Most people look forward to a cruise’s adult libations — an umbrella drink in one hand can mysteriously put anyone in a better mood.
But that doesn’t mean you only want to drink booze for a week. And while water, juice, and tea are usually free on a cruise, you have to go to the dining rooms or buffet to get them. Plus, you might have a favorite non-alcoholic drink that the cruise doesn’t normally serve (or perhaps you simply want a mixer for that little bit of liquor you snuck onboard).
So can you bring water, soda or other drinks on your cruise? Well, that depends on which line you sail…
Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival is fairly liberal with their beverage policy. According to their website, “On embarkation day, each guest may bring a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages on board and only in their carry-on luggage. A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 bottles and/or cans, 20 ounces each or less.”
Given that most people sail with two persons to a room, that means you can bring 24 bottles of anything you want. With the prices of beverages on the cruise, that can save you a lot of money.
Update: As of 2015, Carnival now allows only 12 cans or cartons of liquid 12 ounces or below. No more bottles are allowed. More details are here.
Royal Caribbean: Royal Caribbean is strict and straightforward about bringing beverages on the ship. Their site says “Guests are not allowed to bring beer, hard liquor or non-alcoholic beverages onboard for consumption or any other use.” It is likely that if you are drinking a bottle of water or soda, they will let you on with it. But don’t expect to carry on a 12-pack of soda.
Princess Cruises: Princess is liberal about bringing beverages aboard the ship. According to our research, there are no real limits about what or how much you can bring onto the ship. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should bring 55-gallon drums of soda. But if you have a case or two of your favorite drink and a 24-pack of water, then simply slap a luggage tag on it and bring it aboard. There is no restriction about bringing your drinks in your carry-on luggage.
Norwegian Cruise Lines: Norwegian seems to have a similar policy to Princess in that you can pretty much bring whatever you like onto the ship with you (non-alcoholic, of course). There don’t appear to be reasonable limits. Guests should know that Norwegian has an agreement with Pepsi, so if you are a Coke drinker, then you will surely want to bring some soda with you. There is no restriction about bringing your drinks in your carry-on luggage.
Update: As of July 15, 2016, Norwegian no longer allows any liquids (other than medical-related items), to be brought aboard. This includes soda and water.
For more on what sort of alcoholic drinks you can bring on a ship, visit this link.