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How Much Alcohol Can You Take On A Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Tessa Stephens



Going on a cruise is an exciting and memorable experience. From exploring exotic destinations to indulging in delicious cuisines and enjoying thrilling onboard activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And for many cruise enthusiasts, indulging in a drink or two is a time-honored tradition. Whether it’s sipping a tropical cocktail by the pool or toasting with a glass of champagne at dinner, alcohol often plays a significant role in the cruise experience.


However, it’s important to understand the cruise industry’s alcohol policies and regulations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Each cruise line has its own set of rules when it comes to alcohol consumption, and it’s essential to know what to expect before you set sail. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of alcohol on cruises, answering questions about limits, bringing your own alcohol, beverage packages, and more. So, let’s raise a glass and dive into the fascinating world of cruising and alcohol!


Understanding the cruise industry’s alcohol policies is crucial to avoid any potential issues during your trip. While alcohol is often available for purchase onboard, cruise lines do enforce certain rules to ensure the safety and well-being of their passengers. These policies may vary between cruise lines and even specific ships, so it’s always wise to check with your chosen cruise line directly.


The Cruise Industry’s Alcohol Policy

When it comes to alcohol policies, most cruise lines adopt a similar approach. The minimum drinking age on most cruise ships is 21 years, and passengers must be of legal drinking age to purchase or consume alcohol. This rule applies to all areas of the ship, including bars, restaurants, and private cabins.


Cruise lines also have strict regulations regarding the consumption of alcohol brought on board. Generally, passengers are not allowed to bring their own beverages, including alcohol, onto the ship. This policy is in place to comply with liquor licensing laws and to maintain control over the quality and safety of the beverages served on board.


Exceptions to this rule are often made for wine and champagne brought on board for special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries. Typically, there is a limit to the number of bottles allowed, and a corkage fee may be charged if you plan to consume the wine in a public dining area.


It’s important to note that cruise lines have the right to confiscate any alcohol brought on board in violation of their policies. If you attempt to sneak alcohol onto the ship, it may be discovered during the security screening process, and you may face consequences, such as having the alcohol confiscated or even being denied boarding.


One exception to the rule regarding bringing your own alcohol is when visiting ports of call. Passengers may be allowed to purchase alcohol during shore excursions and bring them back on board. However, it’s important to check the specific regulations of the cruise line and the port authorities to ensure compliance with the rules.


Overall, the cruise industry’s alcohol policy is designed to provide passengers with a safe and enjoyable experience while also adhering to legal and licensing requirements. By understanding and respecting these policies, you can avoid any unnecessary complications and focus on making the most of your cruise adventure.


Understanding Alcohol Limits on Cruises

While most cruise lines have age restrictions in place, they also impose limits on the amount and type of alcohol passengers are allowed to consume while onboard. These limits are in place to promote responsible drinking and ensure the safety and well-being of all passengers.


One common limit is the number of alcoholic beverages that can be ordered at one time. Passengers are typically restricted to purchasing one or two drinks per visit to a bar or lounge. This policy helps to prevent excessive drinking and ensures that everyone has a chance to enjoy the onboard amenities responsibly.


Additionally, there may be limitations on the type of alcoholic beverages served. Some cruise lines do not allow the sale of high-proof spirits or shots, focusing instead on beer, wine, and mixed cocktails with lower alcohol content. This is another measure implemented to encourage moderate drinking and create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere onboard.


It’s essential to be aware of these limits and adhere to them to ensure the safety and enjoyment of your cruise experience. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to accidents, altercations, or health complications, which can negatively impact your trip and the experience of other passengers.


As with any vacation, it’s important to drink responsibly, set personal limits, and know when to say no. Cruise vacations offer a variety of entertainment options, including live shows, sports activities, and fitness facilities, which can all be enjoyed without relying solely on alcohol.


If you have concerns about your alcohol consumption or that of a traveling companion, it may be helpful to speak with the ship’s staff or visit the onboard medical center for guidance and assistance. These professionals are trained to support passengers in maintaining a safe and enjoyable experience while onboard.


By understanding and respecting the alcohol limits on cruises, you can have a memorable and worry-free vacation, where you can relax, have fun, and make unforgettable memories without compromising your well-being or that of others.


Bringing Your Own Alcohol

One question that often arises when it comes to alcohol on cruises is whether or not passengers are allowed to bring their own beverages. As mentioned earlier, the general rule is that cruise lines prohibit passengers from bringing their own alcohol on board. However, there are a few exceptions to this policy.


