By Paul Motter
One of the most frequently asked questions in our message boards is "can I bring my own liquor aboard the cruise ship?" Well, it depends on the cruise line. To make life a little easier for those of you who may be having hard time finding the policy, we have compiled all the official liquor policy guidelines for all the major cruise lines below.
Now, no matter what we do, the question of whether or not you can sneak alcohol on board will always come up. CruiseMates does not recommend doing this, nor do we want to know if you decide to do it. It is your personal choice.
We note that some of the cruise lines, notably Royal Caribbean, have taken a pretty hard line on people trying to sneak alcohol aboard, or otherwise violating their onboard alcohol policies, such as adults buying it for consumption by underage passengers. The company says that disembarkation without compensation is a possibility, at the discretion of the cruise line, for passengers who blatantly disregard the company rules.
Carnival recently changed their beverage policy to ban any beverage containers from being brought onboard, and then within a few days revised the policy to say soda cans and bottled water are allowed, as long as they are sealed of course.
The alcohol policies of the various major cruise lines:
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
The company web site states "A liquor and beverage consumption policy was created in order for Carnival to be able to control the liquor consumption of minors and the quantities consumed that lead to the disruptive behavior of others on board." Here is the policy:
Bringing Alcohol On Board - Embarkation:
Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages onboard. However, guests (21 years and older only) may bring one bottle of wine or champagne per person on board only during embarkation at the beginning of the cruise. A $10 corkage fee per bottle will be charged should you wish to consume this wine in the dining room or a $14 corkage fee per bottle in the Supper Club. Guests may bring a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages.
All alcohol, additional quantities of wine/champagne or excessive quantities of non-alcoholic beverages will be confiscated and discarded without compensation. Guests may purchase a variety of beverages on board the ship.
Alcoholic beverages will not be sold or served to anyone under the age of 21. We reserve the right to refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone. Alcoholic beverages purchased in the ship's gift shops or in ports of call will be retained by Carnival until the end of the voyage.
Alcoholic beverages of any kind purchased in any Port-of-Call will be confiscated at the gangway, stored on board and retained by Carnival until the end of the voyage.
Ship Gift Shops:
Alcoholic beverages of any kind purchased in the ship's gift shop will be stored on board and be retained by Carnival until the end of the voyage.
(Both of these policies imply they will return the liquor to you on the day you disembark --ed.)
Drinking Alcohol Onboard:
The minimum age for the purchase and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the bars, lounges and gift shops is 21 years of age. Carnival reserves the right to refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone. In the event that Bar/Restaurant/Gift Shop Staff are in question that a guest is less than 21 years old, they shall request picture identification, prior to serving the drink or selling the bottle of liquor.
The notable thing about Celebrity is that they do allow passengers to bring their own wine onboard, though the corkage fee is a bit high. For $25 you aren't saving much by bringing your wine on board unless it's a Chateau Lafite Rothschild. However, the corkage fee apparently does not apply if you are consuming the wine in your cabin. Not surprisingly, their policy echoes Royal Caribbean's in places, but is not altogether the same. Here is the line's stated policy:
No beer or hard liquor may be brought onboard for consumption. Guests wishing to bring personal wine onboard with them at the beginning of the cruise may do so, limited to two (2) bottles per stateroom, but when consumed in any shipboard restaurant, bar or dining venue, each bottle shall be subject to a corkage fee of $25.00.
If a guest receives a bottle of wine (in their stateroom) from a family member or friend, and that bottle(s) was purchased from our Bon Voyage Gift selection, then no corkage fee will apply if they wish to consume the bottle in the dining room or any public area. If a guest receives a bottle from an outside vendor and/or travel agent, and the bottle was not purchased through our Bon Voyage selection, then a $25.00 corkage fee per bottle will apply if they wish to consume the wine in the dining room or any other public area. The fee will be applied to the guest's onboard account.
Alcoholic beverages purchased in ports of call or from onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to guest staterooms on the last day of the sailing.
Celebrity has a "Guest Waiver" form in which parents can authorize their 18 year old children to drink in Europe. It is replicated in full below:
Alcohol Waiver and Acceptance of Responsibility - International
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on all Celebrity Cruises ships is 21 years of age. However, on ships in Europe, South America and Australia, where the legal drinking age is lower than 21, a parent who is sailing with his or her son(s) and/or daughter(s) who is between the ages of 18 to 20, may sign a waiver allowing the 18 to 20 year old to consume alcoholic beverages.
The 18- to 20 year-old must agree to comply with Celebrity Cruises' policies, including among other things, agreeing to not provide alcoholic beverages to any other person, regardless of age. Restrictions apply, and this policy is subject to change without notice.
