I was recently amused by a review of a ship that had lengthy homages to various servers and bars on the ship. . .in fact the review was almost exclusively so.
I could honestly go on the 12 day cruise we just paid 1156.00 for(air, cruise, fees!) and have a great time with no drinks or even sodas on my tab. This isn't because I am so gorgeous that men will be buying them for me. If I want to drink, I can do that anywhere, I don't need to take a cruise to so. I don't think having fun should ever depend on ability to afford drinks. They aren't any more expensive on ship than they are on most any restraunts or hotels on land-if you ate out for all your meals off ship you would find that the bar tab was high, you would just see it every time you ate/drank instead of at the end of the excursion.
Go have fun, rich or poor, with a drink in your hand or a nice refreshing lemonade. Show whoever cares that alcohol is not what makes things fun and don't forget that just because there are lots of extra ways to spend money on ship that you have any obligation to support the cruise lines by spending money you don't have to spend. There is so much MORE to the cruise than having a drink in your hand. Bon Voyage!
Sissybug and others: One thing I've learned from these boards is that different cruisers have different wants and priorities in cruises. And lines and ships offer vastly different cruise experiences. The best thing about the info on these boards is that it helps us all match our wants and priorities with the best possible cruise for us individually --- though it might not be best for someone else. I have many friends and family members who do not drink alcoholic beverages for a variety of reasons --- religion, health, or taste. That is to be respected. Also to be respected is that there are some of us who can't imagine a cruise, especially a tropical one, without a drink in hand. Wev'e probably got some of Jimmy Buffett's DNA! While it is true that bar drinks on most ships cost no more than they do in fine restaurants and bars at home, the "financially challenged" among us can't aford many drinks there either. Those of us who aren't financially challenged didn't get that way by doing very much drinking in fine bars and restaurants! While we can't seem to do or say anything to get the lines to lower their bar prices, we can look for lines with alternatives. As I said in a post above, my favorite line (Radisson) is nearly all inclusive. Among what may be less costly lines, HAL allows guests to carry on any beverage they are big enough to carry, and will sell you a bottle at way below your local prices. RCI will allow you to bring on soft drinks for mixers, and will sell you a bottle for onboard use at about local US prices. And these solutions are without any "sneaking" or breaking of the line's official rules, and give us "Jimmy Buffett types" an alternative to fairly high bar prices which, in volume, can render us all "financially challenged."