Just returned from the Rhapsody of the Seas. We were told by a bartender in the Schooner bar that the drink cards have been discontinued. We were also told later (by another employee of RCCL) that the cards are being revamped. If this is so, why didn't they leave the cards intact until they introduced the new cards? It doesn't seem fair that so many people have to pay full price for alcohol drinks while RCCL waits to complete a new drink card program.
As for carrying on alcohol in check-in luggage, it seems several people on board did just that. I was also told by another passenger that they were told that they could purchase a bottle on board (duty free shop) and pay a $7.00 on-board consumption fee. Unfortunately, we were informed of this on the morning of our return. Beware, a simple well drink (not premium) such as vodka and tonic purchased at a bar ran us $5.95--ouch! Also, check your receipt carefully for the added gratuities.
I only purchased a Royal Cocktail card once. It was for 12 drinks and I think it was about $40. It was not unlimited like the Coke card. You could get domestic beer - no imports, house wines by the glass, and call brand mixed drinks - no premium brands.
If you redeemed the card for "cocktail" drinks like Margueritas or Pina Coladas, the size of the drink you received was quite a bit smaller than the ones being made for guests without the card.
I didn't find the Royal Cocktail card any special deal especially if you were wanting to use it for cocktail drinks. In fact I came home with two drinks left on the card. I was hoping to use it in October on our next RCI cruise but I guess I'm out of luck.
We used the cocktail card last Jan. on Explorer. It was $39 plusgratuity (and tax --we stupidly forgot to wait till we were at sea) It was a good deal and our margaritas, Mai Tais, etc. were normal size. We also used it for wine in the dining room, which was also a good deal.
I hope the card is re-instated for our winter cruise.
Explorer to E. Carib. 1/12/02
Explorer to W. Carib. 1/18/03
Summit Alaska cruise/tour 8/3/03
Adventure to S. Carib. 2/8/04
Interestingly enough, it was on the Explorer in March 2002 when I purchased the card.
We order wine by the bottle for dinner and I don't usually drink beer so my experience was only with cocktail drinks.
Cunard Countess - Sept 1981
HAL Noordam - Dec1990
RCI Rhapsody of the Seas - March 2000
RCI Vision of the Seas - Sept 2000
P&O Sea Princess - Sept 2001
RCI Explorer of the Seas - March 2002
P&O Sea Princess - July 2002
Olympia Countess - Oct 2002 (never again)
Celebrity Mercury - July 2003
RCI Splendour of the Seas - Oct 2003
I hope they will use the cocktail cards again. I purchased one on my 1st cruise & loved it. My drinks were the same size as all the others served. If they don't use them again, I hope they have cocktail coupons that you can purchase in advance like the Carnival line does.