An individual's age on the date of sailing determines his or her status for the entire cruise vacation.
Guests are not allowed to bring beer or hard liquor onboard for consumption or any other use.
Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage etc.) and will dispose of containers holding alcohol.
Celebrity Cruises' Guest Vacation Policy may be enforced, up to and including disembarkation, if a guest violates any alcohol policy. Guests under the age of 21 will not have alcohol returned to them.
Guests who violate any alcohol policies, (over-consume, provide alcohol to people under age 21, demonstrate irresponsible behavior, or attempt to conceal alcoholic items at security and or luggage check points or any other time), may be disembarked or not allowed to board, at their own expense, in accordance with our Guest Vacation Policies.
Celebrity Cruises reserves the right to revoke or otherwise restrict drinking privileges of any guest, regardless of age. Even if all criteria are met, shipboard personnel may elect, and have the option to, not grant the waiver or any such drinking privileges. The waiver may not apply when the vessel is in certain territorial waters.
A clear-cut policy, you may NOT bring any alcohol onboard at any time or consume it onboard if you buy it in the giftshop. Here is the policy:
Alcohol purchased in the gift shop or onshore will be held for you until disembarkation. No alcohol may be brought onboard at embarkation. Guests who are responsible for the supervision of underage guests shall ensure that they do not purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages or violate any other shipboard regulations. The minimum drinking age onboard is 21 years old for cruises departing from U.S. ports and 18 years old for cruises departing from non-U.S. ports.
We could not find an alcohol policy on display anywhere on the Crystal site. Though the line is generally considered to be a luxury line, it is not all-inclusive. You must pay for all alcohol you consume on board with the exception of some suites which come with a stocked mini-bar. The line does have an official policy on liquor, however, which we received from the company:
Bringing liquor onboard at embarkation: Allowed without confiscation. May be used in staterooms only, not in public spaces.
Bringing wine or champagne onboard: Allowed, with a corkage fee of $15 per bottle. Wine may be consumed in all restaurants.
Purchasing liquor in port: Allowed and may be consumed in stateroom.
Purchasing liquor in ships' duty-free shop: Guests may consume it in their staterooms but not in public spaces.
Honesty is the best policy with Disney, and moderation is the key. Here is the line's policy as told to us by the media relations department.
Guests can purchase alcohol in a port and bring it to their stateroom.
Disney Cruise Line does not prohibit Guests from bringing alcohol onboard. However, please be aware that any fragile items (including alcohol) must be hand-carried onboard in a day bag and/or carry-on, which cannot exceed 22" wide, 14" high and 9" deep.
Please note that beverage coolers are not permitted onboard (cannot be checked or hand carried). Guests who request a Wine Steward to open and serve a bottle of champagne, wine, or liquor that has been brought onboard will be charged a corking fee of $15.00 per bottle.
What is the policy on bar service on Disney ships?
The drinking age aboard ship is 21. Valid photo I.D. is required. Disney Cruise Line® reserves the right to refuse sale and/or service to anyone.
Can coolers and/or food items be brought onboard?
Coolers are not permitted except for those needed for medications, baby food or items related to dietary constraints. Items must be pre-packaged, unopened and cannot require any food prep from the kitchen. Coolers filled with personal items (e.g. soda, chips, candy, etc.) may not be brought onboard. Homemade items or pre-cooked items purchased on the way to the ship will not be allowed to be brought aboard. Also, open bags or containers of snack items should not be brought aboard. All items will need to be stored in the stateroom; the ship's storage and/or refrigeration are not available to use.
Each Guest returning from the Eastern Caribbean to the U.S. can bring back up to a total of U.S. $1,200 worth of duty-free merchandise (retail price). However, no more than $800 in combined purchases can be made on board the ship, St. Maarten and Castaway Cay. Or, the entire U.S. $1,200 exemption may be used on purchases from St. Thomas alone. Each Guest 21 and older is limited to 5 liters of alcohol (only 1 liter can be acquired in St. Maarten or on the ship, with an additional 4 liters being exempt if purchased on St. Thomas, provided at least 1 liter is produced in the U.S. Virgin Islands).
It appears you are welcome to bring wine and champagne on board. There is no mention of a corkage fee.
Except for wine and champagne, alcoholic beverages purchased in the vessel's shops or otherwise brought on the ship cannot be consumed on the ship. Bottles and other containers will be collected for safekeeping and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the voyage.
