusive bar and restaurants package on the Divina? Is it just mixers ie g @ t – or can you get a mohito or a pina colada for example?

    • Examples include Mojito, Bellini, Piña Colada, Margarita, Daiquiri, Kir Royal, Mimosa Blossom, Sea Breeze, Mai Tai, etc. Generally, it covers a wide selection of non-premium spirits mixed with fruit juice or puree. The premium package includes drinks made using premium label spirits.

  45. Hi

    Do you know when you have to buy the drinks package by. I’m wanting to pre-book the drinks package a few days prior to cruise (to avoid 15% fee). Is there a deadline?

  46. Hi, I’ve just read this article with interest. I’ve booked to do the MSC 32 night cruise in Oct 2019 and have absolutely no idea what to do regarding drinks. No one can tell me the actual cost and whether I’d have to purchase it for the entire duration. It’s on the Orchestra, and I’d want tea, coffee, water, soft drinks and a few gin and tonics. Any advice?

    • 32 nights sounds like heaven to me! On a cruise of this length, the cost of the drinks packages (if available – some of the longer sailings have restrictions on what packages are available – log into your MSC account or contact your travel agent to find out exactly what options are open to you) will rack up, but so too might the bar bill. The drinks package offers surety. Pay a price upfront and then forget about racking up a huge bill. That peace of mind definitely helps to make a cruise more relaxing (totting up how much you are spending as you go along isn’t that much fun).

      However, as you’re mainly seeking tea, coffee, water, and soft drinks, it’s worth doing the calculation above to work out whether you’d get good value out of the package (remember to factor in those lazy sea days too as you’ll tend to drink more on these days). It depends on how many a ‘few’ G&T’s are, but that may well swing it towards booking the package, as the cost of these will soon rack up.

      • I was a solo cruiser on the MSC Preziosa transatlantic November-December 2017 and as I am not particularly a big drinker I bought voucher books (pre-cruise to save 15% service charge). For myself I found this was perfect, although I did buy too many, giving away any left as tips. I have since heard they could have been used on other MSC cruises, but not sure about that. What really surprised me about this transatlantic cruise was that a lot of passengers were actually getting on at each European port of call with crates of booze and water without it being take off them. I myself bought a good bottles of madeira wine and liquor to present to in-law family members who were meeting me in Santos, and was able to walk through security with it without having to give it up for pickup on disembarkation.

  47. Hi
    We are looking at a Northern European cruise on the Poesia next year. Are the drinks packages available for all cabin categories? I see that with some cabins water and tea are included.
    Thanks again for all of the information you have provided!
    kind regards
    K Young

    • It’s worth speaking to your travel agent or MSC Cruises about this. The ship operating from Southampton has kettles to make in-cabin tea/coffee as well as some other tweaks to cater for Brits. There are various promotions throughout the year that include drinks packages. On Poesia, Aurea cabin packages come with a drinks package.

  48. My cruise on Seaview has to be paid by the end of March 2019. If I add on drinks packages to my booking, do you know if I’d need to pay them immediately, or by end of March or at end of cruise?

  49. Going on MSC Seaside. With our booking was the Drinks on Us package. Trying to find out what Cocktails are included (after waiting 1 hr and 22 minutes on hold with MSC) they said anything not frozen or shaken. Really? Is there a specific list of drinks available? I apparently need to bring my own hot choc packets and ask for hot water as I can’t even get hot chocolate with this pkg. Not a big alcohol drinker so not interested in upgrading. Plan on bringing reusable water bottle to fill on my own at buffet and add flavoring to it. Constantly getting bottled water is bad for the environment.

    • I’ve done some digging around. Drinks On Us is an American-centric package for cruises on MSC Seaside, MSC Divina, or MSC Meraviglia to the Caribbean. By cocktails it means house-brand spirits with soda or juice, so the menu is: Rum & Coke, Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Lemon, Whiskey & Coke, Long Island Iced Tea, Cape Cod, and Moscow Mule.

      It also includes selected house wines (two reds, two whites, one rosé, and one Prosecco) by the glass, selected bottled beer (Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Corona, and non-alcoholic beer), and draught Heineken beer.

      As for spirits, the Drinks on Us package includes Beefeater gin, Smirnoff vodka, Dewar’s White Label and Seagram’s 7 Crown whiskeys, and Bacardi Superior White rum.

      And in terms of non-alcoholic drinks, your choice is soda (cans and fountain), 16oz mineral water, and fruit juices (cans and bottles). No hot drinks are included, be that coffee or hot chocolate.

      All in all, it is a really cut-down version of the classic all-inclusive package with far less choice.

  50. Hi David
    First and foremost thank you for this information. It has proven very helpful when deciding what to do in terms of purchasing a package. I will be on a cruise with a group of 17 adults in Nov/2018 MSC Lirica departing from Dubai 11 nights.
    I have a few questions:
    1) What liquors are included within the All Inclusive Restaurant and Bar Drink Package? For example does it include Absolut, Tito Vodkas? Is it the same as the Classic Package?
    2) Is there a limit to the amount of drinks you can order for any of the packages? Will we have to pay a difference in cash for any drinks (because the full cost is not covered within the package)
    2) Is the 15% tax included within the package prices or will we need to pay it every time we order a drink?
    Thank you again for this great information.

    • 1 – There’s a range of premium labels of scotch, single malt, bourbon, blended whisky, cognac, rum, tequilla, vodka, gin, Italian grappa, and brandy available in the Premium package. Brands include the likes of Johnnie Walker, Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, Jack Daniel’s Black Label, Grey Goose, and Bombay Sapphire. Brands included in the standard package include Jameson Irish, Bacardi, Malibu, Sambuca, Jägermeister, and Grand Marnier. Absolut vodka is available in the standard package in a variety of flavours.

      2 – There’s not a limit that I know of, other than that the drinks must be consumed by the package holder, and that the bar staff don’t consider the purchaser to be intoxicated to a dangerous level. If you purchase the standard package and want a drink from the premium menu, you’ll need to pay in full for this (plus the 15% tip).

      3 – If you book a package before you set foot on the ship, the 15% service charge is included in the fee. If you book the package onboard, you’ll be charged the 15% service fee on top of the package price. In both cases, you don’t pay a service charge for each drink you request.

      Hope this helps. Please shout if you’ve got further questions.

  51. Cruising out of Barcelona on the new Seaview – My wife and I are avid wine drinkers so we don’t typically buy alcohol packages that limit you to their house wines. Has anyone bought the Classic or Easy Wine Package before? How would you rate the wine selection in both packages? Are the wine offerings in both packages the same? Is it worth it to prepay for them or just buy it on board when you can actually see the wines included in the packages? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

    • The all-inclusive package offers access to a variety of types of wine, not just the house red or white. For the best brands you’ll need to opt for the Premium package. As I understand it, some of the wine-specific drinks packages are free choice (i.e. you pick the bottles from a list) while others are chosen by the sommelier. If you’d prefer to see exactly what you are getting before you pay for a package, I’d suggest waiting until you are onboard. The ship’s staff will be best placed to know what’s available on that ship on the date you sail.

