P&O drinks package: Is it worth it?

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When booking a cruise with P&O Cruises, one important decision that you’ll need to make is whether you should purchase P&O Cruises’ drinks package to make your cruise all-inclusive, or whether you’d be better off paying for drinks individually.

Are P&O drinks packages worth it? For some people, yes. For others, definitely not! To decide for yourself, you’ll need to know:

  1. How much are drink packages on P&O Cruises?
  2. How much are drinks on P&O Cruises?
  3. How many drinks will I drink each day

In this article, I’ll give you the answers to the first two questions. Then, using the Drinks Package Calculator, you can work out how many drinks you need to get through each day to break even. Then you can easily decide whether the P&O all-inclusive drinks deal is worth it or not.

P&O Cruises cocktail waiter

Are P&O Cruises all-inclusive?

P&O don’t sell cruises as ‘all-inclusive cruises’ like other cruise lines such as Marella Cruises do. However, In 2019, P&O Cruises introduced a new drinks package which can turn your cruise from a full-board cruise to an all-inclusive cruise.

How much are drinks packages on P&O Cruises?

P&O Cruises offer five different packages:

  • The Ultimate drinks package – £39.95 per person, per day
  • The Non-alcoholic drinks package – £19.95 per person, per day
  • The Hot drinks package – £10.95 per person, per day
  • The Children’s drinks package – £7.95 per person, per day
  • Wine packages – from £120 for six bottles of wine

When people talk about the P&O Cruises drinks package, they’re usually referring to the Ultimate drinks package.

Unlike other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean which varies the price of its drinks package depending on your itinerary and any promotions, the P&O Cruises drinks package price is always fixed. It is not possible to secure any kind of discount on the P&O Cruises drinks package.

Good to know: If you’re cruising with children and purchase the Ultimate drinks package, you also get the Children’s package for free!

P&O Cruises Ultimate Drinks package

What does P&O Cruises’ all-inclusive drinks package include?

P&O Cruises’ Ultimate drinks package includes:

  • Beers
  • Wines by the glass
  • Spirits (served in single measures only with a draught soda or long-life juice mixer)
  • Cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails
  • Liqueurs
  • Bottled water (500ml only)
  • Draught soft drinks
  • Long-life juices
  • Costa coffees
  • Teas
  • Hot chocolates

It doesn’t include:

  • Any drinks that cost over £6.95
  • Bottles of wine
  • Large bottles of water
  • Canned or bottled premium soft drinks
  • Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies

You’ll also get a 20% discount on any items which are excluded from the package.

Costa Coffee on P&O Cruises

P&O wine packages

P&O Cruises also offer two wine packages which give a discount when you buy six or twelve bottles of wine, compared to buying bottles individually. You can enjoy your wine in any restaurant or have it delivered to your cabin.

  • The Captain’s Collection – 6 bottles for £120 or 12 bottles for £230 (saving up to 22%)
  • The Commodore’s Collection – 6 bottles for £145 or 12 bottles for £270 (saving up to 33%)

You can see which wines are included in the wine packages here (click to download pdf).

P&O Cruises wine package

Is the P&O drinks package worth it?

I see a lot of people online asking if the P&O Cruises drinks package is worth it. To work that out, you need to think about how many drinks you are likely to have each day, and whether they add up to more than £40 per person, per day.

It’s important to bear in mind, that on the majority of days of your cruise, you’ll be off the ship exploring the ports, and so you won’t drink as much as you will on sea days. On a sea day, I usually drink two to three times as much as I would on a port day.

P&O Drinks Package Calculator

For 2021 and beyond, P&O drinks packages cost £39.95 per day. The price for two people on a 14-night cruise would be £1,119.

If you would normally spend more than that amount on refreshments, then yes, the package is worth it. If not, then you’d be better off paying for your drinks individually.

You can use my drinks package calculator tool to work out how much you can expect to spend on drinks on your P&O Cruise if you don’t buy a package.

