Can I bring alcohol on a cruise ship? A line-by-line guide

Sep 25, 2021

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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.

Azamara

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

(Photo by Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Celebrity Cruises

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

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.

Crystal Cruises

Adults are allowed to bring wine and liquor for onboard consumption and purchase additional bottles at ports, without limitation. There is no corkage fee. You can consume the alcohol in your stateroom or public areas. Duty-free purchases are dispersed at the end of the cruise.

Cunard Line

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

(Photo by Ivan Pisarenko/AFP/Getty Images)

Holland America Line allows each adult (age 21 and up) to bring one bottle of wine or champagne in their carry-on, with no corkage fee if you consume the bottle in your stateroom (there is an $18 fee if consumed in a restaurant or other public area). You may also bring additional bottles, but these come with an $18 corkage fee (even if your drink them in your 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.

MSC Cruises

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).

Oceania Cruises

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.

Princess Cruises

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.

Royal Caribbean

(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

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.

Seabourn

You are free to bring spirits, wine and champagne onboard. There are no corkage fees or limits.

Silversea Cruises

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.

Viking

There is no limit or corkage fees and you are allowed to bring champagne, beer or liquor onboard.

Windstar Cruises

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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Featured photo by Michael Dunning/Getty Images.

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