  52. I see it has ‘mineral water’ listed on these beverage packages. Does this mean the staff will pour water from a bottle into a glass for you, or do you get the full bottle of water? I’ve been researching, and can’t find the information anywhere. I’d like to take a bottle with me when I go out for excursions and such but need to figure out if I need to also buy the water bottle package.

    • You buy water by the bottle, although they’re quite big bottles so are a bit inconvenient for taking on land. Personally, I usually head straight to a convenience store in port as bottled water is often really cheap.

      But I understand your logic. After dinner I was loathed to see half a bottle of water thrown away so took it back to my cabin each night (much to the amusement of the waiters). But the half-empty (or half-full) bottles are handy for a quick drink late a night or first thing in the morning instead of heading out to a bar or raiding the paid-for mini bar.

      • Hi, you can buy big bottles or small bottles. Just ask the staff behind the swimming pool bars or behind the bar you see (on MSC ships we’ve been with) immediately when you enter the buffet.

  53. Can anyone please tell me what brands of beer and spirits on the Mac Fantasia restaurant and bar drinks package cheers

    • I believe brands vary from region to region, but it’s normally the most familiar brands on offer (Bud, Heineken, Coors, Beck’s, Bacardi, Absolut, etc.). For top-end brands, you’d need the Premium package.

  54. I’m diabetic so I don’t drink alcoholic beverages and can’t enjoy sweet , sugary drinks so I really only drink plain old NYC tap water, lots and lots of it, plus unsweetened coffee and tea. Have never supported the bottled water industry so I’m wondering if tea and coffee are available at meal times or poolside (and at what charge) and if there are water fountains or dispensers available or does water only come packaged in bottles for sale, both in the dining room or on deck?

    • On MSC, drinks are charged for in the dining room, including water (which is bottled water), as well as tea and coffee (see rough pricing here). The exception is the buffet, which has tea, coffee, and water on tap free of charge.

      I’ve heard that on some cruises from Miami, the service and policy is slightly different with iced water freely available at mealtimes. I can’t be sure though as I’ve yet to sail with MSC from Miami.

  55. My two sisters & I are cruising the MCS Seaside this May & we are confused as to why we each have to purchase the same drink package just because we are sharing the same room? One of us does not drink any kind of alcohol.

    • While it’s a pain having to choose the same package, the reasoning behind it is to prevent some passengers trying to cheat the system by sharing a drinks package. Assuming both of you drink alcohol but only one buys the package, there’s nothing to prevent you from sharing drinks. That way you’d pay for one package but two of you consume drinks from it – in the cruise line’s eyes, they’re out of pocket to the tune of one package.

      Where this disadvantages guests is in your instance where one person drinks alcohol and the other does not. In such a case, you both need to buy the same package, even though one of you will get substantially less value from it. It’s in these cases where it is wise to do the maths beforehand, as you might be better off paying as you go along, depending on how much alcohol is likely to be consumed.

  56. I am doing 2 x 7 day Europe cruises in May 2018 on MSC and I’m thinking of buying the Classic Drinks Package can anyone tell me what the white wines are in this package please? I like to drink New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc does anyone know if I can expect this kind of wine in the Classic Package? As I’m sharing a cabin with a spirit drinker and I’m a wine drinkers I think it really bad that the cruise line makes you both have the same drinks package….its just not fair at all

    • MSC’s classic package includes a range of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, plus some Mediterranean White Wines from Italy. There’s also a selection of rosé wines, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Malbec, Chianti, and Prosecco. Premium brands are included in the premium package but there’s plenty of variety on most wines under the classic package.

      While it’s a pain having to choose the same package, the reasoning behind it is to prevent some passengers trying to cheat the system by sharing a drinks package. If one person in a cabin of four booked a drinks package but the other’s didn’t need to, there’s nothing to stop that one person sharing their all-inclusive drinks with the other three. The cruise lines would lose money so would either need to ramp up the drinks prices, or ramp up the package prices to unaffordable levels. The system of making everyone in the same cabin buy the same package closes the loophole in the most part, albeit by penalising those that don’t drink a lot or who don’t drink premium branded beverages. That’s why it’s important to do the maths before you travel as an all-inclusive package isn’t always the cheapest option (although it offers peace of mind and surety over the end price).

      • Thanks David for listing the types of wines in the Classis package looks like their are a few wines that I can choose from.

    • Hello David

      I am going on the Lirica June 2018 & prefer to drink prosecco as I’m allergic to most wines, can you advise me if the All Inclusive Bar & Restaurant package has prosecco included as its not clear it only says dry sparkling white ??

      Many Thanks

      • Looking at my photos of the menus, Martini & Rossi Prosecco is listed as included in the package. The exact brand might vary but I’m sure that they’d have at least one brand of Prosecco onboard.

  57. David, firstly many thanks for the effort you have put into this. I read this as I am looking at a MSC cruise. For the benefit of other readers, we have recently returned from a Celebrtiy X cruise, where my partner had the standard drinks package, and I upgraded to Premium for about US$150. I calculated that on one day we both had consumed $100 each in water, soda, speciality drinks and alcoholic drinks. Package was good value. I upgraded to premium for a much better choice of beers. Our previous cruise was with Princess. I agonised over the package as it was adding over GB £1,000 to the cost. People need to remember that a $8 drink is really $10 when the tip is added. So a pre dinner champagne, two small glasses of wine with dinner, and two after dinner drinks…and the package is paid for. Thanks again.

    • Thanks for sharing details of your experience – it really does pay to do the maths before heading on a cruise. Adding a significant upfront cost can be off-putting but can work out much better value overall, depending on how much you actually drink. I had an all inclusive package on my last trip and one of the perks really was peace of mind. I didn’t need to worry about how expensive my onboard account was getting.

  58. Hi David,
    Could you please advise if when purchasing the Adult All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drinks Package; are we permitted to order items from the Child All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drinks Package (Fruit juices, Virgin cocktails, Smoothies, Milkshakes)?

    • Tried and tested 😉 MSC has a great range of drinks for teetotalers, those who don’t drink much alcohol, or those looking for a respite after perhaps drinking a few too many the night before.

      When I was last on an MSC cruise, adults could order fruit juices, virgin cocktails (‘mocktails’), milkshakes, and smoothies as part of the adults package. The caveat is that some drinks are only available in the bars and not the restaurants, regardless of package. Soda, water, fruit juice, and coffee is about the limit for the main restaurants. The speciality restaurants may have a better selection on offer as they are normally located near bars.

  59. Hi we had the meals drinks package on our last cruise by the end of the cruise I was totally off wine and my husband gave up on the beer as only Heinikan was available. I only drink cheap wine but don’t ask me where they found this stuff it was worse than the 60c a litre from the supermarket.

