NCL has tweaked its “carry on” beverage policy, and it may upset some cruisers. From NCL.com,
“Effective July 1, 2016, for sailings July 15, 2016 (emphasis mine) and beyond, guests are prohibited from bringing any beverages — including liquor, beer and non-alcoholic drinks such as water, soda and juices — on board either as carry-on or checked luggage, with the exception of purified or distilled water in factory-sealed containers for use in conjunction with medical devices or for the reconstitution of infant formula; and fully sealed and/or corked wine bottles for personal consumption onboard that is subject to screening and a corkage fee (for guests 21 years of age or older). Open beverages of any kind must be consumed or discarded at the security check-point, on embarkation day and at any port of call.”
Many cruise lines prohibit guests from bringing hard liquor on board, but most will look the other way when checking in with bottled water and soda. NCL still allows bottles of wine and champagne to be carried on, but subjects these beverages to a corkage fee.
“Guests may bring bottles of wine and champagne on board. When bottles are brought on board and served or consumed in any restaurant, public room area or in their stateroom, a corkage fee will be charged according to bottle sizes noted below.
- 750 ml Bottle: $15.00 USD
- 1,500 ml Magnum: $30.00 USD
Wine or champagne sent directly to the ship by travel agents, friends, family, etc. or from another retail source, are subject to the same fees. Box wines are not allowed on board.”
Carry on policies for alcohol vary widely among the cruise lines. For example, Disney Cruise Line will allow you to carry on hard liquor if you wish, while Royal Caribbean only allows two bottles of personal wine or champagne per stateroom. However, Royal Caribbean no longer charges corkage fees for personal wine brought on board. And of course, there are all- or semi-inclusive cruise lines out there.
You could debate the reasons behind these policies for days. Some would say it enables the cruise line to reduce the likelihood of “over consumption” by guests, while others would opine that these policies are simply a revenue-enhancement ploy to force guests to buy from the cruise line. Either way, depending on your preferences, you might consider purchasing a beverage package for your next cruise or sail on an all-inclusive line. NCL’s ship serving the 3- and 4- night Bahamas market from Miami includes free alcoholic beverages as part of the cruise fare. Much like cruising in general, you have lots of options when it comes to quenching your thirst at sea.