Cruising Carnival Pop Alcohol and Wine

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Accommodations were provided, images and stories are my own

The big moment is about to happen, the horn is about to sound, the passengers are about to relax and settle in for a well-earned vacation and the volume of fun is just about ready to get cranked all the way up, are you ready?

Carnival Sunshine is about to set sail to the Western Caribbean and the ports of call on this destination include: Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, and Roatan all sure to offer a sun-kissed trip.  All the passengers are on, and everyone has gone to their rooms, dropped off their bags and attended the safety drills at their Muster Stations and now it’s time for the big send-off, as we get ready Cruise Carnival and lavishly live life out loud on the high seas on a family vacation.

Will you be sipping on wine, soda or a fun frozen drink when the ship sails away?  You can lavishly live your cruise out loud with Cruising Carnival Pop Alcohol and Wine selections, here are the details.

Decisions. Decisions. 

Make your decisions to drink soda or alcohol early on because you can only buy the flat rates for the first 24 hours on board.  We traveled on down to the Lobby where we purchased the Bubbles program for the kids as well as the Cruise The Vineyards Program for ourselves.  The Cruise The Vineyards had never been offered on the Carnival Sunshine so we were quite excited to find this new exciting option.  The Bubbles program was easy, as it put a sticker on our kids cards and that identified them as able to get soda whenever they wanted, even if they were not with us! The Cruise The Vineyards worked a bit differently but made wine available with each meal(at least that’s how we used it!)

Bottomless Bubbles Please 

What we did not do online is purchase an alcohol plan or the Bottomless Bubblesplan and you can purchase this ahead of time online if you like.  If you have not cruised with Carnival before you may not be be familiar with what I am talking about, so let me back up.  Your cruise package includes unlimited water, lemonade, coffee and tea.  In the mornings, the buffets and breakfasts include orange juice, and apple juice as well.

I personally don’t drink juice on a normal basis, as it carries sugars I don’t need, so water to me is the best all-around resource, the juice in the morning was perfect.  However my kids are used to their juice in the morning and often after a long day, so they really wanted to have the option and I preferred not to pay per glass, so the Bottomless Bubbles Option made it easier.

Beyond breakfast, juice is not an option unless you purchase it, and the same applies to soda. Each soda is $1.95 so if you like your bubbles you need to buy them. Unlimited orders of soda come with the purchase price of either $4.95 a day(for kids under 17) or $6.95 for those of ages 18+.  Either way you can enjoy unlimited soda as well as juice and that is what my kids chose.

Ordering while using Bottomless Bubbles

The kids ordered using their Bottomless Bubbles plan at all the bars around the ship, and on the LIDO Deck and main dining hall.  Here’s how they ordered:

They walked up to the bar area, and ordered their drink.

The card (their room key) was handed to the bar tender, or server, and swiped.

The card was returned, and the kids were given a receipt to sign that had an automatic gratuity on it each time they got a drink. Additionally they were offered a line for an Additional Gratuity($1) was suggested each time.  The kids signed their receipts and at the end of the cruise and itemized bill was delivered to our cabin so we could review each purchase.

The Bottomless Bubbles program can be used in the bars, dining areas, room service and even the show areas, making it the perfect option for anyone who loves their soda and juice!

My kids ordered ‘Shirley Temples’ with their meals, I had totally forgotten about those drinks, lol!

What If I Only Want To Drink Water? Coffee or Lemonade?

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If you are a water-a-holic then you just look for these machines, they are in the Lido Deck Dining Area, there are four 2 in the main Lido Dining Area and two on the outskirts, one down from Guy’s Burger Joint and one on the Blue Iguana Side, each near the ice cream machines(Mmmm)!

The cups that are on the side of the picture above are Green, these are each about 4 ounces.  My personal suggestion, after watching many people use them is the following: Bring along your own water bottle and fill it daily, it just makes it easier and makes you seek it out that much less!

Your method of fill is not placing your water bottle under the dispensing spout, rather taking a few cups that are provided and filling them, and then filling your bottle.  See you are welcome to drink as much as you like but for the sake of sanitation you must use a new, clean cup each time you dispense, so putting your water bottle under the dispenser is not a good idea as it does not respect the sanitation rules.

Coffee Tip

Additionally, if you love your coffee you can do exactly the same thing as above, just fill up your coffee tumbler, it works quite well and you will see so many other doing the same thing!

Bring a cup from home to hold your coffee or water, as the only two areas with beverages were on the lido deck and trust me you will get parched. Someone had suggested bringing a water bottle and I did, because water in the room is $4-$5 a bottle and getting it iced is necessary.  There are no refrigerators in the rooms and I don’t like warm water. The days on shore require water too, you can easily buy it in the stores before your board your tours or excursions.

If you have a coffee tumbler, take it, because the mugs don’t have lids and you are toting it to sit at a seat.  It is easy to toss one of these in your carry on bags, just shove it full of socks so it is not a space hog, we did!

Juice Tip

Kids love juice, but why keep on going back to the food area if you don’t want to eat? Tote a sippy cup for the kids, or a tumbler that they can just fill and tote, remember though, they are kids and might LOSE it so don’t bring anything too special.

Don’t be worried that you will be the only one doing any of these tips and tricks, the ship is full of people doing whatever they want, within reason!

What you don’t know about the beverages

There is a hot water dispenser on the Coffee Machines and there is a wonderful box of teas provided to choose from all day long, and I found this to be awesome when I needed a pick-me-up, that Lemon Lift Tea is delish with a few of the cookies I nibbled on daily!  There is also a Hot Chocolate machine which really was popular as well and a great option when you did not want that charge of caffeine but wanted a little bit of warmth from the cooler night air!