  60. Hi,
    I have just booked an Aurea suite on the Preziosa for the Jewels of the Caribbean cruise next February (2019) for the wife’s 50th. This includes the AI drinks package (booked through CruiseClubUK – now offering AI drinks on all cabins, so may be worth booking the ‘lesser’ cabins if you don’t want the extras that Aurea etc include).
    This is out first cruise on a big ship (we have only done one before – last year on Thomson Dream).
    Does the AI package include cider and do they even have cider on board?

    • That sounds like a great celebration and an Aurea suite is perfect for a memorable landmark birthday – a perfect excuse to take up the free spa massage! I cannot see cider on my menus although I believe the stock varies depending upon the region sailed and customer demand.

  61. Great information I will be purchasing the drinks package on the MERAVIGLIA sailing January it looks great value thanks again for great page

  62. Hi – I have a query on a review I read about someone with the premium MSC package drinking €45 bottles of wine with their meals. Are bottles of wine included in this package?
    It does seem odd that if glasses of wine are included (and the premium package meaning pretty much all wines), then why not a bottle?
    I have read your review and comments with interest but am still struggling with the decision to upgrade having already got the standard package FOC! As you say, it is down to the individual and I think we could get value for this, especially with glasses of champagne, premium spirits/cocktails and bottled beers…..not to mention the free mini-bar and room service menu, but it is still a big jump (around £280 for two for a week) to go from free drink to free drink plus!
    Incidentally, do you know what is on the room service drinks menu – is it just whatever is served in the bars during bar opening times? Are there bottles of wine in mini-bar/room service?

    • Wine by the glass is included in the premium package, but if you’re a group and all order the same glass of wine, there’s a chance it’ll come as a bottle with dinner. Similarly, if you’re likely to order a few glasses of wine during dinner, again, this may be served as a bottle to save time. The dining room waiters have ice buckets ready for bottles of wine.

      When I was on Meraviglia, my mini bar contained 33cl bottles of Heineken and Beck’s beer, 5cl bottles of gin, vodka, and whisky; fruit juice and cans of soda; and bottles of still and sparkling water.

  63. Hi,
    We are booked on a northern Caribbean cruise on Meraviglia in April. We booked the Fantastica experience, which comes with 12 vouchers each fit drinks. We are considering getting the classic drink package. My question is do the 12 vouchers include even the premium drinks? So basically would the vouchers cover what the classic does not.
    Thanks for your help.

  64. We are travelling as a family of 11 (6 adults 5 children) on MSC Meraviglia July 2018Northern Europe. We have purchased the All inclusive Classic packages for all . Can you advise if bottled beers are available. Looking on line it only appears that Draught Heinekan is available. Also do you know where we can find Drink Menus that have been posted online? Your comments are extremely informative. Did you enjoy Meraviglia. Some very negative comments on Cruise Critic especially with regards to food. Best wishes from Scotland

    • Bottled beer is available in the Premium package. You can pay for drinks not included in the all-inclusive package, so if you fancy an occasional bottle, doing this would be more economical than upgrading the package for everyone.

      I loved my time onboard Meraviglia, no-doubt helped by my swanky pad for the week (a real gem of a find – I was lucky to pay for that one before anyone else could). The ship offers the best of MSC Cruises right now and is very family-friendly. If you go in with an open mind, you’ll find plenty to love. Many of the negative comments benchmark MSC Cruises against other cruise lines but ‘value for money’ is barely considered. I’d be the first to say MSC don’t hit the mark in every aspect of the cruise experience, but I believe they offer real value for money when all things are considered. That’s why I’m a repeat customer. No, not everything is perfect and no, not everything is as good as other cruise lines, but the fare reflects this, and that’s a compromise I’m very happy to make.

      I found food service to be infinitely better than it was on MSC Preziosa, thanks to the new computerised systems that help to speed up ordering and delivery (so food is still hot when it arrives). The trick to food success on the ship is to eat like an Italian – the pasta/rice/seafood/pizza dishes are all usually outstanding. Meats and other dishes tend to be hit or miss.

      Please do let me know what you think of MSC Cruises and Meraviglia when you return.

  65. We are booked, as a couple, on an MSC cruise in Europe in June 2018 and have booked the AI Deluxe package at £308 per person.

    Obviously cost is an issue, but from experience with a 15% service charge you do not need to be drinking excessively to rack up quite a bill on holiday, and after all that is what we are on.

    Do we want to be continually checking our account, no. It just removes the stress, if it means we have overpaid by £50, in the grand scheme of things, so what, the chances are we will be in credit, since it allows you to have a better choice of drink, champagne before dinner rather than a sparkling wine, a few glasses of nice wine rather than a few glasses of average wine, to sit in your cabin, maybe on the balcony if you have one, with a few drinks from the mini bar, soft or alcoholic and unlimited bottled water.

    We all work hard to enjoy our free time and in reality, we are all going to have a bill at the end of the cruise, so we are only concerned with the difference, at least this way you know what it is and you have paid for it beforehand and you may have been able to enjoy certain premium drinks that you would not buy if they were not included, basically, it has enhanced your holiday on-board which should be the aim, for in the main, a modest extra cost for most people.

    • I can agree with this. Having had an all-inclusive package on my last MSC cruise, it was great not having to watch the onboard account like a hawk to avoid an unwelcome surprise at the end of the cruise.

      • Back from a great cruise on the MSC Poesia.

        The AI Deluxe package was brilliant, though I think the Classic package would have been just as good as the choice of drinks is fine and it is considerably cheaper, our table guests had no issues with the wines available with this package and the standard Heineken beer is fine for me. We left the ship with only a bill for the daily on-board staff gratuities having enjoyed a wide selection of beers, wines, champagne, coffees, brandies, bottled water and use of the cabin mini bar. I did calculate 1 day, that with the 15% service charge added, which you don’t pay when these AI packages are purchased in advance, we would have run up a bill of Euro 180.

        For us, it was money well spent many months before we travelled, which means with all the extra expense that comes with a trip abroad, it was something we did not have to budget for.

        • Thanks for sharing your experience. The all-inclusive package is great for a worry-free trip, and it’s great ordering a drink without fretting what damage it will do to the onboard bill.

  66. Hi
    I am booked on a number of 2-3 night mini cruises on Msc Magnifica and Msc Meraviglia and wondered if they still allow you to purchase the all inc drinks packages onboard.

    I have done this in past but not sure if they have changed their policy.


      • Just to confirm we did eventually purchase the AI package onboard magnifica as we were boarding but it had to be approved by senior staff, allegedly, as our cruise was less than 4 nights.

        Will see what happens on meraviglia in two weeks.

