Legal drinking age on cruise ships: What you need to know

Legal drinking age on cruise ships: Are you planning a cruise but want to be sure you meet the legal drinking age? Perhaps you are wondering if your older kids can join you for a beverage on your upcoming cruise. Understanding the legal drinking age aboard cruise ships is crucial in any circumstance.

To ensure you properly plan your next holiday, you will learn the minimum age to drink on cruise ships in this article.

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The legal drinking age on cruise ships

Alcohol on Cruise Ships, can you bring Alcohol on Cruise Ships
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It varies what age is legal to drink on cruise ships. What ship you are on, where you are leaving from, and where you are going to end up are all factors that affect the minimum age requirements.

You can select a cruise that complies with the minimum drinking age in most parts of the world, which ranges from 16 to 18.

It’s crucial to remember, though, that all ships that dock in the United States and many international cruise companies with their headquarters in the United States have a legal drinking age of 21.

The legal drinking age for cruises departing from Australia and traveling through New Zealand, China, Europe, and Singapore is eighteen.

However, the legal age rises to 20 if you’re traveling between Japanese ports while on a cruise.

Remember that if you are under 21, some cruise lines, like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, might need your parents’ permission.

This may be relevant to cruises taking place in regions other than North America, such as Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. As you can see, where you’re traveling and the policies of that particular cruise line will have a big impact on whether you can drink on a trip at the age of 18.

Let’s take a closer look at these guidelines so you can understand exactly what you’re getting into.

General Guidelines for Drinking While Cruising

Royal Caribbean drink prices, Royal Caribbean drink prices 2024, Royal Caribbean menu
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When a cruise ship is in US territorial waters, the standard drinking age is 21. However, whether you travel in international seas or on some cruise lines, the age restriction varies from 18 to 21 years old. The policies of the cruise company, the destination, and the country of departure may all have an impact on this. For example, the legal drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Royal Caribbean cruises is 21, and this applies to all of their ships.

Respecting the policies established by each cruise company is essential since violators, particularly parents who provide alcohol to their minor children, risk facing repercussions.

International Waters

Some cruise lines permit guests who are between the ages of 18 and 20 to imbibe alcohol when traveling in foreign waters.

One example of this is the Norwegian Cruise Line, which allows alcohol consumption for guests between the ages of 18 and 20 as soon as the ship departs international waters.

However, visitors under 21 must have parental approval.

Remember that although some cruise lines permit a lower drinking age, this might only be applicable when the ship is in international waters. Be sure you are aware of the regulations and limitations for each leg of your trip.

In conclusion, the secret to guaranteeing a peaceful sailing experience is to be aware of the drinking age regulations on various cruise lines and in different places.

You can experience an unexpectedly hassle-free cruise holiday by adhering to these suggestions.

Carnival Cruise Lines Policies

The standard drinking age on Carnival Cruise Lines is 21. However, the legal drinking age is reduced to 18 when sailing from a port outside of the United States, such as those in Europe or Australia.

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This is to ensure that Carnival complies with those nations’ laws on the legal drinking age. Keep in mind that this policy could alter or modify at any time.

Royal Caribbean

The legal drinking age on all Royal Caribbean cruises is 21, as you will note if you happen to be aboard one of their ships. Except, that is, if you’re sailing out of South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, or New Zealand, where the legal drinking age is reduced to 18.

However, it’s crucial to remember that, regardless of the sailing origin, the drinking age at private locations is still 21.

Norwegian Cruise Lines

When the ship is in international waters—three miles outside of U.S. territorial waters—guests between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one may purchase and consume wine or beer on Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Any cruise with attendees under the age of 21 must have parental approval. It is important to note that sailings to Alaska and Hawaii are not subject to this age change.

Prior to boarding a Norwegian Cruise, pay close attention to the precise policy specifics.

Princess Cruise Lines

Princess Cruise Lines adopts a rigorous stance, upholding a 21-year-old minimum drinking age for all of their ships’ beverages, regardless of where they are made.

The ship’s location has no bearing on this policy, which is in effect for the entire cruise.

If you intend to travel with Princess Cruise Lines, be sure you are aware of this policy.

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The effects of port laws

The site of embarkation is a crucial factor to take into account when organizing your trip because it influences your onboard drinking age.

For example, if your cruise ships out of a port in the United States, you will typically need to be 21 years old to drink alcohol.

There are, however, some exclusions if the ship travels more than three miles outside of US territorial seas. In these situations, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 20, you’re allowed to buy and drink wine and beer.

For this age group, parental authorization will be necessary, and permission must be granted by signing a form.

There may be variations in the drinking age limits at different embarkation points outside of the United States.

For instance, the legal drinking age may be lowered to 18 if your cruise leaves from a port in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, or Singapore.

The legal drinking age in Japan is twenty years old. Before making a reservation, be sure you understand the specific policies of your cruise line.

Port of Calls

Remember that the rules of the places you visit while on your cruise may affect your ability to drink.

The legal drinking age in each nation varies, which could limit your options for consuming alcohol both onboard and off. Recognize these limitations and abide with the laws of the place you are visiting.

For instance, the legal drinking age in a Caribbean port may be between 18 and 21 years old. However, the legal drinking age in most European countries is lower—it is commonly 18 years old. Learn about the drinking age regulations at the following port types to help keep things clear:

  • Caribbean Ports: The legal drinking age is eighteen to twenty-one.
  • European Ports: the legal drinking age is normally eighteen.
  • Asian Ports: Each country has a different legal drinking age; in Japan, for example, passengers must be 20 years old.

In the end, it is your responsibility to remain aware of the legal drinking age in each port of call that you visit throughout your cruise as well as the site of your embarkation.

Remember that these guidelines could alter or differ between cruise operators.

By keeping these things in mind, you can make sure that your sailing experience is seamless and pleasurable while still adhering to local laws.

Private Island Exceptions to the Drinking Age

People private destination pool
(Credit: Carnival cruise)

Some cruise lines offer private islands as potential destinations; their private island drinking age policies differ from those of their ships. Here are a few instances:

  • Norwegian Cruise Line: To possess or consume alcohol at the cruise line’s exclusive locations, guests must be at least 21 years old.
  • Royal Caribbean International: The minimum drinking age for private islands on Royal Caribbean International ships is 21, regardless of the departure place.
  • Celebrity Cruises: To drink alcohol at any of the company’s exclusive locations, you must be at least 21 years old.
  • Holland America: All Holland America ships have a 21-year-old minimum drinking age.
    Verifying Identity on Cruise Ships

On a cruise, not all regulations are supposed to be broken! When you ask for a drink on a cruise ship, they will verify your ID if you appear underage. The same holds for areas that are only accessible to people who meet a particular minimum age. You can receive a wristband stating that you are a minor.

Cruise Ship Bar

Bar on a cruise
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For instance, some cruise ships let guests into the casino as young as 18, but drinking is only permitted for those who are at least 21. As a result, you can receive a bracelet to let the personnel know that you are a minor.

Packaged Drinks and Children

Numerous cruise lines provide drink packages designed exclusively for minors, which do not include any alcoholic beverages. For instance, MSC Cruises offers coffee, energy, and soft drinks as part of their drink package for kids. For $30 per person per day, Celebrity Cruises also provides a zero-proof package that includes some delectable zero-proof beverages that kids can enjoy with their parents.

Below is a quick list of cruise lines that permit drinking at 18 in international waters:

  • Celebrity Cruises (requires parental permission)
  • Costa Cruises
  • Cunard Cruises
  • Disney cruises (requires parental permission)
  • Fred Olsen
  • Holland America
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line (requires parental permission)
  • P&O Cruises

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