Like many cruise lines, Ambassador offers drinks packages that allow guests to pre-pay for their beverages if they wish. In theory, it means you can just relax when you’re on the ship, without having to think about drinks budgets and what you can and can’t afford.
In this guide I’ll take you through the five different options for drinks packages with Ambassador Cruise Lines, and whether they’re worth it or if you’ll save more money by buying your drinks separately.
This includes the latest information following price increases from 1st September 2023.
What are the Ambassador Cruise Line drinks packages?
As of 1st September 2023, there are five drinks packages offered by Ambassador Cruise Line:
- Ambassador Experience Package – (Non-alcoholic)
- Ambassador Explorer Package – (House drinks)
- Ambassador Expedition Package – (Premium drinks)
- Ambassador Adventurers Package for kids 0-11 years old
- Ambassador Adventurers Package for kids 12-17 years old
The Experience Package is a non-alcoholic package for adults, while the Adventurers Packages are special drinks packages for children (and, obviously, it is also non-alcoholic!).
The Explorer and Expedition packages are the ones that include alcoholic beverages.
Ambassador Cruise Line Drinks Package Calculator
The easiest way to see which (if any!) of the packages is best for you is to use my drink package calculator.
Just enter the drinks you want and it will do all the maths for you.
Grab it for free below…
What’s included in the Ambassador Cruise Line drinks packages?
Each of the drinks package options includes different drinks, with the Expedition Package being the most inclusive option.
But interestingly, the three adult drinks packages also include your gratuities – not just for the drinks, but for the whole cruise.
Gratuities with Ambassador Cruise Line are generally cheap (£6 per night, or £5 per night on cruises of 16 nights or more), but it’s still handy to have them included in the price of your drinks package.
Here’s a look at what each drinks package gets you:
|Drink/service||Ambassador Experience Package||Ambassador Explorer Package||Ambassador Expedition Package||Ambassador Adventurers Packages (for kids)|
|Gratuities for your whole cruise||YES||YES||YES||N/A|
|Non-alcoholic beer (Heineken 0%)||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|House brands from the bar list (by the glass)||No||YES||YES||No|
|House wines (red, white and rose)||No||YES||YES||No|
|Premium wines (red, white and rose)||No||No||YES||No|
|Premium drinks from the bar list (by the glass)||No||No||YES||No|
|Premium teas and speciality coffees||No||No||YES||No|
|50% discount on premium beverages||No||YES||N/A||No|
Things are a little easier when you browse the Ambassador Cruise Line drinks menu, since there is just one menu to keep things simple, and everything is colour-coded depending on which package it is included in.
You can see the full menu in greater detail here.
If the symbol is a half-circle, it means that it’s not included, but you will get a 50% discount if you have that package.
How much do the Ambassador Cruise Line drinks packages cost?
Ambassador Cruise Line’s drink packages cost between £15 and £74.50 per night, depending on the package you choose, when you buy it and how long your cruise is.
The Ambassador Cruise Line drinks packages are a little confusing when it comes to costs. However, confusing doesn’t mean mysterious – and some cruise lines are definitely more secretive when it comes to pricing.
With Ambassador, it all makes sense but it just needs a little working out. That’s because if you’re on a 2-night, 3-night or 4-night cruise, the price is published for the whole cruise, whereas on longer cruises, the price is published on a per-night basis.
That doesn’t mean you can book the drinks packages for just a selection of nights on a longer cruise – you still have to pay for the entire duration.
Also, there’s a different price for paying for your drinks package in advance, compared to booking it in the week running up to your cruise or while you’re onboard.
For simplicity’s sake, I’ve converted all the short-break cruise pricing into a nightly price. It just makes it easier.
Ambassador Drinks Package Prices
The prices below are for advance bookings with the book-onboard price shown in brackets.