Just pop your details in this form and I’ll send you a link to the calculator…

P&O drinks prices

It’s important to remember that the bar prices are fairly cheap on P&O Cruises ships, particularly in comparison to some other American cruise lines. P&O Cruises drinks prices tend to be similar to the prices of your local pub in the UK.

Here are some examples of prices in the P&O cruise ship bars:

  • Pint of beer: £4.50
  • Glass of wine: £5
  • Gin and tonic: £6
  • Cocktail: £6.50
  • Soft drink: £2
  • Premium coffee: £2.50
  • Bottle of water: £2

On my recent cruise on Britannia, I took photos of all of the drinks menus. You can see them here. Please note that these menus are from 2019. Bar prices for 2020 have increased by a few pence. New photos are coming soon.

What drinks are free on P&O Cruises?

When you’re deciding whether the drinks package is worth it, you should remember that drinks such as tea, coffee, water, cordial and milk are always available free of charge on P&O Cruises. Fruit juices are also available for free at breakfast time.

Can you take your own alcohol on-board a P&O cruise ship?

P&O Cruises allow each adult aged 18 years or older to bring up to one litre of alcohol (wine, beer, spirit or liqueur) on-board the ship to drink in their cabin. If any additional alcohol is purchased, either in duty-free or ashore, it will be confiscated until the end of your cruise.

You can bring unlimited soft drinks with you when you board your P&O Cruises ship and you can also bring more soft drinks on-board in each port if you wish. This is more than you can bring on any other cruise line.

On our cruise on-board Britannia we brought a litre of gin and a litre of rum with us along with several large bottles of lemonade. This saved us over £400 compared to what it would have cost to buy these drinks at the bar.

kopparberg gin
I brought this gin with me on-board Britannia

There was a fridge in our cabin and each day our room attendant brought us ice. After the first two days, we didn’t need to ask for it, it was there waiting for us each evening.

If you do bring your own drinks on-board that, make sure you pack glass bottles in an inflatable bottle protector from Amazon to stop them from smashing in your case.

Is there a corkage fee?

There is no charge for drinking your own alcohol in your cabin or on your private balcony. However, any alcohol consumed in the dining rooms, bars, restaurants, pool or lounge areas, will be subject to a corkage fee of £20* per bottle.

P&O drinks package FAQs

Can we share a drinks package?

Each adult your cabin must purchase the drinks package. Sharing isn’t allowed.

Can I buy the drinks package for just one or two days?

P&O Cruises drinks packages apply to every day of your cruise except for the day you disembark and must be purchased for the whole cruise. You can buy your drinks package before you cruise or during the first two days of your cruise. If you buy it on day two, you won’t pay for day one.

If I change my mind, can I get a refund?

The P&O Cruises drinks package is not refundable or transferrable.

How many drinks can I order at once?

You can only order one drink at a time and must wait 15 minutes between each drink. However, one person can go to the bar and order drinks for two people, as long as you take both cruise cards with you.

The package covers drinks up to £6.95 each. What if I want a glass of Champagne which costs £8? Can I pay the difference?

Drinks that exceed the £6.95 allowance are charged at the full menu price minus 20%. You can’t pay the difference.

Are P&O drinks packages available on mini-cruises?

P&O drinks packages are only available on cruises of five nights or more.

What’s the drinking age on P&O Cruises?

Guests must be aged 18 or older to consume alcohol on P&O Cruises. However, if the cruise is in USA or UAE waters then you must be 21 or older both to drink alcohol and to purchase the Ultimate drinks package.

Can P&O Cruises drinks package be used for the in-cabin mini bar or room service?

No. The drinks package can only be used to buy drinks in on-board bars and restaurants.

Can P&O Cruises drinks package be used for self-service machine and vending machines?

