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2022 Guide to Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Packages

2022 Guide to Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Packages

For many cruisers, the bar bill ends up being a significant portion of their vacation budget. If you’re cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line, having an NCL drink package lets you pre-plan your drink budget so you’re not hit with a huge bar tab at the end of your cruise!

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Norwegian offers a variety of drink packages for all ages, at various price points. But is an NCL beverage package worth it? I’ll explain what each package currently includes and how much it will cost for your cruise, so you can decide if you should buy one and which drink package is right for you.

NCL drink packages available for 2022

Norwegian recently updated their beverage package selection, changing some names and adding a new tier. These are the current packages available, with 2022 pricing. A 20% gratuity is added to the price of all NCL drink packages.

For all of Norwegian’s drink packages, you can order an unlimited amount of any included beverages at bars and restaurants on the ship, but drink selection can vary by venue.

As a guide, I’ve included how much each beverage package costs in total (including gratuity) for a seven-day cruise. Note that packages are only available for cruises that are three days or longer. Pride of America Hawai’i cruises have their own special drink package (detailed below), and other packages aren’t available.

Children’s Soda Program

For kids 12 and under, NCL’s Children’s Soda Program costs $5.95 per day. This package includes unlimited fountain sodas: Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Mountain Dew, ginger ale, tonic water, and club soda.

For a 7-day cruise, this drink package would cost ($5.95 x 7 x 1.2) $49.98

Adult & Teen Soda Program

Available for anyone age 13 and up, NCL’s Adult & Teen Soda Program costs $7.95 per day. Like the children’s soda package, only fountain sodas are included (Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Mountain Dew, ginger ale, tonic water, and club soda).

For a 7-day cruise, this drink package would cost ($7.95 x 7 x 1.2) $66.78

Corks and Caps Wine and Beer Package

NCL’s Corks and Caps Wine and Beer Package costs $65.00 per day. The package includes all the sodas I listed in the soda packages, draft and bottled beer, and wine-by-the-glass, with a cap of $15 per drink.

If you order something over $15, you’ll be charged the difference plus a 20% gratuity on that amount. I’ve found that NCL bartenders and servers will usually give guests a heads-up if they order something that’s over the $15 cap.

For a 7-day cruise, this drink package would cost ($65.00 x 7 x 1.2) $546.00

Premium Beverage Package 

NCL’s Premium Beverage Package (formerly known as the Ultimate Beverage Package) costs $99.00 per day. The package includes spirits and cocktails along with a selection of soft drinks, juice, draft and bottled beer, and wine-by-the-glass.

Any of these drinks with a menu price of $15 or less is included in the program. NCL has a list of brands included in the Premium Beverage Package. However, not all ships carry all of the listed brands, and availability can vary by venue. Brands are subject to change.

(Here’s the list of 2019-2020 Premium Beverage Package brands if you’d like to see what’s changed.)

The Premium Beverage Package doesn’t include specialty coffee and tea drinks, bottled water, energy drinks, fresh-squeezed juices, and bottles of wine (although they’ll give you a 20% discount on bottles). Other exclusions are room service, mini-bar drinks, and drinks served in souvenir glasses.

If a drink costs more than $15, you’ll be charged the difference plus a 20% gratuity on that amount.

For a 7-day cruise, this drink package would cost ($99.00 x 7 x 1.2) $831.60. If you choose this package with Free at Sea, it costs ($99.00 x 7 x 0.2) $138.60 for gratuities.

Premium Plus Beverage Package 

NCL’s Premium Plus Beverage Package costs $128.00 per day. The package includes everything in the Premium Beverage Package, but the $15 menu price cap is lifted.

In addition, specialty coffees and teas, energy drinks, fresh-squeezed juices, bottled water (still and sparkling) and select bottles of wine are covered in this package. Dining room wine lists have an asterisk next to bottles that are included in the package.

NCL’s Premium Plus Beverage Package includes unlimited specialty coffee drinks along with bottled water, ultra-premium liquor, and bottles of wine

NCL also publishes a list of brands included with Premium Plus, so you can have an idea of which brands are complimentary with the package. Brands are subject to change.

(Here’s the list of 2019-2020 Premium Plus brands if you’d like to see what’s changed.)

If you have a free Premium Beverage Package from Free at Sea, you’ll be able to upgrade to Premium Plus by paying the difference. On my last NCL cruise, we had the offer to upgrade for $29 per day without any extra gratuity charge.

For a 7-day cruise, this drink package would cost ($128.00 x 7 x 1.2) $1075.20.

Pride of America Hawai’i Beverage Package

Sailing on NCL’s Pride of America in Hawai’i? Your ship has only one beverage package available. But the good news is that it’s usually free for all passengers – you just pay the 20% gratuity.

Currently, passengers 1-8 in each stateroom receive the drink package for free. Pride of America doesn’t have any staterooms or suites that sleep more than five, so it includes everyone!

