Can you bring alcohol on your cruise? The answer is likely yes, but with lots of fine print.
One of the reasons cruises offer such great value is because the cruise line wants to get passengers on board. Once they are a “captive audience,” then the cruise lines can sell them all sorts of things — from excursions to souvenirs to alcohol.
And have now doubt; selling drinks is a big business for the ships.
With literally thousands of people ready to let loose in the warm sun, the booze flows like water. It’s not an accident that a cruise ship can easily have a dozen bars… and several other restaurants to grab a drink.
In fact, when looking at the onboard spending, cruise ships bring in between 35-45% of the cruise fare in the form of spending on the ship. So for every $1,000 in cruise fare, people spend about $450 on the ship, on average. And much of that is in the form of alcohol sales.
But that doesn’t mean the cruise lines are only after your wallet. While nearly every cruise line prohibits your bringing beer or liquor aboard the ship to drink, many will let you bring some wine or champagne.
It likely won’t quench your thirst for the entire cruise, but it’s good to know that if you want to save a few bucks, then you can bring at least some alcohol aboard on your own.
To help you sort out what you can and can’t bring, we’ve gone through the trouble of rounding up each cruise line’s alcohol policy.
In This Article...
Azamara Club Cruises Alcohol Policy
Azamara is a higher-end cruise line that provides a more all-inclusive experience than you’ll find on most cruises. In fact, they actually include a limited of selection of alcohol for guests. However, for many brands you’ll need to upgrade to a beverage package.
What’s especially unique is that it is one of the few lines that will let you bring on beer, liquor, or wine/champagne with you as you board. Keep in mind that you will have to pay a corkage fee if you want to drink your beverage in public areas of the ship.
According to the website: “Azamara Club Cruises offers a wide selection of international liquors, beer and fine wines onboard. You may bring your own favorite liquor, beer or wine for private consumption in your suite or stateroom. If you wish to consume your liquor, beer or wine in any shipboard restaurant, bar or dining venue, each bottle is subject to a corkage fee of $10.”
No specific quantity limits were mentioned about how many bottles you could bring.
Alcohol Allowed: Liquor, Beer, Wine, Champagne. No limits mentioned. Source
Carnival Alcohol Policy
One of the most popular cruise lines in the world, Carnival’s alcohol policy is in line with what you usually find on mass-market lines.
Carnival allows you to bring on one 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne, per adult 21 years or older. The bottle must be sealed and unopened. All other alcohol — including beer and spirits — are not allowed and will be confiscated.
A corkage fee of $15 applies for each bottle if you decide to drink it in the dining room, bar, or another restaurant. There’s no fee for drinking it in your cabin.
Alcohol Allowed: One bottle of wine/champagne for each adult on embarkation day. Source
Celebrity Cruises Alcohol Policy
Like most cruise lines, things like beer and liquor are not allowed to be brought with you on embarkation day. Celebrity says plainly that “Guests are not permitted to bring alcoholic beverages onboard.”
There is an exception for wine (champagne is not specifically mentioned, but is usually lumped in with wine). Celebrity allows passengers to bring two bottles of wine for each stateroom, but there is a corkage fee if they are consumed in a public area. There is no size limit on the bottles mentioned, but it’s safe to assume the limit is a standard 750 ml size.
Alcohol Allowed: Two bottles of wine per stateroom on embarkation day. Source
Cunard Alcohol Policy
Cunard is known for its stately cruise ships, including the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2. The high-end cruise line follows the lead of many other cruise lines in that most alcohol is not allowed to be brought and consumed on the ship.
The lone exception is that the cruise line does allow one bottle of wine or champagne per adult of drinking age. You can drink this in your room, but if you want to have it in a public area, there is a $25 corkage fee.
Alcohol Allowed: One bottle of wine or champagne per adult on embarkation day. Source
Disney Cruises Alcohol Policy
On a Disney cruise, alcohol isn’t quite as “front and center” as you might find on other mass-market cruise lines. On the other hand, the cruise line is a bit more liberal with what you can bring onboard with you.
According to the website:
“Disney Cruise Line Guests 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port of call. These beverages must be packed in carry-on (not checked) bags or luggage.”
There is a $25 corkage fee for drinking your wine in the dining room. All drinks must be sealed and unopened. If not, they will be taken from your luggage. Apart from the small quantity of beer and wine, no other alcohol is allowed to brought onboard to drink during your cruise.
Alcohol Allowed: Two bottles of wine/champagne or six beers per adult at embarkation. Source
Holland America Alcohol Policy
Holland America allows you to bring on larger bottles than other cruise lines, but there is some fine print you should know.
First, beer and liquor are not allowed to be brought aboard when you embark to drink on the ship.
