Cruise lines have started altering their liquor policies and only permitting a set number of beverages to be brought on board. Disney Cruise Line seemed to set the trend back in Aug. 2015: Guests can bring a total of 6 beers or 2 unopened bottles of wine/champagne on board the ship and at each port of call. Prior to this announcement, Disney permitted beer and liquor.
Just recently, Norwegian Cruise Line changed its policy as well. All sailings after July 15, 2016, are not permitted to bring on any liquor or beer. Unopened bottles of wine/champagne (to be charged a corkage fee) and water for medical devices or baby formula is permitted. Royal Caribbean has a similar policy.
Most cruise lines include water (not bottled), tea, coffee, and juices as part of their basic packages. If you want a soda, bottled water, flavored coffee, or alcoholic beverage, then you either need to purchase each item a la carte or buy a beverage package–and these packages vary. On Royal Caribbean, a Royal Refreshment package will include fountain soda but not bottled water. If you want bottled water included, you will need the Royal Replenish Package (which also includes premium coffee and tea). There are different packages available for alcohol as well (some as expensive as $65 per person, per day).
These changes and new policies are said to help with quicker boarding and embarkation processes–as well as to help with security measures. In the past, it appears that some cruise guests attempted to “smuggle” alcohol on board, causing long lines and more security screening. Some skeptics, however, believe that this is just a way for the cruise lines to help with on board alcohol sales and beverage packages.
Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it looks as though these new policies are here to stay. Will you continue to cruise–or will you look for an alternate option? I’d love to read your responses to these changes and if it will change your travel plans.