Fancy scoring some cheaper drinks when you’re on a Princess cruise? Then you probably want to try Happy Hour – after all, any time there’s a happy hour at a bar, you’re going to get a good deal, right?
Well, Happy Hour has changed a lot on Princess Cruises in recent years. So, let’s take a look at what it actually means, what you get, and who can take part.
Princess Cruises Does Have a Happy Hour For Select Guests
Princess Cruises does have a happy hour event, taking place each evening from 4.30 pm until 6.30 pm in the Elite Lounge – though it isn’t called Happy Hour. It includes a range of cocktails discounted to $8, along with some complimentary appetizers. It’s open to Platinum and Elite guests as well as guests staying in a suite.
So, there is no happy hour event on a Princess cruise that’s open to all guests. Instead, you either need to have reached Platinum or Elite level in the Captain’s Circle loyalty programme, or you need to stay in a suite.
How To Get In the Elite Lounge
Reaching Platinum level and gaining access to the Elite Lounge isn’t too difficult with Princess Cruises – you just need to have completed either five prior cruises or have cruised for 50 days with the cruise line if you’ve booked longer itineraries.
Elite is the next step up, but as long as you’re at least Platinum, you can take advantage of access to the Elite Lounge.
If you’re going the suite route rather than the loyalty route, you would need to be staying in a full suite – mini-suites don’t count.
The Happy Hour only takes place in the Elite Lounge. The drinks that are offered will usually change each day, and there’ll be a selection on offer – around six or so. You can order any other drink that you want, but they’ll be charged at full price.
The discounted drinks during Happy Hour are all $8, though remember there’s an 18% gratuity to pay on top of that – so you’ll actually be paying $9.44 for each drink.
If you have a drinks package, then the events in the Elite Lounge might not be worth attending. The Plus Beverage Package includes drinks up to $15, so it would cover the discounted drinks anyway – you’re not getting a special deal.
The Elite Lounge is open from 4.30 pm until 6.30 pm daily. This time has been brought slightly forward in the last couple of years to allow guests who are dining at 5 pm to still attend and grab a pre-dinner drink.
It’s also worth noting that, on some formal nights, the Elite Lounge will typically become the Captain’s Gala, and guests will actually enjoy free drinks instead of discounted ones.
For Suite Guests, The Concierge Lounge is Better Than The Elite Lounge
Suite guests will also get complimentary drinks in the Concierge Lounge (which is different from the Elite Lounge), so the Happy Hour benefit is only really useful for guests who have reached Platinum or Elite level in the Captain’s Circle, who haven’t purchased a drinks package.
Here’s a letter I received during my cruise, which shows the timings for both the Elite Lounge (with drinks special offers) and the Concierge Lounge (with free drinks)…
Princess Cruises Happy Hour Historically
There have been Happy Hour events on Princess Cruises’ ships historically, though they have now been removed. They would include special offers including discounts on certain drinks, and the option to buy a drink and get another for $1.
Times change on cruise lines and the drinks prices, drinks packages and other offers are all very different on a Princess cruise to what they were even just a couple of years ago. So while it may be a shame that there’s no Happy Hour, it’s not a surprise.
As recently as 2016 there have been Happy Hour discounts on Princess sailings:
There may be another Happy Hour event, or something similar, introduced on Princess Cruises in future. However, with the popularity of the Plus and Premier cruise fares and their inclusions, it’s more likely that the cruise line will push people towards booking those fares instead, and getting a drinks package as part of the deal.
While there’s no official “Happy Hour” for all guests on a Princess cruise, the more loyal cruisers and those in a suite can enjoy discounted drinks in a two-hour window each evening.
If you aren’t at Platinum level in the Captain’s Circle, and you were hoping to get cheaper drinks, keep an eye out for any events you can attend onboard where you might get a welcome drink.
Or, just bring some of your own wine or Champagne onboard – you’re allowed one bottle per person.
Read more: These 8 Drinks Are Free on Princess Cruises
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See the latest Princess Cruises offers…
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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.