Aurora, Azura, Britannia and Ventura have self-service Enomatic wine machines and Britannia also has a self-service beer machine. These are not included in the drinks package. If you have a drinks package, do not use these machines as you will be charged.

Is there a limit on how many drinks I can have per day?

Yes. The P&O drinks package limits alcoholic drinks to 15 drinks in each 24-hour period. The 24-hour period resets at 6 am. It’s up to the bar staff whether they serve you any additional drinks over this limit, but if they do, you will be charged for them. However, if you appear to be too drunk, they won’t serve you.

Can I order a double?

You can’t order double shots (such as a double vodka and Coke) as this would count as two drinks. You also can’t order a large glass of wine, only the standard 175ml size.

So, are drinks packages on P&O cruises worth it?

For most people, a drinks package on P&O Cruises doesn’t give good value for money and you will be better off paying for your drinks individually. A package may be worth it if…

  • You drink a lot of alcohol every day on holiday
  • You have a lot of sea days or plan to stay on-board when your ship’s in port
  • You plan to spend a lot on kids’ drinks (as kids get a free drinks package when the adults get one)
  • You don’t want to bring your own alcohol in your luggage

For everyone else, you’re probably better off buying your drinks individually.

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25 thoughts on “P&O drinks package: Is it worth it?”

  1. Why do two adults sharing a cabin have to purchase the same drinks package? My husband would want to buy the ultimate drinks package but I don’t drink so do not want that cost forced on me. I’d rather pay for speciality coffees/mocktails as I go. Is there any flexibility?

    • Hi Kay. The rules are this way to prevent people from sharing a drinks package between them. The only way that one person could not get it is if that have a medical reason why they should not drink alcohol. You would probably be better off without a drinks package as it’s quite hard to break even as it is, even moreso without alcohol. Jenni

  2. I’ve just discovered your site cruisemummy and I love it!

    Could I just give you my tip on drinks packages? We think almost £40 a day on P & O is a lot of money for drinks but we also like to have everything paid for before we leave so what we do is this – once the cruise is booked we start saving bits of money – it can be £2 coins, £5 notes, if we sell something on Ebay – you get the idea, When we eventually leave on our cruise we take £40 each per day in cash and deposit it at reception, whenever we use our card it then comes off the cash but the big bonus is anything we haven’t spent we just get back from reception on the last evening.

    I hope that makes sense, its complicated to explain what I mean but it works for us – if we drink a lot (which we never have) it’s already paid for and if we don’t drink a lot we get our money at the end of the cruise – you wouldn’t get any unused portion of the drinks package back!!

    • Yes, Jules! I love this idea- genius! On our last cruise, we drank quite a lot really and it still didn’t come to £40 each per day. Jenni

  3. Hi there. Great information here. Great site.
    We went on a New Years Eve trip last year. Expensive, but just excellent. We took the ultimate drinks package. I’m not completely sure it’s value for money tbh. I guess what it is, is peace of mind. Pull it in to the cost of your holiday, and its Full Board. Try not to think too much about it beyond that.

    What really tipped it for us, as we had 2 under 18’s was that it folds in the Kids Drink package as an added extra. That was very handy, and made it a very good deal.

    Next year though, one of our 2 kids will be 18. It’s a 14 nighter, and I’m wondering what to do. I’m assuming that, because he will be 18, we won’t be able to get the kids drinks package for him.

    To my 1st point…I think I’ll probably opt for a package for me and my wife. Pay before we leave…Saves getting a nasty shock when you dock back at Southampton.

    • Thanks for your comment, Robin. That’s correct, 18-year-olds are adults when it comes to cruising and drinks packages. You can get non-alcoholic drinks packages for adults as well, so perhaps this is an option if he doesn’t drink much alcohol. Jenni

  4. I’m amazed how mean P&O are regarding their drink packages compared to other cruise lines e.g. Celebrity charge £25 per day for drinks, graturities & 300$ OBC, whilst Princess charge £35 for drinks, Wi-fi & grats and there are other good deals with other cruise lines and they don’t count your drinks!. P&O £39.95 … Typical British!

