There are a number of different Princess Cruise Drinks Packages available for purchase. Are they worth the money?
Princess Cruises Drinks Packages have changed a lot in recent times and have updated again in August 2023.
The recent changes relate to Room Service and the introduction of changes to charges for a new category of dining now called Casual Dining.
And these August 2023 changes are going to make a lot of Princess Cruisers unhappy.
What Are the Princess Cruise Packages Available
Princess Cruise Lines introduced Princess Plus and Princess Premium.
These are drinks packages that also include other features such as crew appreciation (gratuities) and Wi-Fi.
This is a more all-inclusive pricing system where you pay a set amount each day.
It includes either the Princess Plus or Premium Beverage Package along with some other perks such as Wi-Fi, crew appreciation (gratuities), fitness classes, a juice bar, and premium desserts.
The recent changes also relate to Casual Dining and Room Service charges.
I have just sailed with Princess and upgraded to Princess Premium.
I sailed on Discovery Princess in February 2023.
I will explain what is included in each package, and also give my thoughts on whether the upgrade, particularly to Princess Premium is actually worth it.
For many guests, Princess Plus and Princess Premium are good value – but there are some exceptions that we will discuss below.
Princess Cruise Drink Package Options
This guide shows you the drink prices and menus so that you can work out whether or not a Princess Cruise Drink Package is worth it for you.
There are four types of drinks and other packages which include drinks now available on all Princess cruises. This is a change from the previous seven options.
Here are the Packages available:
- Princess Plus Package
- Princess Premier
- Zero Alcohol Package
- Coffee and Soda Package
- The Plus Beverage Package
- The Premium Beverage Package
These are the old Packages that are no longer available:
- The Soda Package
- The Premium Coffee and Soda Package
- The Coffee Grounds Package
The more “conventional” drinks packages of the Plus Beverage Package and Premium Package are still available according to the Princess Website
However, these are not a good value at all as they cost more than the “bundled” Plus and Premium Packages at $64.99 and $84.99.
I am guessing that these options will be removed soon as there is no logical sense in purchasing them, and they have already been removed from the Princess Cruise App and Cruise Personalizer.
Here is a summary of the old benefits of Princess Plus and Princess Premier:
The changes which are being phased in over August 2023 mean that this now looks like this:
You can see that the changes have been added in Ocean Now Delivery, Room Service Delivery, and Casual Dining Meals.
The way the pricing originally evolved is that it was very attractive to have either the Princess Plus Package or the Princess Premier Package which includes a drinks package, wifi, crew appreciation, fitness classes, and an unlimited juice bar.
The Princess Premier Package also features 2 Speciality Dining Meals Per Guest, an Unlimited Digital Photo Package with 3 Prints, a Medallion Accessory, and Princess Prizes.
At first sight, the new additions of Ocean Now Delivery, Room Service Delivery, and Casual Dining look as though that’s a good thing. At first, you think to yourself, well fabulous, I am getting more for my money.
Unfortunately, you aren’t.
Ocean Now Delivery and Room Service Delivery used to be free.
Many of the casual dining options that you will now pay for if you don’t have the package were free as well.
A lot of Princess Cruisers are not going to be happy at all.
We discuss later what exactly the charges are if you don’t have an upgraded package, and also what casual dining actually is.
When you first book your cruise you will have the option to see pricing for your stateroom without the package as well as with the add-ons.
If you choose not to have a package at all then you will book Princess Standard.
You can change your mind and book in your Cruise Personalizer up to three days prior to your sailing date.
If you board your cruise ship and then want to add any of the packages you can do that on the first day of your sailing.
You can also upgrade a package if you have paid for another one.
For example, on my last Princess cruise, I had already included the Princess Plus Package. I wanted to see whether the extra benefits of Princess Premier were worth it (more on that later) so I upgraded on the first day
The upgrade cost was the price difference between the two packages. This was $20 a day per person.
Let’s look at what each package includes so you can see if it will be worth it for you to include them.
WHAT DRINKS ARE INCLUDED IN EACH DIFFERENT PACKAGE?
Remember that we aren’t just talking about drinks being included, so we will look at the other benefits separately.
However, the main part of each of the packages is the drinks, so we will look at what each includes.
Princess Plus Package
The Princess Plus Package is priced at $60 per day.
The Plus Package includes a wide selection of drinks on your Princess Cruise.