Guests under 21 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or chaperone who is at least 25 years old; one adult chaperone is required for every five people under the age of 21. Alcoholic beverages will not be served to guests under age 21.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES (NCL)
NCL does not mention allowing you to bring anything on board, nor does it mention a corkage fee on the web site, but they do have rules which we received from the company.
Any alcoholic beverages purchased ashore shall not be brought or consumed aboard the vessel, but shall be delivered to the ship's crew at the gangway to be retained by the ships until the guest disembarks at the end of the voyage. The guest assumes all responsibility to for complying with any applicable customs or import laws relating to any such purchase.
If you are 18 through 20 years of age and you have the written consent of your parents or guardian you can purchase beer or wine for yourself only when the ship is sailing in international waters (except in Alaska and Hawaii, where you must be 21 years of age to consume or purchase alcohol
They also have rules about their right to take action if you are defiantly intoxicated. This is from their web site:
NCL encourages the responsible use of alcohol and accordingly reserves the right to permanently or temporarily revoke the drinking privileges of any guest who violates NCL's Guest Code of Conduct or who is deemed a danger to himself, herself or others by vessel management. Continued abuse of alcohol while sailing and/or violation of NCL's alcohol policy may result in immediate disembarkation.
Company policy dictates that a passenger under 21 years of age must be accompanied in the same or connecting stateroom by a passenger 21 years or older who expressly agrees to be responsible for the under 21 passenger throughout the cruise. This includes, but is not limited to, preventing under-age purchase or consumption of alcohol, preventing under-age gaming activities and preventing violations of any ship's rules. Passengers must be age 21 to purchase or consume alcohol and age 18 to gamble on the ship.
Clear-cut policy, no booze can be carried aboard for any reason.
The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will be limited to guests age 21 years or older. Oceania Cruises will refuse and prohibits the sale or service of alcoholic beverages to guests under the age of 21 years. Guests are kindly reminded to consume alcohol in moderation. Oceania Cruises reserves the right to prohibit and retain all alcohol bought ashore for consumption onboard the vessel.
This is what we like to see, a comprehensive, no-nonsense policy that tells you exactly where you stand:
Question: What is the alcohol policy onboard Princess Cruises?
Answer: We kindly request that you do not bring alcoholic beverages (other than wine and/or champagne) onboard for consumption. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased duty free from the ship's gift shop or at ports of call will be collected for safekeeping and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the voyage. A member of our Security Staff will be at the gangway to assist with the storage of your alcoholic beverage purchases.
Question: What are the age restrictions for alcohol consumption and access to the casino and disco?
Answer: The legal drinking age of 21 years is always observed onboard and proof of age may be required. All onboard staff are trained to take seriously their responsibility to not serve alcohol to underage passengers. The age restrictions are clearly posted in the bars. Entry into the disco is limited to passengers 18 years and older. Be sure to check with the child and teen centers, however, for special disco events designed just for kids. Children under the age of 18 are welcome in the gymnasium, spa and Jacuzzi; and also in the evening entertainment show lounges when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
In line with domestic age limits, as well as Princess' company policy, the casino is reserved for passengers 21 years and older. Additionally, only those passengers 21 years and older will be allowed to purchase or consume alcohol. For those whose age is questionable, picture identification may be requested.
REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES
Regent Seven Seas cruise fares include all onboard gratuities; complimentary beverages including select wines and spirits served throughout the ship; complimentary 24-hour room service menu; complimentary in-suite dining including selections from the main dining room during dinner hours; in-suite refrigerator replenished daily with soft drinks, beer and bottled water; Butler service in Category B suites and above; and in-suite bar setup in Butler suites.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES
Royal Caribbean is very clear about their policy, they have it posted on their web site, and additionally published as a document you can download and print, just in case you aren't sure what you read online. Here is the online version first:
Effective as of all sailings commencing on or after July 28, 2006, the minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on all Royal Caribbean International ships is 21.
However, on cruises departing from European and South American countries, where the legal drinking age is typically lower than 21, a parent who is sailing with his or her son(s) and/or daughter(s) who is between the ages of 18 to 20, may sign a waiver allowing the 18 to 20 year old to consume alcoholic beverages.
The 18- to 20 year-old must agree to comply with Royal Caribbean's policies, including among other things, agreeing to not provide alcoholic beverages to any other person, regardless of age. Restrictions apply, and this policy is subject to change without notice.
Guests are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages onboard for consumption or any other use. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports of call or from onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to guest staterooms on the last day of the sailing. Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage etc.) and will dispose of containers holding alcohol. Royal Caribbean's Guest Conduct Policy may be enforced, up to and including disembarkation, if a guest violates any alcohol policy. Guests under the age of 21 will not have alcohol returned to them.