Many cruise lines allow passengers to bring a limited amount of wine or champagne onboard for special occasions. This allowance is typically limited to a certain number of bottles per stateroom or a specific size limit. It’s important to check with your specific cruise line to determine the exact regulations and any associated fees.


If you do plan to bring your own wine or champagne, it’s important to note that most cruise lines require you to consume it in the privacy of your own stateroom. Bringing your own bottles to the main dining areas or bars may result in a corkage fee being charged if you wish to enjoy your own beverage in these public venues.


While bringing your own alcohol might seem like a cost-saving measure, it’s worth considering the convenience and variety offered by the onboard bars and lounges. Cruise ships often have a wide range of drink options, including specialty cocktails, craft beers, and fine wines. Indulging in these offerings can be part of the overall cruise experience and allow you to sample unique and expertly crafted beverages.


If you have specific dietary needs or preferences, it’s a good idea to communicate this with the cruise line in advance. They may be able to accommodate your requests, ensuring that you have the beverages you desire while onboard.


In summary, while bringing your own alcohol on a cruise generally goes against the policy of most cruise lines, there are exceptions for special occasions. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your chosen cruise line’s regulations regarding bringing your own wine or champagne and to understand the limitations and potential fees associated with consuming them on board. Ultimately, the onboard bars and lounges offer a wide variety of beverages, allowing you to relax, unwind, and enjoy the full cruise experience.


Alcohol Packages and Beverage Plans

To cater to the preferences of their passengers, many cruise lines offer a variety of alcohol packages and beverage plans. These options can provide a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy alcoholic beverages during your cruise.


Alcohol packages typically offer a fixed number of drinks per day for a flat fee. These packages often include a range of options, including beer, wine, cocktails, and even premium spirits. They can be a great choice for travelers who plan on indulging in several alcoholic beverages each day, as they can help you control your spending and avoid unexpected charges at the end of your trip.


Some cruise lines offer beverage plans that include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. These plans allow you to enjoy a variety of drinks, whether you prefer cocktails by the pool, specialty coffees, or refreshing soft drinks. If you’re traveling with a group, these plans can be especially convenient as they allow everyone to personalize their beverage choices while enjoying the convenience of a prepaid plan.


It’s important to note that alcohol packages and beverage plans are often priced per person and must be purchased for the entire duration of your cruise. They can typically be purchased online before your cruise or once onboard. Keep in mind that not all packages include gratuities, so it’s worth checking if the gratuities are included or if they will be added to your bill separately.


If you’re considering purchasing an alcohol package or beverage plan, it’s essential to evaluate your drinking habits and preferences. Consider factors such as the duration of your cruise, the number of days you plan on consuming alcohol, and the variety of drinks you’re interested in. By doing so, you can choose the package that best suits your needs and ensures a satisfying and enjoyable drinking experience while onboard.


Lastly, it’s important to remember that even with an alcohol package or beverage plan, responsible drinking should always be practiced. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption, stay hydrated, and know your limits. The primary goal of these packages is to enhance your cruise experience, not encourage excessive drinking.


By exploring the available alcohol packages and beverage plans offered by your cruise line, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and budget. Whether you opt for an all-inclusive alcoholic beverage package or a more versatile plan that includes both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, these options can enhance your cruise experience and add an extra touch of indulgence to your vacation.


Duty-Free Alcohol Purchases

One of the perks of cruising is the opportunity to take advantage of duty-free shopping, including the purchase of alcohol. Duty-free shops onboard offer a wide selection of spirits, wines, and other alcoholic beverages at discounted prices, making it an attractive option for many passengers.


When it comes to duty-free alcohol purchases, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to note that these purchases are typically only available for adults of legal drinking age. The same age restrictions that apply to drinking onboard apply to purchasing duty-free alcohol as well.


Another aspect to consider is the quantity limitations imposed on duty-free purchases. Each cruise line has its own regulations regarding the maximum amount of alcohol passengers can purchase from onboard duty-free shops. These limits are in place to comply with customs regulations and ensure that passengers are not exceeding their allowance for importing alcohol into their home country. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these limits to avoid any issues when returning home.