- Fountain Soda
- Small Bottled Water
- Red Bull Products
- Coffee and Tea including Specialty Items
- Wine by the Glass
All drinks with a price of $15 or less on the beverage menus are included.
For sailings that depart from and return to Australia and New Zealand, the price limit is $22 AUD.
The package excludes bottles of wine, but you will be given a 25% discount if you decide to purchase a bottle.
Unless you are particularly wanting to try a bottle of wine that is not offered by the glass, this isn’t really great use of the Package.
You will also get a 25% discount on one-liter bottles of water and bottled juices.
As you can have the 500 ml bottles of water included in the package I am not sure why you would want to buy a large bottle, when you could have the smaller ones which are included!
You can use the Package at all food and beverage venues, including those on Princess Cruises’ private island, and at the theater onboard the ship.
You cannot also use it for Room Service where the tip is included.
The New Princess Premier Package
This new package was introduced in February 2023.
This is an upgraded drinks and amenities package from the Princess Plus Package and includes:
- Top-shelf spirits, reserve wines by the glass, and new high-end crafted cocktails by Mixologist Rob Floyd
- Selection of 75+ spirits, 40+ wines by the glass, 20+ high-end, crafted cocktails
- Premier wines by the glass including Duckhorn, Stag’s Leap, Grgich Hills, and Cattier Champagne
- Private Woodford Reserve Bourbon Selection created exclusively for Princess
- Personalized Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Single Barrel Select
- 25% discount on wine bottles (including rare vintages)
- 25% discount on large bottles of water and cans of soda
How Do You Buy the Princess Plus or Premier Beverage Package?
You can buy it online via your Princess Cruise Personalizer up to three days prior to boarding your Princess ship.
It is also offered on the first day of sailing when you are onboard.
There are no refunds once you have bought the Package.
You are limited to 15 alcoholic beverages per day. This is counted in a 24-hour period which runs from 6 am until 6 am.
Also, if any passenger appears to have had one too many alcoholic beverages they can be refused service.
There is no limit to the amount of non-alcoholic beverages you can have on the Princess Cruise Drinks Package.
If you want 20 lattes then that’s allowed. Probably not very advisable though!
Princess doesn’t have the rule that some other cruise lines have, that every adult in your stateroom has to buy the Package.
It is fine for just one guest in the cabin to have the Package.
What you can’t do though is share. If you are caught sharing you will have your Premier Package revoked.
Just don’t do it.
HOW MUCH DO DRINKS COST ON A PRINCESS CRUISE?
So that you can see whether or not a Premium or Plus Package would be good value for you it is useful to see some of the prices of the drinks on Princess Cruises.
Here are some samples of the bar and drinks menus.
All are taken from Discovery Princess in February 2023:
Here are the options showing some of the drinks which are included in the Premier Package,
If you have the Plus Package and want to have a drink that is priced above $15 you will be charged the upgrade cost.
So for example if you want a $19 you would be charged a $4 upgrade cost.
The choice is very good and most of the drinks are included in the Princess Plus Package.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER BENEFITS OF THE PRINCESS PREMIER AND PRINCESS PLUS PACKAGES?
At this point, you can are probably already working out whether or not a package will be worth it to you, based solely on the drinks element of the Premier and Plus Packages.
Most alcoholic drinks are in the $10 to $12 range.
If you are buying drinks a la carte an 18% auto gratuity will be added.
So, the price of drinks is around $12 to $14.
On that basis, you need around 5 alcoholic drinks if this is the only part you take into account.
However, this is too simple an equation – because this isn’t just a drinks package.
You need to add in the other benefits.
Crew Appreciation is Included
If you do not get the Premier or Plus Packages crew gratuities are charged according to your stateroom category:
- Interior, oceanview, and balcony cabins: $16 per person per day
- Mini Suites and Club Class: $17 per person per day
- Suites: $18 per person per day
So if you are paying $60 a day for the Plus Package and you are in an interior, oceanview, or interior stateroom the “other perks element” that you are purchasing is costing $44 a day.
That amount is $43 if you are in a Mini-Suite or Club Class, and $42 for a Suite.
If you just look at the alcoholic drinks element to start saving then at $44 per day you break even around the 3 alcoholic drinks point.
Both Packages include WiFi.
The Plus Package includes WiFi for one device.
The Premier Package includes WifFi for four devices.
