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How To Get Liquor On A Cruise Ship


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Kissie Verdugo



Going on a cruise is a fantastic way to relax, explore new destinations, and indulge in some well-deserved pampering. And for many passengers, enjoying a drink or two is an essential part of the cruising experience. Whether you’re looking to unwind with a cocktail by the pool, savor a fine glass of wine with a gourmet meal, or toast to breathtaking sunsets on the open sea, having access to liquor on a cruise ship is a must.


However, it’s important to understand that cruise ship policies regarding alcohol can vary. Some cruise lines have strict regulations in place, while others are more lenient. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways you can get liquor on a cruise ship, from duty-free shopping to bringing your own alcohol onboard.


By understanding the options available to you, you’ll be able to make the most of your cruising experience and enjoy your favorite drinks while sailing the high seas.


So, whether you’re a wine connoisseur, a cocktail enthusiast, or simply enjoy a cold beer by the beach, let’s dive in and discover how to get liquor on a cruise ship.


Understanding the Cruise Ship Policies

Before you embark on your cruise adventure, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the alcohol policies of the cruise line you’ll be traveling with. Each cruise line has its own set of rules and regulations regarding the purchase, consumption, and transportation of alcohol onboard.


Some cruise lines have strict policies that prohibit passengers from bringing any alcohol onboard, while others allow a limited amount of alcohol to be brought on board but charge corkage fees for consuming it in public areas. Additionally, certain cruise lines implement minimum drinking ages and reserve the right to confiscate any alcohol they find during the embarkation process.


It’s important to thoroughly review the cruise line’s alcohol policies prior to your trip to ensure you comply with their rules and avoid any unnecessary hassles or disappointments. You can typically find this information on the cruise line’s website or by contacting their customer service.


By understanding and respecting the cruise ship policies, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruising experience without any alcohol-related setbacks.


Shopping for Liquor Before the Trip

One of the easiest ways to ensure you have liquor on your cruise ship is to purchase it before you even embark on your journey. Many cruise lines allow passengers to bring a limited amount of alcohol in their checked luggage, and this is the perfect opportunity to stock up on your favorite beverages.


Before you start shopping, be sure to check the cruise line’s alcohol policy to know the exact limits and restrictions on bringing alcohol on board. Some cruise lines may specify the maximum number of bottles or the type of alcohol that is allowed.


Once you have a clear understanding of the restrictions, you can start browsing for your preferred spirits, wine, or beer. Local liquor stores and online retailers often offer a wide selection of alcoholic beverages at competitive prices, so you can choose your favorites and even take advantage of special deals or discounts.


When shopping for liquor before your trip, keep in mind the weight and size restrictions of your checked luggage. It’s crucial to pack the alcohol securely to prevent any breakage during transport. You may consider using bubble wrap or packing the bottles in plastic bags to minimize the risk of any damage.


Remember to keep your purchase receipts handy as you may need to provide them during the check-in process. It’s also important to note that you will not have access to your checked bags until they are delivered to your cabin, so it’s a good idea to pack a small amount of alcohol in your carry-on luggage for immediate enjoyment once you board the ship.


By shopping for liquor before your trip, you can ensure that you have your favorite beverages with you and save on the potential markup of onboard prices.


Duty-Free Shopping on the Cruise Ship

One of the most popular ways to get liquor on a cruise ship is through duty-free shopping. Most cruise ships have onboard shops that offer a wide variety of duty-free items, including alcohol. Duty-free shopping allows you to purchase alcohol at a lower price compared to land-based retail stores.


The cruise ship’s duty-free shops typically have an extensive selection of spirits, wines, and beers from all over the world. You can find popular brands as well as specialty liquors that may not be available in your local area. Whether you’re looking for a bottle of single malt Scotch whisky, a fine French wine, or a craft beer, the duty-free shops onboard are sure to have something to satisfy your palate.


It’s important to note that duty-free shopping on the cruise ship is usually available only during specific hours and while the ship is sailing in international waters. This means that you may not be able to purchase alcohol on the first and last day of your cruise or when the ship is in port.


