There are a few things you need to know before stepping aboard your cruise this season.

Making sure you pick the right drinks package is critical to ensure you get your bang for your buck, but also to make sure you don’t buy more than you need to. So here is our guide for what package is right for you.

Azamara Club Cruises

The premium line, which has three ships in its fleet, two of which visit Australia – the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. The line has several drinks packages for guests to choose from. The Premium Package which is priced from US$15.95 per person, per day, includes a range of bottled beer like Stella Artois to Boddingtons Pub Ale as well as a range of spirits and liqueurs like Bombay Sapphire Gin as well as Johnnie Walker Red Label. For guests looking for more, they can build on the Premium Package with the Ultimate Liquor Package that includes more liquors and liqueurs along with selected wines by the glass as well as Nespresso coffees and premium waters. The Ultimate Liquor Package is priced from US$21.

Azamara Club Cruise drinks package
Drinks aboard an Azamara Club Cruises ship. Image: Azamara Club Cruises

The line also offers a wine lover package where you can pick from a five to 12 bottle package. Starting at US$180, guests can pick bottles of wine valued at US$50 or less. There are more than 80 wines to choose from including five sparkling wines, 35 whites, five rose and 35 red wines. Guests can also pick the wine connoisseur package which allows them to choose from bottles of wine priced from US$51-$75. The package starts from US$315.

Carnival Cruise Line Australia

With two ships in the fleet and a third heading Down Under next year, the fun family cruise line has no alcohol packages available. But there is a non-alcoholic package available for the entire family. The Bottomless Bubbles drinks package allows guests to have soft drinks and juices during meals, shows and throughout the ship. The package costs AU$7.25 per day for adults and AU$5.50 per day for the kids.

Carnival Cruise Line

If you’re sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship outside of Australia, there are several drinks packages which are available. The Cheers! Program has been rolled out throughout the fleet, with the exception of Aussie-based ships. The package costs US$51.95 per person, per day when purchased pre-cruise; and US$56.95 per person, per day purchased onboard.

The package includes a selection of mixed drinks, beer, wine and spirits valued at less than US$50 or less. Guests are only allowed 15-drinks a day and the package also includes soft drinks, non-alcoholic cocktails, energy drinks, teas and coffees, most bottled water, PowerAde, coconut water and more. The program also includes a 25 per cent discount on bottles of wine, Champagne, beverage classes and seminars and cocktails that are more than US$50.

Carnival Cruise Line drinks package
Carnival’s Cheers! drinks package includes mixed drinks, beer, wine and spirits valued at US$50 or less. Image: Carnival Cruise Line

Celebrity Cruises

The premium cruise line which has the Celebrity Solstice regularly sailing in Australia, offers its guests a number of beverage packages. Like its sister line, Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity has a Standard Beverage Package which you can build on. This includes wines, bottled waters, fountain sodas, spirits, cocktails and frozen drinks up to US$6 per serving. You also get a 10 per cent discount on wines by the bottle. This package starts at US$45 per person, per night. The next step up is the Classic Beverage Package which starts from US$55 a night. This includes an array of beers, cocktails, spirits, liqueurs, frozen drinks as well as wines by the glass that cost up to US$9. The package also includes a 15 per cent discount on wines by the bottle. And the Premium Package, priced from $69 a night, includes all standard and classic offerings as well as specialty coffees, teas, craft and artisan beers, spirits, cocktails, frozen drinks, Coca Cola products, premium bottled water as well as wine by the glass up to US$15 per serving. Guests also get a 20 per cent discount off all bottles of wine.

Celebrity Cruises luxury drinks package
Celebrity Cruises’ Premium Drinks Package is priced from $69/night. Image: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises guests also can build their own wine packages. Guests can pick from boutique Californians, French Grand Cru and more. The Classic Wine Package which stats from US$109 includes selections like Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Malbec from Argentina. And the Premium Wine Package builds on the Classic but there is more to choose from.

Celebrity guests can also choose four different non-alcoholic packages including a Premium Bottled Water Package starting from US$16 per night, a soda package starting from US$9 per night which includes Coke Zero, Barq’s Root Beer and more, a Classic Non-Alcoholic Package which not only has sodas, but also juices, premium coffees and teas and bottled water or a Premium Non-Alcoholic Package starting from US$22 per night which includes offerings in the Classic Package as well as frozen drinks and smoothies, Red Bull, coconut water and more.

MSC Cruises

The family-owned line, which will be coming to Australia for the first time next year, has several packages including the All-Inclusive Deluxe Drinks package. On four to eight night itineraries, guests will pay US$55 per person per day and it includes all beers, wine by the glass, premium spirits, non-alcoholic cocktails, energy drinks, mineral water, soft drinks, tea and coffee as well as drinks from the mini-bar and from the room service menu. The package is also valid in all onboard bars, lounges as well as all restaurants. On itineraries which are nine-plus nights, the price is US$44 per person, per day. Kids packages start from US$18.50 per person, per day and includes all non-alcoholic beverages like smoothies and milkshakes.

