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Sunday, August 27, 2023

Carnival Cruise Line Glitch Impacts Drink Packages: What You Need to Know About the Company Response

In a surprising turn of events, Carnival Cruise Line's website experienced a glitch that sent waves through the cruise community. For a brief period overnight from Friday, August 25 to Saturday, August 26, 2023, the Cheers! beverage package's prices appeared to plummet, creating a buzz among eager cruise-goers. However, the glitch led to confusion and misinterpretation, leaving many to wonder if they had discovered a once-in-a-lifetime deal or just a digital hiccup. See our update from August 29, 2023 at the end of this post.

The Carnival Cheers! Drink Package Glitch

The Cheers! beverage package, Carnival Cruise Line's renowned all-inclusive drink package, is a favorite among travelers seeking convenience and value during their voyages. But on the fateful night of August 25, Carnival's website showcased an astonishing error. While the daily price of the Cheers! package seemed accurate, the overall package price calculation faltered at checkout.

This resulted in a seemingly unbelievable situation: cruise enthusiasts believed they could secure the beverage package for the cost of a one-day, one-person deal, regardless of the cruise's duration. Additionally, the glitch indicated that not all guests in a stateroom needed to purchase the package. The temptation to seize this offer was irresistible to many.

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Carnival's Response: A Silver Lining

Amidst the confusion, Carnival Cruise Line acted swiftly to address the glitch and reassure both concerned passengers and intrigued onlookers. John Heald, the brand ambassador for Carnival, stepped forward to clarify the situation. While Carnival would not be honoring the unintentional rock-bottom prices, they acknowledged the frenzy that ensued and devised a solution.

"All guests who booked with this glitch will get a refund of their purchase and a one-time discount code should they wish to repurchase," Heald explained. The hope was that impacted customers would still get a chance to enjoy a discount on the coveted Cheers! beverage package.

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The Mystery of the Discount

As news spread about the glitch and Carnival's offer to affected passengers, speculation about the nature of the discount ran wild. The exact details of the discount were kept under wraps, leaving room for speculation and anticipation. Will it be a percentage off the regular price? Perhaps a free day of the package? The cruise community eagerly awaited their emails, which were expected to contain the elusive discount code.

Cheers! All-Inclusive Beverage Package: A Brief Overview

For those unfamiliar with Carnival's Cheers! beverage package, it's an all-inclusive option covering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the cruise. Priced at a daily rate, the package offers a cost-effective solution for guests looking to indulge without worrying about accumulating bar bills. The pre-sail price stands at $59.95 (USD) per day, while onboard purchases incur a rate of $64.95 per day, with an additional 18% service charge.

Importantly, every adult in the same stateroom must purchase the package, ensuring fairness and consistent experience for all travelers. For instance, a 7-night cruise for two adults would total to approximately $990 when purchased before sailing or $1,073 when bought onboard.

A Lesson from History: Royal Caribbean's Glitch

Interestingly, Carnival's glitch wasn't the first of its kind in the cruise industry. In July 2019, Royal Caribbean International experienced a similar hiccup with its Deluxe Beverage Package. This glitch allowed passengers to purchase the package at a staggering $18 per person, per day, far below its actual value of $55 per person, per day at the time.

While Royal Caribbean initially intended to rectify the situation by canceling and refunding purchases at the incorrect rate, they later made a surprising choice. The cruise line honored the discounted prices with a message of goodwill: "this round's on us." Comparatively, Carnival's glitch differed in that it miscalculated the price for a single day rather than a discounted daily rate.


In the world of cruising, glitches like the one experienced by Carnival Cruise Line offer a fascinating glimpse into the dynamic relationship between technology, value, and customer satisfaction. While the steeply discounted prices might not have materialized as expected, Carnival's willingness to acknowledge the error and offer a discount demonstrates their commitment to their passengers' happiness. As impacted guests eagerly await their discount codes, the cruise community watches with bated breath to see how this story unfolds, and whether the discount might still allow for a taste of that remarkable deal.

Update - August 29, 2023: Clarification on Carnival's Response

Since the occurrence of the pricing glitch, many eager travelers have taken swift action to secure their potentially unbelievable deals on the Cheers! beverage package. While the prices were clearly an error, reminiscent of a similar incident with Royal Caribbean International in July 2019, Carnival Cruise Line's stance on the matter has now been clarified.

Carnival, in a bid to maintain transparency and uphold customer satisfaction, is not honoring the unintentional prices that resulted from the glitch. However, they are taking steps to remedy the situation. All guests who had booked the erroneously priced packages are receiving full refunds, reversing the transactions back to their original form of payment. This gesture is to acknowledge the confusion and inconvenience experienced by affected customers.

In a notification email sent out to those impacted, Carnival revealed their next step. They are offering a one-time, non-transferrable 10% discount code that affected guests can use to rebook the Cheers! beverage package. The email expressed an apology for the confusion and extended gratitude for customers' understanding.

It's important for guests to act promptly to redeem this 10% discount, as the codes will have a limited period of validity. Furthermore, these codes will exclusively apply to adults within the impacted staterooms, and they cannot be utilized for other drink package options or onboard purchases.

Guests should also be mindful that due to the glitch, any other items that were part of the same transaction as the Cheers! package, such as Wi-Fi, spa treatments, or shore tours, have been cancelled and refunded. As a result, if passengers had purchased any additional items alongside the erroneous package, they are required to revisit Carnival's website and place fresh orders for these items.

Comparison of Savings

Comparing the impact of the 10% discount in the context of the Cheers! beverage package rates offers perspective. The current pre-cruise purchase rate is $59.95 (USD) per day, while onboard purchases entail a rate of $64.95 per day. To contextualize the discount, for a 7-night cruise, using the 10% discount code would yield a savings of $41.96 when applied before the gratuity service charge, or $49.52 when applied to both the base rate and service charge.

While the 10% discount may not reach the astonishing heights of the potential 86% error, it nonetheless represents a gesture from Carnival Cruise Line to compensate customers and provide a reasonable discount on the Cheers! beverage package.

As this unique situation unfolds, some, but not all, the cruise community continue to appreciate the efforts made by Carnival to address the glitch and provide a satisfactory resolution for affected passengers.

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