When shopping for alcohol onboard, it’s a good idea to compare prices and deals offered by different duty-free shops. You may find that certain spirits or wines are available at discounted prices or as part of special promotions.


Keep in mind that any alcohol purchased during duty-free shopping will be held by the cruise ship’s staff until the end of your voyage or until your departure from the ship. They will then deliver the purchased items to your cabin or arrange for their collection at a designated area.


By taking advantage of duty-free shopping on the cruise ship, you can explore a wide selection of alcoholic beverages and enjoy them at a lower cost than you might find elsewhere.


Bringing Your Own Alcohol on Board

If you want to enjoy your preferred alcoholic beverages without the hassle of shopping on board or in advance, some cruise lines allow passengers to bring their own alcohol on board. However, there are usually restrictions and guidelines in place that you should be aware of.


Typically, cruise lines have limits on the amount of alcohol allowed to be brought on board. It can range from a certain number of bottles of wine or champagne to a limited quantity of spirits or beer. It’s important to check your cruise line’s specific policy to ensure you comply with their regulations.


When packing your own alcohol, it’s crucial to pack it securely in your checked luggage. Bottles should be well-padded and protected from any damage. It’s also recommended to double-check the cruise line’s guidelines on packing alcohol, as some may require it to be in its original, sealed packaging.


It’s important to note that if you bring your own alcohol on board, you may be charged a corkage fee if you consume it in public areas such as bars or restaurants. However, you can usually enjoy your own alcohol in the privacy of your cabin without any additional charges.


Another consideration when bringing your own alcohol on board is the weight and size of your luggage. Keep in mind that you may have to transport the bottles yourself from your car or transportation to your cabin, so it’s important not to exceed any weight restrictions or make your luggage too cumbersome to handle.


Bringing your own alcohol on board can be a convenient option if you have specific preferences or want to enjoy a particular brand or vintage. It allows you to have your favorite drinks readily available in your cabin, without the need to rely on onboard shopping or pay higher prices for alcoholic beverages.


Sneaking Alcohol on Board

While it may be tempting to save money or bypass alcohol restrictions by attempting to sneak alcohol on board a cruise ship, it is important to note that this is generally not recommended. Cruise lines have strict policies in place to prevent passengers from smuggling alcohol, and if you are caught, it can result in significant penalties and even expulsion from the ship.


Cruise ship security is highly trained in detecting prohibited items, including alcohol, during the boarding process. They use advanced scanning technology and conduct thorough inspections of luggage to ensure the safety and compliance of all passengers. Attempts to conceal alcohol, such as using hidden compartments or disguising bottles, are likely to be discovered.


In addition to the penalties imposed by the cruise line, attempting to sneak alcohol on board can also spoil your vacation experience. If you are caught, you may face consequences such as fines, the confiscation of your alcohol, or even being denied boarding.


If you want to enjoy alcohol on your cruise, it is recommended to follow the cruise line’s policies and guidelines. Many cruise lines offer a variety of options for passengers to purchase and enjoy alcoholic beverages onboard, including duty-free shopping, pre-purchasing beverage packages, or taking advantage of happy hour specials.


By adhering to the rules and regulations set by the cruise line, you can ensure a stress-free and enjoyable vacation without the risk of facing penalties or compromising the overall experience.


Buying Alcohol on Excursions

When you embark on a cruise, you’ll likely have the opportunity to explore various destinations through shore excursions. These excursions can take you to local attractions, cultural sites, or even to nearby wineries and distilleries. If you’re a fan of local spirits or wines, purchasing alcohol on excursions can be an enticing option.


Depending on the destination and the specific excursion, you may have the chance to visit local vineyards, breweries, or distilleries, where you can learn about their unique production methods and sample their products. These excursions often present an excellent opportunity to purchase bottles of locally crafted wines, spirits, or beers.


It’s important to be mindful of any restrictions or regulations regarding the transport of alcohol back to the cruise ship. Some countries may have limits on the amount of alcohol that can be brought in or additional customs fees that need to be paid. Make sure to do your research and understand the local laws before making any purchases.


