The Virgin Voyages drink package (or lack thereof) is one of the main concerns that new sailors have when approaching this innovative cruise line.
While most of Virgin Voyages’ competitors—Norwegian cruise line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and others—offer inclusive drink packages, Virgin has decided to go another route.
But don’t let that get in your way of enjoying all that Virgin Voyages has to offer, especially since drink prices on board are reasonable and Virgin often gives out free bar tabs.
If you’re curious to learn more about the Virgin Voyages drink package alternative, the cost of drinks on board (and at Bimini Beach Club), how to get free drinks on Virgin cruises, and an honest review of their drink offerings and packages, this article is for you.
Before you read on, make sure to bookmark these other Virgin Voyages guides to prep for your sailing:
★ Virgin Voyages Dress Code + Scarlet Night Outfit Ideas
★ The Ultimate Virgin Voyages Packing List
★ 7 Insider Tips to Enjoy Virgin Voyages’ Beach Club at Bimini
★ Virgin Voyages Spa Prices + Thermal Suite Pass Guide
★ Virgin Voyages Vegan Guide
★ Eastern Caribbean Antilles Cruise Review
★ Cruise Port Guides
Note: This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through these links, at no cost to you. But don’t worry, I only share products I’d truly recommend to a friend.
Overview of the Virgin Voyages Drink Package Alternative: The Virgin Voyages Bar Tab System
A typical cruise drink package allows cruisers to order an unlimited amount of drinks for a flat fee. Drink package fees can range from $60 USD per day to over $100 USD per day, per person. Depending on the type of drinks a cruiser orders, a drink package may or may not be worth it.
While Virgin Voyages does not offer a traditional unlimited drink package, the cruise line does have a bar tab system that works quite well.
The Virgin Voyages Bar Tab works like this:
All individual drinks are charged to a sailor’s account via a scan of their wristband. Sailors pre-load money onto their account, or they will be charged the tab at the end of the sailing.
Most alcoholic drinks range from $7-$13 USD each, and there are several free drink options available (more on that later in this article).
Best of all, Virgin Voyages has been giving out free $600+ bar tabs left and right.
Pros & Cons of the Virgin Voyages Bar Tab
Disadvantages of the Virgin Voyages Bar Tab System
- No unlimited drinks option
- Difficult to estimate spending during the cruise
Advantages of the Virgin Voyages Bar Tab System
- Only pay for what you drink
- Be more conscious of your spending (and drinking)
- The bar tab can be managed through Virgin Voyages’ app
- The bar tab can cover ship eats (essentially room service available across the ship)
- Fairly standardized drink pricing
Purchases at the Bimini Beach Club are included in the Virgin Voyages bar tab!
Overview of Virgin Voyages Drink Prices + Free Drink Options
The following price estimations are based on my firsthand experience on a recent Valiant Lady cruise in the Caribbean.
As I write this article, I’m reviewing my Virgin Voyages invoice and menus to ensure the prices are accurate. Of course, drink prices can change over time, so please keep that in mind.
Personally, I thought that Virgin Voyages’ drink prices were reasonable, if anything, affordable, compared to prices in the US.
Basic cocktail (ie gin and tonic): $9-10
Regular cocktail (ie pina colada): $9-13
Special cocktail: $13+
Glass of wine: $8-15+
Bottle of wine: $30-100+
Shot: $9-125 (varies greatly)
Coffee (latte, cappuccino, flat white, etc): $3-4
Chai latte and matcha latte: $5-6
Cold brew: $3-6
Red Bull / Nonalcoholic beer: $5
In addition to the paid drinks, there are several free drink options on Virgin Voyages cruises, including still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, sodas, sachet teas, and drip coffee.
There are also a few occasions on the cruise when you can get other drinks for free, including free champagne on the first night and special promotion events.
For instance, during my cruise, there were select free cocktails and mocktails from 4-5 pm at a few bars on board as part of a promotion.
My husband trying a martini for the first time, because why not? (when its free!)
My Experience with a Free $600 Bar Tab
Virgin Voyages frequently offers free bar tab promotions for booking during certain dates. My husband and I happened to book our first Virgin Voyages cruise during dates with the $600 bar tab promotion.