    • Hi that was cheap for Princess. We have been on 3 and the Premier Packages has cost us $59.99 a day, but did allow us to have a soda package for me (adult), as I don’t drink. Also, for those reading this and have children aged 18, they can only drink on P&O, as it’s 21 on Princess and RC. We had the drinks package on past cruises, as even though my husband is not a big drinker, however, on holiday, he likes a couple of Buds with lunch, fancy coffees, a couple of buds with dinner, then likes a couple of cocktails, which all adds up to over the daily package price, so the package gives him the freedom of having the best of both worlds, soft drinks, fancy coffees, bottled water, etc. I’m thinking of not taking him next time lol.

  5. Thanks for all the info.. We was on the lovely brittania last year without a drinks package but we’re considering for next year’s holiday in there again.. I wondered whether we can pay in installments for this as I can’t find out if I can in there website. Thanks 😊

    • Hi Debbie. It is possible to pay for your drinks package in instalments if you book your cruise with a travel agent who offers this option. They can bundle the drinks package in with the cost of your cruise. You’ll find more info about paying in instalments here: https://www.cruisemummy.co.uk/how-to-pay-for-a-cruise-in-instalments/ Jenni

  6. Hi still not sure about the drinks package. Do you know if you don drink the 15 in one day can they roll over to the next? Thanks x

    • Hi Deb. The daily limit resets at 6 am each day and you can’t roll it over, sorry! Jenni

  7. Thanks for all the amazing info on this website, stumbled across your site and it’s a great find! I’m looking to book Iona for 2021 for my 3 teenage children & myself, our first cruise. The Ultimate package looks to work out too expensive as I’m likley to only have a couple of alcoholic drinks per day and it’s charged x 2 adults so £80 per day. Can I take the non-alcholic package as well as 3 x kids packages? My kids would definitely benefit from the soft drinks package.

    • Hi Suzanne. Congratulations on booking your first cruise! Yes, you absolutely can do that. Sounds like a good idea to me. Jenni

  8. Thanks for the information, really useful and we will definitely be getting the drinks package! We are really not alcoholics… honest! Happy cruising everyone!

  9. Thankyou for that advice. Just booked to go to Dubai on Oceana in 2021 and definitely having the drinks package. Very informative thankyou.

    • You’re very welcome! I’m glad you found this to be informative. Have a great cruise! Jenni

  10. Thank you for your honest information. We were going to take drinks package but after reading your review I think we will do wine package, take our own drinks on board and pay as we go. We were meant to go on the new Iona in August but now changed to oceana next June. Tracy

    • Thanks Tracy, I’m glad you found this to be helpful! Jenni

  11. BTW, thanks very much for the info – very helpful

  12. Wow… that’s a lot of alcohol. I like my drink, but £80 a couple a day is more than I can justify. We’d split 3 bottles of wine max in a day, much better off with the wine package, I think.

  13. Thanks for the info. Has helped me decide to take the drinks package on our upcoming Britannia TA (btw we were up your neck of the woods last night! Got the train to Horwich Parkway and went off the Gerrard Arms in Aspull)

    • Ahh, small world! I hope you enjoyed your night! Jenni

    • Hello Jennyi,
      We are going on our first P&O cruise next year, you say that cordials are always available free of charge, what flavours are available and are they available as made up squash in drinks dispensers or do you need to ask for them at the bar? I’ve noticed on other forums dated a couple of years ago that the writers were under the impression that there weren’t any free cordials? We are going on Azura to the Greek islands.

      • Hi Andrew. When I sailed on Britannia last year there were several different flavours available to serve yourself by the pool. I expect that this may change given the changes that are due in light of the pandemic, and I don’t yet have any information about what to expect in that regard in the future. I’m due to sail on Iona this November so fingers crossed I’ll know more then.

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