If you buy this without a package it is $15 per day for a single-device plan and $40 per day for a four-device plan.
Most Other Drinks are Included
It isn’t just drinks with alcohol that are included. These are too:
- Fountain Soda
- Small Bottled Water
- Red Bull Products
- Coffee and Tea including Specialty Items
A can of soda is $2.50. With a gratuity, the total is $2.95
Coffee is priced around $4 with a gratuity. I realized I completely forgot to take a photo of the coffee menu – but will get one on my next cruise in a few weeks.
Therefore you could easily spend $10 a day on non-alcoholic drinks if you like coffee and soda.
The Princess Juice Bar
Unlimited Juice from the Juice Bar is included in the Plus and Premier Packages.
I was so excited about this. And so very very disappointed in the reality.
By Juice Bar I was expecting freshly squeezed juice and blended drinks.
This was definitely not what was on offer.
I tried The Immune Booster, The Cleanser, The Antioxidant, and The Rejuvenator.
I really wanted The Booster but was told every day they didn’t have turmeric. So not only was it spelled incorrectly on the menu, but it also wasn’t available!
However, even if it had, I doubt I would have been impressed. The “fresh” juice was already made up and in plastic containers.
No measurement was taken of any of the ingredients and the blender remained unused.
I could see some fresh fruit in bowls at the side, but nothing went in the blender or the drink!
The resulting drinks were at best disappointing and pretty unpleasant.
I really hope that Princess ups their game on this as this is being presented as a huge benefit, and if you are buying a la carte then you are paying $8 to $12 plus gratuity.
Princess Premium Desserts
This was another failure in my opinion.
But this may just be a temporary issue.
I sailed the week that these were introduced and I think that possibly the problems were due to a lack of training and understanding.
Whatever, it was, I didn’t get a premium dessert.
For me, this wasn’t too much of an issue as really I was only motivated to get one as I wanted to see what the new desserts were like and to get photos for this article!
Desserts are not really my thing so this wouldn’t have inspired me to buy a package or upgrade.
I downloaded the menu via the QR code:
For every Premium Dessert that we asked for we were told that one of the ingredients wasn’t available, so it wasn’t an option.
The Server seemed very confused as to where we had even seen the menu.
The menu below was the one that was available at the counter.
It’s difficult to comment on the Premium Desserts as they weren’t actually available.
If you enjoy a sundae and they are available, then this is a $12 or $14 charge without a gratuity, so that will add to the value of the Package if you think you will have a number of these.
The Princess Plus Package gives you unlimited Premium Desserts. Might not be exactly wise to get the maximum value out of this unless you want to consume a ludicrous amount of calories!
You get 2 classes per cruise with the Premium Package and unlimited classes with the Plus Package.
Classes include those from Pure Barre, YogaSix, and StretchLab.
If this is something that you would enjoy doing this most definitely will introduce a lot of value into the Packages.
If you have the Premier Package you will also get a Medallion Accessory.
I was intrigued to find out which one it would be
Of course, it’s the least expensive one offered – the Medallion Clip.
But if you don’t already have one I found the Clip so much nicer than the lanyard.
I am not a huge fan of wearing a lanyard but usually do as it’s just convenient. However, the Clip was a definite hit as it was really easy to deal with.
Reserved Theater Seating
This one, the jury is still out for me on what I think about this benefit.
The idea is that Premier Package holders have priority seating in the theater.
How it worked on our cruise was that there were a number of dedicated seats in the middle and left of the theater that was for Premier Package holders only.
Firstly, you need to know that this is just for the Production Shows. On a 7 night cruise, there are usually two production shows. So for 5 nights, you don’t get this benefit.
The seats that were allocated were the best seats in the house so that is definitely a plus.
It wasn’t made clear anywhere but you are supposed to enter by the upper left door to the theater so then the crew can see if you have the Premier Package.
We didn’t know this and entered through the wrong door, but saw the clearly marked seats and sat down.
DH then went to get a drink and when he entered back into the theater was asked for his room number.
However, you could easily have sat in the designated seats without being asked.
When we were waiting we did see a Crew Member asking some guests to move.
However, when the show was 5 minutes from starting the Crew Member removed some of the blue Premier covers from the seats and people just moved to the better ones.
I think there are some details here that need. to be worked out.
I really like the perk of “better” seating.
However, it didn’t seem to be very well organized, and the downside is that it is limited just to the Production Shows.
