Alcohol on Cruise Ships: Age Restrictions, Drink Packages, and Prohibited Items

Alcohol on Cruise Ships: You undoubtedly have some inquiries concerning alcohol consumption on board, regardless of whether you have a reservation or are just starting to plan. Does it come with it? Is purchasing a drink package-wise? Which kinds of alcohol are available on board? The list is endless!

Fortunately, drinking alcohol on a cruise ship is not a difficult subject. Make sure you are of legal drinking age before making any purchases, whether you decide to purchase each drink individually or to indulge in a drink package.

Of course, drinking is expensive while on a cruise; in fact, some drink packages can set you back more than the whole cost of a seven-night voyage. While there are ways to cut costs, attempting to bring alcohol onto the aircraft should be avoided.

We’ve only just begun! These eight frequently asked questions about cruise ship alcohol will help you prepare for your upcoming trip!

Does a cruise ship include alcohol?

Alcohol is not included in your cruise fare unless you are traveling on a luxury line or reserve a special promotion (like Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Free at Sea”).

Furthermore, the line you’re sailing on affects how much drinks cost. For example, cocktails on MSC Cruises cost between $9 and $10, but on most Royal Caribbean ships, they cost closer to $13.

Is it allowed to carry alcohol on a cruise ship?

Generally speaking, the response is no. Passengers’ purchases made on board account for a large portion of each cruise line’s earnings. Many of those purchases include alcohol, so lines are reluctant to let cruisers bring their own.

For example, on embarkation day only, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line permit each guest who is of legal drinking age to bring one 750ml bottle of wine or champagne.

Except Disney, which permits one six-pack of beer per adult who is 21 years of age or older, no significant oceangoing cruise line will permit passengers to bring beer or liquor (spirits) on board. However, some lines do permit each passenger to bring a limited amount of their own water, soft drinks, and juice.

Nonetheless, some upscale river and ocean cruise lines—especially those that include alcohol in their rates—do permit it. This is because bringing your own alcohol (BYOB) doesn’t affect onboard sales because it is already included.

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I’m going on a cruise; can I bring wine?

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A maximum of one bottle, no more than 750 mL, may be brought on board by each adult passenger (21 years of age or older on North American sailings) on the majority of mainstream lines, including Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.

Cruisers on those lines are free to enjoy their own wine in their staterooms, but there is a corkage fee (which can range from $15 to $25 per bottle) if they want to bring it to dinner.

Notable exceptions are Norwegian Cruise Line, which allows an unlimited number of bottles up to 1,500 mL but charges a per-bottle corkage fee regardless of where the wine is consumed: $15 USD per 750 ml bottle and $30 per 1,500 ml bottle. MSC, on the other hand, prohibits the bringing of any alcohol, including wine, onboard.

Additionally, travelers or other parties who ship wine or champagne to the ship will be assessed the same fee. No visitor may bring wine in a box on board. You won’t be charged corkage if you have a drink package.

Be aware that wine purchased in port will be picked up and delivered the last night of your voyage. Wine can only be brought aboard during the embarkation process.

On cruises, what varieties of alcohol are offered?

You are guaranteed to find an alcoholic beverage (or two) that you enjoy on board any cruise line! A wide variety of spirits, beers, and wines will be available, but there will also be specialty cocktail bars where skilled mixologists create exquisite concoctions, some of which are unique to the area!

How about a nice margarita? A tasty frozen beverage to enjoy by the pool would be great.

Never be afraid to ask questions if you’re not sure what to order! You might discover a new beverage that you truly enjoy. Additionally, if you have a drink package, it’s a great opportunity to venture beyond your comfort zone and sample beverages that you might not otherwise try if you had to pay for each one individually.

Even though each cruise line will have different specific offerings, you can be sure that you will be taken care of!

What are the alcohol packages on cruises?

Bar on a cruise
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An alcohol package may be your best bet if you like your adult beverages on vacation to be served continuously along with premium water, juice, and specialty coffee.

Cruise lines that provide them charge a (fairly steep) daily fee that grants guests almost limitless access to beverages at almost all onboard bars and restaurants, including nonalcoholic tipples like bottled water, soda, and juice.

But there are some restrictions. For instance, depending on the package tier you choose, you might not be able to order more than one drink at a time or certain top-shelf liquors.

Furthermore, each package needs to be purchased for the whole duration of your trip; some, like Carnival Cruise Line’s CHEERS! Package, have daily limits, typically of fifteen drinks.

You might be better off buying drinks a la carte if you don’t typically drink that much in a single day or if the total cost (daily fee multiplied by the number of days you’re sailing) is excessive.

Furthermore, if even one adult in the cabin chooses to purchase an alcohol package, the majority of them require all adults to do so. By prohibiting package sharing, the policy aims to boost the cruise line’s earnings.

There are various levels of beverage packages offered by some cruise lines, like Celebrity Cruises and MSC, so you can pick the one that best fits your drinking preferences and travel budget. Spending more money on one of the premium packages will be worthwhile if you’re looking for a more inclusive vacation.

Is it possible to obtain free alcohol while traveling?

On cruises, free alcohol isn’t always that difficult to come by if you play your cards right.

Champagne will be served during onboard art auctions; however, you probably won’t be able to select the beverage you receive. Additionally, by sailing with the same cruise line repeatedly, you’ll advance through the ranks of its loyalty program, earning invitations to welcome receptions and other at-sea festivities that typically include a variety of complimentary libations.

Higher tiers even offer bigger savings on wine bottles or a cap on the amount of complimentary drinks each traveler may receive.

For example, Diamond Crown & Anchor members of Royal Caribbean receive four drink vouchers every day. They can be used for non-alcoholic drinks like soda, fine coffee, etc. if you don’t drink alcohol.

