There are lots of reasons you might want to bring your own alcohol onto a cruise.
It could be that you want to have your own bar in your cabin for pre-dinner drinks. Or maybe you just want to avoid the high drinks prices onboard, where possible.
In this guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about whether you are allowed to bring booze onto a ship, how much, and whether it’s better to just buy onboard.
Can you bring your own alcohol on a cruise?
Some cruise lines allow you to bring your own alcohol onto a cruise, but a handful don’t let you. Usually, you’re limited to one bottle of wine or Champagne, but there are some exceptions where you can bring a small number of beers or extra bottles of wine.
Obviously, it is in the cruise line’s interest to get you to buy your drinks onboard – that’s where they’ll make a lot of their money. So they don’t want you to bring too much with you.
They may charge corkage fees as well, depending on where on the ship you plan to drink it. Usually drinking in your stateroom is free of charge, but not always, so be sure to check!
Suggested read: Can You Walk Around A Cruise Ship With Alcohol?
Which cruise lines allow you to bring alcohol onboard?
Most cruise lines allow you to bring alcohol onto your cruise, including the big names like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney Cruise Line and P&O Cruises. Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises are two cruise lines that do not allow guests to bring any alcohol onto the ship, at all.
Here’s a quick summary of the major cruise lines, and whether they let you bring alcohol on board:
|Cruise line||Can you bring alcohol onboard?||Is there a corkage fee?|
|Carnival Cruises||Yes||Only for public area consumption|
|Cunard Line||Yes||Only for public area consumption|
|Disney Cruise Line||Yes||No|
|Holland America Line||Yes||Yes|
|P&O Cruises||Yes||Only for public area consumption|
|Princess Cruises||Yes||Only on 2+ bottles|
How To Take Alcohol On A Cruise
If your cruise line does permit you to bring alcohol, you should check their policy about how much you can bring, and whether it should be packed in your checked luggage or carry-on bag. The rules are quite different for each cruise line, but I’ve listed them for the major cruise lines below.
When packing glass bottles, it’s vital that you pack them carefully so as to avoid breakages. The last thing you want is to fine broken glass and red wine all over your clothes!
I suggest that you invest in some of these wine bottle protectors to keep your alcohol safe inside your bag.
Can you take alcohol on Carnival cruises?
Guests are allowed to take one 750ml bottle of either wine or Champagne onto their cruise, per person. It must be packed in the carry-on luggage, and it must be completely unopened and sealed.
Only guests aged 21 and over are allowed to bring alcohol onto the ship, regardless of local laws. A $15 corkage fee applies if guests want to drink their bottle in a restaurant or bar on the ship.
Read the Carnival alcohol policy.
Carnival’s drinks aren’t the cheapest – expect to pay around $7 to $9 for a beer, and between $9.50 and $14 for a glass of wine. A cocktail will set you back around $10.50 to $12.50.You can see the drinks menus and prices here.
There is a drinks package, but it’s expensive – around $60 per person, per day if booked in advance. So definitely take advantage of your allowance to take a bottle onto the ship with you if you can!
Can you take alcohol on Celebrity cruises?
On a Celebrity cruise, guests are allowed to take two 750ml bottles of wine onto the ship with them, but there’s a catch – there’s a mandatory corkage fee of $25 per bottle, regardless of where you intend to drink it. The corkage fee is waived if you’ve bought a Classic Beverage Package or Premium Beverage Package.
Read the Celebrity alcohol policy.
Drinks on a Celebrity cruise cost a similar amount to some of the other larger American-style cruise lines, so they aren’t cheap – around $7-10 for beers, $9-14 for glasses of wine and up to $20 for a cocktail. There are drinks packages but they are very costly – $89 per person, per day for the Classic package, and $109 per person, per day for the Premium package.
Can you take alcohol on Costa cruises?
Costa Cruises does not allow guests to bring any alcohol onto the ship at embarkation or at any of the ports of call. Costa won’t store any alcohol for guests either – and will just refuse to allow it on the ship at all.
Read the Costa alcohol policy.