MSC Cruises drinks package
MSC Cruises’ $55 drinks package includes  all beers, wine by the glass, premium spirits and non-alcoholic cocktails. Image: MSC Cruises

If you’re heading the Caribbean on the MSC Seaside or MSC Davina, the All-Inclusive Classic Drink Package starts from US$38 per person, per day on nine-plus night sailings and US$47 per person, per day on fought to eight night itineraries. The package includes spirits, cocktails, a selection of wine by the glass, all beers, soft drinks, mineral water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate as well as ice cream.

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL offers two beverage packages available on all ships. The Corks and Caps Package costs US$65 per person plus day, plus 20 percent gratuity, and includes a selection of sodas, juices, beer as well as wines by the glass. The Ultimate Beverage Package costs US$99 per person, per day and includes everything in the Corks and Caps Package as well as liquor and cocktails worth US$15 or less.

Norwegian Cruise Line drinks package
NCL’s Ultimate Beverage Package includes cocktails worth US$15 or less. Image: Norwegian Cruise Line

Oceania Cruises

Onboard the luxury line known for its food, has two drinks packages. The House Select which costs US$39.95 per person, per day includes unlimited Champagne, wine and beer with dinner and lunch. The Prestige Select, which is priced at US$59.95 per person, per day, includes spirits, beer, wine and Champagne in bars and restaurants. Guests can get 20 per cent off wine-pairing dinners at La Reserve which is onboard Marina and Riviera.

Oceania Cruises drinks package
Oceania Cruises is a luxury line known for the quality of its food. It has two drinks packages – House Select and Prestige Select. Image: Oceania Cruises

Princess Cruises (Australia)

Princess Cruises, one of Australia’s favourite lines, offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic packages. The Premier Package costs AU$86.99 per person, per day and is available on cruises eight nights or longer. It covers drinks up to the value of AU$16 including cocktails, beer, wine by the glass, specialty coffees, soft drinks, shakes, juices and more. Guests will also get 25 per cent discount on all bottles of wine as well as a few one-litre bottle of water when you dine at a specialty restaurant. The package also includes in-room drinks, mini bar as well as vending machine items.

Princess Cruises drinks package
Princess Cruises’ Premier Package is available on cruises eight nights or longer. Image: Princess Cruises

For the non-drinkers, there is the Unlimited Soda & More Packages where guests can get soft drinks, mocktails, juices, cocktails as well as hot chocolate. The package is priced from AU$8.05 per person, per day. There is also a Princess Premium Coffee Card which gives you 15 espresso-based coffees or premium teas for AU$36.

P&O Cruises Australia

P&O Premium Beverage Package
P&O’s Premium Beverage Package. Image: P&O Cruises Australia

The all-Australian fleet increased the price of their drinks packages in 2016. There are four options of drinks packages: The Lot, Premium, Refreshment or Soft Drinks. The Lot, which is not only the most expensive in Australia, but in the world as well. For AU$105 if purchased onboard and AU$95 if pre-purchased, the package includes unlimited beer, ciders, wine, cocktails and spirits up to and including items worth up to AU$15. Anything over AU$15, guests will be charged the full price. Also included in the price is soft drinks, soda water, 600ml bottled water, juice blends, mocktails, espresso coffee drinks, T2 tea and energy drinks. The package is only available for seven-nights or more.

The Premium cruise package, which is priced at AU$89 per person, onboard and AU$79 pre purchased, includes sodas, juice blends, mocktails, 600ml bottled water, beer and cider, wine, spirits and cocktails which are worth up to AU$12. It does not include tea and coffee as well as energy drinks.

The refreshment package does not include any alcoholic and energy drinks and is priced at AU$25 if purchased onboard, or AU$19 if pre purchased. If you’re just after sodas, the Soft Drinks Package is priced from $7.50 per person, per day. There is also an In-Room Bottled Water Package for AU$19.80 that includes six 1.5L bottles of water of Au$39 for 12 bottles.

Royal Caribbean

The line which brought you Australia’s largest ship, Ovation of the Seas, has four beverage packages. The all-inclusive Deluxe Beverage package includes cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee and tea, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh-squeezed juices, fountain sodas as well as a 40 per cent discount on wine bottle purchases up to US$100 and a 20 per cent discount on wine bottle purchases more than US$100. Drinks must not exceed US$12 in value.

The Deluxe Beverage package will cost from US$63 to US$70 per person, per day, depending on the sailing.

There is also a premium refreshment package which includes premium coffees and teas, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh squeezed orange juice and more. The line also has a soda and water bottle package. The premium refreshment package costs US$29 and their Classic Soda package providing unlimited sodas will cost US$12.99.

Royal Caribbean drinks package
Royal Caribbean’s all-inclusive Deluxe Beverage package includes cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and more. Image: Royal Caribbean

Viking Ocean Cruises

The Scandinavian line, which made her debut this year, has teas, coffees, soft drinks, beer available as well as a rotation of house wines included in your fare. Spirits, cocktails and premium wines cost extra. But you can opt for the Silver Spirits Packages which covers drinks up to US$15 each anywhere on the ship. This also covers your mini-bar replenishment as well as premium wines at The Chef’s Table. Packages onboard start at US$139 per person for a seven-night sailing.

Aquavit Terrace Bar on a Viking OceanShip
Viking’s Silver Spirits Packages covers drinks up to US$15, anywhere on the ship. Image: Viking Cruises