MSC Cruise Lines – Do NOT Pay For Premium Drink Package – It Is NOT Worth It!

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a bar with bottles of wine on the wall

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Almost every cruise I ever book includes some kind of drink package. I do this, not because I drink a ton, but because I cruise to relax and having to do “drink math” each day is not relaxing to me. Plus, if one day I feel like having a mimosa with breakfast or a red wine with lunch I don’t want to have to again think what is this gonna cost me. For my MSC cruise, that I booked and paid for in full with Chase Ultimate Rewards® points at 1.5 cents per point value (I love this) and the package I booked including the “Easy Plus” drink package.a glass of drink on a table with a palm tree in the background

a menu with a list of drinks

I already talked about the fact that I declined even bidding on any of the room upgrade offers from MSC as I was, at least before the cruise, very excited about the room I had chosen. Weeks before boarding MSC also tried to tempt me with a drink package upgrade offer. I seriously considered the above but gosh I am soooooooo happy I did not fall for this marketing. Why?

a group of bottles of alcohol

The above is what you will find in every single bar on the ship, that is, a poor quality Merlot. If you are “lucky” you may find one addition somewhat marginally tolerable Cabernet. The point being, if you had paid for the above premium upgrade package you would not be able to get anything better than what is free on the lower package.

a bar with stools and a row of stools

If you want to enjoy a decent glass of wine you must find the pseudo-specialty restaurant ‘- La Cantina Di Bacco”. Well the ship is not that big so walking to this bar on Deck 7 in the middle of the ship should not be a big deal right?

Wrong!

The bar is closed most days till 5 or 6 PM.

Swell right?

a menu on a table

a menu on a table

Also be aware this full expanded menu is NOT available in the main dining room. Yes, you will have a few more choices than the bars throughout the ship but what I found is they did not have a number of the limited expanded choices they had on the menu – so back to stock Cabernet.

a room with blue walls and a table and chairs

So I called this location a pseudo-specialty restaurant. Why? You can have dinner here and they make pizzas but you have to pay an upcharge to enjoy them vs. the free pizza up on the buffet. I did not sample them but they looked much better than the included pies. But the place does offer one gem.

a display case with different types of food

a plate of food on a table

You can come here (again once they finally open most days) and enjoy a lovely Tapas plate included with the price of your cruise. On sea days, sometimes, this place opens early so this could be a good choice simply for a nice lunch option.

a hand holding a glass of wine
Carménère – Yes please!

Bottom line if you are someone who enjoys quality wine choices on MSC, like most of everything else when it comes to MSC, you will find yourself very disappointed or treasuring the few hours a day the “Wine Bar” is open for you. – René

PS – If you are in Yacht club they also offer higher end wines in the club bar and are included when you book Yacht club. 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. We disagree. The four of us purchased the premium package and it was well worth it. It was still cheaper than Royals base package. We were able to have great bottles of Robert Mondavi Cab and duckhorn as well as Amarone from Italy ready for us at dinner every night. You show a picture and state ‘ every bar has these’. Most every bar does have premium liquors, you are just not eligible to order them unless you have the premium package. Woodford was the most basic bourbon but we were able to enjoy elijah craig single barrel and special Makers as well as the more expensive champagnes at the champagne bar. You must have premium to get it and it was well worth it. Our MSC cruise beat 20 years of cruising Royal to pieces (minus the elevators) and the premium package helped. We aren’t going back for now.

    • @Matt – I rarely drink hard liquors so I am focused on drinkable wines and the bars did not have higher end wines you would get on the premium package – you have to go to the wine bar that was closed most of the time.

  2. All I can say is, MSC is not considered a cruise charging premium price. That is, I would not compare the shopping experience at Walmart vs Nordstrom.

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