Good news! We just got back from a 3-day cruise on the Majesty of the Seas, so I have a little bit of drink advice.
As soon as we got onto the ship, we bought our soda cards. It was about $20 each, and it was definitely worth the money for the three days. You can only buy the soda cards at the ship's bars (not at the purser's desk or Windjammer...just the bars themselves), but you can charge it directly to your account. You'll get a sticker to put on the back of your seapass/room key. They'll also give you a coca-cola insulated cup, which is nice to have in case you don't bring a mug of your own.
The soda card is a great deal ESPECIALLY if you drink alcohol, because it gives you unlimited free mixers for the length of the cruise. I'll get to more on that in a second.
As far as the restaurants, the Windjammer has free water, orange juice, and grapefruit juice with breakfast. They switch the machines to water, lemonade, and iced tea for lunch, and coffee and tea (several varieties) are free in the Windjammer all the time. We had dinner in the main dining room every night, and the only thing they automatically serve there is water. After dinner, our waiter offered coffee every night, and I don't think there was a charge for the regular or decaf coffees.
Alcoholic drinks on the ship aren't ridiculously expensive ($2-4 for beers, $4-5 for frozen, $3-7 for mixed) -- but here's what I'd recommend...
I bought several small 8 oz. containers at Wal-Mart (50-cents each) and filled them up with Ketel, Bacardi, and 151 before our trip. (I bought the bottles with the squirt-top caps. They look like empty shampoo bottles.) We packed those in our checked luggage that was delivered to our room on the first night. I wasn't sure how that would go, so I also filled up an empty water bottle with some vodka and kept that in my carry-on luggage. We didn't have ANY problem with either -- no questions asked during security, either at the airport or on the boat.
I also bought two large mugs at Wal-Mart (87-cents each!) that had straw holes and another small vent hole on top. This worked out perfectly, because we were able to re-fill our Wal-Mart mugs with juice, coke, diet, etc... at the bars, squirt the alcohol right in, and blow bubbles through our straws to mix it. It was perfect -- and much less expensive than buying individual drinks!!!
I'd also read that you can carry wine onto the ship, as long as it's a wine that they don't stock themselves. We bought a couple of local wines and had no problem carrying them on. We brought a bottle to dinner with us, and although they charge a $12 corkage fee, it's still worth the deal. (One night at dinner, we ordered individual glasses for $6 each, so if you can drink a whole bottle, definitely bring one from home.) If you bring your own wine and DON'T want to pay the corkage fee, just bring your own corkscrew and pour it in you room. (You won't be able to take it into the main dining room with you, but you can carry it anywhere else on the ship with no questions.)
One other alcohol note -- the duty-free shops on the ship sell EXTREMELY inexpensive alcohol. (Big bottles of Ketel for $16, Bombay Saphire for $14, 4 bottles of Bacardi twists for $24!!!) Here's the only catch -- if you buy alcohol on the ship's duty-free shops, you can't carry it out. They pack it for you and deliver it to your stateroom on the last night. It's still a great deal, if you want to stock up for home...or get really drunk on your last night! : )
We also found really cheap alcohol in Nassau. We bought several bottles of "Fire in da Hole" rum for $5.95 each, and the funny labels alone were worth it! There are liquor stores on every block, and they also sell cold beer by the bottle or 6-pack. We really liked Kalik Light, a local beer. They cost about $2 a bottle, and one of my favorite parts of the trip was having a cold beer on the sunny streets!
On our way to the beach in Nassau, we also came across a Daquiri Shack -- and I do mean SHACK. It was a few pieces of wood, a blender, and bottles COVERED with flies. It was a VERY local place -- we were definitely the only tourists -- flies everywhere, stray dogs running around, masses of chicken (we think!) on the grill, more flies everywhere! It was really pretty disgusting, but one of those slice-of-life experiences that I wouldn't have missed for the world.
