Skip to Content

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!

Listen to this article

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.

UPDATE: For cruises sailing on January 1, 2023 and beyond, Norwegian will be raising the prices for two of their drink packages. The cost of both the Unlimited Open Bar Package and the Premium Plus Beverage Package will be increasing by $10 per person per day.

The prices listed below reflect the current NCL beverage package costs through the end of 2022.

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.

Note that NCL will be transitioning their ships to exclusively carry Coca-Cola products by the end of 2022. I’ll update this space as new soda menu items become available.

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

Unlimited Open Bar Package 

NCL’s Unlimited Open Bar Package (formerly known as the Premium Beverage Package or 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 Unlimited Open Bar 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 Unlimited Open Bar 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 Unlimited Open Bar 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 Unlimited Open Bar 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 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 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 Unlimited Open Bar 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!

Liked this post? Pin it for later!

Judy Plummer

Sunday 14th of August 2022

What is included in the adult beverage package that is included as a perk on NCL Escape?

Carrie Ann

Tuesday 16th of August 2022

Hi Judy, when you choose the drink package as part of your Free At Sea perks on any NCL ship, you'll get the Premium Beverage Package (scroll up to read my complete description of the package). In a nutshell, the package includes any drink $15 and under, with some exclusions like boxed water, specialty coffees, and fresh juices.


Sunday 31st of July 2022

Can you preorder beers for your room so you have them before your cruise starts

Carrie Ann

Monday 1st of August 2022

Hi Debbie, you can pre-order beer, wine, spirits, and/or mixers to be delivered to your room on embarkation day. However, just like any room service drink orders, you'd have to pay full price. It's not included in any drink package. Thanks for the question!


Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Going with group on Escape. We have the drink package. We're thinking of upgrading to Plus package, mainly for sparkling water and coffee. Noticed that it said some bottles of wine in dining room. Is that with any meal? Including specialty. Also one per person? Or one per meal? One per day? It's not very clear. Thank you

Carrie Ann

Thursday 21st of July 2022

Hi Jane, great question. NCL often isn't very clear with their drink package policies! I've been able to order bottles of wine both in the MDR as well as in specialty restaurants with the Plus package. I've only ordered them at dinner, but there's nothing in their policy that says you can't also use the benefit at lunchtime. You'll just need to look for the notation next to the allowed bottles on the wine list (If I remember correctly, they mark them with an asterisk).

I love this benefit because (in my experience) wine service by the glass in the MDR is notoriously slow, and ordering a bottle means you'll actually be able to enjoy a second glass before dessert is served :D

They don't have limitations per person/meal/day, within reason. If you can't finish the bottle, your server can re-cork it and save it for your next meal - even if you're planning to dine in a different venue.


Saturday 11th of June 2022

Hi! I'm doing my first cruise ever on the Norwegian Escape in a few weeks time. In my cabin there will be 3 adults. We have paid for the Free At Sea Upgrade for the open bar but the third person doesn't get it. Do they have to pay the 20% gratuity (I assume not)? Any any other money saving bar tips for the third person? If one of the first 2 people has a night in can the third person use their card and is this policed?

Carrie Ann

Saturday 11th of June 2022

Hi Noel! NCL's policy is that all adults over 21 in the same cabin (or even on the same reservation) are required to get the drink package if one person has it. I'm not sure if they just haven't charged your third person yet, since you still have a few weeks to go, or if it's just an oversight on NCL's part. If your third adult is between the ages of 18-21 that might be the answer, since they won't sell that package to anyone under 21. Just a heads-up, they may require them to buy the Soda Package if they're 18-21 and you and the other adult have Open Bar.

I'll answer your other questions in case they don't charge for a package for your third adult :) The 20% gratuity is for the price of the drink package, so they won't be charged for that. Instead, they'll be charged a gratuity on individual drinks. Since it's your first cruise, I'm wondering if you might be confusing the drinks gratuity with the daily gratuity, which each passenger does need to pay. You can read all about this in my article Tipping on a Cruise Ship: What You Need to Know About Cruise Gratuities.

You wouldn't be able to trade cruise cards if someone with Open Bar takes the night off - that person's info (name, age, and often a photo) will pop up on the screen when the bartender runs the card. But to save money on a bar tab, I'd advise watching for the daily drink special, or buy buckets of beer to save on the per-bottle price.

Hope this helps, and happy cruising!

Martha Payne

Friday 6th of May 2022

can I change my drink package

Carrie Ann

Saturday 7th of May 2022

Hi Martha, without more details I can't give a definite answer. Your best bet is to reach out to NCL or have your travel agent see if you're eligible to change drink packages. Thanks for stopping by!