Costa Cruises are known for being a little more penny-pinching when it comes to drinks in general – you don’t even get free tap water throughout the day. In terms of alcohol prices, they’re a little lower than on major cruise lines – beers start at around $5.50, cocktails start at $8 – and there are drinks packages available from $37 to $51 per person, per day.
Can you take alcohol on Cunard cruises?
According to Cunard’s terms and conditions, you’re allowed to take one bottle of wine of Champagne (750ml) onto the cruise ship “to celebrate special occasions”. You don’t need to prove it is for a special occasion though. A corkage fee of $25 will be applied if you want to drink the wine in the restaurants or bars on the ship.
Read the Cunard alcohol policy.
Cunard’s alcohol prices are mid to high – expect beers to start at around $6 and glasses of wine to cost from $8 up to around $14. Prices for cocktails range from $9 up to $17 for the fanciest, with most around $12.
Alcohol-inclusive drinks packages cost $69 per person, per day so are quite expensive too – definitely take that bottle of wine onto the ship with you.
Can you take alcohol on Disney cruises?
Any guests 21 years or older (regardless of local licensing laws) are allowed to bring either two unopened bottles of wine or Champagne onto the ship (no bigger than 750ml), or 6 beers no larger than 12 ounces (340ml) each. British guests must heed that size warning as many beer cans sold in the UK are 440ml or more. All drinks must be packed in the carry-on luggage.
Read the Disney alcohol policy.
Drinks on a Disney cruise are about as expensive as on similar American-style ships – there’s no massive ‘Disney’ premium, but you’ll still pay between $8 and $17 for a glass of wine, or $6.50 to $9 for a beer. There are no unlimited drinks packages, but you can buy a package with a set number of drinks included.
Can you take alcohol on Holland America Line cruises?
Guests are allowed to bring wine and Champagne bottles onto their Holland America Cruise, provided they are no bigger than 750ml.
There’s no limit on the number, though the cruise line states “wine brought in quantities deemed to be excessive… will be refused.” A corkage fee of $20 is applied to each bottle, so it can get expensive if you bring a lot on board.
Read the Holland America Line alcohol policy.
You’ll pay a similar amount to other cruise lines for your drinks – $7 for a beer on average, $9-14 for a glass of wine, and $9-18 for a cocktail.
Drinks packages are available but buying an alcohol-inclusive package doesn’t make sense – instead, the Have It All package costs $50 per person, per day (cheaper than drinks packages bought separately) and includes drinks plus other benefits.
Can you take alcohol on MSC cruises?
MSC Cruises is another cruise line that, like Costa, refuses to allow guests to bring any alcohol onto the ship with them. Alcohol brought onboard at embarkation or at a port of call will be confiscated, and it’s not clear whether it will be returned to guests at the end of the cruise.
Read the MSC alcohol policy.
MSC’s drinks prices are actually some of the highest on any cruise line. A beer will typically cost between $10.50 and $12.50 and a glass of wine starts at $11, up to around $14. Cocktails start at around $12 too.
Drinks packages cost between $42 and $85 if you want to drink alcohol so those aren’t cheap either. Considering the price of the drinks, it’s a shame MSC doesn’t let you at least bring one bottle onboard.
Can you take alcohol on NCL cruises?
NCL has one of the most relaxed policies when it comes to bringing alcohol onboard. You are limited to wine and Champagne only, but you can bring as many onto the ship as you like, and the size limit is increased to a magnum (1.5 litres).
However, you do still have to pay a corkage fee, even if drinking the bottles in your stateroom – $15 for a 750ml bottle and $30 for a magnum.
Read the NCL alcohol policy.
NCL’s drinks prices are on a similar level to other American-style cruise lines. Expect to pay between $6 and $9 for a beer, and $8-10 for a glass of wine. A cocktail will usually cost $10 to $13.
Drinks packages can be bought for all-inclusive drinking but they are super expensive – $109 per day for the regular Premium package and $139 for the Premium Plus package.
Can you take alcohol on P&O cruises?