The beverage areas were well-maintained and the ice was always available, so if you don’t pick Bottomless Bubbles don’t worry you can still drink and keep hydrated quite well.

Alcohol – Cheers Beverage Program

Cruises are well-known for their alcohol options and let’s face it, there is a designated driver so party on right? I felt that way the whole time, and I felt relaxed. There were buckets of Bud Light available for purchase (4 to a bucket in resealable cans- who seals a can of beer right lol)

There are no GLASS containers of any sort on the cruise ship, even the Corona’s I had had to be placed in a cup, so there is no breaking of glass on the ship.  Cocktails are delicious and there are so many to choose from I think I tried them all! Here is a small example menu of a few options available on deck.

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We had Frozen drinks and drinks on the rocks, beers, wine and after dinner drinks, but we did not buy the drink plan, rather we bought the Wine Plan, which was really a great twist for us! We paid by the drink and it all worked out well, but if we would have drank a few more drinks per day, it would have been better to join up on the Cheers Beverage Program.

The Cheers Beverage Program

If you plan on drinking more than 5 frozen drinks a day with alcohol in them, or more than 5 drinks on the rocks(margaritas, etc) My suggestion is clearly the Cheers Program.  Each frozen drink is about $7.95, a gratuity is automatically added in and you can add more of a gratuity if you so choose, dependant of course on your service.

The Cheers Beverage Program is a flat rate program that offers you a daily rate per day for up to 15 alcoholic drinks in a 24 hour period as well as unlimited frozen NON-Alcoholic drinks, soda and juice.  The program includes all spirits, wines, sodas and beers under the $10 amount before gratuity.

This means wine by the glass is available, as well as those lovely drinks at the bar providing the drinks are under $10 before a gratuity is added in.

The program does not cover the specialty coffees, bottled water, or buckets of beer, but if you are hanging out drinking beer by the glass(about $5.75 each) or great poolside drinks you will want to consider this option! Additionally, you can purchase wine by the bottle for 25% off.

The Rules For The Cheers Beverage Program(A Basic Overview)

1)What you can not do with this program is share, or split what you have and you can not drink more than 15 drinks in 24 hours-which pretty much equals inebriation anyway.

2)If one person in  your cabin buys the plan, you both have to buy the plan, sometimes that does not make sense if you both don’t drink.

3) You have to buy the plan within a certain time frame and it is for EVERYDAY, not just the days you choose, it is the charge of $49.95 per day.  Our ship offered us the option to purchase this plan until the end of 24 hours on the ship which was Sunday Night at Midnight, then if you had not purchased the program you had to pay by the beverage.

4) You can not purchase this program until you are actually on the ship.

There are other rules that apply to this program, you can check the Carnival Website for more details.

WINE- Cruise The Vineyards Program

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I love wine, and you all know that, you can see so many of my Instagram and Twitter photos with pics of this fine beverage.  My husband also enjoys wine as well.  Our decision to purchase the Cruise The Vineyards Program was an easy one and a welcome option!

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We knew we were not going to be on the ship for the majority of the day, so that meant we would not be drinking. By the time we returned, got showered, and got everyone(remember I had my 3 children with me and my father-in-law) to the dining room, the bottle of wine was waiting!

When we got in from a full day, all I wanted was water and more water as we had walked, toured and often drank at the local bars at each destination.

The program offers 5 bottles of wine and three levels of wine: Basic($132), Deluxe($154) or Premium($194)*.  The five days of wine are available on cruises of 5 days or more, there is another package for 3 bottles, but it was not on this cruise, see the  Carnival Web Site for details.  (*please note amounts are approximate and may vary)

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5 bottles please 

We chose 5 bottles of wine from the Deluxe package.  We enjoyed each bottle of wine in the main dining room.  You are given a set of 5 ticket stubs(don’t lose them) and you present one to your Main Dining Server each time to redeem it.

When you are actually redeeming is when you choose which particular bottle you want from your selection of wine.  The stub offers you all the possibilities, but do be prepared as wines run out and you just have to choose a different wine.

We paid about $154 for this package.  If you don’t finish the bottle of wine at dinner, you can have it sent to your cabin, take it with you or have it re-corked for another night.  Um, I am going to have to tell you this, we were on a cruise, not driving and it was only a bottle of wine, my bottle never made it from the table, it got finished right there!

My Opinion & Request

In my opinion this program needs to offer 8 bottles as well.  I would gladly have used that each night at dinner.  We did end up purchasing single bottles of wine at dinner because we were on a 7 day cruise and 5 bottles hardly were enough for those nights.  I would hope Carnival would consider adding additional options for purchase with wine as it is a coveted beverage and pairs well with all the foods they serve.

The Basic Package is below, I took this photo while we were ordering as we got things in order for the duration of the trip.

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I think the best part was that the wine choices were all set on the stub that we gave to our bar server at the main dining table and all we had to do was order.  It made dining easy and fun, with so few decisions, the way a vacation should be.

Set sail, love that you have a designated driver and let the waves sway you(or use that as an excuse while you are walking, lol). It’s time to lavishly live cruising out loud, with the Carnival beverage options.  Set sail for the high seas, fun adventure, and awesome libations, frozen, on the rocks and in the bottles, Cheers!

These are my opinions based on my personal purchases.  Make sure to check the Carnival.Com website as things are being updated on a consistent basis and these were just prices in effect while we were on this particular cruise.

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