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Carnival: “Get Totally Wasted” Drink Package

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At least that is the headline that some channels of the media seemingly would have liked to run , when Carnival recently announced they were testing an inclusive beverage package on the Carnival Victory.

When Carnival announced their beverage package (titled “My Awesome Bar Package”) CNN News asked it’s viewership for comments and opinions, even though other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and MSC already offer similar programs on their vessels.

Many of the viewers comments, which they chose to feature on air, were a bit troubling to me, but for reasons one might not expect.

The comments and opinions featured spoke to a very dated reputation Carnival still obviously carries to the inexperienced; opining variations of ” we don’t need any more drunks on Carnival ships”.

It seems, even with the continuing excellent year to year growth in the cruise industry, Carnival, the industry and it’s representative industry voice, CLIA, have not done as good a job as they should have in making the general public aware of the many (and often amazing) changes in the industry.

Seemingly too many people who haven’t experienced a cruise, to this day still think of cruise ships as “for the newlywed, and the nearly dead”, or “for those interested in glutenous overeating”, or “for those who want a floating non-stop Frat Party”.

In recent years, because of low pricing, more and more people have taken their first cruise, including those who believe the cliches I mentioned above still hold true. But, has the industry as a whole, as well the individual cruise lines, done the job of informing their prospective customers of the falicies of those cliches?

Admittedly it’s not easy to come up with 30 second ads which effectively get the message to viewers that cruising is much different today than even a decade ago.

In regard to Carnival Cruise Line, in the early 90s they perhaps got a deserved reputation of sailing “party ships”; attracting a young crowd, looking to drink and “party”; a kind of “Sprink Break” every week sort of mentality. That is certainly not descriptive of today’s Carnival. However, they need to find a way to point that out to today’s prospective passengers.

While they’ve changed their booking policies long ago  (not allowing people under 21 to book without someone 25 or older in the same cabin, unless married), they have not wanted to abandon their “tag line” as the “Fun Ships”.  In fact, with their new ships, they’ve doubled down on the tag line, now referring to their new program as Funship 2.0.

On one hand “Fun Ships” is very descriptive of the product they offer; with lots of action and innovative activities available for passengers to enjoy. On the other hand, “Fun Ship” makes it easy for those who haven’t cruised with Carnival, if at all,  to assume there is still an implication that heavy alcohol consumption is the driving force for the fun.

As they are the most successful cruise line in the world, they may not think their problem is as big an issue as I do.

To speak a bit directly about the idea that an inclusive drink package on Carnival would lead to more consumption, and therefore more drunks doesn’t reflect the actual results, in my mind.

Many of the luxury cruise lines have been offering almost all alcoholic beverages in their cruise fares for some time, with no talk of overly innebriated passengers. Mass market lines (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity) have reported no significant changes to the onboard consumption of those guests choosing to participate in the beverage programs. So, I do think it follows that one isn’t likely to notice anything different because they are Carnival ships.

The facts about the test program Carnival is running  are……

$42.95 per person per day  + 15% gratuity – ALL passengers ,21 years of age  or older, sharing the same cabin, must purchase the package. And each may only order 1 drink at a time.

the package includes – a selection of wine by the glass, beer and spirits,  sodas, bottled water and non-alcoholic frozen cocktails throughout their cruise.

Bottles of Wine or Champagne – may be purchased by package participants with a 25% discount on the price

Would you purchase such a beverage package if it was available on the ship you were sailing? Do you think participants will over-indulge? Do you think the availability of “drink packages makes cruising a more attractive option?

If you bought a “drink package” would you be willing to make extra trips to the bar to get “free” drinks for your friends? (If your answer is yes, can we be friends? )

– A View From The Kuki Side Of Cruising –








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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 29, 2012 at 5:02 am

Personally I would not opt for a beverage package, be it alchohol, beer wine, or just plain soda and bottled water.

Heres why, and this should get out there to the general public.

Poor quality of liquor, watered drinks, drinks of poor strength (we all know, or should know), there is barely a drop of rum in the frozen drinks on land or at sea on the main line cruise lines.

When a card for a beverage package is produced I have heard many passengers conmplain they are igngnored for service, while other non-pakage passengers are served.

And well all know, the “sail away” drink has vertuallym NO dectetable booze in the pretty over priced sail away souvenir plastic glass, same as the “drink of the day”, on the low budget ships.

Here is one example at a Mexican place near where I live. They offered regular margaritas – Gold tequila margaritas, presumably with “gold” label teq, and Texan, super sized drinks. I did not want a Margarita and orderd a martini, to be told, “We don’t” have a liquor license”=hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm=
I asked how could they sell margatitas without a liquor license, well, our waitress, said its like Wal Mart, you know, the margaritas in a bag! Well, malt beverage, complies with a BEEER! license. YUCK. these cheap deceaving measures will find their way, no doubt they already have, onto ships.

Why does the cruise industry, at least the LOW end think we’re all a-holes and dumb as boxes of turnips? You betcha they do!

Comment from rciaddict
Time August 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm

When DW and I cruise, she opts for the soda package. I don’t drink enough soda to make that worthwhile. The service is definitely not there when you have a beverage package, as opposed to buying by the drink. I wouldn’t get the drink package, as I also don’t buy enough alcohol to make this worthwhile. I don’t think it would necessarily increase drinking on board, I think people would get caught up in the excitement of having an “open bar”, and buy the package, and then not use it to it’s fullest potential. Of course, there will be those who will insist on getting their money’s worth, but they would be overindulging regardless of a package.

Comment from Katie
Time September 4, 2012 at 3:13 am

I think the entire thing depends upon who you are and how you drink yourself.
It’s not worth it if you are someone who only has the odd social drink with dinner etc.
It did cause much upset and I can kind of see why.

Comment from jimbojinx
Time September 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

It will be a cold day in Hell that I would purchase this rip-off !!!!!!

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Time October 25, 2012 at 1:50 am

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