Norwegian Cruise Line is testing an all-inclusive drink package on three of its ships, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Jade, at $49 per person per day plus gratuity.
It's a trend among cruise lines that appears to be gaining momentum. In addition to Norwegian, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Oceania and UK-based Thomson Cruises all offer some version of an all-you-can-drink package.
The cruise lines stand to make big bucks from the drink packages. Many cruisers tend to drink more the first few days of the cruise than they do on subsequent days. But the drinks packages often have to be purchased for the entire voyage, meaning you lose the money if you decide not to imbibe.
Of the lines offering similar packages, Carnival and Royal Caribbean are NCL's closest competitors. Royal Caribbean was the first to make the drink offer in 2011. It has the package on just three of its ships, Independence of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas and Legend of the Seas. Three levels of packages -- Beer, Classic and Premium -- range from $29 per person per day to $49 per person per day. The prices include gratuities.
Carnival's "My Awesome Bar Program" debuted in August on the Carnival Victory and has since expanded to the Splendor and Spirit, and last week, the Breeze. It costs $42.95 per person per day, plus a 15 percent gratuity.
All wines by the glass, beer and individual cocktails priced $10 and lower are available under the program. Full bottles of wine and champagne, as well as wines by the glass, beers and individual cocktails priced above $10, are available at a 25 percent discount.
Guests can sign up for the "My Awesome Bar Program" at the ships' atrium and casino bars, as well as a bar within the main pool area. Each guest aged 21 years and over in the same stateroom must purchase the beverage package if any one person wants to opt in.