Duty-free alcohol purchases are typically done towards the end of the cruise, with the items being delivered to your cabin the night before disembarkation. It’s important to keep in mind that once duty-free alcohol is received, it is generally not permitted to be consumed onboard. Instead, it is expected that passengers will keep the purchased items sealed and transport them safely in their checked luggage.


It’s worth noting that duty-free purchases can also be subject to local laws and regulations at each port of call. Some destinations may have restrictions on bringing alcohol ashore or purchasing additional alcohol locally. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to research the guidelines and regulations of each port of call if you plan on making alcohol purchases during shore excursions.


Overall, duty-free alcohol purchases offer a convenient and cost-effective way to bring home a taste of your cruise vacation. Whether it’s a bottle of fine wine, a favorite spirit, or a local specialty, duty-free shops provide an opportunity to indulge in some shopping while enjoying tax-free prices. Just be sure to comply with the limitations and regulations set by both the cruise line and the customs authorities to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience.


Tips for Responsible Alcohol Consumption on Cruises

While enjoying alcoholic beverages on a cruise can be a delightful part of your vacation, it’s important to practice responsible drinking to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for yourself and others. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your cruise while maintaining a responsible approach to alcohol consumption:

  1. Know your limits: It’s essential to be aware of your alcohol tolerance and know when to stop. Pace yourself and take breaks between drinks to maintain control over your consumption.
  2. Stay hydrated: Alcohol can dehydrate your body, so it’s important to drink plenty of water in between alcoholic beverages. This will help you stay hydrated and minimize the negative effects of alcohol.
  3. Eat before and during drinking: It is recommended to have a meal before consuming alcohol. Eating while drinking can also help slow down the absorption of alcohol into your system, reducing the risk of intoxication.
  4. Use designated drivers or alternative transportation: If you plan on drinking, arrange for a designated driver or utilize alternative transportation options provided by the cruise line. Avoid driving under the influence, as it can jeopardize your safety as well as the safety of others.
  5. Be respectful of others: Alcohol can impact your behavior and judgment. It’s important to be mindful of the impact your actions may have on fellow passengers and the crew. Treat others with respect and avoid engaging in any disruptive or inappropriate behavior.
  6. Take advantage of non-alcoholic options: While indulging in alcoholic beverages can be enjoyable, remember that there are plenty of non-alcoholic options available as well. Mocktails, specialty coffees, and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages can still add to your overall cruise experience without the effects of alcohol.
  7. Monitor your spending: If you opt for an alcohol package or beverage plan, keep track of your consumption to ensure you’re getting value for your money. It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve consumed when everything is prepaid.
  8. Communicate any concerns: If you or a fellow traveler have concerns about alcohol consumption, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. The ship’s staff and medical center are available to provide guidance, support, and intervention if needed.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the pleasures that come with drinking on a cruise while keeping your well-being and respect for others in mind. Responsible alcohol consumption ensures a memorable and enjoyable cruise experience for everyone aboard.



Alcohol is a prominent aspect of the cruise experience, offering passengers the opportunity to indulge in signature cocktails, fine wines, and other specialty drinks. However, it’s essential to navigate the world of alcohol on cruises responsibly and in accordance with the policies and regulations set by the cruise lines.


Understanding the cruise industry’s alcohol policy is crucial before embarking on your journey. Familiarize yourself with the rules regarding minimum drinking age, limits on bringing your own alcohol, and restrictions on alcohol consumption onboard. By knowing and respecting these policies, you can avoid any surprises or disruptions to your cruise experience.


Alcohol packages and beverage plans are convenient options for enjoying alcoholic beverages while onboard. These packages offer fixed numbers of drinks per day or inclusive options for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Before purchasing a package, consider factors such as the duration of your cruise and your drinking preferences to select the most suitable option.


Duty-free alcohol purchases provide an opportunity to stock up on your favorite spirits and wines at discounted prices. However, be aware of the quantity limitations and regulations imposed by customs authorities and each port of call. Ensure you follow the guidelines to avoid any issues when returning home.


Above all, responsible alcohol consumption should be practiced on cruises. Drink in moderation, stay hydrated, and know your limits. Respect others, be mindful of your behavior, and utilize designated drivers or alternative transportation. By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable cruise experience for yourself and those around you.


Remember, a cruise is about creating lifelong memories, exploring new destinations, and enjoying quality time with loved ones. Responsible alcohol consumption will ensure that you can make the most of these moments, creating a cruise experience that is both memorable and enjoyable.