I am new to cruising and therefore new to this forum so hello everyone.:)
I have booked to go on the Adventure of the Seas May 2013 and I was looking for some advice.
Firstly, I paid for gratuities with the booking but I am unsure if this covers all gratuities.
Also, could someone please advise on the cost of drinks. In the day time I drink a lot of water, approx 5 litres per. Is bottled water free of will I have to pay and how much? In the evenings, as we are on holidays, I will probably be drinking wine or coctails and my husband drinks cider or guiness. Does anyone know the prices of these drinks?
I read somewhere that some of RCI ships offer drink packaged, do you know if these will be available on the Adventure of the Seas by May 13?
Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can offer.:)
We are happy you decided to join us and ask your questions here. Lots of Royal Caribbean experience to be had here. It is my favorite cruise line.
The pre-paid gratuities you paid cover your dining room tips and cabin service. They do not cover the automatic 15% tip added to each bar order, and bar orders mean anything you order as a drink at a bar. This means booze, soft drinks, and bottled water. Yes, bottled water is not free. I think it is around $2 for a liter bottle. You can order a water package which saves some money. They also have a soda package and a juice package. They do not offer alcohol packages for cruises from U.S. ports, and even then the alcohol packages are only on a couple ships right now. A Guinness will cost around $5 or so. A glass of wine will run from $5 to $10 or more...it depends on the wine. Cocktails will run the same price range as wine, again depending on what you order. A rum and coke is $5.75 before the tip is added. A martini made with high end booze will be $10 or more. Remember that they add that 15% to the tab automatically. This is standard practice for all mainstream cruise lines.
I am a huge supporter of using the ship's drinking water and not buying it in bottles. The ship's water is tested for bacteria and other bad stuff and it is all I've ever drank (well, when water was what I was drinking!). Just remember the ice cubes are made with ship's water, so you can't escape it unless you like unchilled beverages.
As Dave stated, the gratuities cover your dining room and Stateroom Attendant teams. They do not cover the automatic 15% gratuity that is added to bar drinks.
As far as beverage packages, here is a link to the dining section on Royal Caribbean's website. Just click on the tab that says "Beverage Packages." However, in order for the soda package to be worth it, you'd have to drink at least 3 glasses of soda per day for that to pay off. They do have bottled water packages as well. I bought one of these packages on my last cruise, but I forget how much I paid. I think I was figuring 1-2 bottles per day in port, so I probably bought the smallest package (I think it was 8 bottles?) In order to purchase these packages, you must log into your reservation.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2010 - Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2013 - Golden Princess (Alaska, roundtrip from Seattle)
We bring cases of water on board and have never had a problem. I will say we are 60 years old, and in Dec. a young couple had there water confiscated and had to argue a bit at the pursers desk to get it back (guess they don't worry about us ''oldies" sneaking on alcohol). They do inspect it to be sure it isn't really alcohol. My wife needs Smart water for the electrolytes, so she carries a Dr. prescription. But she has never been asked for it. A case of water is only $3 to $4 so if you need bottled water simply put a case in a suitcase and take it on. Even if they confiscate it, it's only a couple bucks and you get it back (if you want it) at the end of the cruise. But as Dave pointed out, ships water is quite pure. You can also buy bottles in port and bring them on.