  67. Hi Great tips here, well done.
    We are sailing on the MSC Seaside from Miami in Feb 2018 and we have unlimited beer and wine during meals package included (734PRW17 – Unlimited consumption of bottled wine (white, red and rosé), mineral water, draft beer and soft drinks during lunch and dinner. The drinks included in this package are for consumption in the main restaurants and the self-service buffet, but not in the Specialty restaurants)
    Can this be upgraded to premium drinks package?
    If so how much?

    • Unless there’s some terms attached to the package, it should be upgradable. It would be worth speaking to MSC or your travel agent to see if you can do this prior to your sailing. Failing that, when you check-in at Miami, you might be able to do it then.

  68. Hi We are booked on the MSC Magnifica for later on this year (2018). I have just started looking at the drink packages and have found your post very helpful thankyou! The bit I am confused about is when I look on my booking site it lists ‘All-inclusive Restaurant and Bar package’ – which I assume is the one you have mentioned then the Premium package (at this stage I am following along 🙂 ) and then it lists an All inclusive classic drink package which is priced in between the two. I see that the selection of drinks available are slightly different but am not sure how much. The All-inclusive package states it has a dedicated bar list – does this mean that it is a completely seperate menu than the ones I am able to see online and if so does anyone know how limited it is? I was really exited by the variety of cocktails shown when I searched for bar menus – much more extensive than on past local cruises – but now am not sure which option they would be included in. Hope this all makes sense.

    • Different packages are available on different sailings in different regions of the world, which just complicates issues. The “All-inclusive Restaurant and Bar package” (formerly the “Allegrissimo drinks package”) is the standard all-inclusive drinks package. It’s strange that a second, mid-priced all-inclusive classic drink package is also displaying. Now you mention it, I vaguely remember seeing something similar in my booking area on my last MSC cruise.

      My understanding is the All-inclusive Restaurant and Bar package and the All inclusive classic drink package is one and the same. The Premium or Deluxe package will include either of those words in it, and will include premium brand drinks.

  69. My wife and I are not big drinkers, but for us pre-purchasing the classic all inclusive drinks package online is a no-brainer. Why ?
    Because doing so avoids the 15% gratuity surcharge, so you can immediately bank a 15% discount.
    That means £17.40 per person per day, or about 15.80 Euro (at 1.10 exchange rate)
    One morning juice or coffee with breakfast (E2.20-E2.50),
    One fizzy drink or juice with lunch (E2.50-E2.80),
    One specialty coffee, usually mid morning or mid afternoon (E2.20)
    One cocktail, usually up on deck sailing out of port (E6.70)
    One glass of wine with dinner (E4.50)
    One litre of water per day, minimum, more if hot weather, and we both like to have a bottle of H2O on our bedside table at night (E2.60)
    One night-cap in a quiet bar, either decaff coffee or non-alcoholic cocktail, sometimes alcoholic cocktail or liqueur like Drambuie, all covered by the all-inclusive package (E2.20-E6.70)
    The above consumption is by no means excessive when on a seven-night holiday, and it comes to a total cost of E22.90 – E28.00 per day, well in excess of the E15.80 per day effective cost.
    And that excludes the odd day when we might indulge in two (not one) sunset cocktail up on deck, or fancy some take-away ice-cream of a warm afternoon.
    Our experience on MSC is that having the all-inclusive package on your card enhances the way bar and waitering staff treat you, probably because it just makes their life easier. Unlimited bottles of water on request, having to ask them to stop topping up your wine glass at dinner, and being offered a well chosen naughty but nice liqueur on the side with your end of meal dessert coffee, always well paired, e.g. amaretto with a cannelloni … all of the above come with a courteous smile.
    Like I said, no brainer for us.

  70. Hi David
    We are going on our cruise on the MSC meraviglia in January, the mediterranean cruise departing from Spain, its a 7 night cruise. I’m battling to decide on the drinks package, so when I look at your pre booked packages is that about the same costing on the Meraviglia?
    Warm Regards

    • I’ve just come back from a week on MSC Meraviglia– the ship is beautiful. The drinks package prices apply to all applicable MSC sailings. If you log into their website with your booking details, you should see a list of optional beverage packages to choose from.

  71. Thank you for posting this! We’re booked to go on MSC Seaside for its maiden voyage in 1 month. Our travel agent said the average cost of a cocktail (non-premium) or glass of wine is $15 USD, but your costs are much lower at ~$6. Is our travel agent just inflating the price on us or do you think this really could be a realistic cost?

    • The cost of wine varies between varieties, and the cost of cocktails is based on the content, but as a guide, I’d expect to pay $6 to $8 (plus 15% gratuity) per non-premium glass. I’m just back from a cruise on MSC Meraviglia and the prices on there are likely to be highly similar to those on MSC Seaside.

  72. Hi David ,So from what I read , on the Carb cruises a person can wait until they get on board and buy a 18 ticket package? I have called MSC a couple times hoping someone would have more info for me but they stick to the “This is what I see on the web site” answer and only ever talking about the big price packages , Which if we were on board everyday ALL DAY only I can them being worth it , our cruise tho has 6 ports @ 10hrs per port and one is until 11pm one night , so we’d be buying drinks anywhere we went on shore anyways and figured it is not a benefit to buy a full all-in package. So again , are these only offered on board when you choose to buy a more-for-less escape package of tickets?

    • I actually got it answered by MSC , as of Dec 31/2017 they will no longer offer those , so we are missing it by 3 days , I express a great displeasure on their drink package offers how limited they are and the lack of choice , hope I see a new package come Jan 1/18 , Thanks

      • Thanks for the heads up. I know that packages and booklets vary by region and some come and go. With so many new ships on the horizon, there’s a real opportunity for the cruise line to slim down and refine the various packages available.

        MSC Cruises USA still lists the voucher packages on their website with no mention (yet) of them being axed. I hadn’t heard about this latest round of changes so will do some digging.

        • This is really odd then , I have had to talk to supervisors a couple times while dealing with these admittedly , and I never seen the link you posted so I figured it was true still , I personally cannot see them getting rid of it because people would not be happy if the only choices were pay a lot , or pay even more , I will let you know in a bit over a month tho after our cruise HA ,
          Thanks David

          • There’s a mix of packages on that page. Underneath the title of each, you’ll find something like “(Available to book for Caribbean Cruises)”. Some are for Med cruises, South American, or for Caribbean cruises (as not every package is available everywhere, just to confuse matters!).

            The Water Package, Soda Package, and Doremi Package (kids) are available in the Caribbean. As for alcohol packages, the 7/10 Bottle Dinner Wine Package, and Classic Wine Package are available on Caribbean cruises.

      • Hi there Barry,
        Could you retro-feed your expierence on board? I´ll be sailingto Cuba from Cozumel in Feb, and considered the vouchers as well, actually only for bottled beer.
        1)Are the still an option for 2018?
        2)I´ve heard that, even they say the vouchers will cover anything up to $8, they won´t work for premiums (i.e. black label, gray goose) …. even If they are under $8.
        3)If you want a mixed liqour, say a vodka and soda… will they take one voucher for each?
        4)It seems tha there are juicies, cofee , tea and water on the buffees, so, If you don´t drink soda at all…. will you make it?
        5)The vouchers work for 1Lt bottle of wather, or just the little ones?

