Cruise Line Alcohol Policies: Know the Rules Before You Cruise

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Whether sinking an ice cold beer or sipping a G&T as the sun sets, consuming an alcoholic drink during a cruise holiday is something most passengers over the age of 18 will like to enjoy.

But, given that each cruise line implements different policies when it comes to alcohol, just how easy is it to enjoy a knees up on the high seas?

To find out, we’ve created a comprehensive list of alcohol policies from individual cruise lines, including minimum drinking age information, rules about bringing alcohol aboard, and the availability of complimentary beverages. So let’s get to it.

Minimum Drinking AgeBringing Alcohol AboardFree Drink Availability
Azamara CruisesThe minimum drinking age is 21 aboard all Azamara ships. However, should the ship depart Australia, parents can sign a waiver allowing their 18+ children to drink.Unlimited wine and champagne can be brought aboard. However, a US$10 corkage fee applies to consume wine in restaurants, bars and dining areas.Many drinks, including beers, spirits and wines, are included in the cruise fare.
Captain Cook CruisesThe minimum drinking age is 18 aboard all Captain Cook ships. ID may be required for those lucky enough to look younger than this.Due to strict licensing laws, Captain Cook Cruises do not allow alcohol to be brought aboard by passengers.Beer & wine is only free aboard selected sailings.
Celebrity CruisesThe minimum drinking age is 21 aboard all Celebrity ships. However, should the ship depart Australia, parents can sign a waiver allowing their 18+ children to drink.Passengers may bring two bottles of wine per stateroom aboard Celebrity ships. All other alcohol is prohibited, and will be confiscated upon embarkation.Most alcoholic drinks incur additional charges, however, free drinks are often available in casinos.
Cunard CruisesThe minimum drinking age is 18 aboard all Cunard ships. In US waters however, no passenger under the age of 21 is permitted to buy alcohol.Passengers may bring one bottle of wine per person aboard. Be aware however, that a US$20 corkage charge applies, even if you drink the wine in your cabin.Complimentary drinks are often available at Cunard World Club parties and for spa users.
MSC CruisesThe minimum drinking age is 18 aboard all MSC ships departing Australia. For cruises departing the US or the Caribbean, a minimum drinking age of 21 applies.Passengers are not permitted to bring any alcohol aboard MSC ships. Alcohol purchased during the cruise will be held for safekeeping.MSC Yacht Club members receive free alcohol in designated Yacht Club areas.
P&O Australia CruisesPassengers under the age of 18 will not be served alcohol, but 16-17 year old guests can consume alcohol in restaurants if accompanied by an adult.P&O are flexible when it comes to bringing alcohol aboard – with no restriction on the amount. Be advised: a US$15 corkage fee applies to alcohol consumed in restaurants.Alcoholic drinks, as well as complimentary soft drinks, are served at the Captain’s Welcome.
Princess CruisesPrincess Cruises operate a strict 21 and older alcohol policy aboard all of their vessels.Passengers above the drinking age are permitted to bring one bottle of wine per person aboard. Wine consumed in restaurants is subject to a US$15 corkage fee.Complimentary cocktails are available on several occasions aboard Princess ships, including at the Captain’s Welcome and the Farewell Party.
Royal CaribbeanThe minimum drinking aboard Royal Caribbean ships is 18, provided the cruise doesn’t start in the US, in which case, a 21 and older policy is enforced.Passengers may bring two bottles of wine per stateroom aboard. A US$25 corkage fee applies to wine consumed in public areas, such as restaurants.Diamond Plus members, as well as passengers booked in a Grand Suite or higher, have nightly access to a no-fee bar.
Silversea CruisesSilversea Cruises operate a 21 or older alcohol policy aboard all cruise ships.Passengers are permitted to bring alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer and cider, aboard. No corkage fee applies.All alcoholic beverages served in restaurants and bars are included in the total cruise cost.

Whilst we’re confident the information above is accurate, be sure to check your cruise line’s individual alcohol policy before you travel to avoid unnecessary hassle and disappointment.

If you’d like more tips and advice on cruise travel, click here to read the rest of the Cruise1st Australia blog. Alternatively, if you’re interested in booking a cruise holiday with us, click here to visit our homepage, where we list hundreds of great offers and information on upcoming cruise holidays.

Header image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Phillipe Put

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About Author

Alyssa Beit

Alyssa lives in Sydney, NSW. Born on the 14th October and is a Social and Human Service Assistant at Cruise 1st Australia. She is in her early 40’s and loves tranquility on luxury cruises.

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