Virgin Voyages Drink Packages

Written by Joel
Posted in: Cruise

Expect the unexpected when it comes to Virgin Voyages drink packages. Most cruise lines offer a variety of drink packages, both both alcoholic and non-alcoholic as a way to save guests money (and make themselves a pretty penny at the same time). Virgin markets itself as the rebel cruise line and that is true in many ways, especially when it comes to drink packages. There are none. That’s right. Virgin Voyages drink packages don’t exist either prior to sailing or once on board and while some Sailors (that’s Virgin language for guests) think it’s bad, I disagree — it’s the best thing ever.

Related: I sailed on the Scarlet Lady mermaiden (inaugural) sailing and these are my first impressions

On Royal Caribbean non-alcoholic drink packages start at around $15 per person per day and the deluxe beverage package (which includes alcohol and everything else) is between $63 and $89 per person per day. On Carnival the Bubbles package (non alcoholic) is $8.50 per person per day and Cheers (alcohol included) is around $50 per person per day. To be fair, some cruise lines include drinks in the cruise fare (Celebrity springs to mind in the “mainstream” cruise line category) and Norwegian has the Free at Sea promotion which covers their alcohol package. In each case, the drink package is promoted as a good deal for the guests — and it can be if both people in the stateroom are drinkers (and in the case of Royal BIG drinkers). I’ve been on Royal cruises where the drink package cost more than the cruise itself so if you think the cruise lines that offer drink packages aren’t “winning” think again.

Related: Five Things To Know Before Booking A Virgin Voyages Cruise

So with no Virgin Voyages drink packages, how do you pay for your drinks? Well, first of all, basic beverages (basic bevvies) are included in the cruise fare so if someone in your stateroom is more likely to grab a soda than a margarita, there is no charge. Right away you’re saving money if there’s only one “drinker” in your stateroom because on other cruise lines if one person in the room gets the alcohol package, both people have to get it. But assuming both people will be having some adult beverages, the smart play is to put some “sailor loot” on your account which is connected to your wrist band. Want a drink? Find your favorite watering hole, order your drink, scan your wrist band. Voila! You’ve paid for your drink.

Related: How To Save Money On A Cruise

I’ve heard people complaining about the lack of a drink package, “I have to pay per drink?” While that’s true, I still think it’s a better value than the traditional drink package. First, when I cruise with my family, my wife doesn’t drink a drop, and on Virgin Voyages I don’t have to pay a small fortune for her to not drink. But even with two people drinking adult beverages, it’s a better value because the quality of the drinks on Virgin is much better — better brands of alcohol, fewer “well drinks” (pre-made cocktails), and they look like works of art (which call me crazy, makes the drink taste better) — and the bartenders at every bar know how to make the classics but also have their own version of the classics, something you just don’t experience when there’s a line of people waiting to over pay for the drink of the day in a souvenir cup.

Are there Virgin Voyages drink packages? No
Loose Cannon bartender making a drink

Another reason I’m a fan of not having to buy a Virgin Voyages drink package is I drink less and have more fun because of it. If I’m paying big bucks for a drink package you better know I’m getting my money’s worth and with cheap alcohol I’m tired earlier and not feeling 100% in the morning. When I’m drinking great drinks with better alcohol and paying for them one at a time, I drink less, am awake more, and remember everything. I also know exactly how much sailor loot I spent (and have left) because the app updates immediately so I can make a clear decision about how many more drinks to have.

I’ve mentioned sailor loot a couple times so let me be clear about why it’s a good idea to have some. First, as of now (mid October, 2021) Virgin Voyages gives a bonus for adding money to a bar tab (and if you book your cruise by calling Joel (844-483-6669) there’s a rumor that I’ll add extra sailor loot to your account so you can have a few drinks on me). But the other reason having a bar tab makes sense is you can easily buy drinks for the other sailor in your room or your new friends at the trivia parties.

As with everything Virgin Voyages is doing right now, there is a lot to like about the lack of a drink package but there’s some things that are frustrating, too. For example, when you add sailor loot to a bar tab, it isn’t shared with both people in the room, so if your cabin mate wants to have a drink, you have to be there (or at least your wrist band does) to pay for it. The current work-around for that is to add some sailor loot to both wrist bands or break my #1 rule for being on a cruise and just charge everything to the card connected to the wrist band.

I’m the type of person who doesn’t necessarily order off the drink menu (the exception to that was when I was at one of the six fine dining restaurants and the server made a suggestion (or something just looked good). I’m more likely to order one of my favorite drinks or ask the bartender to put a twist on one of them. What’s frustrating about that is, unless I’m ordering off the menu where the prices are listed, there’s no way to know how much a drink cost until after it’s charged to the bar tab. I don’t mind the occasional surprise, (“Wait… I paid how much for that drink?”) even though all the Virgin Voyages marketing and messaging says, “drinks are reasonably priced,” that means something different to everyone.

Ready to begin planning your next getaway? Schedule a free vacation planning call or call Joel (844-483-6669) for free unbiased information, advice, and assistance.

Joel - Partner at JJ Travel Associates

About The Author

Joel is a co-owner of JJ Travel Associates (a Dream Vacations franchise) and a history geek fascinated by world cultures and what we can learn from each. His specialty is planning vacations that combine history, culture, and fun.

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