        Thanks in advanced!!!

  73. Incredibly informative article, thanks for putting it togethet! Are spirits/shorts like Vodka/Whiskey/Brandy included in the All inclusive bar & restaurant package?

    • Thank you for your kind words. Spirits (Scotch, bourbon, blended whiskey, rum, tequila, vodka, and gin) are included although the top brands of Scotch, single malt, bourbon, blended whiskey, cognac, armagnac, rum, tequila, vodka, gin, Italian grappa, and brandy are reserved for Premium package holders (although they can be purchased at normal bar prices on the standard all-inclusive package should you fancy the occasional treat).

  74. Thank you for a great article. Is it allowed (or possible) to fill a bottle with water in MSC Divina buffet? I hate to have a new plastic bottle every time and also it costs because we decided not to have a drinking package this time (I’m still breastfeeding our baby)

  75. Hi, David,
    May I know if there is a 15% service charge added to the bill if I prepay the drinks package before cruising? I am also interested in the COCKTAIL & CIRQUE DU SOLEIL AT SEA SONOR EXPERIENCE and will there be a 15% service charge if I prepay?

    • As far as I can see, there’s no service charge if you pre-book, which effectively acts as a 15% discount. That’s the incentive to pre-book. Once you step onboard, the drinks and speciality meals incur the service charge.

  76. How do I purchase drink vouchers? I’m going on MSC Orchestra with my family in Feb ( it’s my very first cruise)
    Also how much Euro is coffee , beer etc
    And any pros or con s regarding this cruise
    Thanks Deanna

    • You can purchase drinks vouchers on the MSC Cruises website (under My Bookings > Customise My Cruise). They’re also available onboard. Guide prices for drinks is shown above.

  77. GREAT article! thanks for the analysis on the drinks …. after reading this, it’s an easy decision for us (2 adults and a will be 6 yr old) to NOT buy the package …..

    • Thank you for your kind comments. It’s definitely not for everyone. On my most recent cruise, I had an all-inclusive package for two adults and a three-year-old as part of the Aurea package. We struggled to drink half of it’s cost had we have paid for it.

  78. Wow this is what I call detailed advice backed up with figures. I did almost the same breakdown when I decided not to buy a drink package. Sailing MSC Meraviglia in november, will most likely get some coffee/tea and soda vouchers.
    We plan on spending maximum time onshore so I definitely can not drink more than 1-2 beverages after an intensive sightseeing day. As you said the onboard prices are not so bad after all.
    Thanks once again, I head up to your other articles for MSC as we are first time cruisers.

    • Thank you for your kind comments. For some people the package is definitely worthwhile, especially if they’re planning to spend most of their time on the ship, and enjoy a steady flow of drinks throughout. For others, it’s poor value. On MSC Preziosa I saved hundreds of Euros not buying the package and being careful with my onboard spending. On a future sailing I’d probably opt for the voucher booklets. That said, my Aurea grade cabin on my next cruise on MSC Meraviglia includes a drinks package, so it’ll be interesting to see how that affects my drinking habits. I plan to report back with my findings on my return.

  79. Thanks for your information David it has helped a lot filling in the details of brands etc, although I’m still unsure what our drinks package will be on the MSC Orchestra with the Aurea stateroom cruising the Western Mediterranean out of Barcelona. The MSC site said the package varies depending on the cruise destination. We are first time cruisers with MSC.

  80. HI

    We travel on Meraviglia in January and considering the classic all inclusive drink package.
    Can you tell me which white wines are included- eg Sav blanc, Chardonnay? I only like Pina Colada and Mojito cocktains and shiraz and merlot red so would they will included in this package?

    Many thanks

    • MSC’s classic package includes a range of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, plus some Mediterranean White Wines from Italy. There’s also a selection of rosé wines, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Malbec, Chianti, and Prosecco. Premium brands are included in the premium package but there’s plenty of variety on most wines under the classic package.

  81. I require a bit of advice about purchasing a drinks package. I am booked on the MSC Preziosa sailing to South America, but have not yet purchased a drinks package. I already think that my partner will probably not be travelling with me owing to illness. I do not want to cancel his booking yet but should he not be with me and I wish to purchase a drinks package on board, would I be charged one for my absent partner?

    • I am so sorry to hear that. This would be a question for MSC directly as the answer depends on their level of compassion. You might be better waiting until you get onboard and buying the package as you embark. You’ll pay a smidge more than if you pre-book as the bar gratuities are levied on the purchase, but if you are sailing solo in the cabin – and the ship’s system reflect this – you should only need to buy one package.

      • Thank you for your helpful reply, I have now been looking at buying the vouchers, although they seem to be complicated – i.e. I would not use a drink voucher to purchase an espresso coffee, therefore I would buy a set of coffee vouchers also. For comparison could you tell me if one buys an all-inclusive package on board and the 15% service charge is added, would it be on the full cost of the package or would it be each time an actual drink is ordered, i.e. 15% of the cost of the drink? On an NCL cruise I took last year, the service charge was per drink ordered on a free drinks package.

        • That’s a good question. I can’t see anything in the terms and conditions that discusses service charges. My understanding is that if you prepay for the package, it’s priced without the 15% service charge. If you buy the package onboard, it attracts the 15% service charge on the package price. I don’t believe there’s an additional fee per drink ordered. I’m about to sail with MSC with an all-inclusive package so will report back with my findings.

  82. Hi David. We are going on the MSC Poesia in October. We have a free drinks package with our booking ( mealtime drinks). Can we upgrade when we board to all inclusive package? Do they have Savanna stocked in the bar and on what package will it be free.

  83. My wife is diabetic and carries a bottle of Lucozade at all times in case her blood/sugar level dips suddenly. Will there be a problem bringing this on board each day after excursions?

    • There shouldn’t be. You might want a note from a doctor to prove she’s diabetic for peace of mind, but I doubt there would be any issue with a small bottle of soft drink. Some cruise lines ban all drinks being brought back onto a ship, but I’ve not heard of MSC doing the same (except for alcohol which all cruise lines forbid).

  84. Hello we are going on meraviglua in 2weeks
    We have the all inclusive drinks package
    My question is can we take drinks back to our room I.e tea or a nightcap

  85. Thanks David
    Thanks you for this information.
    We will do a cruise next year.
    But where can I purchase a booklet for the drinks,


    • Your travel agent should be able to help. Alternatively, if you register an account on the MSC Cruises website, you should be able to import your booking and bolt on such additions before you sail.

  86. Hello, we are going mext year with the new MSC Seaside. What is the price for a softdrink like Cola? So we can chose for vouchers maybee. Thanks!

