Each cruise line varies quite considerably in their policies for alcohol, while some rules change depending on where you’re travelling from and to. Perhaps you want to bring your own alcohol onboard or you’re travelling with someone under 21 who’d like to drink. There’s also the all-important questions of where to get the best drinks and which cruise lines include alcohol in the price. Read on for our breakdown of eight of the biggest cruise line’s alcohol policies.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Drinking age: 21

Bringing alcohol onboard

Each passenger may only bring one 75cl bottle of wine or champagne onboard during embarkation. Corkage fees are $10 in the dining room and $14 in steakhouses. Any liquor bought in port or the ship’s duty-free shop will be retained until the last night of the cruise.

What you’ll get

Free drinks are sometimes provided at the farewell cocktail party, art auctions and past-passenger receptions. You can pay for the CHEERS! All Inclusive beverage package for $49.95 per day per person, plus 15% gratuity. Everyone in the same stateroom must get the package. Carnival’s private-label draft beer, ThirstyFrog Red, is also available on most Carnival ships.

Where to drink

Sport bars are on all Carnival ships, showing EA Sports on large screen TVs, and cocktails are provided at sing-along piano bars. The RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar are both on most ships, while apothecary-themed Alchemy Cocktail Bar is also on all excluding Breeze and Dream.

Celebrity Cruises®

Drinking age: 21, or 18 in countries with lower legal age, with parental waiver signature

Bringing alcohol onboard

At embarkation you may bring two bottles of wine onboard per stateroom. Corkage fees are $25 in all restaurants and bars. However, wine purchased at onboard bon voyage gifts is not subject to a corkage fee. Any liquor bought in port or the ships’ duty-free shop will be retained until the last night of the cruise.

What you’ll get

Celebrity Cruises is currently running a promotion whereby 2017 to 2018 bookings on certain Ocean View staterooms or above made before 31 August 2017 get All Inclusive packages included, and even spending money thrown in. Occasional cocktails are provided for casino users.

Where to drink

Celebrity’s Solstice® ships house several speciality bars. The Cellar Masters’ sommeliers hold daily wine tasting, Crush and the Martini Bar host vodka and caviar tastings, while the Molecular Bar concocts handcrafted cocktails.

MSC Cruises

Drinking age: 21 on US and Caribbean itineraries, otherwise 18

Bringing alcohol onboard

All alcohol brought aboard will be confiscated until the end of the cruise.

What you’ll get

If you book a cruise onboard MSC Magnifica in an Experience cabin or above by the 30th June 2017, you’ll get a complimentary All-Inclusive drinks package and free WiFi onboard.

Free drinks are available at captain’s cocktail parties, receptions for singles, repeaters or VIP passengers. Opt for the MSC Yacht Club for free drinks in the Yacht Club areas, or the Aurea Experience for the All Inclusive Allegrisimo drinks package. You can also pre-book an All Inclusive food and drinks package for around £20 per day and £39 for deluxe, but you must pay for every day of your cruise and every passenger in your cabin.

Where to drink

MSC has a range of speciality beer, wine and martini bars, plus the Alchemist cocktail bar.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Drinking age: 21, or 18 when in international waters and a consent form is signed by an accompanying parent

Bringing alcohol onboard

Bottled wine and champagne can be brought onboard but you’ll need to pay corkage for each – up to $30 for 150cl. Any liquor, even that purchased from the ship’s duty-free, will be retained until the end of the cruise.

What you’ll get

As Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced All Inclusive as standard on all sailings, you’ll get a wide choice of premium beverages at no extra fee, as well as selected speciality coffees with meals.

Where to drink

Specialist venues include martini, ice, champagne, whisky and mojito bars.

P&O Cruises

Drinking age: 18, although 16 year olds are able to drink beer, cider or wine bought by accompanying adults to have with meals in the restaurants

Bringing alcohol onboard

When sailing with P&O, passengers are welcome to bring a small amount of alcohol onboard. Although, as with all other cruise lines, any liquor purchased from the duty-free shop will be held until the last night of the cruise.

What you’ll get

At the captain’s welcome you’ll receive free drinks including wine, buck’s fizz and martinis. Beer on tap is usually Stella Artois and John Smith’s Extra Smooth, with Peroni, Carling and Old Speckled Hen available in certain bars. Bottles cover Corona, Tiger Beer, Budweiser, Carlsberg, Fuller’s London Pride, Marston Pedigree and Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin. You can also get Guinness Draft in a can, Magners and Strongbow Cider and Crabbie’s Ginger Beer.

Where to drink

Each ship has select bars that serve a wider selection of drinks, such as The Anderson Bar on Oriana and Aurora, Red Bar on Ventura and Blue Bar on Azura.

Princess Cruises

Drinking age: 21

Bringing alcohol onboard

The first 75cl bottle of wine or champagne brought onboard can be drunk in your cabin for free, or in restaurants for a $15 corkage fee. Any further bottles may be brought onboard but all will be subject to the $15 corkage fee, irrespective of where they are drank. Any liquor brought on the ship at embarkation will be confiscated and discarded, liquor bought in port or at the ships’ duty-free shop will be retained until the end of the cruise.

What you’ll get

Free drinks are available at the captain’s welcome, the champagne waterfall, captain’s circle party, captain’s farewell party and at art auctions.

Where to drink

For the widest selection of other drinks head to Vines Wine Bar and Crooner’s Martini Bar, which serves over 50 premium martinis.

Royal Caribbean®

cocktails

Drinking age: 21, or 18 when departing from a country with a lower drinking age and not visiting a US port

Bringing alcohol onboard

Passengers can bring onboard a maximum of two unopened 75cl bottles of wine per cabin. Spirits or beer brought onboard at embarkation will be confiscated and destroyed. Liquor bought at port or in the duty-free shop will be held until the end of the voyage.

What you’ll get

Free drinks are sometimes available at art auctions and past-passenger gatherings. Diamond and Diamond-plus loyalty program members get nightly access to free self-service bars on certain ships, as do those booked in a Grand Suite or higher suite category.

Where to drink

Specialist pub-style bars have varied offerings including Murphy’s Stout, Newcastle Brown Ale and Strongbow Cider.

Saga Cruises

Drinking age: 18

Bringing alcohol onboard

Passengers are able to bring alcohol onboard to drink in their cabins.

What you’ll get

All Saga cruises include selected wines with lunch and dinner at no extra charge, while gratuities are also included. Saga also runs special All Inclusive cruises, which include wines at lunch and dinner, Saga house-branded spirits and cocktails, draught beer and lager, non-alcoholic cocktails, all mixers and soft drinks.

Where to drink

Highlights include an aviation themed cocktail bar and Cooper’s Bar, which hosts bingo and plays classic comedy.

Thomson Cruises

group drinking

Drinking age: 18

Bringing alcohol onboard

Alcohol is permitted to be brought onboard during embarkation and at port, while duty-free alcohol purchased on the ship can be taken to your cabin.

What you’ll get

Thomson currently has an offer whereby you can get a free All Inclusive upgrade on Thomson Dream and Thomson Celebration in summer 2018. Drinks prices at other times are comparable to UK bar and pub prices, and on formal nights wine, sparkling wine and cocktails are provided free.

Where to drink

On most ships you’ll find a main lounge bar with music, alongside a poolside bar. On certain ships you can drink cocktails at homely feeling Hemingway’s Bar, or stay until the small hours at Bar Eleven with top deck views.

No matter which liner you cruise with, it’s always worth taking a close look at their alcohol policies before embarking. If you’re still unsure of which cruise line to go with on your next cruise holiday, take a look at our full list of liners to help you decide.

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