This was my first cruise, and I had a great time! If you have any other questions, please just post a reply. Have fun!!!
on this same note, we were on the granduer not too long ago doing the caribbean route. It was a seven night cruise. In the duty free shop that does have very cheap liqour you can buy it and take it to your room for an extra charge I forget what it was like 10-20 dollars. That is not per bottle but total no matter how many bottles you buy. So if you are on a longer cuise or whatever it is still really cheap to take to the room instead of waiting til the end of your trip. Just another thought. And thanks for all the help mollyscruise that was a very good report on all the drinks.
thank you so much, your a lifesaver.... I love to drink(on vaca that is ya right, leaving on may 5 VOS 10 days, want to bring my absolute, all I drink, so again thanks for all the advise. I work in a dental office, and a large container of listerine will come in handy. I love the blowing of bubbles to mix, thanks a bunch!!!
Sailing in July. At home I drink ice tea from morning to night (of course will also be ordering some alcoholic beverages), but really like my ice tea. Should I buy an insulated mug and fill up at lunch time in the dining room? Ice tea available at breakfast or any other time of the day, and if so, do they charge for it? We will be buying soda cards but it doesn't sound as if the ice tea is included on there.
If I bring the ice tea mix, do you think that the cabin attendant would provide a 1/2 or gallon jug with ice so that i could make my own daily?
I appreciate all your other suggestions. Will wait to hear from you.
I brought a $1 plastic gallon jug with me that I got at a Dollar Store, so I could make my own punch or leomonade, etc. and keep it in my cabin. The stewards will only bring "drinks" by the glass now. Iced tea, lemonade and punch should be available after 10+ a.m. and throughout the rest of the day. Of course tea bags are available as are ice and cold water at breakfast time at the buffet. You could again make your own. I also bring an insulated sports type water bottle which is great for making my own drinks. Sounds like you won't even need a Soda Card!
Getting the iced tea or lemonade from the Windjammer is no problem, and the free lemonade mixes quite well with vodka!
The cups in the Windjammer are REALLY small, especially at breakfast, so I'd definitely recommend bringing your own mug. Or, if you buy a soda card, they give you a Coca Cola mug with a lid, and it's easy to mix in those.
There's also an ice bucket in every room, and our steward was terrific about keeping ours full! There are also ice machines in the Windjammer and at every bar, and you'll never have a problem keeping your drinks cold.
Also -- don't worry about going back to your room to mix your drinks. We carried small bottles with us and squirted them right into our drinks, pretty much out in the open. I wouldn't do it in the casino (they have cameras everywhere!), but as long as you don't flaunt it, you should be able to spike your drinks wherever and whenever you please!
I've always wondered this....Why do people make the effort to switch the bottles that the liquor they are sneaking on board in? If the liquor was in glass, I can see that. But doesn't most of it come in plastic bottles now? Why do the switch? I've never had my checked bags checked. And if by chance they did, well, I don't think their concern is really my bottle of vodka!
Don't want to open a can of worms, I'm just curious.
ive had my bags checked and if alcohol was not in soda bottles they would have taken it. i can only drink caffeine free soda so i always bring some, but we were on NCL for ten days so i brought alot. my luggage never came to my room and we got a letter telling us to bring the key to our luggage to a certain area. you would not believe how many peoples luggage were there being checked. we had been on 3 prior cruises. one on ncl and 2 on carnival and never had anything checked. but guess what it does happen and they do take any alcohol. we just showed them a couple of bottles of soda and they said ok.
Okay, hate to dredge this up, but why bring a new one on the boards when another already exists?
What is the cost of the Soda Card per person? Does it cover alcohol/mixed drinks as previously stated? Last time I just brought my six packs of diet cola, but this time I'm travelling with a child who loves Sprite, Juice and bottled water.
Can anyone who recently went give me a little more info?
The soda card is for soda's only, not bottled water or alcohol drinks. I've read somewhere that they are charging for juice after a specific time but not sure. It know it's free in the Windjammer and at all meals. We bring our soda (Pepsi) with us too. Bring your diet cola and sprite with you. I don't think I could drink $30 worth of soda or need too...
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
Also to the person who said that you can buy liquor in the duty free shop and pay an extra fee to bring it back to your room with you...You cannot do that anymore. They have stopped that I think as of now. If not now, very soon.