Hi landladyJan, welcome to Cruise-Chat! I posted a couple of things in response to your reply to dougie. A few tips to keep expenses down: 1.) Take a few bottles of water with you and fill them with ship's water for shore excursions. 2.) Stay out of the casino 3.) Purchase a bottle of wine at the dinner table. What you don't finish they will cork and serve it the following evening. 4.) Don't purchase every picture they take of you, just the ones you want for a remembrance. I like the pictures from the boarding, formal night, and a few from the ports. 5.) Don't purchase drinks in their souvineer glasses. 6.) Watch for the drink specials or purchase the Bucket-o-Beer. You can take the bucket back to the cabin.7.) Don't drink a bunch of soda pop on board, drink the free stuff: ice tea, coffee, juices in the morning, hot tea, milk, etc. 8.) Stay out of the boutiques on board.
Now with that being said, don't follow them and have a ball
RCI has a "wine and dine" package you can purchase. There will be stations set up on embarkation day with dining room staff pushing the program. You can get a pamphlet from them that explains it. They have three levels - diamond, platinum, and gold. The diamond is the most expensive, then the platinum, and the gold is the cheapest. Each level has a list of wines you can pick from. The list gets smaller as you go down the price levels. For example, the diamond has 11 reds to choose from, platinum has 9, and gold has 5. They also have sparkling wines and whites. You can buy 5, 7, 10, or 12 bottles of wine in each plan.
On our recent cruise with RCI the prices for 7 bottles were: $217.35 for diamond, $198.95 for platinum, and $181.70 for gold. This may sound expensive (it is) but it is still cheaper than buying by-the-bottle. The prices I listed include the automatic 15% gratuity.
If you buy a bottle of wine they will keep it for you if you don't drink all of it, and serve the remainder the following night. So it is possible to only buy 2 or 3 bottles and have it last for the whole cruise.
They have fridges in the room, but you won't need a filtering system. The water on board is better filtered and better tasting than any bottled water you can buy. The prices Dave listed are very reasonable. I believe the least expensive bottle of wine is $22.00 + 15% gratuity.
Great news about the fridges & water - I'll just take on a couple of water bottles for re-filling then.
I only drink Rose wine, which doesn't seem to be on offer in the drinks package. $22 + 15% is very expensive for us, we can get a bottle of nice wine in restaurants here in Spain for about 10 euros, (not house wine) Obviously the mark up is a LOT higher on the ship. Think we'll stick with the water most evenings, better for us anyways