These are the prices before the 1st September 2023 price increase – you can book before this date to secure these prices.
|2||£32.50 (£42.50)||£54.50 (£64.50)||£64.50 (£74.50)||Not available|
|3||£29 (£35.67)||£47.33 (£54)||£58.33 (£65)||Not available|
|4||£27.25 (£32.25)||£46.50 (£51.50)||£54.75 (£59.75)||Not available|
|5-29||£18 (£20)||£33 (£38)||£38 (£44)||£11 (£13)|
|30-69||£16 (£19)||£30 (£37)||£35 (£42)||Not available|
|70+||£15 (£17)||£28 (£33)||£33 (£37)||Not available|
These are the prices after the price update:
|Nights||Experience||Explorer||Expedition||Adventurers 0-11 Years||Adventurers 12-17 Years|
|2||£32.50 (£42.50)||£54.50 (£64.50)||£64.50 (£74.50)||Not available||Not available|
|3||£29 (£35.67)||£47.33 (£54)||£58.33 (£65)||Not available||Not available|
|4||£27.25 (£32.25)||£46.50 (£51.50)||£54.75 (£59.75)||Not available||Not available|
|5-29||£20.95 (£22.95)||£38.95 (£43.95)||£44.95 (£50.95)||£13 (£15)||£16 (£18)|
|30-69||£18.95 (£21.95)||£34.95 (£41.95)||£40.95 (£47.95)||Not available||Not available|
|70+||£17.95 (£19.95)||£32.95 (£37.95)||£38.95 (£42.95)||Not available||Not available|
The prices for short cruises (4 nights or less) haven’t changed but all other prices have increased.
Basically, the longer you’re cruising, the less you pay per person, per night for your drinks package. It can add up to a decent saving too – if you were to book a 70-night cruise but you had to pay the 5-night cruise cost for an Expedition Package, you’d be paying an extra £350.
As a note, Ambassador Cruise Line is typically an adults-only cruise line – it’s only on select itineraries where children are welcome – and they are all in the 5-29 night range, which is why prices aren’t made available for cruises of other durations for the Adventurers Package.
Ambassador Cruise Line drinks packages terms and conditions
There are some important terms and conditions for the drinks packages that you need to be aware of.
1. All passengers in a cabin must buy the same drinks package for the duration of the cruise
Unfortunately, if you and your partner have different drinking tastes, you can’t buy an alcohol package for one and the non-alcoholic package for the other. To discourage sharing, all guests within a cabin have to have the same package.
The only exception is when you’re cruising with children – you don’t all have to have the kids’ package!
2. Some drinks are excluded
Any wines by the bottle aren’t included in drinks packages, and nor are bottled water, or any drinks or snacks from your mini bar. Regular teas and coffees ordered at the bar are considered premium and so are only included in the Expedition package.
3. Payment for drinks packages
If you book a drinks package more than 90 days before you set sail, you don’t have to pay for it immediately – the balance becomes due 90 days before you travel. If you’re adding a drinks package within the 90 days before you cruise, you’ll have to pay for it immediately.
4. Drinks limits
You’re only allowed to order one drink at a time, with a 15-minute wait before you can order another drink. And there’s a limit of 15 alcoholic drinks per day (6 am to 6 am) on the Explorer and Expedition packages.
If you want more drinks after reaching the limit, you’ll be able to buy them at 50% of their full price.
5. Drinks packages apply to the cruise only
This should be clear already, but the drinks packages only apply for your cruise – not for any pre- or post-cruise hotel stays that are part of your package.
When should you buy your Ambassador Cruise Line drinks package?
If you’re interested in buying a drinks package for your Ambassador cruise, it’s best to book it in advance. All of the drinks packages have two prices – one for advance bookings and a higher onboard price. Depending on the drinks package, it costs around £5-6 more per night if you wait to book it while onboard.
However, if you want to book in advance, you have until the week before you cruise to do so. Once you get within 7 days of your sailing date, you need to pay the onboard price. So make sure you don’t delay if you want to secure your drinks at the lower price point.
If you haven’t pre-booked a drinks package, but then you get onboard the ship and decide you want one, you only have the first 24 hours to book it. Once that deadline passes you aren’t able to choose a drinks package and you’ll have to pay for your drinks individually.
Can you bring your own drinks on an Ambassador cruise?
Some cruise lines permit guests to bring a small amount of alcohol onto the cruise with them, but a lot of cruise lines also prohibit it – after all, they want you to spend your money on the drinks onboard.
