Water & Wine – What You Can Bring On Board

The most popular Cruise forums around the internet are filled with questions from cruisers looking for answers. It’s no surprise that the most common cruise questions are beverage-related and go something like this:

  • Can I bring bottled water with me when I board?
  • Can I bring wine with me on a Carnival Cruise?
  • WilI I be able to bring Soda on my Royal Caribbean cruise?
  • “How much wine can I take on my cruise?”

With beverage packages getting more and more expensive, and single drinks costing upwards of $15 on some cruise lines, avid cruisers are looking to save a few dollars on their next cruise.

Look no further – We have compiled a list of the water, wine, booze and soda rules at each of the major cruise lines.

carnivalCarnival Cruises

Earlier this year, Carnival banned all bottled beverages, including water, to avoid smuggling alcohol on board.

Water is provided on board for $2.99 for 12 500 ml (16.9 oz) bottles. You can purchase these in advance if you wish to avoid paying a gratuity.

If you are over 21 years of age, you are allowed to bring with you  1 750ml bottle of unopened wine per person. There is a corkage fee of $15 if you want to consume it at dinner or a bar.

Also allowed are a maximum of 12 unopened  355ml (12 oz) beverage cans or cartons.

Ensure you bring these with you as part of your carry-on luggage, not in your checked.

UPDATE: Carnival announced  October 2015 that they have lifted a ban on passengers carrying non-alcoholic drinks on board vessels after port calls as long as the beverages are in cans or cartons of 12 or fewer ounces.

RCIRoyal Caribbean

Among those loyal to Royal, this can be a hotly debated topic. Royal’s official policy  (with the exception of wine) is that no beverages, including non-alcoholic (this means water) are allowed to be brought on board on embarkation day. Any beverage carried aboard may be inspected and confiscated.

However, many cruisers are successful at carrying on small cases of water when they embark, but it seems to depend on the port. Baltimore, for instance, doesn’t seem to allow passengers to carry on bottled water. If you try, be warned that it may be taken from you per their official policy.

Wine & champagne are allowed in your carry on luggage, but is limited to 2 750ml bottles per stateroom. There is no corkage fee. Note that if you are doing a back-to-back cruise, you are allowed to bring additional bottles (ie 2 bottles per stateroom per sailing).


Norwegian Cruise Lines

NCL’s beverage policy seem the least restrictive of the major cruise lines.

nclWater and soda are allowed on board sealed and in their original packaging. There is no limit to how much you can bring, but it is suggested that you carry it on board with you , as opposed to checking it with your other luggage.

Wine and champagne are also permitted (no limit to how many is stated on NCL’s website) but are subject to a corkage fee based on bottle size –  750ml bottles are $15 and 1500 ml Magnum are $30 – regardless of where you drink it, even your stateroom. Sorry to all the boxed wine lovers – only bottles are allowed.

Disney Cruise Line

disneyFor those cruising on Disney after Sept. 30, 2015, passengers that are over 21 years of age are permitted to embark with 2 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne or 6 12 oz beers. If you wish to consume you wine in the dining room with dinner, there will be a corkage fee of $25 per bottle. As with other cruise lines, you must carry these on with you. If you put them in your checked luggage, they will be held until the end of the cruise.

While water bottles or soda are not specifically referenced in their policies, Disney does state that non-perishable, government approved snack foods are permitted as long as they are unopened and in their original packaging. We are assuming this includes bottles of water or cans of soda. Just don’t bring Grandma’s homemade cookies. Those will be confiscated.

Holland America

hollandamericaEffective July 1 2016, each passenger over 21 years of age is permitted 1 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne as part of their carry-on luggage. A corkage fee will not be charged if you drink this bottle in your stateroom. You can pack additional bottles in your checked luggage, but you will be charged a corkage fee of $18 per bottle regardless of where you drink it, including your stateroom. No other alcoholic beverages are allowed and will be confiscated.

Bottled water and soda is also allowed (no limit) as long as you carry it on board with you on embarkation day.

Princess Cruises

On Princess, each adult which has reached drinking age is permitted to bring 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne aboard on embarkation day. The first bottle will not be charged a corkage fee, but any others will be subject to a fee of $15, regardless of where is it consumed.

princessWhile not specified on Princess’ website, passengers seem to be allowed to embark with non-alcoholic beverages. As a good rule of thumb, it’s best to carry unopened bottles or cans in their original packaging with you when you board as opposed to packing them in your checked luggage.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity permits 2 750 ml bottles of wine per stateroom. If you wish to partake of it in one of the dining or bar venues, you will be charged a $25 corking fee per bottle.

celebrityThere appears to be no policy for or against bringing your own case of water or soda aboard with you (that we can find on their website) but older posts on other forums state that people have brought their own non-alcoholic beverages on board as long as they are unopened and as part of their carry-on luggage. Since Celebrity is owned by Royal Caribbean, their policy may be similar (see above).

Remember, these answers only apply to embarkation day. The general rule among the different cruise lines is that if alcohol is purchased on the ship or in a port, it will be held for you until you disembark.

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