Guests who violate any alcohol policies, (over-consume, provide alcohol to people under age 21, demonstrate irresponsible behavior, or attempt to conceal alcoholic items at security and or luggage check points or any other time), may be disembarked or not allowed to board, at their own expense, in accordance with our Guest Conduct Policy.
And now, here is the "official alcohol policy" document:
Royal Caribbean reserves the right to revoke or otherwise restrict drinking privileges of any guest, regardless of age.
Royal Caribbean guests are expected to be responsible for their actions at all times, including during transfers to and from ships, inside terminals, while onboard, at our ports of call, during shore excursions and at our private destinations. Consuming alcohol to excess impairs one's judgment and reduces one's ability to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Guests who choose to consume alcohol must do so responsibly.
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Royal Caribbean International ships is 21. A guest's age is established upon embarkation (beginning of the cruise). If a guest celebrates their 21st birthday during the cruise, the guest may thereafter ask the Guest Relations Manger to modify ship's records to permit their consumption of alcohol during the remainder of the cruise. The guest will be required to appear at the Guest Relations Desk with his or her parent or guardian and to present a government issued form of identification to establish that the guest's 21st birthday was celebrated during the cruise. The ship's staff may refuse to serve alcoholic beverages to any guest who does not consume alcohol responsibly and may request verification of a guest's age to determine whether they are of age to consume alcohol pursuant to this policy.
No guest under age 21 may possess or consume alcohol during transfers to and from ships, inside terminals, while onboard or at our private destinations. Should a parent or guardian choose to permit their minor(s) to consume alcohol while ashore during a port of call or an excursion (where local laws permit), they remain accountable for ensuring the minor(s) consume responsibly and retain their ability to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations when they return to the ship.
On cruises embarking in a country where the legal drinking age is lower than 21, a parent who is sailing with his or her 18 to 20 year old minor son or daughter, may be permitted to sign a waiver allowing the minor to consume alcoholic beverages. The authorizing parent and the minor must agree to be responsible for ensuring the minor will consume alcohol responsibly and otherwise comply with the Guest Conduct Policy, including among other things, not providing alcoholic beverages to any other person, regardless of age.
Guests are not permitted to bring alcoholic beverages onboard for consumption or any other purpose.
Alcoholic beverages that are purchased from onboard shops or in ports of call (which must be presented to security upon re-boarding), will be secured by ship's personnel and delivered to the guest's stateroom just prior to the conclusion of the cruise. Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage, etc.) at any time, and those concealing or attempting to conceal alcohol will be subject to action pursuant to the "Consequences Section" of this Guest Conduct Policy. Guests under the age of 21 who possess alcohol in violation of this policy will not have alcohol returned to them and appropriate consequences will be considered, including but not limited to loss of privileges to use the disco or other areas or facilities of the ship.
Guests who violate any alcohol policy, including but not limited to underage drinking; providing alcohol to minor(s); possessing, concealing or attempting to conceal alcoholic items in their luggage, when boarding, or while on board; or failing to consume alcohol responsibly, will be considered for discipline under the provisions of this policy.
Open bar: Complimentary wines, spirits, fine French champagne, soft drinks and mineral water provided.
complimentary beverages served throughout the ship
Aboard the ships of Silversea, a premium assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits are stocked in one of the finest cellars at sea. Wine at dinner, a champagne toast in your suite or cocktails as you dance the night away -- all are courtesy of Silversea.
IN-SUITE BEVERAGE CABINET STOCKED WITH OUR COMPLIMENTS
Besides the chilled bottle of champagne that awaits you at embarkation, every suite includes a beverage cabinet stocked with your preferred assortment of complimentary beverages.
Basically, you can bring wine and champagne on the ship at any time. To drink it in a public room you pay a $15 corkage fee, but there is no charge if you have it in your cabin. Windstar often sails in wine country, so it is worth it to buy it on shore if the price is right.
Alcohol on Board Policy
Bottles or other containers of beer and other alcoholic beverages purchased in the vessel's shops or otherwise brought on the ship cannot be consumed on the ship, with the exception of wine and champagne. If the beverages are purchased from the vessel's shops or at ports of call, they will be collected for safekeeping and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the voyage. Our staff will make arrangements to store the items for you during the cruise. Guests can bring wines and champagne purchased from outside the ship onboard for consumption in their stateroom. For consumption in the restaurants or bars, a $15 corkage fee will be applied to the guests' onboard account.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The prices quotes were valid at the time this article was originally published and are subject to change.
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