Ambassador Cruise Line is in the latter camp – their policy is that guests are banned from bringing alcohol onto the ship when they embark, and any that is found in luggage will be confiscated and held until the end of the cruise, when guests can then claim it to take home.
This also applies to any alcohol purchased while in ports of call – guests are expected to hand it to the security team as they board the ship again, for it to be stored until the cruise ends.
How much do drinks cost on an Ambassador cruise?
Drinks on an Ambassador cruise are pretty reasonably priced compared to some other cruise lines. That doesn’t mean they’re super-cheap but at the same time, you’ll be paying prices similar to those you’d pay in a restaurant or bar back home.
Here’s a quick summary of the prices:
- Glass of wine (250ml) – £7.25 to £7.60
- Draught beer (pint) – £4.95
- Bottle of beer (330ml) – £3.55
- Spirit (40ml) – £4.25 to £6.05
- Mixer – £1.25
- Cocktail – £6.00
- Mocktail – £3.85
- Soft drink (330ml) – £2.55
- Fruit juice (250ml) – £2.55
- Coffee – £2.25 to £3.45
- Tea – £2.25
- Bottled water – £0.65
How many drinks to break even with an Ambassador Cruise Line drinks package?
So the big question is how many drinks you’d need to have in order to break even with an Ambassador Cruise Line drinks package.
It’s a slightly tricky question to answer since there are different drinks packages and different costs depending on the length of your cruise. But as a guide, let’s assume a 7-night cruise as an average, and use those prices.
Also, remember that the adult drinks packages also include tips and gratuities, with a value of £6 per day on 7-night cruises. So I’ll deduct that from each drinks package cost when working out how many drinks you need to break even.
Ambassador Experience Package
To get your money’s worth on the non-alcoholic package, you’d need to spend more than £15 per day on drinks. Considering soft drinks cost around £2.55 per drink, that means you’d be looking at 6 drinks per day to really see the value.
However, if you drink mocktails or non-alcoholic beer, it’s around £3.55 a drink, so instead, 5 drinks would get you your money’s worth.
Ambassador Explorer Package
For a 7-night cruise, you’d be paying £38.95 per night for the Explorer Package. £6 of that goes to tips, remember.
It’s pretty much the same cost as 6 large glasses of wine, while 7 cocktails would also push you above the £39 level.
Of course, you may drink soft drinks during the day – so 6 soft drinks or regular teas and coffees, and then 4 large glasses of wine, 5 pints of beer or 4 cocktails would mean you got your money’s worth.
Ambassador Expedition Package
The Expedition Package is £44.95 per night on a 7-night cruise, meaning £39 of drink value. A lot of the premium drinks are around the £4 mark, including premium coffees, vodkas, brandy and more. So overall you’d need to have 10 drinks during the day to get the value from the package.
Ambassador Adventurers Package
The Adventurers Package is £13 per night on a 7-night cruise for younger kids, and £16 per night for older kids. So if your children drink more than 6 soft drinks during a day, it’s worth buying the package.
You can use my drinks package calculator to see whether it’s worth buying a package or not. Just enter your details to find out whether the number of drinks you’d typically consume would make it better to get a package or not.
Is it worth it?
Overall an Ambassador Cruise Line drinks package is usually worth it, especially when you remember that they include your tips too. But it’s an individual thing, and if you don’t tend to drink many bar drinks then it would be a waste of your money.
Using the info in this guide, try to work out how much you think you’d drink, and also which drinks are your favourites. You’ll get better value paying for an Expedition Package if you tend to drink more of the premium drinks on a regular basis.
Drinks packages in general are a good way to help keep your spending in check on a cruise, and while Ambassador’s pricing is a little confusing on shorter breaks, overall they’re worth looking into.
If you’re planning an Ambassador cruise, just be sure to make your drinks package decision early enough that you can get the cheaper price – you want to book more than 7 days before you sail.
Don’t forget to check out my guide to the Ambassador cruise ships too, before you book, so that you can learn a little more about what to expect when you do book that cruise.
- The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Drink Packages
- Ambassador Cruise Line Drinks Menus & Prices (2023)
- Who Owns Ambassador Cruise Line?