  87. David thank you foe the useful info. I bought a drinks and coffee pakage online for our upcomming (first) cruise on Perziosa.
    Will the coffee package be all for coffee and tea available to us or are there complementary coffee and tea available in the restaurats?

    • You’ll find complimentary tea/coffee in the buffet but not in the restaurants. The paid-for coffee is infinitely tastier than the free stuff in the buffet though and is well worth the investment!

  88. Hi I am going on a cruise in October this year 2017 on MSC magnifica, And would like to know if I can purchase a drinks package on line . On MSC web site , Thankyou Wendy

    • Head over to the MSC website and register/log into your account. Pop in your booking details and you’ll see a list of available options to pre-purchase. Typically these are shore excursions, drinks packages, restaurant packages, spa treatments, Internet packages, and on-board credit packages.

  89. Hi there. We’re going on our first MSC cruise soon and we’ve found this information to be really helpful with our ‘do we, don’t we’ decision on the drinks packages, so thank you! We’ve had a thought: ours is a 7-night, 8 day cruise, with the ship arriving back in Southampton at 8.00am on the final day. If our experience with other cruise lines is anything to go by, disembarkation is usually a pretty swift affair and people generally don’t sit around and use the bars etc as they would during a normal ‘cruise day’ – and that’s if the bars (and restaurants!) are even open beyond breakfast! Yet with the all-inclusive drinks packages, MSC charges disembarking passengers the full wack for this day – together with embarking passengers also. So, for two days of every single cruise, they get ‘double whammy’ when disembarking passengers really don’t have the opportunity to use this fully. If our thoughts on this are correct, it seems very cheeky!! Perhaps this fact needs to be built into the decision making calculator also???

    • Thanks. I’m glad it’s useful – the system isn’t the easiest to master and making a simple calculation on which option is best isn’t always clear cut. That’s a very good point, although the embarkation and disembarkation days would effectively count as one full day when combined (albeit less a few hours, so like a port day where you’d get off and explore a port of call). On a seven-night cruise, you’d have half a day on embarkation, six full days, plus up to half a day on disembarkation, totalling seven days. The aspects that would eat into the two half days are the time you board and the time you disembark. In an ideal world you’d need to board as early as you could and leave as late as you could to maximise the value. This isn’t always possible though. Based on this, perhaps it’s worthwhile using six days as a calculation, and then consider drinks on embarkation and disembarkation days a bonus?

    • Vouchers can be exchanged for drinks on a 1:1 basis. I believe they have a maximum value limit, so it you order premium options or mixers, you may need to pay the difference. But otherwise they should cover the cost of drinks.

      As an example, a 15 voucher Coffee Package (Coffee Cuddle) package has 15 separate vouchers and each can be redeemed for 15 non-alcoholic coffee-based drinks (hot or cold), hot chocolates, and hot teas during the cruise. The vouchers can be used by anyone in your cabin according to MSC.

  90. Hi
    Very useful information. Just about to book my first cruise, I just drink beer and my wife takes a vodka, cannot see which package would include vodka?

    • The standard package includes vodka and vodka mixer drinks. Brands typically include Absolut, Three Olives, Stolichnaya, and Smirnoff. Premium brands (e.g. Grey Goose, Belvedere, and Ketel One) are available in the premium package. Brands are purely indicative as these can vary based on the region the ship sails in.

  91. We are cruising for the first time ever on MSC in the fall of 2018. It is an 11 day cruise out of Warnemunde Germany. We are travelling with another couple and are not big drinkers We will likely get a wine package for dinner however my question is this. I am reading about these “drink vouchers” mostly 18 however they are not for sale online (pre cruise). Can you tell me if these are available onboard on every MSC cruise

    • I’ve just logged into my upcoming booking and beneath the usual array of all-inclusive packages I can see the voucher booklets. They are confusingly called packages on my screen, but the description explains how many drinks are included in each one. E.g. the Water Package has the description “Drops of refreshment every moment of your day! 14 bottles of mineral water 1L, for consumption in bars, restaurants and self-service buffet.”

      It might be that it’s too early to book such additions for an Autumn 2018 cruise. If you try early next year there should be options if not already. Alternatively, you should be able to buy these onboard when you board at Warnemunde.

  92. Hi, this October will be my first cruise in Europe.I am a non drinker. No alcohol, no soft drinks nor coffee. Should I buy the mineral water package? If not, does that mean we will not get any drinking water at all during dinner time? Can I get water from the buffet if I bring my own bottle? Or can I buy water from the each port and bring back to the ship?
    Thank you very much!

    • Where are you travelling from? Water is available from dispensers in the buffet free of charge. However, water is not usually supplied free of charge in the dining rooms (although some passengers (particularly, but not exclusively, Americans) seem to get free bottles while others do not).

  93. Hi I was wondering if you could help. I have just returned from a MSC Cruise on Davina from Miami to Caribbean. We purchased the 18 voucher booklets, we were a party of six and purchased two books per person. However, some of us were quite ill on the cruise and therefore did not end up using the drinks vouchers, we have come home with three unused drinks vouchers booklets. Do you know if we would be entitled to a refund for these?

  94. Hello, confused.com here.
    MSC Going to the Caribbean from Barbados.
    We drink on average a bottle of wine each evening with lemonade, and maybe two cups of coffee during the day, plus about two litres a day of water.
    If we don’t finish the wine that evening can it be kept for the next evening?
    We not drink alcohol at all during the day.

    Would be better going for a drinks package if so which one? or which voucher pack? Or pay as you go ? New at cruising so at bit naïve about the cost of drinks etc! many many thanks

    • Expect to pay upwards of $29 for a bottle of wine, $2.50 for a soda, $3 for a coffee, and $3.25 for a one litre (34 oz in the US) bottle of mineral water. Vouchers may make better financial sense than the all-inclusive package but bear in mind the hot Caribbean weather. You’ll likely drink more, so factor in some wiggle room in the budget there.

      Currently the all-inclusive package is around $45 per person per day. If you each had a couple of glasses of wine (let’s assume you opt for the $6.50 glasses), one lemonade, two coffees, and a bottle of water, this would total around $24.75 plus gratuities if you pay as you go. The vouchers work out slightly better value than paying cash, so long as you know you will use all of them. Your travel agent should be able to pre-book packages/vouchers. I tend to add my bookings to my MSC account so I can add extras like this directly.

  95. Hi David, we have booked the meraviglia for August my husband and I and our 2 children. We are planning to purchase the all inclusive restaurant and bar drink packages. Would they let us take drinks in the room or even take them with us to excursions? Thanks.

    • The packages are for consumption in the restaurants, bars, and public areas. I’m sure a certain number of glasses make their way to cabins though. You’ll not be able to take them off the ship though. Enjoy your time on Meraviglia!