If you have the Premier Package you get unlimited digital downloads and 3 prints included.
Usually, I don’t buy a photo package, maybe just a print or two, but this encouraged me to actually have some photos taken.
I was glad I did as we have some good downloads and the 3 prints are something I probably just wouldn’t have bought but are nice to have.
If you have a lot of photos taken then this is a good reason to think about upgrading to Premier.
Room Service and OceanNow Delivery
Both of these used to be free.
Now they are included with both the Princess Plus and Princess Premier Packages.
But if you do not have a package you will be paying for this.
One of the brilliant features of the Princess Medallion technology is that you can order drinks from your phone to be delivered to you anywhere on the ship. This is OceanNow.
Having food and drinks delivered to your stateroom is Room Service.
If you don’t have either package, Princess Standard, you will pay a one-time access fee of $14.99 per person per voyage will apply for OceanNow delivery and a $5 room service fee will apply for each order placed by stateroom phone.
Note this is per person. So if there are 2 guests in your stateroom (and most often of course this is the case) you will now have a charge of $30 to even use the Medallion App to order your food.
If you place an order by phone that’s going to cost you $5 per order!
And make sure your kids know this too, because if they order via the app they will have that $14.99 access fee on your account as well.
What is Casual Dining?
This is a new “class” of dining on Princess cruise ships.
It is important to understand that this does not affect the dining in the main dining rooms. That is still included in your cruise fare.
However, the changes bring new charges to other dining venues on Princess ships that were previously free of charge.
The restaurants include:
- Alfredo’s Pizzeria
- Kai Sushi
- Ocean Terrace
- Gigi’s Pizzeria
- Salty Dog Gastropub
Select casual dining venues will now include a cover charge of $14.99 for the new 3-course
prix fixe meals. A la carte items may also be purchased individually.
If you have the Princess Plus Package you will be entitled to 2 Casual Dining Meals.
If you have Princess Premier you have unlimited Casual Dining Meals.
Some of these dining venues used to be free. Alfredo’s Pizzeria was a place I particularly enjoyed and that was free. Now it’s going to add $14.99 if you want to eat there and don’t have a Plus or Premier.
Salty Dog Gastropub was an $18 charge for an appetizer, two plates, and one dessert. So in theory this might be a “saving. However, let’s see how that works out. I wonder if the new 3-course meal will be for less food than the $18 charge was for?
Is the Princess Plus Package Worth It?
For many guests, it is definitely worth it.
Princess Cruises has probably the best value of any of the cruise line drinks packages.
The cost is $60 per day per person.
Gratuities are $16 per day. Wifi is $15 for one device.
Therefore most people will already be at $31 per day, This leaves $29 to “find” before you break even.
If you have more than a couple of alcoholic drinks, some soda, and enjoy the coffee you are probably going to break even at the very least.
If you are going to go to Fitness Classes, drink the Juice (hopefully it will improve), and have a Premium Dessert or two (when the Crew is trained properly) then it is definitely going to be worth adding it.
Now add the Casual Dining, Room Service, and OceanNow into the mix, more and more people are going to see this as something that is worth the upgrade cost.
The unfortunate thing, of course, is that an element of this, up to August 2023, used to be free anyway.
Is Princess Premier Worth It?
This is a bit more difficult to call.
If you want more than 2 Fitness Classes a day, drink premium alcoholic beverages, and have better theater seating is worth it to you then this is worth thinking about.
I probably won’t do it again.
The value of the Specialty Dining part of the Premium Package is also worth considering. With Crown Grill now at $39, you are going to be spending $48 with gratuity.
The Specialty Dining element is worth around $96 (slightly less if you go to Sabatini’s).
The total upgrade cost of Premier of $140 per person over the Plus Package for a 7-day cruise is worth thinking about if you are definitely going to do specialty dining.
Also if you want to get the 4-device package this would cost an additional $24 per day and $156 for the 7 nights. If this is crucial for you and you are using the dining credit too, then the Premier Package is for you.
Unless it really is a huge inconvenience for you to log out of one device and into another then $24 per day is somewhere where you could make a saving.
Would I upgrade to the Premier Package again?
I didn’t feel that the overall value was worth an additional $20 per day over and above the Plus Package for a 7-night cruise.
For 2 guests that is an additional $280 that I feel could have been put to better use.
The premium drinks and other benefits just didn’t make it a good option for me.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER PRINCESS CRUISE DRINKS PACKAGES?