P&O Cruises lets guests bring 1 x one-litre bottle of alcohol onboard their cruises at embarkation, but they are not just limited to wine or Champagne – spirits and liqueurs are also permitted as part of the policy.
This is the most generous alcohol policy of all cruise lines. You can also bring unlimited mixers, so a litre of spirits can last quite a while.
Any drinks over that limit will be held by the ship until disembarkation day, and then returned to guests. A £20 corkage fee applies if the alcohol is drunk in the public areas of the ship, but not if it is consumed in the cabin.
Read the P&O alcohol policy.
Alcohol prices are pretty good – beers cost around £5 ($6) and a glass of wine ranges from £4.50 to £12.50 ($5 to $15.50). Cocktails cost between £6.95 and £8.95 ($8.50 to $11).
The drinks packages cost between £45 and £55 per person, per day ($56 to $68) so they aren’t cheap but they’re not at the level of some rival cruise lines’ top-tier packages either.
Can you take alcohol on Princess Cruises?
With Princess Cruises, you’re allowed to bring one bottle of wine or Champagne onto your cruise with you, up to 750ml. You can bring more, but those will be charged with a $15 corkage fee, no matter where on the ship you consume them. This only applies to wine and Champagne – no beer or spirits can be brought onboard.
Read the Princess Cruises alcohol policy
Drinks prices on a Princess ship aren’t too bad – a beer costs around $6-7 and a glass of wine $8-12. Cocktails are quite cheap too, ranging from $7.50 to $10 on average.
Drinks packages cost between $77 and $100 per person, per day, so are pretty expensive, though you can often get a better deal by booking a Princess Plus or Princess Premier cruise fare.
Can you take alcohol on Royal Caribbean cruises?
Royal Caribbean’s alcohol policy states that guests are allowed to bring one bottle of wine or Champagne (maximum 750ml) onto their cruise. The policy also clearly states that any other alcohol brought onto the ship will be confiscated and not returned.
Also if you book consecutive sailings, you can bring on a bottle for each cruise, but you’ll only be allowed one for each individual sailing – you’ll then get your next one delivered to your room at the start of each cruise.
Read the Royal Caribbean alcohol policy.
The price of drinks on a Royal Caribbean cruise is similar to a lot of other cruise lines – not great, but not terrible. Beers cost between $7 and $8 while a cocktail is between $8 and $13. Most glasses of wine are around $9-11 but some do cost up to $20.
Royal Caribbean does offer a decent selection of drinks for free, though.
You can get a drinks package, but the price varies from between $49 and $89 per day. If you’re paying in the upper limits, it is quite expensive.
Can you take alcohol on Virgin Voyages cruises?
With Virgin Voyages, guests (called “sailors”) are allowed to bring two bottles of wine to enjoy per cabin (so unless you’re a solo traveller, one per person), provided they’re no bigger than 750ml. Wine must be packed in the carry-on luggage – any alcohol in the checked bags will be held until the end of the cruise.
Read the Virgin Voyages alcohol policy. (Search for the question “Can I bring alcohol on board?”)
The drinks on a Virgin ship are a little towards the higher price bracket – beer is OK at $5 to $8 and there are cheap wines for $7 a glass, but some cost as much as $22 a glass. Cocktails vary between $12 and $17.
Virgin Voyages doesn’t offer drinks packages but instead lets you preload your ‘bar tab’ onboard and gives you bonus money – for every $300 that you add, you get $50 extra free.
Sneaking Alcohol On A Cruise
It is possible to sneak your own alcohol onto a cruise ship, but the risk is up to you. If it’s found then it will be confiscated, and you could get in trouble with the cruise line – though serious trouble is very unlikely.
While I can’t condone it, check out the ways you can sneak alcohol onto a cruise ship if you want to know more.
This Umbrella flask is available on Amazon.
Cruise line drinks can be expensive, so if you like to drink on a cruise, it’s a good idea to take a bottle or two with you – provided you follow the guidelines of what’s allowed.
Be careful because some ships will permanently confiscate any extra, and they will check – so you’re risking throwing money away if you try to get an extra bottle onboard. All you’re doing is topping up the crew’s own bar.