Should You Purchase the NCL Premium Plus Beverage Package in 2019?


For the past several years, Norwegian
Cruise Line has had only two alcoholic drink packages. The most inclusive of
these packages was known as the ultimate beverage package .Well, starting this year,
the cruise line revamped its offerings adding the additional premium plus
beverage package. What is this new drink package and how does it impact cruisers?
I’m DB from EatSleepCruise.com, and I explain everything you need to know
about Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Plus beverage package. So to quickly
review the basics, the cruise line’s premium beverage package, which was
formerly known as the ultimate beverage package, is now the second tier offering.
The line still has the caps and corks program which includes a limited
selection of beer and wine. With the new premium beverage package which starts at
$99 a day plus service charge, cruisers can choose from essentially all
beers and a more extensive selection of wines by the glass. Along with the
beer and wine selections, this package entitles cruisers to mixed drinks and
signature cocktails price up to $15 a drink. For the most part, this
includes all the selections on the standard menu as well as many of the
specialty drinks at venues like the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, the onboard
whiskey bars, as well as Margaritaville. While many of these aspects remain the
same, the package has become more restrictive when it comes to brands that
are considered super premium. With the premium beverage package on Norwegian
Cruise Line, cruisers can choose from a pre-determined list of spirits and brands.
Here is a list of what is currently covered in the premium beverage package
right from Norwegian Cruise Lines’ website. With a quick review of the inclusions,
you’ll notice many familiar brands such as Bacardi ,Tito’s Handmade, Ketel One,
Beefeater, and other similar brands. One limitation of the former ultimate
beverage package was that it did not include other non-alcoholic premium
beverages like many comparable cruise lines.
Well, the Premium Plus beverage package, which now starts at $128 per person, includes a variety of these upgraded selections.
Among the new additions are specialty coffees at the onboard cafe and the main
dining room. This new plan also includes sparkling
and still bottled water. This was always a sticking point for us as almost all
cruise lines offer bottled water with their packages, so it’s good to see that
the Premium Plus has it as an inclusion. Finally, the new package includes sports
drinks and energy drinks. Things like vitamin water and Powerade are nice to
have after a long night in the Social or a long day in the sun at Spice H20. The
other major difference between the previous plan and the new plus package
is the inclusion of super premium brands. Again, here is a list of the brands and
spirits that are now part of this package straight from Norwegian Cruise
Line. Brands like Patron and Woodford Reserve are now designated super premium
and only covered in this package. Another upgrade to this plan is the availability
of select bottles of wine at dinner. This is something you almost never see
included in a cruise ship drink package! The package also includes a 40% discount
on all other bottles of wine, whereas the premium beverage package has only
a 20% discount on bottles of wine. So, the question becomes, does it make sense to
upgrade your beverage package? For the most part, Norwegian Cruise Line is
usually running a promotion that includes a free beverage package. The
package you receive is the premium beverage package; however, you still need
to pay the 20% service charge. So this free perk actually costs you $19.80 a day. For almost all cruisers, even those who don’t drink that
much, we recommend opting for this perk with
the line’s free at sea promotion. Where it becomes more tricky is deciding
whether to upgrade the plan. Currently, you can only upgrade to the premium plus
beverage package once onboard the ship. Remember when upgrading, you need to pay
the difference of the package plus 20% charge on that difference. So you’ll be
paying $29 which is a difference of $128 minus $99, the retail cost of these plans,
and an additional 20% on that difference. The total is $34.80 a person,
per day to upgrade. When looking at the costs, most specialty coffees and 1 liter
bottles of water are priced around $5 each, so it really comes down to those
who have distinct alcoholic preferences as these differences in preferred
spirits could quickly add up. While NCL is still determining the pricing of
these a la carte options, several menus we’ve seen online have seen the pricing
for super premium beverages to range from $17.95 to $29.95 a shot. So, you could
be paying the difference of anywhere from $3.50 to
over $15 for your preferred spirit with the premium drink package. With this new
plan, it’s clear that Norwegian Cruise Line is trying to entice cruisers to
upgrade the packages that are given away for free. The problem with this logic is
that the pricing structure for the two premium drink packages is way overpriced
when compared to other cruise lines. Both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean
offer premium drink packages that are about half the cost. Carnival Cruise Line
also offers a drink package that’s $51.95 a day. All of these
above-mentioned packages have essentially the same inclusions as
Norwegian’s Premium Plus package for half the price!
It appears that instead of getting rid of the free at sea program, Norwegian has
simply changed its pricing structure, so if you want a drink package comparable
to the other brands’ premium drink packages, you now have to pay the $19.80 gratuity on the free package plus $34.80 a day to
upgrade. That’s a total of $54.60 to get a drink package that is comparable to other major lines. We love to sail Norwegian
Cruise Line because of its ships, amenities, dining, and entertainment. Sure,
the included value of the drink package has always been a nice perk the last
couple of years. When comparing prices, NCL has always
been a better value when you examine these different promotions. Overall, it’s
disappointing to see the brand roll out these new drink packages that are
obviously overpriced when compared to rival cruise lines. The premium beverage
package has always been a bit of a stretch if you’re paying for it outright, so it
will be interesting to see how many cruisers decide to upgrade to the
premium plus beverage package to get the additional inclusions. At the current
prices, it’s certainly not worth it for us to upgrade even though we do
regularly drink specialty coffees and get the occasional bottle of water while
on a cruise. But of course, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a comment below to
let us know if you’ll be upgrading to the new Norwegian Cruise Line Premium
Plus beverage package. I’m DB from EatSleepCruise.com and this has been
everything you need to know about Norwegian Cruise Line’s Premium Plus
beverage package. If you enjoyed this video, we’d really appreciate if you give it a
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watching!

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