No, Carnival Has Not Increased the Cost of the Cheers Drink Package

Social media is abuzz of claims that Carnival has increased the price of their popular CHEERS drink package. We can tell you that’s definitely not true. Learn why below?

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California Transparent Pricing Law Changed the Price You See

In 2023, California passed SB 478, a law that aimed to curb junk fees and increase company transparency. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2024, and requires that the posted price for a good or service include all mandatory fees. It’s an attempt to prevent consumers from seeing one price and paying a considerably higher one once they’ve purchased due to hidden fees.

It’s a major win not just for citizens in California but for consumers all over the country. Many companies, including Carnival, are updating their policies nationwide, ensuring a consistent and transparent pricing structure for all customers, regardless of their location.

We knew many of the major cruise lines were updating their cruise prices to include extra fees, such as port fees, in their published prices. What many people didn’t consider is that it would also apply to pre-purchase cruise prices like drink packages.

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We now see Carnival’s true CHEERS pricing

Starting today, Carnival’s website shows the true price for the CHEERS package, including taxes and fees. Carnival charges an 18% gratuity on all drink package purchases. In the past, guests would see that after they added the package to their cart; now, the correct price is shown upfront.

Here is the current pricing. This now includes the 18% mandatory gratuity, the price has not changed. For example, the cost for a pre-cruise purchase for a 6-day cruise used to be $59.95 plus 18% gratuity, so $70.74.

Pre-cruise Purchase
(price per day)
Onboard Purchase
(price per day)
5 days or less$76.64$88.44
6 days or more$70.74$82.54

Is Carnival CHEERS package worth it?

The only way to know if the drink package is worth it, is to do the math. It all depends on what and how much you drink. You can use our handy calculator below to see how much you’d save with CHEERS.

What else might be updated in the future?

Again, this is a major win for consumers, but what might it apply to in the future? At the time of publication, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian don’t currently include gratuities in the published prices of their packages. Will they update their policies?

Also, what are the onboard drink prices? When you purchase a cocktail on a Carnival ship, a mandatory 18% gratuity is included in the purchase price. Will they have to adjust that on their menus, especially on ships leaving from California?

Unfortunately, this law doesn’t impact daily gratuities because the cruise lines position those are “optional.” These fees add us significantly, costing between $15 and $20 per person per day, depending on the cruise line. Hopefully, they’re targeting in future legislation.

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.