We are often asked this question. Packages might be tempting to purchase because they are cheaper than nucs but they require more maintenance and their chances of success are usually not as high as nucs. Packages can perform and overwinter just as well as or better than nucs.
We advise beginning beekeepers to start out with nucs because most of the hard work of establishing a hive has already been done for you. Beginners should not buy already established or over-wintered hives. There is much to know about the management of these hives. A beginner should start small and grow the first season with starter hives. Your goal the first year is to grow strong hives ready to go into winter. If you do get extra honey the first year it is just a bonus. However, it is ultimately your decision based upon your needs, budget, and beekeeping skill level.
There are pros and cons to each and some are not huge advantages or disadvantages but you should be aware of each: