Taking a cruise soon? New Windstar Cruises Director of Marine Hotel Operations Peter Tobler has released some quick tips to share on how to get the most out of drinking on a cruise ship:
Order a Bottle/Save it For Later. On many cruise lines, you can order a bottle of wine at dinner, and if you don’t finish it, have the wine steward save it for another evening. Check with your cruise line for specific rules and fees, but this is a great way to save money for light drinkers, rather than purchasing everything by the glass.
Plan on Throwing Back a Few? Invest in a Beverage Package. Beverage packages vary, so make sure you purchase one that fits your needs.
Buy the Beverage Package Before You Get on Board. As a rule, there is no savings gained by purchasing your beverage package once onboard. In fact, sometimes it can be cheaper or even included in a special cruise rate in advance. This is really about psychology. Throwing down $10,000 to book your vacation? It’s not that big a deal to add an extra $300 to your bill for the beverage package and just be done with it. If you wait and purchase the beverage package months (or even years) later when you’re actually on your cruise, that $300 on its own suddenly seems like an unnecessary luxury. Do yourself a vacation favor and just buy it early and enjoy.
Bring Your Own. A lot of cruisers don't know you can bring a certain amount of alcohol onboard (during the first day of your cruise only) and consume it in the dining room with a corkage fee – or in your room for free. At Windstar, you can bring aboard two bottles of wine or champagne (750ml) per cabin for a seven-day voyage or three bottles for an eight-or-more-day voyage. Check with your cruise line to figure out what is allowed, but don’t try to sneak extra booze onboard. (X-rays will catch you, and it’s embarrassing.)
Consider a Themed Cruise. Really into wine? Consider a designated wine cruise. (There are beer- and tequila-themed cruises, too – options abound.)
Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Alcohol in Port, but Don’t Expect to Consume It on Board. I love visiting local wine shops and bringing home special souvenirs for friends and family. But all alcohol purchased at ports of call along your cruise route will be kept by the ship’s crew and delivered to your room the last evening of the voyage. You’ll just have to wait to pop the cork when you get home, and remember your journey with each glass.