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HOW TO GET FREE DRINKS ON YOUR NEXT CRUISE?

How to get free drinks on your next cruise?

Don’t we all just love free drinks on our vacation? Cruising without a cocktail, even non-alcoholic, complemented with a cherry and tiny umbrella… it’s pretty much not cruising! Every person being onboard at least once will know what I’m talking about.

There is absolutely nothing more astonishing than holding a drink in your hand and standing on an open deck while watching your ship sailing away from the homeport. That’s the sign that your unforgettable vacation has begun!

Ok, you paid for your vacation in full, having all sorts of things included, but that drink dispenser simply isn’t enough. Want to try something different? Sure, but you have to pay for it and to tell you the truth, they aren’t bargains at all. So how about I share with you some tips on how to enjoy so many free drinks on your upcoming cruise? 

Here are some of the tactics you should know and follow:

  1. Art Auction – Visit an Art Gallery during an event… while learning something about art, you can also enjoy a glass of champagne. Why not? Just a friendly tip – don’t be that person to go overboard with a bubble and end up purchasing a piece which will cost you a fortune (shhh, actually it happened in the past).
  1. Captain’s Cocktail PartyDisney, Princess and Oceania Cruise Lines provide free drinks when you attend the cocktail party. It is always on a first formal night, so please dress elegant, indulge in live music and grab that cocktail or glass of champagne. It will match perfectly to your fancy outfit and of course taste even better.
  1. Open Deck Contests and Competitions – Pretty much every day you have a chance to participate in one of the organized contests or competitions. You can win a free drink or even a bottle of wine, so get involved. Don’t be shy! I mean what’s the worst thing that can happen? Only 3,000 people will be watching you, but that’s about it.
  1. Duty-free liquor tasting – You can taste as many flavors as you want…for free. Who would say no to that? Having a chance to taste some expensive liquors you have never tasted before… can it get any better than that? Actually yes, you get to meet some super cool people waiting in the line just next to you and they will surely turn out to be awesome buddies during the cruise.
  1. Main buffet area dispensers – Ok, here they are…I know you may think “Please stop right there”, but just to note…you can enjoy free coffee, tea, soft drinks and water. The best of it, they are open 24/7.
  1. Coffee shop – Loving to taste coffee just to explore new flavors and you don’t mind paying for it? Perfect, but remember to ask for a loyalty card at a coffee shop. Carnival Cruise Line offers every 10th coffee for free. Yeey!
  1. Happy hour at the bars – Keep your eyes peeled for that ‘two for one’ promotion or ‘drink of the day’ in the bars. It will be displayed in a bar menu and advertised in a daily schedule…so remember to do your homework the day before and of course take advantage of it. Some cruise lines love to announce drink special prices randomly during party nights, so be sure you listen carefully DJ’s appeals while enjoying his music. Don’t tell me I didn’t tell you!
  1. “All you can drink” package – It’s not free, but definitely will save you loads of money if you like to have several drinks per day… every day. There are different packages at different prices, so you can choose the best one for you and treat yourself with unlimited drinks (always be aware of the ship’s alcohol policy). 
  1. Jewelry shops – Typically on the first or second day of the cruise, the jewelry shop will run a ruffle night accompanied with a free bubble wine. Yummy! Plus, you have a chance to win a special piece of jewelry, you never know! So… dress your gracious clothes and enjoy the moment!
  1. Pack a bottle of wine in your luggage – Why wouldn’t you purchase your favorite bottle of wine at a bargain price in a closest store and enjoy sipping it during your romantic dinner or sunset in the privacy of your balcony? Just remember, you can bring it onboard only if it is in your hand luggage and don’t forget to check cruise allowance policy prior!
Enjoying a glass of wine while sailing out of Miami, Florida
Enjoying a glass of wine while sailing out of Miami, Florida

One extra tip…always try to be a little generous to a bartender in your favorite bar, they won’t be able to offer you a free drink, but they will surely be a little more generous…if you know what I mean. Cheers to that!

What are some tactics you should avoid?

  • Thinking about carrying a bottle of liquor or wine in your checked in luggage? Not a good idea! Imagine your first day onboard… your luggage is held hostage until security invites you to open it up and take out that bottle, which will be confiscated for the duration of your cruise. Yes, you will receive it back, but I mean, who needs it when the cruise is over and you are heading home, right? 
  • Even more silly…trying to sneak booze on a cruise by storing it in mouthwash, water or collapsible bottle. That plan doesn’t work – ever! Moreover, it will be discarded, so it’s a waste of money in the first place.
  • When you hear there are discounted prices of your favorite drink in the bar, don’t rush to buy loads thinking to stock up your mini bar in the cabin, because the policy said your drinks must be open by the bartender. You don’t need 20 open bottles of beer, do you?
  • It is good to know that any purchased bottle of liquor in a liquor store onboard will be kept until your cruise is over and you will receive it when you head home. So don’t think one bottle of gin will be your friend all cruise long…noup, not the case!

Last but not least, don’t forget to check daily activities onboard the night before and plan your day accordingly, which means familiarize yourself with those magic locations at the magic time. Carnival Cruise Line has that awesome HubApp which you can download on your phone and have all information on your smartphone. How cool right?

Please don’t forget to share with us in a comment section if you know of any other ‘secret ways’’ or tactics on how to get free drinks on a cruise. I’m sure everyone here is enthusiastic to hear them…including myself of course!

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2 Responses

  1. I loved those tips! I wasn’t aware that even the Jewelry shops contribute some bubble wine to the shopping experience, that’s so cool.
    Totally found my younger me in the “don’t sneak in booze in your mouthwash” part though… I once did a cruise with some colleagues when we were very young. We put so much effort into dying it blue with some blue curacao liquor so nobody would get it, lol.

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Hey there! My name is Marija – born in Serbia, 32 years old, leaving my life to the fullest for the past eight years working on cruise ships and having a dream job. I’ve always loved to travel but never knew that joining the Cruise industry will change my life entirely and open up new horizons, so I become a travel and cruise addict and haven’t stopped yet. 

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