Tips for Getting Free Drinks on a Cruise Ship

Tips for Getting Free Drinks on a Cruise Ship

Cruising allows you to unwind by experiencing the sea, getting immersed in diverse cultures, bonding with loved ones, and making new friends. On cruise ships, there are many things to do from onboard until disembarking.

You can have fun on a cruise ship by partying and scoring free drinks. These free drinks may include tap water, coffee, tea, milk, juices, and alcoholic beverages, and they often come with meals and special food packages.

Free drinks like bringing your own nibbles or snacks can save money to maximize your cruising budget for other leisure activities. However, they may be challenging to get. Keep reading to learn our tips for getting free drinks on a cruise.

Clever Ways To Get Free Drinks on a Cruise Ship

Free drink offers on cruises vary for different cruise lines. Finding these offers can be tricky if it is your first time cruising. For these reasons, here are clever ways to get drinks for free on a cruise ship:

Attend the welcome party

Cruise ships typically conduct welcome parties for guests on the first or second sailing nights. You can check these parties’ schedules and venue postings in your stateroom. They’re usually held during sunsets and at the pool deck with live music.

Welcome parties are done to receive new guests and thank loyal and returning passengers. Here, passengers can meet the captain. At welcome parties, you can also have fun and meet new people while enjoying complimentary drinks like champagne, wine, and cocktails. There might be dress codes, so follow them and dress nicely.

Be a loyal member

Most cruise lines have loyalty clubs for repeat passengers. Loyalty programs often have free drinks as one of their perks, which you can take the opportunity to enjoy complimentary beverages. These clubs may have tiers, but even the lowest-priced typically come with free drinks.

Loyalty perks are ways for cruise lines to thank their consistent patrons. When you cruise the same line many times, join their loyalty clubs for exclusive benefits. Not only can you enjoy complimentary drinks, but also the other freebies on offer.

Join happy hours

Happy hour is usually done on the cruise ship’s bars. They are advertised subtly on the ship’s daily newsletters or bar menus. You can join them at specific hours in specific bars, so keeping an eye on their postings is essential.

Visit all the cruise ship bars to see when happy hour is. It helps you determine schedules and which bars have them. That way, you can prepare yourself and attend on time.

Participate in tasting events

Cruise ships’ tasting events can either be free or paid. Complimentary tastings are often found in duty-free stores, allowing you to taste samples of the best drinks. 

If you like informative beverage demonstrations, paid drink-tasting events are a must. Here, you can get half or full-sized pours of featured drinks of excellent value. These events usually last half an hour or more.

Take advantage of drink packages

Cruise lines have special drink package deals you can avail of pre-cruise and during the cruise. These packages can allow you to order many drinks for one fee. So instead of paying for individual beverages while on the cruise, you have an available package of drinks to order.

Pre-cruise drink packages can be bought online, which can be cost-efficient because of discounts, promos, and extra perks of free drinks. While on the cruise, drink packages cover alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages but may be more costly than pre-cruise ones.

Note that drink packages can come in various tiers. Basic ones may only offer sodas and bottled water, while expensive packages include more alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and specialty coffee. Watch out for drink cards as well to get a fixed number of your desired drinks daily.

Order from bottle services

You will likely buy costly drinks from the cruise bars if you don’t have a drink package. To prevent yourself from purchasing individual glasses, opt for bottle services instead. When you order from bottle services, you can enjoy the whole bottle for the rest of the cruise. Bottles will be delivered to your stateroom with glasses, ice, and mixers. Costs can vary depending on the cruise line and drink preference.

Play to win

Cruise ships have games, contests, and competitions for their guests. These events naturally have prizes for the winners, including complimentary drinks, and they can be competitions like karaoke or arts-related.

Small-scale activities that have simple tasks may only give basic prizes like keychains. Meanwhile, large-scale contests offer more valuable rewards, such as champagne bottles. Participate in them to have a chance at winning the giveaway drinks when there are any.

Bring your own drinks

Most cruise lines allow their guests to bring their own drinks. Check your chosen cruise line’s guidelines on bringing drinks to know how to bring your own legally. Remember that you should never attempt to sneak in alcoholic beverages because there are steep penalties for such an action.

Limitations of Free Drinks on Cruise Ships

Like most things, cruise ships’ free drinks also have their limitations. Even though there are free offers, they’re still challenging to get using the ways listed. Below are the following limitations of getting free drinks on a cruise ship:


Free drinks don’t guarantee that your desired beverages are part of the cruise packages and events’ selections. If you’re going to look for a specific drink, check the postings to see if your desired drink is included.


Cruise lines can stock various drinks, but some may not be available during hours or events that offer free drinks. Some drinks are only available on a timed basis, which can be easy to miss. Drink availability requires you to set reminders about the events’ start times to be on time to get free drinks.


Drink quantities are related to the cruise ships’ policies on how much drink quantity guests can order daily. Some guests may tend to order too much, so these policies are created to prevent overspending and overdrinking.

Tips and gratuities budgeting

Being friendly to staff or giving tips and gratuities to servers can potentially earn you extra free drink services. However, instances of overpaying can happen that compromise your cruising budget. Managing your expenses for tips can be difficult, especially when you want to enjoy more things while cruising.


Overdrinking can result in overindulgence. Overindulgence happens when you drink excessively harmful amounts of alcohol, causing poisoning, dependence, injuries, and poor judgment. 

Be mindful of your beverage intake, particularly alcohol, and coffee, while cruising. Even coffee overindulgence causes side effects like dehydration, restlessness, and headaches. Being responsible protects yourself and other cruise ship guests from potential harm overindulgence may cause.

Have Fun and Drink Responsibly

Free drinks on a cruise ship are a fun way to enjoy the trip. However, these offers can vary depending on the cruise line. You may still need to buy drink packages that include complimentary drinks, so check your budget. At the same time, you should drink responsibly to prevent any mishaps in your cruising experience.

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Adam Schull is a multifaceted individual who wears many hats, including that of an esteemed author and the Chief Editor at Olmeta Luxury magazine. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for the finer things in life, Adam has established himself as a prominent figure in the world of luxury lifestyle and editorial excellence.

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