There are two other options:
Princess Classic Soda Package
The Classic Soda Package includes fountain sodas, fresh juices (if available), mocktails, and smoothies.
The cost for the Princess Soda Package is $14.99 per day plus an 18% service charge (totaling $17.69 per day) for all itineraries except Australia. The package is AUD $23 per day which includes a service charge for all Australian-based vessels.
The package includes:
- Fountain Sodas
- Cans of soda and juices (excluding the fresh juice bar)
Here is a menu from February 2023 showing the prices of some of the drinks which would be included in the Princess Soda Package.
Therefore, if you are thinking that you will drink a couple of mocktails and a fountain soda every day you will save money with the Princess Classic Soda Package.
There are certain items that are excluded namely bottled or canned items, specialty or premium coffees, teas, hot chocolate, ice-cream-based drinks, or any items offered in Retail Venues or Shops onboard.
Room Service and Mini Bar items are also excluded.
However, always compare the price of what is included with Princess Plus.
At $60 a day, the Soda Package is priced at $42.31 less than Princess Plus.
But you need to take into account the $16-a-day crew appreciation which is also included in Princess Plus.
That takes it down to a price difference of $26.31 per day.
Remember that coffee drinks, alcoholic beverages, and the Juice Bar are not included.
If you think that you will purchase more than 2 alcoholic drinks, order Room Service, or have specialty coffee then the value of Princess Plus may be a better fit.
Princess Zero Alcohol Package
The Zero Alcohol Package includes:
- Specialty and Premium Coffee and Tea
- Hot Chocolate
- Fountain Sodas
- Fresh Juices (if available)
- Cans of Sodas
- Frappes at Coffee and Cones
- Red Bull Products
- Milk Shakes (if available)
- Bottled Water
- San Pellegrino
- Evian Water
This Premier Coffee and Soda Package is priced at $29.99 per person per day.
The added gratuity takes this to $35.39 per person per day.
The rules are the same for all the packages – it is only for the person it is purchased for and it is not transferable.
Also, it can’t be used for Room Service or Mini Bar items, bottled or canned items, or any items offered in Retail Venues or Shops onboard.
As the Premium Plus option is only $25 per day more, if you think that any of the other benefits are going to be worth it for you, then this one really isn’t going to make sense for many guests. That extra $25 almost covers the minimum of $16 a day gratuities that you will be paying anyway.
New Grounds Coffee Package
I think that this used to be one of the best values of all the Princess Cruise Drinks Packages.
However, this is no longer available.
Which Drinks are Free on a Princess Cruise?
If you really don’t want to have any of the packages, some of the drinks are included in your basic Princess Cruise fare.
Some drinks are already included with your Princess Cruise.
According to the Princess Cruise website, these are
- Brewed Coffee
- Iced Tea
- Fruit Flavored Drink
- Non-Bottled Water
- Hot Tea
- Fruit Juice and Milk in the mornings
You may discover that these aren’t that easy to find on most Princess ships though!
However, in my experience, these are only available at certain locations, such as the buffet. Often there is another location on the pool deck tucked away in the corner somewhere!
Free Brewed Coffee is available in all restaurants and the Buffet.
Princess cruise lines still win my own personal award for “worst tasting coffee at sea”.
The taste of this does seem to have improved recently, but it still isn’t great!
Can You Take Your Own Wine on a Princess Cruise?
You can also take one bottle of wine per adult onboard a Princess cruise with you without being charged.
If you take an additional bottle you will be charged a corkage fee at the port of $15 per bottle.
Usually, there is a table just after you go through security where you will be directed to pay the wine corkage fee if you have more than one bottle each.
If you are taking a bottle of wine with you, always remember to pack this in your carry-on luggage.
This Wine Sleeveis really useful for protecting a bottle in your carry-on.
Never try to sneak wine onboard a cruise. It’s against the rules and they will find it and confiscate it. Just don’t even try.
Princess Cruise Elite Lounge Drinks
If you are a Platinum or Elite Princess level you will be invited each night to a reception that includes discounted cocktails.
The Princess loyalty program has some of the best perks of any cruise line, and the reception is a really nice perk.
There is always a good selection of snacks available and the discounted cocktails are a good value if you have not purchased one of the Plus or Premium Packages
What do you think of the Princess Cruises Premier and Plus Packages?
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Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.