The bad news? This drink package is also the only one for kids and teens. So you’ll be paying a bit more per day for their drinks. But, they can have some healthier options other than just sodas!

The Hawai’i Beverage Package includes a variety of both adult and soft drinks. Wine-by-the-glass, beer, and liquor are included, up to $15 per drink. Other included options are fountain sodas, freshly-squeezed juice, bottled water (flat and sparkling), non-alcoholic beer, and specialty coffees (in the dining rooms only).

For a 7-day cruise, this drink package (gratuities only) would cost ($99.00 x 7 x 0.2) $138.60

Common questions about NCL drink packages

If you’ve never cruised with Norwegian before, or it’s been a while since your last cruise, you probably have some general questions about how the drink packages work. I’ll answer the most common ones here. If you have a question that I haven’t answered, just leave it in the comments and I’ll answer it.

Do you need to tip for drinks purchased with an NCL beverage package?

All drink packages cost an extra 20% gratuity on top of the list price. You don’t need to tip your bartender or server each time you order a drink with your beverage package – you’ve already pre-paid your tips.

That said, you can always add an extra tip for your favorite bartenders, if you choose.

Do you need to pay tax on your drinks?

When you’re out at sea in international waters, you don’t need to worry about paying tax on any of your drinks. But when you’re in port, some local authorities require cruise lines to collect tax on the menu price of any beverages you buy. Taxes are charged to your onboard account if you’re buying drinks one by one or using a beverage package.

The tax percentage varies by port, but it’s never a huge amount – generally somewhere between 5-10% of the cost of each drink. If a jurisdiction charges tax, it will be charged on each drink when the ship is in port and in its territorial waters.

Do NCL drink packages work on their private islands?

If you’re stopping for the day at one of Norwegian’s private islands, drink packages are accepted at Great Stirrup Cay but not at Harvest Caye. Wondering why? NCL developed Harvest Caye in a partnership with the government of Belize. Part of their deal was that visitors must pay for food and drinks ordered on the island.

loungers on the sand at Great Stirrup Cay
You can enjoy your beverage package while relaxing on the sand on Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in the Bahamas

How old do you have to be to buy an alcoholic beverage package on NCL?

Passengers need to be at least 21 to purchase an alcoholic beverage package on Norwegian cruises worldwide. Guests aged 18 to 20 can purchase alcohol on round-trip cruises in Europe and Australia. 18-to-20-year-olds can buy wine and beer on some cruises sailing from the US with the signed consent of an accompanying parent. However, you still need to be 21 to have a package that includes alcohol, even if you’re old enough to drink on the cruise.

Can you share your NCL beverage package with another guest?

Norwegian, like many cruise lines, has been cracking down on passengers sharing their drink packages. Because of this issue, if one guest on a reservation buys a drink package, the other guests must as well. Passengers under 21 would be required to buy a soda package.

Exceptions can be made in certain circumstances. If you’re pregnant, have a medical condition, a history of substance abuse, or religious beliefs that don’t allow you to drink any alcohol, contact NCL to ask for an exception.

How do you buy a Norwegian Cruise Line drink package?

Many Norwegian cruises offer their Free at Sea promotion, and the most popular perk for cruisers is the drink package. But if you don’t have Free at Sea (or you chose another perk), you can pre-purchase a drink package, starting 90 days before sailing, on your MyNCL account.

You can also buy a drink package on board the ship, but this option will usually only be available for the first couple of days of the cruise.

Can you buy a drink package for certain days of the cruise?

Although it would be nice to pick and choose which days you have a drink package (like sea days only, please!), once you buy a package you need to pay for each remaining day of your cruise. Take this into consideration if you have a lot of longer shore excursions when you won’t be on the ship to use the package.

NCL drink prices for 2022: how much are drinks on a Norwegian cruise if you buy them individually?

Based on recent menu prices, specialty coffees on ships with a Starbucks are in the $3-6 range. Fountain sodas are about $3.

Many wines-by-the-glass are in the $8-9 range, up to about $27-31 for higher-end selections. Beer is about $7-9 per glass. Cocktails from the bar menus are generally $9-15 (but ultra-premium liquor can cost significantly more).

Is there a limit to how many drinks you can get per day with an NCL beverage package?

Unlike some cruise lines, Norwegian doesn’t currently have a limit on how many drinks you can have per day with any of their packages. Obviously, you should be safe and drink responsibly! But no, as of right now there’s no set limit. They do have a limit of two drinks per person per order, which is helpful to know when there’s a long line at the pool bar.

Is it worth it to get a drink package on NCL?

Honestly, it all depends on how much you think you’ll be drinking. Norwegian’s alcoholic drink packages are among the most expensive in the cruise industry, so the expense can be significant if you’re paying out-of-pocket. If you’re sure you’ll only have a couple of drinks each day, it’s a far better deal to just pay as you go.

