My wife and I are cruising on the Voyager in about a month. This is only our second cruise and first with RCCL. We have a few questions regarding the drink packages available on the Voyager.
The first question relates to wine packages. What type of wine packages are available. From what I've seen in books and on the Internet, it appears that RCCL offers a basic wine package for approximately $109 for a 7 day cruise. My wife and I know our wines fairly well and know that this package will offer some fairly basic wines since the price averages out to be about $15.57 per bottle. However, I have not seen what wines are included in this package. Does anyone know which wines are included in this package and? Is the price I saw correct? Also, is there a premium wine package? On our previous cruise, which was on Disney, Disney offered a premium wine package, which offered better wines, but at a higher price. Is there such a premium wine package on RCCL. If so, how much is it for a 7 day cruise and what wines are included?
The second question relates to drink cards. What type of drink cards are available on the Voyager? I checked on RCCL's website, and all it talked about was the Royal Cocktail Card, which, from my calculations, is a decent but not great deal. Are there any other drink cards that offer a better deal than the Royal Cocktail Card? I read in a review of a trip on the Voyager that there is essentially a length of stay drink card, i.e., you pay one fee and have unlimited call brand drinks and domestic beers for the length of the cruise. I have not seen this mentioned anywhere else. Does it exist? If so, how much is it? My wife and I do not drink much, but we enjoy a drink by the pool and before a show so we would like to get as good a deal as possible.
I bought the Cocktail card on Explorer back in Oct. It wasnt a bad deal, overall, as it lowered my per drink cost by a dollar to two, BUT I can't remember what it cost! It was not unlimited but a set number of drinks, and your card was punched with each one.
In any case, I would not do it again, and in fact we had trouble drinking thru it. It covered only basic cocktails, using house brands. Fancier cocktails, such as drinks of the day, were not covered. And only the cheapest of beers, not the "imports". After a few gin/tonics, I started ordering my regular call brand, and since I prefer import beers, I usually ordered what I like. Hey, I'm on vacation! So, if you like Bud, and house wine and liquor are ok, its a good deal.
As for the wine list, I am no wine expert, but the wines they offered looked good, and it wasn't jug wine, etc. There were a few programs on offer, that provided different numbers of bottles. I dont recall seeing a premium package, specifically. Don't worry though, you can easily book on board, as there will be tables set up outside all of the eating areas on the first couple of days that showcase the wines and sell the cards. As I recall, there were some tastings too.
Just got off the Explorer of the Seas and here is the story on RCCL cocktail card:
Total cost of card (12 drinks) including tips (automatically added) = $44.85
Average cost per drink = $3.74 only includes basic brands of beer, basic mixed drinks, does not include brand name alcohol or imported beers.
Cost of "basic" drink like bottom rack liquor or drink of the day including tips = $3.74. Gee, isn't it funny that it all comes out the same?!?!? In other words, there is NO BARGAIN with the drink card if you drink the basic stuff.
In fact, there are certain drinks of the day (like the bloody mary's and screwdrivers each morning) that cost, including tip = $3.16.
Cost of brand name drinks can vary - I was charged several prices as follows (includes tip): $5.18 and $6.04. This was for drinks my father enjoys, like Manhattans.
Beer was cheaper by far for the domestic brands - under $3.00 each.
My suggestion is JUST USE YOUR RCCL CARD EACH TIME YOU ORDER. We found ourselves with punches left in our cards near the end of the cruise because it was always a better bargain to use our RCCL card at the moment when ordering. Last day at sea, we were really buzzing trying to drink up all those punches left on the cards!!!
Also, I will tell you that the size of the drinks you get from the cocktail card were very different than if you "paid as you drank". BIG difference. You will find certain bartenders that treat you "better" than others. Just depends if you "click" or not. Like there was one in the casino that made a mean margarita for me and always made too much. He would make me sip down like 20% of the drink, then top it off with the extra mixture, then pour more liquor on top. And all of this in a HUGE glass he would retrieve from the back room when he saw me coming. Whew! Those were mighty fine drinks. I gave him a great tip at the end of the cruise.
