In a quiet shift of beverage offerings, Norwegian Cruise Line has switched from PepsiCo to Coca-Cola sodas. Guests onboard different Norwegian Cruise Line ships have noticed the change in recent weeks, which is now hinted at on the cruise line’s website.
Changing Soda Companies
Norwegian Cruise Line ships will now be serving Coca-Cola soft drink products, including Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and more. The exact beverages offered aboard individual ships will likely depend on the supplies and stock availability as the switch is made, as well as different drinks’ popularity and the ability to meet demand.
For years, Norwegian Cruise Line has offered exclusively PepsiCo products (Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Mountain Dew, etc.). Now, recent guests have noted Coca-Cola products being served onboard different Norwegian cruise ships, including Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, and Norwegian Joy.
Recent renderings of Norwegian Prima have also shown what appear to be Coca-Cola products stocked in bars, but this is far from definitive confirmation of the company’s complete beverage options and may just be for representational purposes.
Coca-Cola products were noted as available during the christening festivities for Norwegian Prima on Saturday, August 27 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
This changeover will likely include different options not only for soft drinks, but also bottled water, which is typically supplied by the same soda company that provides the carbonated beverages. PepsiCo’s bottled water is Aquafina, while Coca-Cola’s bottled water is Dasani.
Teas and sports drinks available onboard Norwegian ships may also change as the soda options are switched.
Why the Change?
There has been no official announcement or explanation offered for the shift in soda offerings for Norwegian Cruise Line. These types of changes are often made based on negotiations between beverage providers and the cruise line, with exclusive suppliers offering greater incentives and profit margins in different markets.
It is not unusual for different venues such as theme parks, sports stadiums, hotel chains, or similar markets to offer just one brand of cola beverage, or to switch to a different company when fiscally viable.
It is possible that recent supply chain issues may be a factor in this change, though such temporary disruptions do not usually have as long-lasting impacts as completely changing the available drink brands.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s website – which previously listed beverage options from the PepsiCo brand – now uses generic terms such as “cola” “diet cola” and “lemon lime soda” when describing its beverage packages. While this could indicate a permanent change, it could also be a sign of more flexible options depending on available supplies.
The choice between Coke and Pepsi can be a contentious one for dedicated soda drinkers. While some people claim the two beverages have no discernable differences between them, many soda connoisseurs can easily taste which drink is Coke and which is Pepsi.
Pepsi products are generally regarded as sweeter, while Coke products tend to have a bolder flavor with more “bite” to the taste.
Because of these differences, cocktails that include a cola or lemon-lime soda as part of the mix can taste markedly different depending on whether Coke or Pepsi is used.
Which Cruise Lines Serve Which Sodas
Different cruise lines have different soda options available to guests. Carnival Cruise Line, for example, used to serve Coca-Cola products exclusively, but switched to PepsiCo products in January 2020.
Disney Cruise Line, on the other hand, has an exclusive partnership with Coca-Cola aboard all its ships, including the line’s brand new flagship, Disney Wish. This is not surprising, considering Coca-Cola products are also served in Disney theme parks.
Royal Caribbean International also serves Coca-Cola products, including the popular Freestyle machines that permit guests to create unique flavor combinations.
Some cruise lines may offer both types of beverages, depending on which market or region a specific ship is sailing in and which drinks are available in that area.
Cruise passengers who have a specific taste preference for either Coke or Pepsi should investigate which soft drinks different cruise lines offer before booking.
If the drinks aren’t to their taste, many cruise lines do permit guests to carry on limited quantities of alternative beverages, but policies and permitted amounts vary by cruise line.
According to their Cruise FAQ, however, Norwegian Cruise Line does not permit guests to bring aboard any beverages, either in carryon or checked luggage, a policy which has been in place since July 2016. The only exceptions are purified water for medical devices or infant formula, or sealed wine bottles subject to security screening and a corkage fee.