Interested in cruise line rules about bringing water, soda, and other non-alcoholic beverages aboard? Most people look forward to a cruise’s adult libations — an umbrella drink in one hand can mysteriously put anyone in a better mood. But that doesn’t mean you only want to drink booze for a week.
While water, juice, and tea are usually free on a cruise, you often have to go to the ship’s restaurants to get them. Meanwhile, non-alcoholic drinks like sodas cost extra (usually around $2-3 per serving), so bringing those on with you when allowed can save you a decent amount.
Plus, you might have a favorite non-alcoholic drink that the cruise doesn’t normally serve and it’s always nice to have some water in the cabin instead of having to head to the buffet or a bar just to get a drink.
So can you bring water, soda or other drinks on your cruise? The answer depends on which line you sail, but in many cases it is allowed.
Below, we’ve researched the policies for each major cruise line to give you everything you need to know.
Carnival Cruise Lines Drink Policy
Carnival is fairly liberal with their beverage policy. According to their website, “On embarkation day, a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, energy drinks, juice, and milk), packaged in cans or cartons, may be brought on board and must be in the guest’s carry-on luggage. A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less, per person.”
Given that most people sail with two people to a room, that means you can bring 24 cans/cartons of anything you want as long as it’s non-alcoholic. Just be sure that it is not in a bottle.
With the prices of beverages on the cruise (around $2-4 per non-alcoholic drink), that can save you a lot of money.
One tip: If you want to have water to drink, it’s harder to find in cans or cartons, and Carnival doesn’t allow bottles to be brought aboard. In that case, you can order a 12-pack of bottled water to be delivered to your cabin for about $10. That’s much easier than carrying it on with you.
- Carnival policy: 12 cans/cartons (12 ounces or less) per person are allowed. Source.
Royal Caribbean Drink Policy
Royal Caribbean used to be strict and straightforward about bringing beverages on the ship. It was never allowed. However, now Royal Caribbean has a more lenient policy.
Their site says “Guests may also bring non-alcoholic beverages as carry-on items on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. Milk and distilled water brought on for infant, medical, or dietary use are permitted.”
One thing to note is that unlike Carnival, that means Royal Caribbean allows bottles and slightly larger containers.
- Royal Caribbean policy: 12 cans/cartons/bottles (17 ounces or less) per cabin are allowed. Source.
Princess Cruises Drink Policy
While finding the drink policy for Princess is a bit of a hunt, it is buried within the passenger contract. In this case, the cruise lines says that:
“A small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, juice, milk) packaged in cans or cartons may be brought on board on embarkation day, only if carried on in Guests’ hand luggage (not in checked luggage). A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less per person. Guests will be asked to discard open beverages in plastic containers prior to boarding.”
The cruise line also specifically says that drinks in bottles are not allowed.
- Princess policy: Passengers can bring up to 12 cans/cartons of non-alcoholic beverages. Drinks packaged in bottles aren’t allowed. Source.
Norwegian Cruise Lines Drink Policy
Norwegian used to have a policy that allowed you to bring drinks aboard with you when you boarded the ship. Now that’s changed and beverages aren’t allowed when boarding.
According to the website: “Effective for sailings July 15, 2016 and beyond, guests are prohibited from bringing any beverages — including liquor, beer and non-alcoholic drinks such as water, soda and juices — on board either as carry-on or checked luggage.”
The only exception is that purified or distilled water in sealed containers for medical devices like CPAPs or baby formula are OK, but you do need to contact the cruise line ahead of time to verify an exception.
Unfortunately, that means you’ll have to leave your soda at home.
- Norwegian Cruise Line policy: No beverages are allowed to be brought aboard. Source.
Disney Cruises Drink Policy
Disney doesn’t specifically point out non-alcoholic beverages as not being allowed on their website, but they also aren’t mentioned them as being prohibited either.
One thing to know is that soda and water are available on the ship at no charge if you get them from the beverage stations on board (one of the few cruise lines with free soda), Still, many people want to bring their own favorite beverage.
In that case, reports are that you can bring your own, but soda and water should be unopened and brought in your carry-on luggage, NOT in your checked suitcases. We haven’t found any specific limits on how much you can bring aboard, but we would suggest being reasonable and only bring a case or less.
- Disney Cruise Line policy: Non-alcoholic beverages (including soda) are provided on the ship. There is no mention of them being prohibited when boarding. Source.
Celebrity Cruises Drink Policy
As a sister cruise line to Royal Caribbean (they are owned by the same parent company), you would think that Celebrity would have a similar beverage policy. However, of all the cruise lines, we had the most issue finding any mention of bringing on non-alcoholic drinks on Celebrity. This includes searching the website and ticket contract
That said, we called the cruise line and were told that non-alcoholic drinks are allowed as part of your carry-on luggage. There were no restrictions mentioned (such as bottles versus cans or drink size), but the representative encouraged packing light.
