Norwegian Cruise Line has raised the price of its Ultimate Beverage package, covering all alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks that a passenger consumes while on board the ship (except drinks priced higher than $15, which have to be purchased separately).Â Â
Up from a previous fee of $79 per dayâ€”and, as recently as 2014, $54 per dayâ€”the package now costs $89 per passenger, per day.Â
But with a “service charge” and 18% gratuity tacked on, you’ll actually end up paying $104.48 for drinks each day of your cruise.Â
According to Travel Weekly, this is a new high for the cruise industry and the first time on any line that the daily amount of a beverage plan has surpassed $100. In many instances, that’s a higher per-day cost than a cabin.
By way of comparison, equivalent drink packages from Royal Caribbean andÂ Carnival Cruise LineÂ are both around $50 per day, before service chargesâ€”though who knows how long they’ll stay that way before those companies follow Norwegian’s lead.Â
If it makes sense for you to opt for a booze plan on a Norwegian shipâ€”if you’re a teetotaler, no problemâ€”it might be smarter to select the more affordable Corks and Caps package. For $59 per day (plus 18% gratuity and service charge), you’ll be covered for wine, beer, and soft drinks. Then if you want to sip a margarita a time or two during your trip, you can always buy those a la carte.Â Â Â