I don’t drink coffee and don’t like to drink very much alcohol, so $600 was more than enough for the two of us on our 8-night Caribbean cruise.
To make the most of the free bar tab, we went out of our way to drink chai lattes, try different mixed drinks, and sip nice wine at dinner here and there. We also tried some interesting creative cocktails at the Test Kitchen, and it was nice to know that they were free in case we didn’t like them. Oh, and the ridiculously overpriced $15 coconut at the Bimini Beach Club? I enjoyed that free of charge!
I personally felt like the non-alcoholic drinks were lacking on the ship. I was expecting an abundance of fresh pressed juice and smoothies, but during my sailing, these types of drinks were very difficult to find outside of Razzle Dazzle.
Sharing a Bar Tab as a Couple or Group
Although you can share a bar tab among numerous people, bar tabs are not automatically set up that way. If you get a pre-paid (or free) bar tab, and you want to share it with your spouse or friends, make sure to request this at Sailor Services at the beginning of your trip.
If you accidentally charge your bar tab to your credit card even though you have a free/pre-paid bar tab on your partner’s account, Sailor Services can remove the charges and send them over to the correct tab.
Looking for more Virgin Voyages cruise tips? View all Virgin Voyages guides.
The colorful streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Virgin Voyages Drink Package FAQs
How do you pay for a drink on board?
Paying for drinks on Virgin Voyages cruises is simple. You’ll receive a wristband when you board the cruise. The band can be used to open your cabin door, pay for drinks, and make other purchases on board. If you want to buy a beverage on board, the crew will scan your wristband and it will charge directly to your account.
What is “Shake for Champagne”?
If you shake your phone three times with the Virgin Voyages app open, a crew member will bring champagne directly to your location.
How does Ship Eats work?
Ship Eats is the Virgin Voyages version of room service, with a few differences. You can order select snacks and drinks from the Virgin Voyages app to your location, whether you’re in your room or somewhere else on the ship.
There is a small delivery fee if you order food without a drink. So order a cheap drink and get your delivery fee waived!
How do taxes work on Virgin Voyages cruises?
When a cruise is in port, drinks (and other purchases) on board include local taxes and fees. When the cruise is in international waters, purchases are tax-free.
Can you pay your bar tab for drinks at Virgin Voyages’ Beach Club at Bimini?
Absolutely! Your bar tab works at the Bimini Beach Club. Simply pay with your wristband, the same as you would on the ship.
What is included in the Mega RockStar Bar Tab?
If you stay in the Mega RockStar Quarters, you get a special bar tab.
The tab includes up to $25 in credit for drinks each day (per cabin) and two bottles of wine per cabin, per day. In addition, MegaRock Star sailors get 25% off drinks priced above $25 and 25% off bottles priced above $90.
Can you bring your own alcohol on board?
You can bring two bottles of wine on any Virgin Voyages cruise. Other than the two wine bottles, you cannot bring any food or drinks on board.
You can enjoy a drink or snack on your balcony by ordering via Ship Eats
Preparing Your Virgin Voyages Cruise
My recent 8-night sailing with Virgin Voyages was such a delight. I was a first-time cruiser, and Virgin Voyages really impressed me. With my experience fresh in my mind, I created several detailed guides to help other first-time Virgin sailors prepare for their cruise. I recommend taking a look and bookmarking the guides that may be helpful to you for later reading.
But if you’re leaving for your cruise in a few weeks (or days), here are a few things I recommend ordering online for your sailing (besides the packing list items):
Scarlet Night is one of the most iconic events on board. Make sure you have something red packed!
There is a pajama party on the first night of every Virgin cruise. Pack some cute pajamas!
You’ll need something to carry your things around the ship—and on cruise port days!
If you have any water adventures planned during port days, order a GoPro to capture those memories!
Essential Cruise Travel Resources
Have a cruise coming up soon? There are a lot of travel companies out there, but some are better than others. After traveling to dozens of countries and living abroad on several continents, here are some of my favorite websites and resources for planning unforgettable trips.