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.

MSC Cruises Drinks Package Prices

Here are the prices of the various packages available, if pre-booked online.

RegionPackageAdult Price (pre-book)Child Price (pre-book)Adult Price (onboard)Child Price (onboard)
Mediterranean / Arabian Gulf / Northern Europe / South Africa / Caribbean departing Cuba or BarbadosAll-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drinks Package£20 / day£9 / day€29.90 (approximately £25.80) / day€13.80 (approximately £11.90) / day
Mediterranean / Arabian Gulf / Northern Europe / South Africa / Caribbean departing Cuba or BarbadosAll-Inclusive Deluxe Drinks Package£39 / day£16 / day€50.60 (approximately £43.60) / day€24.15 (approximately £20.80) / day
Caribbean departing Dubai / South America / Grand Voyages departing MiamiAll-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drinks Package£34 / day£16 / day
Caribbean departing Dubai / South America / Grand Voyages departing MiamiAll-Inclusive Deluxe Drinks Package£19 / day£16 / day
Caribbean departing MiamiAll-Inclusive Classic Drink Package$45 (approximately £36) / day$23 (approximately £18.40) / day
Caribbean departing MiamiAll-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package$61 (approximately £48.80) / day$31 (approximately £24.80) / day

* Prices onboard were those I found on MSC Preziosa. Prices are charged onboard in Euros and include a 15% service charge.
Source: MSC Cruises Press Office; MSC Cruises USA website; onboard MSC Preziosa

Help me fill in the blanks. If you have current prices for any option above, contact me, and I will update this guide to continue helping others.

Cocktail

In 2017, MSC Cruises renamed the drinks packages. The Allegrissimo package became the All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package, and the Allegrissimo Premium package became the All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package. The More-For-Less package became the All-Inclusive Classic Drink Package, and the More-For-Less Premium package became the All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package.

All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package

The All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package turns your full board cruise with MSC Cruises into an all-inclusive cruise. For a daily fee, you can order unlimited beverages from any bar, the buffet, or the main restaurants at no additional cost.

Adult Package includes:

  • Wine by the glass (choice of two white, a rosé, two red, one dry sparkling, and one sweet sparkling)
  • Draught beer
  • Soft drinks
  • Hot drinks
  • Mineral water
  • A selection of drinks and cocktails from the bar
  • Take-away ice-cream (gelato) in a cone or cup
Child Package includes:

  • Soft drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Hot drinks
  • Mineral water
  • Virgin cocktails
  • Smoothies
  • Milkshakes
  • Take-away ice-cream in a cone or cup

Your itinerary length determines the package price. You cannot order a package on a day-by-day basis. So for example, if you are on a seven-day cruise the pre-booked adult package would work out as 7 days × £20 per day = £140 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.

If two adults and two kids are sharing a cabin, two adult and two child drinks packages need purchasing – even if only one adult would make full use of the drinks package. The maths to calculate this is (2 adults × (7 days × £20 per day)) + (2 children × (7 days × £9 per day)) = £406 for the family of four for the entire duration of the 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.

All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package

The All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package offers perks over and above the standard All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package. It is more inclusive and includes premium brands. It also includes drinks from the in-cabin mini bar.

Adult Package includes:

  • Unlimited wine (from the “by the glass” menu)
  • Draught and bottled beer
  • Soft drinks,
  • Mineral water
  • All drinks from the bar including champagne cocktails, single malt whiskies, superior brandies and other premium spirits
  • Drinks from your mini-bar and mineral water in your cabin
  • All items from the ‘Gelateria’ menu, Chocolate Bar and Pastry Shop
  • Food from the Room Service menu
Child Package includes:

  • Unlimited soft drinks from the bar including energizers, fruit juices, mineral water, hot drinks, virgin cocktails, smoothies and milkshakes
  • Non-alcoholic drinks and snacks from the in-cabin mini-bar and mineral water in your cabin
  • All items from the ‘Gelateria’ menu, Chocolate Bar and Pastry Shop
  • Food from the Room Service menu

Mealtime Drinks Package

If you are more likely to drink more with lunch and dinner, you may want to consider the Mealtime Restaurant Drinks Package. A slimline version of the Drinks Packages above, this package includes unlimited wine (a choice of two white, two red and one rosé house brands), mineral water, draught beer, sodas, and fruit juices during lunch and dinner each day for adults. Children get unlimited soft drinks and mineral water during lunch and dinner.