In addition, we did notice that a recent update to their list of “What Not to Pack” deleted a specific mention of non-alcoholic beverages, giving the impression that they are now ok to bring.
- Celebrity Cruises policy: While not specifically mentioned online, a phone call to the cruise line told us that non-alcoholic beverages are allowed to be brought on at embarkation.
MSC Cruises Drink Policy
MSC is a global cruise line, and it’s ramping up quickly in the United States. According to their list of “Items Forbidden Onboard,” guests are not allowed to bring drinks on with them when boarding.:
“In the interest of health and safety, beverages and food (including partially eaten or home cooked items) may not be brought on board either. Exception: dry, packaged and commercially produced foods.”
- MSC Cruises policy: Beverages are mentioned under “Items Forbidden Onboard” so you should leave them at home. Source.
Can I Bring Water for Medical Use or Milk for Baby Formula?
Not everyone that wants to bring on a liquid wants it to drink. Some need to bring on water for medical purposes, such as use of distilled water to use with a CPAP at night or milk to mix with baby formula.
If you want to bring something for a medical purpose, it’s a good idea to call the cruise line before your trip and ask about their policy. Obviously if they allow you to bring on water as a general rule, then it won’t be an issue. If they don’t allow you to bring beverages, then you might find they make an exception for medical use, or they can supply what you need on the ship.
What Happens If I Bring Water/Soda and It’s Not Allowed?
So what will happen if you bring on a non-alcoholic drink and it’s not allowed? For instance, some cruise lines have specific rules regarding container size or type.
Don’t worry, you won’t be arrested or denied boarding. If you bring a non-alcoholic beverage that’s not allowed, at worst, the security staff may confiscate it. There’s also a chance that they don’t even notice the drinks or care.
We’d still suggest following the guidelines set out by the cruise line, just to make things as easy as possible.
For more on what sort of alcoholic drinks you can bring on a ship, visit this link.
We just disembarked from a NCL cruise on Sunday April 2, 2023 and we brought on a 12 pack of water and some protein drinks. We placed them in a tote which was checked and brought to our room as it was heavy. Other passengers brought 12 packs of canned soda onboard.
Friendly heads up!
Section 5 of Princess Cruise Line’s passage contract prohibits guests from bringing water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages on board that are packaged in bottles. Non alcoholic beverages (including water) must be in cans or cartons.
“Guests are also prohibited from bringing water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages on board that are packaged in bottles. A small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, juice, milk) packaged in cans or cartons may be brought on board on embarkation day, only if carried on in Guests’ hand luggage (not in checked luggage). A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less per person. Guests will be asked to discard open beverages in plastic containers prior to boarding.”
Thanks for the find! Updated the article.
Soon to cruise with Celebrity and looking at this policy. On their website the “what not to pack” does not list non-alcoholic drinks. Anyone know if this is the current policy vs what is shown in the article?
Just spoke with Norwegian and we are not allowed to bring water, not even distilled or the cpap. This may be small but it might be a deal breaker for future choices in cruise lines going forward.
Can anyone advise please, My elderly father only like coles brand soda water and happy to drink room temp in our cabin, we are traveling on Sea Princess 14 days to NZ. Can we take the 1L plastic bottles on board. Thanks in Advance
Just got off a Celebrity cruise, and found it to be no problem to take soda cans on board the ship on both embarkation day and port days.
Thanks for letting your fellow cruise passengers know!
Thanks for the info! Great help. A query I can’t find an answer for about sofa: as a dedicated Coca Cola vs Pepsi drinker, does majestic princess have one, other or neither? Thanks. Mary
It appears that Princess serves Coke products. The offer a canned beverage package with Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite.
You are wrong about Norwegian. You can bring as many bottles of wine as you want in your checked luggage as long as you pay the decorking fee of $15 a bottle. I just called them today as we leave this week on the Norwegian Pearle. Since the cheapest bottle of wine I could find on the ship is $54 ( on their website) plus 20% tip on each bottle purchased, bringing some of your own wine allows you to have a drink on your balcony without paying an arm and a leg. Their beverage package is $99 a day each, so if you don’t drink much, this price is high over a 10 day cruise.
Linda — This article is the policy for non-alcoholic drinks (soda, water, etc.). Those aren’t allowed on Norwegian at this time. You are right about the wine. And that’s a really smart move to bring your own and save some money.
hi Linda, do they charge you $15 + 20% service to open the bottle or just the $15? How was the food? I want a cruise with good food (foodie food). Thanksra
rayzer, if you want good food nobody beats Celebrity. They are the best. I’ve done over two dozen cruises, so you can trust me. Also read the reviews from other cruisers.
Royal Caribbean says exact opposite of what you are saying.
Thanks for the heads up. It does look like Royal Caribbean has changed their policy. We’ve updated the article.