Less expensive alcohols

Onboard, there are additional options for finding less expensive alcohol. Buying a bucket of beer will typically save you a few dollars as opposed to buying individual bottles.

Choose the drink of the day, which is typically less expensive. However, be careful—they’ll charge extra if you get anything in a souvenir glass!

Do you like to bet? If this is the case, you will frequently receive free drinks while playing when you hit a particular level in a cruise line’s gambling program.

Which Cruise Lines Permit Alcohol Consumption on Board?

Viking Ocean Cruises
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With two exceptions—Costa and MSC cruises, which forbid the bringing of any alcohol on board—most major cruise lines allow passengers to bring a certain amount of alcohol on board.

There are restrictions, but the majority of the major cruise lines do permit you to bring small amounts of alcohol on board.

Many are tempted to bring alcohol on board covertly as a result. But it’s dangerous and can be seized—or worse, fined.—

Cruise Lines’ Alcohol Policy

Each passenger on a Carnival Cruise is permitted to bring one 750ml bottle of wine or champagne. But, you are not allowed to bring beer, hard liquor, or spirits on board. Please take care when packing your wine, and keep these guidelines in mind.

Princess Cruises allows one bottle of wine or champagne per person, which is comparable to Carnival Cruises’ policy. Before you depart, make sure to review their most recent policy to guarantee a smooth journey.

During embarkation, each Cunard Line guest is permitted one bottle of wine or champagne. There are no limitations on bringing wine, spirits, or beer onboard when you purchase them during a port of call, unlike on Carnival Cruises or Princess Cruises.

There are luxury cruise lines that don’t charge corkage fees and offer unlimited alcohol on board, including Silversea, Seabourn, Viking Ocean Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas.

On these upscale cruises, you can indulge your cravings and have a drink whenever you want without worrying about the ship’s alcohol policies.

However, MSC Cruises has a more stringent policy and won’t allow any alcohol in passengers’ luggage at all during the embarkation process. Before you set out, you must be aware of their regulations.

Alcohol on cruise ships is subject to specific regulations set by each cruise line. It is crucial to keep these guidelines in mind when you pack and buy drinks on your trip.

Just a gentle reminder to enjoy your cruise vacation and always drink responsibly!

Cruise Companies That Permit Alcohol on Board

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line
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You are allowed to bring one 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne in your carry-on luggage per adult (21 years of age or older) when sailing with Carnival Cruise Line.

But be aware that there may be a corkage fee if you decide to drink your wine in a restaurant or public space. Sadly, you are not permitted to bring onboard any additional alcoholic beverages, such as beer or spirits.

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Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line
(Credit: USA Today)

It is permitted for you wine lovers to bring up to two 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom when you cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line.

Similar to Carnival, opening your bottles outside of your stateroom may result in corkage fees. It’s crucial to remember, though, that no additional alcoholic beverages may be brought aboard.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises
(Credit: CultureMap houston)

You are allowed to bring one 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne in your carry-on luggage as a Princess Cruise guest, per adult who is of legal drinking age.

Should you decide to sip your wine in a public setting, there might be a corkage charge. Regretfully, you are not allowed to bring any other alcoholic beverages on board.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line Ship, Disney Cruise Line ships. Disney Cruise Line Ship age, Disney Cruise Ship size
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When traveling with Disney Cruise Line, each adult (21 years of age and up) is allowed to check two 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne or one six-pack of beer per person.

But it’s important to keep in mind that there might be a corkage fee if you wish to drink these in any of the ship’s public areas. However, since alcohol cannot be brought on board, packing shouldn’t be a big concern.

Policies and Limitations Regarding Alcohol

Limitations on Quantity

Royal Caribbean drink prices, Royal Caribbean drink prices 2024, Royal Caribbean menu
(Credit: Shivanna)

There are typically restrictions on the amount of alcohol that can be brought on a cruise ship.

For instance, each passenger on a Carnival Cruise is permitted to bring one 750ml bottle of wine or champagne.

But guests are not permitted to bring beer, hard liquor, or spirits on board. Check the rules and regulations for the particular cruise you are on as these can differ depending on the cruise line.

Categories of Alcoholic Drinks

You may find that different cruise lines have different rules about what kinds of alcoholic beverages you can bring on board.

Some might only allow champagne and wine, while others might ban all alcoholic beverages. What you should know is as follows:

  • Champagne and wine: Several cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise and Princess Cruises, frequently allow passengers to bring one bottle of champagne or wine at the time of embarkation.
  • Beer: Most cruise lines forbid passengers from bringing their alcohol on board. Before attempting to bring beer on your particular cruise, it’s a good idea to confirm the policy.
  • Spirits and Hard Liquors: It’s common for cruise ships to prohibit these kinds of alcoholic beverages. Some upscale cruise lines, though, might have laxer rules.

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Always make sure you are following the rules and regulations of your particular cruise by checking the alcohol policy before packing.

Corkage Charges

If you wish to enjoy your wine or champagne in the ship’s dining rooms or other areas but bring it on board, corkage fees may be applicable. These charges assist in defraying the opening and serving expenses of the bottles.

Before you set out on your trip, it’s important to know the exact corkage fees, as they can differ depending on the cruise line. While some cruise lines might not even charge corkage fees, others might in certain situations waive them.

While some cruise ships may allow you to bring a certain amount of alcohol on board, the rules and regulations differ based on the cruise line and the kind of alcohol in question.

When you get ready for your trip, make sure to read up on the alcohol policy of the cruise you have selected. Keep in mind any quantity restrictions, permitted alcoholic beverage kinds, and possible corkage fees.

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