This package excludes drinks with breakfast. Drinks can only be ordered and consumed in the main restaurants and the self-service buffet.

PackageAdult Price (pre-book)Child Price (pre-book)Adult Price (onboard)Child Price (onboard)
Mealtime Restaurant Drinks Package£13 / day£7 / day€18.97 (approximately £16.40) / day€10.35 (approximately £8.90) / day

* Prices onboard were those I found on MSC Preziosa. Prices are charged onboard in Euros and include a 15% service charge.
Source: MSC Cruises Press Office; onboard MSC Preziosa

Upgrading onboard

You can upgrade your pre-paid drinks packages onboard for a supplement. The costs of doing so on my sailing aboard MSC Preziosa were:

UpgradeAdult PriceChild Price
From: Mealtime Drinks Package:
To: All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package
€10.92 (approximately £9.40) / day€3.45 (approximately £3) / day
From: Mealtime Drinks Package
To: All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package
€31.63 (approximately £27.30) / day€13.80 (approximately £11.90) / day
From: All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package
To: All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package
€20.70 (approximately £17.80) / day€10.35 (approximately £8.90) / day

* Prices onboard were those I found on MSC Preziosa. Prices are charged onboard in Euros and include a 15% service charge.
Source: Onboard MSC Preziosa

MSC Drinks Vouchers

If you choose to pay as you go, you may want to consider buying a booklet of vouchers. Prepay for a block of drinks and pay a little less than if you pay as you go along.

Vouchers are valid for the duration of your cruise, so you need not drink 15 drinks in one sitting!

All options below vary by region. You can pre-book some packages for a slight cost saving.

An MSC Cruises spokesperson advised me that everyone sharing the same cabin can use these vouchers. Unlike the All-Inclusive Drinks Packages where everyone in the cabin needs to buy the same package, drinks vouchers can be purchased by one person and shared amongst individuals sharing the same cabin. For example, you could purchase a booklet and share vouchers with your partner and children.

PackageDrinks IncludedRegionPrice (pre-book)Price (onboard)
Beer Package21 beers (draught, bottle or can) selected from the Bar or Wine ListSouth America
Beer & Water Package14 large draught beers and 7 one-litre bottles of mineral water£54
Bottled Beer Package14 bottles of beer€59 (approximately £50.90)
Cocktail Package12 cocktails (excludes premium cocktails)€67 (approximately £57.80)
Coffee Package (Coffee Cuddle)15 non-alcoholic coffee-based drinks (hot or cold), hot chocolate, and hot tea£20€23 (approximately £19.80)
Dinner Wine Package (7)7 bottles of wine for consumption at dinner
Dinner Wine Package (10)10 bottles of wine for consumption at dinner
Doremi Package10 soft drinks and a souvenir glass€30 (approximately £25.90)
Draught Beer Package14 draught beers (40cl)£46€58 (approximately £50)
Eataly Vino Libero Package6 bottles of wine
More-For-Less Escape Pass18 drinksCaribbean / Cuba / Antilles / South America
More-For-Less Escape Pass18 drinksSouth Africa
More-For-Less Zero Proof Pass18 non-alcoholic drinksCaribbean / Cuba / Antilles / South America / South Africa
Premium Beer Package14 premium brand beers or ciders
Soda Package15 soda drinks
Soda & Ice Cream Package10 soda drinks or ice creams
Soft Drink Package14 canned sodas or fruit juices£27€34 (approximately £29.30)
Superior Wine Package7 bottles of wine and 7 one-litre bottles of mineral waterSouth America
Water Package14 one-litre bottles of mineral waterMediterranean / South Africa / Caribbean / Cuba / Antilles / Arabian Gulf£21€27 (approximately £23.30)
Water Package21 one-litre bottles of mineral waterSouth America
Wine Package Classic6 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of prosecco, and 7 one-litre bottles of waterMediterranean / Caribbean / Cuba / Antilles / Arabian Gulf
Wine Package Classic4 bottles of wine and 7 one-litre bottles of waterSouth Africa
Wine Package Select2 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of champagne, and 7 one-litre bottles of water
Wine Package Superior7 bottles of wine and 7 one-litre bottles of water
Wine Package Choice (7)Your choice of 7 bottles of wine
Wine Package Choice (10)Your choice of 10 bottles of wine
Wine & Water Package4 bottles of wine and 7 one-litre bottles of mineral water
Zero Proof Package12 soft drinks