That said, you can bring on wine or champagne. Holland America allows all guests 21 and older to bring on one bottle (up to 750 ml) to drink on the ship. If it is consumed in a public place, then it is subject to an $18 corkage fee. It’s free to drink in your stateroom.
In addition, you can bring additional bottles of up to 750 ml, but they will see an $18 corkage fee, no matter where you drink them.
Alcohol Allowed: One bottle of wine or champagne per adult . Additional bottles allowed for $18 corkage fee. Source
MSC Alcohol Policy
According to the “Conditions of Carriage” on MSC’s website, “Passengers are not permitted to bring onboard any such drinks for use during the voyage, whether for consumption in their own cabins or otherwise.”
That seems to include all alcohol, including beer, wine, and liquor. If there is a silver lining, MSC is known for having some of the least expensive drink prices and packages of any cruise line. Drinks start at around $6.
Alcohol Allowed: Guests cannot bring on alcohol on their cruise. Source
Norwegian Cruise Line Alcohol Policy
Norwegian Cruise Line does not allow passengers to bring on most forms of alcohol, including beer and liquor. That rule goes for non-alcoholic drinks too.
NCL does allow passengers to bring on wine or champagne as long as it is in a fully sealed bottle. What’s nice is that Norwegian simply says that “Guests may bring bottles of wine and champagne on board.” There is no limit mentioned to the number of bottles listed per stateroom or per passenger.
What’s not so nice is that the cruise line says a corkage fee is charged for each bottle, no matter if it is consumed in public areas of the ship or in your stateroom. The charge is $15 for a 750 ml bottle and $30 for a 1,500 ml (magnum) bottle. Even at those prices, however, bringing your own bottle would be cheaper than drinking wine/champagne from the bar.
Alcohol Allowed: Wine and/or champagne are allowed (no limit mentioned). A corkage fee applies even if drinking in the stateroom. Source
Oceania Alcohol Policy
Want to bring 60 bottles of wine? Oceania actually lets you do that… in some cases.
Here are the basics: Beer or hard liquor cannot be brought onboard. However, for any Oceania cruise, guests can bring up to six bottles of wine per cabin. If you are fortunate enough to be on a handful of around-the-world cruises (most lasting around 160-200 days), then you are allowed to bring up to 60 bottles per cabin.
This wine is free to drink if you keep it in the cabin. If consumed in a public area, it will be hit with a $25 corkage fee.
Alcohol Allowed: Six bottles of wine per cabin. Specific world cruises can bring up to 60 bottles per cabin. Source
Princess Cruises Alcohol Policy
Princess fits in with the most standard alcohol policies. Wine and champagne are allowed, but any other drink, including beer or spirits, aren’t allowed to be brought aboard on embarkation.
If you bring wine/champagne, you are allowed one bottle per adult of drinking age. The bottle must be 750 ml or smaller. Magnum bottles aren’t allowed.
You can drink the wine in your cabin for no charge, but if you drink them in a public place, a $15 corkage fee is charged.
You can bring additional bottles of wine or champagne with you, but anything over the one allotted for each passenger will see a $15 corkage fee, no matter where it is consumed.
Alcohol Allowed: One bottle of wine/champagne per adult. Additional bottles are allowed but charged a $15 fee. Source
Royal Caribbean Alcohol Policy
Along with Carnival, Royal Caribbean is among the most popular cruise lines in North America.
The mega-line does allow passengers to bring up to two bottles (750 ml) of wine or champagne per cabin. There is no corkage fee on the wine if you drink it in your stateroom. Otherwise, Royal Caribbean says a corkage fee applies, but doesn’t specify an amount.
Other alcohol like beer and liquor are not allowed to be brought with you on embarkation day.
Alcohol Allowed: Two bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom. Source
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a corkage fee and how can I avoid it?
Corkage fees are charges applied to alcohol you bring on the ship and consume in public areas. So if you bring on a bottle of wine and drink it in a dining room, the fee will apply.
Most of the time this fee doesn’t apply to alcohol consumed in the cabin. So if you want to avoid the fee, you can simply enjoy your drink in the room. As well, it’s doubtful that anyone would give you bother if you were to put a drink into a glass and then walk around the ship with it.
What if I bring on alcohol from a port?
One popular thing that many people do is buy alcohol in port. Often you can find these duty-free, or find drinks you wouldn’t get back home or at cheaper prices. But don’t think you’ll be able to drink these back on the ship.
Instead, when you board with bottles bought in port, they will be held by the cruise line until the end of the trip and returned to you the last night of the cruise.
What happens if I board with alcohol that’s not allowed?
Bring beer when you’re not allowed? Maybe you brought too many bottles of wine? If this is the case, then it’s up to the cruise line how they want to handle it. Some will simply hang onto the excess alcohol and return it at the end of the cruise. Others may confiscate the alcohol and destroy it. Either way, it’s best just to follow the rules so you don’t have to worry about what happens if it is found.
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