Norwegian Makes Beverage Package Change That Passengers Will Hate

Norwegian Makes Beverage Package Change That Passengers Will Hate

Every business these days faces a steep rise in costs. These costs present a particular challenge to companies that are highly exposed to the global labor market. These include cruise lines, which must feed people and pay for fuel to operate their ships.

Even with low fuel prices, Royal Caribbean (RCL) Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) Every cruise line faces some kind of perfect storm. They have to pay higher costs, but ongoing concerns about the pandemic, as well as broader economic concerns, have limited their ability to raise prices.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian have managed to get customers back on their ships. Having their capabilities restricted by the Covid virus, ships can now accommodate and often sail full customer loads. But ticket prices were generally modest compared to 2019 rates.

This isn’t standardized – newer ships still have some ability to sell tickets at higher prices – but cruise lines largely attract customers by keeping cabin prices reasonable. However, they have seen more spending on ships, which has kept revenue rising towards or even exceeding historical standards.

For this to work, cruise lines need to get people to make more purchases on board and make advance purchases or get them to pay more for what they do. And as painful as it may be, cruise customers have shown they’re willing to pay (and pay dearly) for unlimited drink packages.

Expensive (but probably worth the cost) cruise line drink packages

All three major cruise lines offer an unlimited beverage package, including everything from soft drinks and bottled water to alcoholic beverages. And while Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian all have slightly different ways of selling drink packages, all three sell them on a per-flight basis, rather than day-to-day.

Additionally, with some exceptions, all three major cruise lines require all adults staying in the same cabin to purchase the same drink package. This is to prevent people from buying and sharing a single package (which is not allowed but is hard to monitor).

Drink packages are very popular on these three cruise lines because base fares only cover basic water, coffee and tea, and some juice. Alcohol costs extra and the numbers add up quickly, with the average mixed drink costing between $12 and $15, beer from $6 to $10, and wine from $10 to $15.

Refills for alcoholic beverages also include soda, premium coffee, fresh juice, and even, in some cases, milkshakes. This makes it a good economical option for many cruise passengers even as prices continue to rise.

Carnival recently raised the price of its Cheers unlimited drink package, and now Norwegian Cruise Line is set to do the same.

Norwegian charges a lot for packaged drinks

Norwegian already has the most expensive standard drink package, coming in at $99 per person, per day.

Carnival recently raised the price of a drink package to $59.95 per person, per day plus an 18% service fee if you purchase before your flight. If you wait until you’re on board, Carnival customers will pay $64.95 per person, per day, plus an 18% service fee.

Royal Caribbean does not use set rates for its beverage packages. Prices vary based on your cruise and change often, but in most cases the cruise line charges less than Norwegian does.

Now, the Norwegian company has decided to raise the price on two first-class beverage packages — the Unlimited Open Bar Package and the Premium Plus Beverage Package — effective January 1, Cruzely reported.

The Unlimited Open Bar Package, which includes all drinks up to $15, will cost $109 per person, per day. The Premium Plus beverage package, which includes pretty much every drink the cruise line offers, will go up from $128 to $138 per person, per day.

The Norwegian company did not raise the price of its $65-per-day “Caps and Corks” package, which includes beer and wine. The new rate takes effect on January 1, but people can book at the old rates until that date.

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