Cruise lines, not surprisingly, make revenue from you from selling drinks – and with the expected mark up. So a lot of newbie cruisers get curious if they can bring their own alcohol onboard. The answer varies by cruise line, but in most cases is both yes, and no.
If the cruise line allows alcohol, which in the case of mainstream lines is mostly only wine or Champagne, there will likely be limits and rules – such as you need to present your allowed bottles in your carry-on bags as you board ship. This can cause some confusion if you are flying to a port. Before you board, you will need to remove your bottles from your checked baggage (based on TSA guidelines for transporting liquids, airlines require bottles be in checked luggage) and transfer the booze to your carry-on to get through ship security.
Once on the ship, you may be charged a corkage fee, especially if you consume your from-home beverage in a dining room or other public area. Yes, you paid for your bottle of wine but you will pay again, corkage fees typically running $10 to $25.
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On luxury ships, you may be able to bring as many bottles of booze as you like, and replenish your supplies, too, at the ports of call. Don’t miss buying Bordeaux in Bordeaux!
The booze-bringing rules apply to age 21 and up, generally. The bottles must be unopened and sealed.
If you have the idea that it would be easy to sneak your own alcohol onboard a ship – in a flask, mouthwash bottle, water bottle or other container – you would be wrong. Cruise lines know the tricks. If you get caught, the container will be taken away and discarded.
Any extra bottles you fess up to, on the other hand, will be stored for you and returned at the end of your sailing. The same goes for anything drinkable purchased in the ship’s duty-free shop (you will get your bottles at the end of the cruise).
With all that in mind, here is a line-by-line rundown of cruise line policies for bringing alcohol onboard ships.
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You can bring your own liquor, beer or wine for consumption in your Azamara suite or stateroom at no charge. If you want to drink your own bottle in a dining venue or bar there’s a $10 corkage fee. The same rule applies for alcohol purchased in ports. If you buy a bottle at the duty-free shop it will be stored until the end of your cruise.
Carnival Cruise Line
At embarkation on Carnival Cruise Line ships, each adult guest (age 21 and up) may bring onboard one 750ml bottle of wine or Champagne (sealed and unopened) per person packed in their carry-on luggage, to show at security screening. There is a corkage fee of $15 if you drink your bottle outside of your cabin. That rum you purchased in port will be retained for you until the last night of your cruise, same with any duty-free purchase – you collect your purchases in a designated lounge.
You can bring onboard two bottles of wine or Champagne (maximum 750ml) at embarkation, per stateroom, on Celebrity Cruises ships. No beer or spirits allowed. There is a corkage fee of $25 in restaurants or bars. Anything you purchase at port or at the duty-free shop is held until the last day of your sailing.
Costa Cruises doesn't allow you to bring alcohol on board. Bottles purchased ashore or at the duty-free shop will be held until the end of the cruise.
The carry-on allowance is one bottle of wine or champagne per adult. No beer or liquor. There is a $20 corkage fee if you drink your wine or champagne in a dining venue. Any alcohol purchased at ports is held in the ship’s duty-free and returned the last night of the cruise.
Disney Cruise Line
You are allowed to bring beer on Disney as well as wine or champagne on embarkation day. The limit is two bottles of wine or champagne (up to 750ml) or six beers (up to 12 ounces each) in your carry-on, per adult. The alcohol cannot be consumed in any lounge or other public area but you can bring your bottles to the dining rooms, with a $25 corkage fee charged. Any excess amounts you try to bring on and port purchases will be stored until the end of the cruise,
Holland America Line
Holland America Line allows adults (age 21 and up) to bring bottles of wine or Champagne on board in their carry-on, but they'll pay a corkage fee of $20 for the privilege (even if the wine or Champagne is drunk in one's cabin). No beer, liquor or boxed wine is allowed. The line says specifically on its website, “Holland America Line reserves the right to remove all alcoholic beverages from any guest luggage that violates this policy.” You can bring wine onboard from ports, but any other liquor purchases will be retained until the end of the cruise.
No alcohol is allowed to be brought onboard at embarkation and anything purchased in port or at the duty-free shop will be held until the end of the cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Line
You may bring a bottle of wine of champagne onboard, including magnum size, and there is no limit on the number of bottles. Corkage fees are based on size, and range from $15 to $30, and apply only when your bottles are consumed outside of your stateroom. No liquor or beer or boxed wine is allowed to be consumed onboard (these bottles along with duty-free purchases will be held until the final night of the cruise).
You may bring onboard up to six bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom (60 bottles for world cruises). There is a corkage fee of $25 per bottle if you consume your bottles in public areas. Beer or liquor brought onboard or purchased in port will be held until the end of the cruise, and the same applies to purchases beyond the allowed six bottles.
You may not bring onboard beer or liquor, but each adult passenger is allowed one bottle of wine or champagne (750ml) that is not subject to a corkage fee if consumed in your cabin ($15 if in a restaurant or lounge). Additional bottles may be brought onboard but are subject to a $15 corkage fee no matter where they are consumed. Port purchases are held in the duty-free shop until the end of the cruise.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Adults are allowed to bring on alcohol without restrictions. There are no corkage fees.
Guests are allowed to bring, in carry-on, a maximum of two bottles (750ml) of wine or champagne per cabin. You are not allowed to bring your own beer or liquor. There is a $25 corkage fee if you consume your bottle in a dining room. If you declare you have additional bottles or make purchases in ports or at duty-free shops theses will be stored until the end of the cruise. Royal Caribbean has strict rules about people violating the line’s policy or trying to sneak booze onboard – including possible denied boarding.
You are free to bring spirits, wine and champagne onboard. There are no corkage fees or limits.
You are allowed to bring onboard wine and liquor for your personal consumption, both on embarkation day and at ports of call. No limits. No corkage fees.
There is no limit or corkage fees and you are allowed to bring champagne, beer or liquor onboard.
No beer or liquor is allowed to be brought onboard. You may bring up to two bottles of wine or champagne (750ml) on embarkation day (three bottles if your sailing is for more than a week) and when purchased at a port of call. There is a $15 corkage fee if consumed outside your cabin. Alcohol purchased in ports gets stored until the end of the cruise.
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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.