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Carnival Rolls Out New Beverage Policy

Rules are constantly being tweaked for the cruise lines, and today is no different. A recent announcement by Carnival’s John Heald shared the news that Carnival is making a change to their liberal beverage policy for non-alcoholic drinks.

For years Carnival has been the most lenient about bringing drinks on your cruise. Guests were permitted to bring up to 12 bottles or cans per person (up to 20 ounces per bottle) of water, sodas, etc. Well, many people took advantage of that policy to smuggle on alcohol for their cruise. A quick search of YouTube or this page will show you how easy it can be to replace the contents of a bottle with another liquid.

According to Carnival:

Often times, we find guests transporting alcohol onboard through unauthorized means resulting in unmonitored consumption of alcohol. Unfortunately, this has led to behavioral and safety related concerns.

Of course, it’s easy to tell that the above paragraph was written by a Public Relations team. If you rolled your eyes at it, you’re not alone.

Nevertheless, Carnival’s rules are changing. Starting now, guests can only bring up to 12, 12-ounce cans or cartons of non-alcoholic drinks — not bottles.

Since it’s hard to find cans of water (although they do exist), the new rule essentially means no more bringing water aboard the ship. Even if it’s smaller than 12 ounces, it is still usually packaged in a bottle, which is against the new rules.

Instead, Carnival will start offering packages of water for sale that will be delivered to your stateroom. If bought before the cruise starts, a 12-pack of 500 ml water bottles will run $2.99. If you wait until you are onboard to purchase, the package will cost $4.99. Frankly, we think that’s a fair price.

The rest of the announced beverage policy appears to have stayed the same. Guests 21 and over can still bring one 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne per person. No other alcoholic drinks are permitted.

We’ve read some of the comments floating around about the change (there were more than 1,100 on John Heald’s Facebook post), and the reaction is varied.

Some people see this change as a way for Carnival to squeeze out more money from passengers by making them buy water and forcing them to purchase alcohol on board instead of sneaking it in. Others are excited that lines to board may speed up instead of having to wait behind people lugging big bottles of water.

We think the truth is somewhere in between. This is no doubt aimed at putting an end to an easy way to sneak alcohol aboard the ship (which hurts Carnival’s revenue). At the same time, Carnival is offering bottles of water at a solid value instead of charging a monopoly price.

For those cruisers who follow the rules, this change isn’t that big of a deal. And if you’re someone who sneaks in alcohol in water bottles, you will just have to find a different way to do it. The biggest change is the headaches the new rule is going to cause until everyone gets to know the new rules.

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