Once you’ve safely returned to the cruise ship with your purchased alcohol, it will be collected by the ship’s security, and you can typically retrieve it at the end of your cruise or when you disembark. Be sure to follow the ship’s guidelines and instructions on how to collect your alcohol to avoid any confusion or inconvenience.


Buying alcohol on excursions provides an opportunity to sample and bring home unique beverages that showcase the local flavors and craftsmanship of the destinations you visit. It allows you to expand your collection with bottles that hold sentimental value and create lasting memories of your cruise experience.


Tips for Enjoying Alcohol on a Cruise Ship

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or embarking on your first voyage, here are some helpful tips for enjoying alcohol on a cruise ship:

  1. Know the Alcohol Policy: Familiarize yourself with the alcohol policy of the cruise line you’re sailing with. Understand the limitations, restrictions, and any associated fees for bringing your own alcohol or purchasing it on board.
  2. Consider Beverage Packages: Many cruise lines offer beverage packages that allow you to enjoy unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for a fixed price. Assess your drinking preferences and calculate if a package will be cost-effective for you.
  3. Taste Local Specialties: Take the opportunity to try regional wines, spirits, and beers while in port. Explore local bars and breweries to savor the authentic flavors of your destinations.
  4. Attend Tastings and Mixology Classes: Look out for onboard tastings and mixology classes where you can learn about different drinks and techniques. It’s a fun way to expand your knowledge and discover new favorites.
  5. Stay Hydrated: Alcohol can dehydrate you, and the combination of sun, sea, and alcohol can make it even more pronounced. Remember to drink plenty of water in between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated throughout your cruise.
  6. Drink Responsibly: While it’s tempting to indulge in the onboard festivities, it’s essential to drink responsibly. Pace yourself, be aware of your limits, and know when to take a break. Always prioritize your safety and well-being.
  7. Try the Specialty Drinks: Cruise ships often have specialty bars or lounges that offer unique and inventive cocktails. Don’t hesitate to explore these options and treat yourself to a memorable drinking experience.
  8. Savor the Sunset: Take advantage of the beautiful sunsets at sea by enjoying a refreshing drink on the deck. Sipping a cocktail or a glass of wine while watching the sun go down is a truly magical experience.
  9. Be Mindful of Sea Sickness: If you’re prone to seasickness, be cautious with alcohol consumption as it can exacerbate the symptoms. Opt for lighter drinks and consider remedies like ginger or seasickness bands to help alleviate any discomfort.
  10. Enjoy the Entertainment: Cruise ships offer a wide array of entertainment options, from live music performances to themed parties. Take part in the festivities and enjoy your favorite drinks while immersing yourself in the onboard entertainment.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your alcohol experience on a cruise ship, ensuring a delightful and memorable vacation.



Getting liquor on a cruise ship can be an enjoyable and satisfying part of your vacation experience. Whether you choose to shop for alcohol before your trip, take advantage of duty-free shopping on board, bring your own alcohol, or explore local beverages on excursions, there are various options to cater to your preferences.


However, it is essential to respect and abide by the alcohol policies set by the cruise line you’re traveling with. Understanding the rules and guidelines will help you avoid any issues or penalties while ensuring a smooth and enjoyable cruising experience.


From savoring a glass of fine wine with a sunset view to discovering unique spirits, there are many opportunities to indulge in your favorite drinks on a cruise ship. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a cocktail connoisseur, or simply enjoy a refreshing beer, there are plenty of options available to satisfy your cravings.


Remember to drink responsibly, stay hydrated, and pace yourself throughout your cruise. Prioritize your safety and well-being while taking advantage of the onboard offerings and entertainment. And most importantly, enjoy every moment and create lasting memories as you cruise the seas with your favorite drinks in hand.


So, whether you’re toasting to a special occasion, sampling local flavors, or simply looking to unwind and relax, make the most of your alcohol experience on a cruise ship. Cheers to a memorable journey!