For vacationers, the biggest surprise aboard their first cruise probably has nothing to do with the feel of rolling seas. More likely, the surprise will be their bar tab.
The cost of alcohol, whether you buy by the drink or as part of the ship’s beverage packages, has become one of cruising’s more confusing, and more expensive, extras.
Partly, that’s because your normal routines at home tend to change with the partying lifestyle at sea, supported by an expanding array of well-hyped alcoholic concoctions.
Say once a week at home you go out for an evening of drinks, and maybe another day you sip a glass or two of wine with dinner. Multiply that times seven on a week’s cruise. Add the occasional morning bloody Mary, a beer at lunch, an afternoon piña colada, and you have a pretty good idea of the potential for consumption.
For an estimate of the size of the bill you might face on your last day of vacation, consider the cost of beverage packages (for soft drinks and/or beverages with alcohol) offered by the mainstream cruise lines.