  96. About to go on our first cruise having booked the drinks package and feeling justified reading your article – really interesting and useful calculations and points
    Thanks !

  97. Hello,
    In December this year, we are going on a 17 night cruise departing from Genoa & ending in Dubai. We usually buy the all inclusive drinks packages, this time the Classic with alcohol, went on the website today, went into my account, it is very confusing, it says:-



    Which package is available for our Cruise please, i Cannot see any difference between Deluxe & restaurant packages, each one is classic or premium? Thank you, Andrea

    • I think this may be a bug with the website. My booking was showing identical products for different prices recently. My guess is the £340 option is the classic drinks package and the £663 option is the deluxe package. I’m not sure what the lower prices relate to. A quick class to MSC or your travel agent might be worthwhile to avoid unintentionally booking the wrong package.

      • I am a travel agent in the US and the lower price is for non premium brands a per glass limit while the higher price is to include premium brands with no per drink limit. At least that is what it is for our sailings in the Caribbean.

  98. Hi my wife and I are booked on the Magnifica next year and we have the drinks package. Just a few questions is anyone can clarify please.
    1/It tells me premium drinks not included. I can’t seem to get a list of what premiums drinks are. Can I get a Baileys or a drambuie for example?
    2/Can I get a cider with the package?
    3/It says with the kids package you can get milkshakes. Is milkshakes included with the adult package?

    • 1) I’ve scoured my copies of the menus and from what I understand, Baileys and Drambuie look like they are included on the standard package. Imported beers, the more expensive wines, Champagne, drinks in souvenir glasses, premium spirits, and premium branded mixed drinks are generally excluded from the classic package.

      2) Interesting I cannot see cider on my menus. Plenty of beers. Plenty of wines. No cider. That may well change depending upon the region and customer demand.

      3) Yes. Other non-alcoholic drinks besides milkshakes include smoothies, slush drinks, fruit juice, soda, non-alcoholic beer, mocktails (virgin cocktails), frozen coffee drinks, water, and the usual range of hot drinks.

      Menus can change without notice so you will only know for sure on board, but hopefully this helps in some way. Drinks may be venue specific too. Enjoy your holiday!

  99. Hello David I want to say HI from Italy 😀 and thank you very much for this post that is a HUGE help for me. We are a family of 5 and we will sail for the first time on MSC Divina departing from Miami for Carribean next august. I’m not really happy to invest too money on drink packages I prefer spend on escursions or things to do, so I’m here to ask you if we will find iced water at restaurants and if kids can drink whenever they want from dispensers.
    Thank you
    have a great day

    • A quirk of MSC is that they don’t supply free water in the restaurants. They do in the buffet though. Caribbean cruises may be different though as I’ve heard of some American passengers getting free mealtime water in the restaurants as is customary on most other cruise lines departing Miami. Contact MSC or your travel agent to see whether this applies to your cruise and plan accordingly. Try and get something in writing in case the shipboard staff disagree with what you have been told.

      • Mealtime water is provided in a carafe on the table and is also at the Tea & Lemonade stations in the Buffet areas with fresh brewed (American) coffee & hot tea – all provided at no additional charge around the buffet areas in the Caribbean.

        • I’ve heard free mealtime water in the restaurants is only available for American clientele on Caribbean sailings. It’s chargeable on European sailings (although I have heard some Brits and Americans get it for free while others do not). As for the buffet, I’ve found water, tea, and coffee available freely throughout the day on European sailings.

        • In Feb2017 on the poesia sailing Bridgetown to Bridgetown there was no jugs of water in the MDR. The waiter almost had a fit when we asked for tapwater and we had to buy bottled water. I believe jugs might be provided on the Divina sailing from US mainland only.

  100. We have been told by cruise agent we can’t book all inclusive restaurant and bar package as we are on a 3 night cruise.We can book restaurant only package at the cost of £39.if we did this do you think we can upgrade for £10.00 per night once we are on board.

    Do you know if you can buy drinks package once on board. MSC won’t let us buy an all inclusive package as our cruise is for 3 nights.We can have the restaurant one so would only cover drinks at meal times. Any advise please. Thanks

    • Have you tried logging onto the MSC website to see if you can add the package to your booking there? It might be worth a go. I know first-hand that MSC are only too happy to upgrade your package once onboard, although it is slightly costlier to do this than to pre-book it.

      • Hi David only option on line s the restaurant package.We may take the chance and book this one and then ask to upgrade once on board. Thanks for all your info on this page .

  101. What age does a child change from being a child to an adult for purposes of these packages? Are teens (13-17) classed as children still for purposes of these packages as they can’t consume any of the alcoholic drinks? Thanks!

    • I’ve just checked and found the age of 3 to 17 stipulated on the child packages (3 to 20 for some regions), for that very reason – alcohol is only served to passengers aged 18+/21+ (depending on the region).

  102. Hi David!!
    We are traveling on Msc orchestra from 17 th till the 24 th May in balcony room..Me and my wife are very confused about whether to take the all inclusive drink package costing €182 for both of us as per rules of the cruise as my wife doesn’t drink alcohol.Is it possible to take drinks package for me and water package for her. Also what are the benefits of a balcony room over inside room?

    • The terms of the all-inclusive package is that everyone in the cabin must have the same one. The question would be whether between you, you would drink enough alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to warrant the package. The benefit of the package for non-drinkers is that soft drinks, virgin cocktails, and water is included in it, plus ice cream. Instead of the package, you could get voucher booklets (see above) so you can enjoy reduced cost alcoholic drinks and she can enjoy water or soft drinks.

      On MSC, the benefits are based on experience booked (Bella, Fantastica, Aurea, and Yacht Club) rather than the grade of cabin booked (inside, outside, balcony, suite).

  103. Just a pity they do not offer the Allegrisimo on South African cruises….. Also … no Aurea experience for South Africans either, as this would include the all inclusive drinks package…..

    • I was chatting to another reader about that. It seems to be a conscious business decision by MSC Cruises to remove the drinks packages on South African voyages.

    • I have asked the same question why don’t we as loyal SA customers​ enjoy the same benefits as the rest of the customers from around the world…MSC is yet to give me a exceptable answer

      • I’ve heard rumours on why the package isn’t available on South African cruises but I haven’t been able to get this information verified. My guess is that a company would only ever not supply a service it does elsewhere if it were unprofitable, there were legal implications, or there were safety implications.

  104. We are going on the MSC cruise departing from Venice and looking at the drink vouchers. Does the beer vouchers include ciders or does the cocktail vouchers include beers? My spouse and I would share the 14 beers or the 12 cocktails as we have the mealtime drink package. Thanks for any advice before we set sail on our first European cruise!

    • The vouchers will be specific, so you’d need one of each. If you don’t plan to drink much outside of mealtimes, you may be better paying as you go.

    • The best value option will be to pre-book online via the MSC Cruises website. Failing that, you can book this just after you check-in at the port. Look out for a desk with the various packages and upgrades on offer.