When you choose the Premium Beverage Package as a Free at Sea perk, you’ll only be paying the gratuity (about $20 per day). Drinking just one soda with lunch, an afternoon cocktail by the pool, and a glass of wine with dinner, you’ve had your money’s worth for the day.

If you’re a soda drinker, the soda package can be a money-saver. Know you’ll want to order at least two or three soft drinks each day? Then it really makes sense to buy this package.

Want to learn more about cruise line beverage packages? Read my article Are Cruise Drink Packages Worth It? to learn more.

Don’t forget to check out these resources before your Norwegian cruise:

Have you bought a drink package on a Norwegian cruise? Did you think it was worth it? Let me know in the comments below!

Latest posts by Carrie Ann (see all)

Kaitlyn Downer-Petruncio

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

Is there a packages that includes bottled water and specialty coffee? But not alcohol?

Carrie Ann

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

Hi Kaitlyn, unfortunately NCL doesn't have a non-alcohol package that includes bottled water and specialty coffees. Your best bet is to pre-order cartons of water to be delivered to your stateroom (click on "Explore and Plan" on and then "Beverage Packages & Venues" on the left to order water for your cruise. That will save you quite a bit compared to buying water at the bars. For specialty coffees, the only package that includes them is Premium Plus, so you'll need to purchase those individually without that package. Enjoy your cruise! :D


Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Hi there, For the bottled water, is it the same price to order a water package once youre on board vs preordering ahead of time? On the website it says "Pre-order water packages that will be delivered directly to your stateroom for the duration of your cruise and save up to 60%". So is it $16.95 + 20% gratuity if you preorder and also if you wait and buy onboard? I did hear one person say that you save on a room service fee if you order beforehand.

(Also any idea what the phrase "for the duration of your cruise" is implying in the above? Haha. Like theyre saying they won't come take it back from you, or they will keep bringing more, or? Poor choice of words, haha)

Carrie Ann

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Hi Tomas, I'm fairly certain that pre-ordering water is the same price as ordering water packages on board - I've never ordered water packages on board so I'm not sure if they also charge an additional room service fee for that. I believe that the "up to 60% off" savings is referring to the amount you'd pay ordering individual cartons at the bar.

That is some odd language they used with "for the duration of your cruise"!! I think they might have meant that you can drink the water throughout your cruise? Glad to know they won't come in and take it away ;) I just went to the online cruise planner for one of my upcoming NCL cruises to double-check, and I don't see that phrasing. For the package you're referring to it says: "Just Water Packages 6-liters Stay hydrated! Pre-order Just Water packages that will be delivered directly to your stateroom. Savings of 44%. *Gratuity included. PRICE $20.34". If you pre-order 12 liters it says 50% off, and for 24 liters, the discount says 63%. Hope this helps!


Sunday 17th of October 2021

What if you only want sparkling water? I can’t find any information about it. I don’t drink sodas so I wasn’t going to get that plan and don’t drink alcohol. I saw the only water to order is regular water in liter bottles. Do you happen to know if the store on board sells Bubly or something like it? Or is there vending? Or if we go to the bar and ask for it is there a charge? Thanks in advance to anyone who knows. 😁

Carrie Ann

Monday 18th of October 2021

Hi Jen, excellent question! NCL does offer bottled sparkling water, and you would pay by the bottle unless you have the Premium Plus beverage package. If you don't mind club soda instead (they have that at all the bars) it would be included in the soda package. Or you could charge it to your account per drink. I've updated my post to specify that bottled water includes sparkling - thanks for pointing that out! :)

To answer the second part of your question, if you order any kind of water (except tap water), there is a charge. I've also never seen a drink vending machine or any soft drinks sold in the NCL onboard shops. Hope this helps!


Saturday 16th of October 2021

Just wondering if NCl carry Diet Coke? I don't like Diet Pepsi

Carrie Ann

Sunday 17th of October 2021

Hi Lorraine, unfortunately Norwegian only carries Pepsi products. Plus they're very strict with their policy of not allowing passengers to carry on their own soft drinks. If that's a dealbreaker for you, I'd pick another cruise line. Most do carry Coke products, but check before you book. For example, Carnival switched to Pepsi in 2020 (to the annoyance of many passengers), but they do let you carry on your own sodas.


Saturday 25th of September 2021

If one has the premium plus drinks package and orders room service, for example a full breakfast with mimosa (Prosecco) and a specialty coffee like a cappuccino, will the only fée be the 9.99 room service fee? Ie can the premium plus items be included in the delivery and attached to that package price

Carrie Ann

Saturday 25th of September 2021

Hi Kristina! Norwegian doesn't include any non-complimentary drinks when you order room service, regardless of what drink package you have. So even with Premium Plus, you'll be charged for any alcohol or specialty drinks you order from room service. I have a little tip for your mimosas, though. NCL gives you a free bottle of sparkling wine in your stateroom if you're Bronze level or above (meaning that you've done at least one sailing before). You can order the included orange juice at breakfast and make your own mimosas :) Happy cruising!