* Prices onboard exclude a 15% service charge.
Source: MSC Cruises UK website; passenger photos

Help me fill in the blanks. If you have current prices for any option above, contact me, and I will update this guide to continue helping others.

Check the terms carefully before you buy one of these packages. Each packages will be restricted to consumption in the restaurants only, bars only, or bars and restaurants.

Drinks Prices on MSC Cruises

If you are thinking about paying as you go, these are typical prices I found in the bars on my sailing on MSC Preziosa:

DrinkPrices from
Alcoholic cocktails€6.70 (approximately £5.80)
Bottled beer and cider (33cl)€4.70 (approximately £4.10)
Bottled soda (17cl)€2.60 (approximately £2.20)
Café latte or cappuccino€2.20 (approximately £1.90)
Espresso€1.40 (approximately £1.20)
Draught beer (35cl)€4.50 (approximately £3.90)
Fruit juice (20cl glass)€2.50 (approximately £2.20)
Mineral water (1 litre)€2.60 (approximately £2.20)
Mocktails and kids’ cocktails€4.20 (approximately £3.60)
Soda (33cl)€2.80 (approximately £2.40)
Wine (per glass)€4.50 (approximately £3.90)
One scoop of gelato (cone or cup)€2.80 (approximately £2.40)

Should I buy a drinks package?

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

  1. Calculate the total cost of the package for your entire group. For example, the maths to calculate the cost of an All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package for a family of four is (2 adults × (7 days × £20 per day)) + (2 children × (7 days × £9 per day)) = £406.
  2. Take this figure and divide it by the number of people in your group. In our example, that is £406 ÷ 4 = £101.50.
  3. Take this figure and divide it by the number of nights your cruise lasts. In our example, that is £101.50 ÷ 7 = £14.50.
  4. Take this figure and divide it by 2.5 (£2.50 or the approximate price of a soft drink). In our example, that is £14.50 ÷ 2.5 = 5.8.
  5. Round this up. In our example, that is 6.

In this crude example, the family of four would need to consume at least six soft drinks each per day to make this package worthwhile.

As a rough guide, each adult needs to typically drink the equivalent of six beers or ten sodas every day to get value from the standard package, or at least ten beers or 16 sodas each day on the Premium package.

Sun

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.

Are the drinks packages 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. The voucher booklets might be worth a look too.

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 book a 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. In Genoa airport, I talked to a couple who said they kept their receipts and would have racked up more than €600 (approximately £517.20) in bar bills had they not have booked the Drinks Package at £308. Their friends, who opted not to buy the package, awoke on the final day of the cruise to a bar bill of nearly €1,000 (approximately £862.10). They would have been better off with the All-Inclusive Restaurant & Bar Drink Package at £308 or even the All-Inclusive Deluxe Drink Package at £518.
  • Do not think the Drinks Packages are just for those who drink alcohol. Teetotallers will enjoy a variety of non-alcoholic beverages onboard. If you are likely to succumb to the temptation of smooth Italian coffee or authentic Italian gelato, these are part of the 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 book a drinks package

  • Nobody likes overpaying, and to make the package worthwhile, you will 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 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 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.

24 comments

  1. We are going on the MSC diva cruise departing from Miami and looking for the best price for the deluxe (best) drinks package.

    • 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.

  2. 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.
    Thanks,
    Jen

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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”.

  6. 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

    Regards
    James

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

  8. 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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