  105. Hi David!
    Thank you for helping all of us with these questions. I was wondering if you know if it is possible to purchase a bottle of alcohol in the room from the room service menu? We found that this was an affordable option on our previous sailing with another cruise line.

    • Good question. As beers, wines, soft drinks, hot beverages, speciality drinks, and vintage wines from the main bars can all be ordered through room service, I would guess this should be possible.

    • Yes, beers, wines, soft drinks, hot beverages, speciality drinks, and vintage wines available from the main bars can all be ordered through room service. Standard bar prices would apply, and a room service delivery charge may also apply.

  106. Hi we are due to go on a cruise in two weeks on Splendida. We have young twins so won’t be getting tipsy and my husband would prefer not to buy any drinks packages but I think we should even if only the soft drinks or water. I was wondering are juices, water, basic tea and coffee included at all meals as if so we could survive on that with just a few drinks to pay for in between? Sorry if a stupid question but we’ve never cruised before.

    • Welcome to the world of cruising! On MSC Cruises, no drinks are included at mealtimes at the restaurants, not even water. In the buffet you can choose water, tea, and coffee is available throughout the day. Juice from the self-serve machines is available at breakfast. If you are not planning on buying a drinks package, you may want to look into the voucher booklets available onboard. By prepaying for a book of just over a dozen soft drinks vouchers you can save based on the pay-as-you-go rates. Packages for water, soda, beer, coffee or cocktails are available at the cruise line reckons savings of up to 25% compared to bar prices can be achieved.

      When I took my infant son aboard I paid as I went along for the very same reasons. We spent a lot of time in the buffet, opting for bar drinks as much deserved treats. The paid-for coffee is delicious as is the Italian gelato (as paid for). Overall, I spent considerably less than it would have cost to go all-inclusive. When he’s a little older, and in your case when the twins are older, the value of the all inclusive package would really come into its own, especially in the Mediterranean heat.

  107. As I’m a non drinker I have booked a soft drink package on the fantasia I am travelling on 5th to the 12th of February 2017 around dubai what drinks does this include and what bar’s and restaurant are they available in

    • The Soda package consists of 15 vouchers for canned soft drinks (or, upon request, draft soda or fruit juice). The vouchers can be used in the restaurants, the buffet, and the bars.

  108. We are part of a group sailing on MSC Divina in July 2017. MSC is telling us and our travel agent that the whole group of over 40 people has to get the unlimited drink package or no one can get it. Less than half our group are drinkers so it would be a waste of money for most. I fully understand everyone in each cabin but the the whole group is crazy. Are they holding out to see how many will upgrade to the Aurea package (which includes the unlimited drink package) and cost an extra $600 per person or will they stick to no one being able to purchase the unlimited package. I hope the cruise is a lot better than the booking has been. LOL. Any advise will help.

    • The rules state that everyone sharing a cabin must book the same package. Forcing an entire group to book the same package is concerning, and may well be a confusion in the rules. Contact MSC Cruises directly to get their official take on it. If you don’t pre-book the package, you should be able to sign up as soon as you get onboard. When I last sailed with MSC, there were leaflets in every bar encouraging the uptake of the offer.

      As for the upcoming changes, as far as I understand, the change is limited to the package names to harmonise the names and make the packages easier to differentiate. From summer 2017, the Allegrissimo package will be renamed “All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package” and the Allegrissimo Premium package will be renamed “All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package”. The More-For-Less package will be renamed “All-Inclusive Classic Drink Package” and the More-For-Less Premium package will be renamed “All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package”.

      • I also have a group of 30 sailing this weekend and was told the same thing. All inclusive has to be for everyone in the group. I am a travel agent and they explained it being the same as both people in the same cabin having to take it, they have no control as to who in the group know each other and would be sharing with them.

  109. Hi David

    My wife does not drink alchohol, if I got her the allegrissimo package would that include “canned” soft drinks, as she only drinks Soda and Lime or Diet Lemonade, which I think is only sold in Cans on board.

    Can I purchase a Soft Drinks package for her, if so would it include soda and lime.

    This will be our first cruise with MSC, previously with Costa, Soda and Lime cost $5.60


    • The Drinks Package includes soft drinks, but the information I have doesn’t stipulate whether this is canned or draught varieties. My guess would be it is the latter. If you purchase a drinks package then she must also purchase one as per the rules (assuming you are sharing a cabin).

      If you opt to pay as you go, she may be interested in the Soda Package, which is a booklet of 15 vouchers sold onboard that can be redeemed for canned soft drinks, to be consumed in the restaurants, self-service buffet, or bars. It’ll save a little over the standard bar prices.

  110. Hi David,
    Does the standard “Allegrissimo Package” include any bottle beers and spirits (i.e. vodka & gin including the mixers) or is this extra?

    • That’s a great question. The standard package includes mineral water, a selected range of drinks and cocktails from the bar menu, wines by the glass, draught beer, sodas, fruit juices, and classic hot beverages (coffee espresso, cappuccino, etc.), plus takeaway ice cream in a cone or cup.

      The Premium package includes all the above, with a wider range of cocktails (including champagne cocktails), premium wines by the glass, draught and bottled beer, speciality coffees, chocolate-based specialities, premium spirits, drinks from your in-cabin mini-bar, plus treats from the Gelateria and Pastry Shop.

      So to answer your question, no, the Standard package does not appear to include neat spirits and bottle beers, but the Premium package does.

      • Thank you David, your answer has saved me some embarrassment and possibly some money.
        I think I shall only go for; “Taste the World” Premium Beer Package (14 bottle beers) and maybe the odd spirit/mix off the menu.

      • I’m sure a gin and tonic or vodka and coke etc is included in the package.. It’s under the guise of “selected drinks an cocktails from the bar menu” if I can’t have a g& t before dinner I won’t be buying this package?

        • I looked through my photos and found one of the menu. You are right: ‘Rum & Cola’, ‘Gin & Tonic’, ‘Vodka & Lemon’, and ‘Whisky & Cola’ appear to be part of the standard drinks package under the guise of ‘Mixed Drinks’. For drinks made with specific brands then these incur an extra charge. Neat spirits only appear in the Premium package, along with bottled beer.

    • Alcohol purchased in ports of call will normally be confiscated at the security scanner, labelled, and returned on the last evening. This policy is similar to most cruise lines, which are keen to protect onboard bar sales.

  111. Hi I have the Aligrissimo package as part of our cruise deal , on Celebrity I can up grade to premium is the same possible on MSC. EUAN

    • I know on other cruise lines this is possible, and I’d like to think it would be with MSC Cruises. However, they aren’t known for their flexibility. Your travel agent or MSC Customer Services would be able to say whether it is possible, although it would be the ship staff who would handle the upgrade if permitted. If possible, I’d try to get something from your travel agent or MSC Customer Services in writing that you can take with you.

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