For many passengers, it’s not a cruise unless they have a drink in their hand. And with Carnival known as the “Fun Ships,” you better believe there are plenty of spots where you can grab an adult beverage and let loose.
In fact, you have an amazing amount of options, not just in spots where you can find something to drink but also in what’s available onboard. From wine to beer to cocktails and more, no matter what you’re craving there will be a spot on the ship where you can find it.
Even so, if you’ve never sailed Carnival, you might have questions about things such as bars available, prices, and even drink menus. Having sailed the cruise line plenty, we can tell you firsthand about the policies and questions that you might have.
Bars Available on a Carnival Cruise
On your ship, there will likely be a dozen or more spots to grab a drink. Many of these bars change across different ships, but there are a few spots that make their way across the fleet and Carnival fans love them. Here are some of the noteworthy spots you’ll likely see, no matter which ship you sail:
Alchemy Bar — Are you looking for a spot where the drinks are more experimental than a typical bar? Alchemy Bar offers the spot, with an old-time pharmacy vibe where the bartenders create “elixirs” using high-end spirits, spices, juices, and maybe even a few things you wouldn’t normally think to include in a beverage.
Havana Bar — As you might guess, Havana Bar keeps with a Cuban theme. If you want a mojito (or a cup of Cuban coffee), this is the place. During the night there is usually live music and dancing, along with a number of spots to sit and have a cozy, intimate chat with someone you love.
RedFrog — Passengers might get a little confused as some ships have a RedFrog Tiki Bar and others have a RedFrog Pub. Nevermind the small difference in name, they have a similar vibe as a fun tropical-themed bar serving beers, rum drinks, and anything else under the sun. If you want a place with an upbeat vibe and a drink with an umbrella in it, make sure to stop by.
SkyBox Sports Bar — Unfortunately if you want to watch the game, it’s normally not available in your cabin. The good news is that TV around the ship (including spots like the casino) have different feeds so if there is a big match or game, you can usually find it. A perfect place to check is the SkyBox Sports Bar. It features plenty of spots to watch the game, multiple TVs and a familiar sports bar vibe.
Beer Station — This isn’t really a bar, but ships across the fleet will have beer stations. This is a self-serve beer spot with a couple of choices. Scan your card, pull the tap, and you’re charged by the ounce that you pour. Options of beer are limited, but it’s also usually the least expensive glass of beer on the ship.
Carnival Cruise Bar Menus
Each bar will offer up a menu that’s unique. So you’ll find drinks served at the RedFrog Tiki Bar that aren’t served at the Havana Bar. And you’ll find drinks at the Havana Bar that aren’t on the menu at the Alchemy Bar.
In general, we suggest using this as a chance to try something new. But just know that if there is something you really want to drink and don’t see it on a menu, don’t hesitate to ask. If it’s something that’s well known, chances are you can have it made for you, no problem.
Here are a few menus from around the ship:
How Much Are Drinks on Carnival?
Menu prices will vary from bar to bar and drink to drink. However, there in general you’ll find that prices are in the following ranges before gratuity:
- Beers: $7-8
- Cocktails: $10-12
- Wine: Varies
- Shots: $7
Carnival is well-known for offering discounts and deals. For instance, there are offers for buckets of beer that are a discount versus buying individually. Some bars might have happy hour specials. Others may have a special drink of the day that is a deal.
In general, however, you can expect to see these types of menu prices. Don’t forget to add in the 18% gratuity on top of the price.
Understanding Gratuity on Drink Purchases
Like other cruise lines, Carnival has an automatic gratuity on bar purchases. This charge — 18% — is tacked on to any bar purchase.
So if you order a drink with a $10 menu price, you’ll actually pay $11.80 in total. You can’t adjust or remove this gratuity. If you have Carnival’s CHEERS! drink package, then the 18% gratuity is added onto the daily cost of the package instead (and you’re charged nothing at the bar).
In addition, when you get your receipt you’ll also see a line for an additional tip. This isn’t required, but is optional if you are feeling generous.
Bringing Alcohol on a Carnival Cruise
After seeing the prices and gratuities, you might be wondering about just bringing your own drinks from home. While Carnival does let you bring on a small quantity of non-alcoholic drinks (12 cans/cartons per person), beverages like beer and liquor aren’t allowed.
You can, however, bring on a regular-sized bottle of wine or champagne per person with you when you board. So if you have a favorite wine brand or just want to save a little money, this is a smart rule to take advantage of.
Your favorite beer or spirit needs to stay home.
Can I Take My Drink Anywhere on the Ship?
Yes. One policy that can take some getting used to is that you are free to take your drink anywhere on the ship. So if you head to a bar, you can then take the beverage with you to the pool, the dining room, your cabin, or the theater.
There are no “open container” rules like you see on land. The entire ship is open for you to enjoy with a beverage.
Bar Opening Times and Hours of Operation
A Carnival cruise is definitely a “no judgment zone” when it comes to having a drink or two. All you need to do is look at the bar hours of operations.
It’s not that you can get a drink any time of day, but just about. The hours will vary from bar to bar, but with so many on board, there’s often at least one open around the ship outside of the early morning hours.
Some spots open as early as 7-8 a.m. while some have closing times of midnight and others simply say they are open until “Late.” You can check the hours of operation on the Carnival app once on the ship.
CHEERS! Beverage Package
If you’re planning to enjoy a drink or ten on a cruise, then you might be wondering about Carnival’s beverage package — also known as CHEERS! For this package, you pay one set daily fee (the price varies depending when you buy and your trip length) and then you get to order pretty much anything off the menu, as long as it’s under $20 per glass.
These drink packages can make things incredibly convenient. When you’re thirsty, you simply head to the bar and don’t have to worry about a bar tab.
In general the Carnival drink package is one of the better offers compared to most cruise lines, but there are definitely things to know in the fine print. We cover everything about the CHEERS! beverage package in our article here.
Drinking Age on Carnival
If you are on a Carnival cruise from most places, then you have to be 21 years old to drink on the ship. However, when you are in a port of call, you’re subject to that country’s rules. So on the ship, you have to be 21 years old, but stop in Cozumel and you can drink in port at 18 years old.
Note that if you sail Carnival from Australia, then the drinking age is lowered to 18 years old on the ship.
More on Sailing Carnival:
- Worth It? 15+ Questions & Answers About the Carnival CHEERS! Drink Package
- 38 Must-Do Things on a Carnival Cruise Ship
- 47 Best Carnival Cruise Line Tips & Tricks