I found the wine list for the wine & dine package on the RCI web site. I think it was under "FAQs". My husband & I really enjoy reds. We are hardly wine snobs (I've never been disappointed with anything Fetzer), but we weren't too impressed with the list. Would love to know what others think of these wines, especially the reds.
This may not meet your standards, but this is a response from RCI when I asked them a question.
Remember good wine must be still when stored. Ships are constantly moving. So there may not be a great deal of difference in a good wine and a great wine on board.
* * * *
Wine & Dine Package:
This is a special package created at Royal Caribbean and
purchased onboard. It makes ordering the proper wine fun
and simple to do. You can purchase this the first day of
the cruise (special wine stands are set up throughout the
ship), or from your sommelier (Wine Steward). Guests will
receive one (1) bottle of our fine wine each evening of
04 day cruise: $62.00
05 day cruise: $77.00
07 day cruise: $109.00
08 day cruise: $124.00
09 day cruise: $139.00
10 day cruise: $155.00
11 day cruise: $170.00
12 day cruise: $186.00
13 day cruise: $201.00
14 day cruise: $217.00
Prices listed do not include gratuity of 15%
The specific wines (from our large selection) that are available for the
Dine package are:
Langenbach - Spatlese (Riesling) - Germany
Louis Chavy - Macon Villages - France
Burlwood Cellars - Chardonnay - California
Parducci - Chenin Blanc - California
Turning Leaf - White Zinfandel - California
Louis Chavy - Beaujolais Villages - France
Walnut Crest - Merlot - California
Gaetano D'Aquino - Montepulciano D'Abruzzo - Italy
Burlwood Cellars - Cabernet Sauvignon - California
Korbel - Brut - California
Martini & Rossi - Asti - Italy
** Any unopened bottles of wine not consumed from your Wine & Dine package
be taken with you to be enjoyed at home (This may constitute a part or
your duty-free liquor allowance). If a particular wine is not available,
sommelier will replace it with a similar wine of equal or greater value.
Thank you for choosing Royal Caribbean International.
I'm not a wine snob either, but would like to see a little more variety on that list. How about a nice Shiraz or a Chianti Classico? I haven't sailed RCL yet (booked for 3/03), but on my last cruise (on Celebrity), there were a number of good bottle of wine in the $20-$30 price range. Some nights, we didn't drink an entire bottle -- just had one glass each -- and finished the bottle the next night. I think I'd rather pay a little more for the "quality" rather than the "quantity" available with the card. But that's just me.
I actually called RC about the drinks and their prices. I have all the info at home and I'm at work but from what I can remember, cheaper wine by the glass - martini's - frozen drinks are included. So, our gameplan is to pay cash if we have beer or a regular mixed drink and use the card for the more expensive drinks.
No, no, no!!! Please read my post above. IT DOES NOT PAY TO GET THE DRINK CARD - you will get the same prices by paying as-you-go AND the glasses are larger!!!!!! THERE IS NO DISCOUNT!!!!!! In fact, some drinks are CHEAPER as-you-go like the morning eye openers - bloody marys and screwdrivers - and the DRINK OF THE DAY - although some days good, some days not. That's OK if you don't believe me - you'll find out soon enough. You will be like us, drinking like crazy the last day because of the leftover drinks on the card. And by the way, you won't pay cash for anything - unless for gambling in the casino (and even that can be put on your room account) - all drinks will either be put on your room account (the RCCL card) OR punched from the prepaid card.
Itch, okay thank. I guess that when I called for prices and they told me the prices of the frozen drink/wine/martini's...then said those could go on the card, it was a great deal. The martini's were like 7 dollars and the frozen/wine around 5 or 6.00. Are you saying thye won't let you get that stuff on the card. Then they gave me wrong info. I was planning to use the punch card for those and buy eye openers, mixed drinks and beer in cash.
I just sailed on Explorer, and can tell you that drink card is not bad deal at all. It all depends what kind of drinks you like. If you are planning to drink imported beer and good wine at the bar than prepaid card may not be good. We used it mostly to get frozen drinks at the pool such as tango-mango, love connection etc.. You get 12 oz glass for $3.74. Bigger glass, I guess 16 oz cost around $7 with the tip. Regarding the size - most time on the ship your stomach will be pretty much full. Bigger size drink is not going to do you any good, if there not much room left inside of you.