FILE THIS: BOOZE ON CRUISES
BYOB? Put a Cork in It.
You're ready to cruise the Caribbean, soak up the rays and views . . . and partake of that choice rum you'll buy at deliriously duty-free prices. But hold that thought. Many cruise lines won't let you touch any alcohol you've brought onboard at ports of call. Why not?
"We sell a ticket at a certain price, and we expect people will be spending some money onboard, and one of the things they'll spend on is alcohol," says Rick Sasso, president and chief executive of MSC Cruises USA. There are also safety concerns, he says: "There are bars on board, and we can control how much drinking people do. We don't want people drinking a couple of bottles in the cabin."
That said, there is no norm, except for the minimum drinking age, which is 21 on most North American cruise lines. Policies on what you can bring onboard -- initially and at ports of call -- and what you can do with it are all over the map. We asked Margaret Roth to give us the rundown on the top 10 lines (by number of passengers) and their policies.
Carnival Cruise Lines
BYOB? Only fine wine or champagne (what's "fine" is left to the guest's discretion) -- one bottle per adult (21 or older) -- and only on the day of embarkation. Any other alcohol can be confiscated with no money back.
Corkage fee: It'll cost you $10 per bottle to have that wine or champagne opened in the dining room, $14 in the Supper Club.
Alcohol shopping: Passengers may not bring any alcohol onboard from ports of call. The ship will hold any bottles you buy in an onboard gift shop until the end of the cruise.
BYOB? No. Security reserves the right to inspect containers (water, soda, mouthwash bottles, etc.) and dispose of any carrying alcohol.
Corkage fee: Does not apply.
Alcohol shopping: Ship will hold until the last night of the cruise.
BYOB? Wine and champagne only (one bottle per person).
Corkage fee: $15
Alcohol shopping: Ship will hold.