I just got home today from the 7/15 to the western carib. on the Grand. This was the first trip to use the soda program. We were a group of four. (2 adults, 2 teens) The program worked well for us. Here are the facts:
Cost- $17.50 for the 7 day trip($15.+ 2.50 for tips)
Coke,Diet Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Tonic Water, Club Soda (all the "gun" drinks) Iced tea is still free.
Available virtually everywhere except room service, and onshore at Princess Cay (no guns)
We ate at Davinci, Michelangelo, and Sabatini's. We used the program everywhere including all shows, bingo, horse racing, etc.
Now some notes. The program needs refinement in the way paperwork is handled. The waiters and bar staff hate it because they have to fill out a slip for you to sign for each individual drink. Even though the cost shows $0.00 on the slip, you still have to sign for it. In addition, many of them believed that they weren't making anything when they served a soda from this program and some actually seemed to ignore you once they knew you had the sticker. Also, you cannot combine on one person's card, even if you all show that you have the sticker. This creates a huge load of paperwork for the staff. One waiter had a table with a group of 18, all with stickers. He had to write a slip for each individual for each and every drink! On the plus side, it seemed to be changing already towards the end of the cruise, with some bars just making you show the sticker and letting you order a large soda while the dining rooms and theaters seemed to be sticking to the original program. Also, make sure that you tell them when you order a soda that you have the sticker and want a fountain soda or they will often try to sell you a can, even though the "gun" is available to them. Hope this helped. By the way, the trip was a blast!
Thanks for posting that very helpful review! I am sailing on the Grand this Sunday and planned to get a soda sticker but had questions as to how it worked. Now I know what to expect. Sounds silly that the staff has to fill out a form for you to sign even though you have the sticker, but hopefully they will soon do away with that.
I don't quite get why they have to charge extra for soda? Is it because it is a "labelled/Trademarked" beverage (e.g. Coke) and it is that much more expensive than tea? ...or do they use the $15 to help offset the "service" of delivering it to you in lounges, etc.?
Selling soda is similar to buying alcholic drinks onboard ship. It is a revenue producer. A can of soda sells from $1.50 to $2.50 a can on board most ships. For families and soda drinkers, the Soda Card is a bargain.