Cruises ~ BYOB rules
As a recognized leader in travel planning, we know change is the rule when it comes to travel and that goes for major cruise lines not just our unfriendly airlines. But as we observe the usually less whimsical and politically enhanced changes, let’s continue the focus on our major cruise lines. We’ll still refer to the term floating resort vs floating disasters concept brought to us by news media these days. It’s your cruise, your vacation yet most cruise lines have trained you to do so with restrictions. Historically and across the board adding restaurants with additional fees, more specialty bars to mention two for added revenue. We’re not counting that celebrant drink you automatically get handed when the ship sails, although that is one of many to come tracked revenue busters you’re hit with. Just say bill my stateroom Charles! Restrictions on bringing and enjoying your own personal bottles of alcohol have always encouraged practices that stimulated your imagination!
Not just TSA and airport security to get your panties in a bind over, X-ray scanners and security personnel work overtime during the initial boarding process and at ports of call to ensure that some of your favorite “contraband” booze doesn’t find its way onto their ship and into your cabin, accentuating your vacation or celebration without added revenue in their pockets. Your personal preference of Tequila? Get a shot from the local bar ~ sign and charge to your stateroom. Enjoy some Baileys in your coffee (sexxy coffee, one of my favorites) another shot, just put that on my stateroom? If you didn’t know, and for those who do know, what is under scrutiny at X-ray machines during the boarding process for most cruise lines?
Wine seems to have made headway as a dinner companion with some cruise lines having no restrictions (yes, it is true you get what you pay for in quality of cruise lines) as to what you bring on board, others don’t allowed wine at all—you have to check their specific policies including quantities. Of course then there’s the inconsistency of “contraband” booze enforcement from one embarkation port to the next, sure to stiffle a great day of haggling in port for that one-of-a-kind coconut shell.
Let’s take a look at some of the lose-your-booze rules or be-happy-and-spend-your-money-on-something-else-not-included-rules and a few cruise lines. There is definitely something to be said for cruising luxury style as they have fairly liberal BYOB policies. Most already include wines with meals so what’s the big deal. Let’s sneak on board and test the waters when it comes to alcoholic beverages, how do the carry-aboard policies of the major cruise lines compare today?
Carnival Cruise Lines: The fun cruise line says you can bring aboard at embarkation one bottle of wine per person (age 21 and up – even though your ports of call are usually 18 years and up for drinking – Caribbean, Mexico as examples). Their fun corkage fee in the main dining room is $10 and $14 in their fun steakhouses. Are we having fun yet? What you can’t have fun with and bring aboard: Spirits, beer.
Celebrity Cruises: Your aboard experience includes embarkation with two bottles of wine per stateroom if you so choose. No, that’s not per person, it’s per stateroom. HOWEVER bring it to your vacation and celebration and pay their $25 corkage fee. Do you feel like a Celebrity? What you can’t bring aboard: Spirits, beer.
Cunard Cruise Line: This Ocean Liner has no restrictions on alcohol brought onboard, but the number of wine or champagne bottles will be noted and at the port authorities discretion. Figure out what that means. Then your luxury corkage fee is $20 What you can’t bring aboard: use your imagination
Disney Cruise Line: Micky, Minnie and Donald all agree alcohol is permitted but bring it in your hand-carried, carry-on luggage. Act ducky in public, but consumption is in the privacy (or not privacy if traveling with young ones) or pay a character corkage fee of $20 and find your inner child and Micky ears at Palo and Remy restaurants. What you can’t bring aboard: use your imagination, a hint: it starts with a cork _ _ _ _ _
Holland America Line: Their signature of excellence coming aboard at embarkation includes wine with specific consumption rules: NO public venues unless you pay their excellence corkage fee of $18 for bars and restaurants. We’re presuming these corkage fees are per bottle, not per service, otherwise have two bottles opened at the same time! What you can’t bring aboard: Spirits (no specifications on your beer) Do Holland America Line passengers drink beer?
Norwegian Cruise Line: This free-style cruising at embarkation includes bringing aboard wine with no limitations! That’s what I all free-style wining! However, don’t think there is a free-style corkage service, you can beg a crew member or other passenger (how does that work?) to cork your precious wine, the fee-styling is $15. Don’t bring aboard those other Spirits although there’s no specified for beer. Use your imagination
Princess Cruises: Yes, “the love boat.” Did you ever see anyone in the show signing anything at the bar? Oh well, it’s the concept. Your love at embarkation is clearly measured by one bottle of wine per adult. Their love corkage fee is $15, no reflection on your love, of course! What you can’t bring aboard: Spirits, beer, it doesn’t mention corkscrews …. are you still using your imagination
Royal Caribbean International: Royal’s recent bow to wine-lovers boarding at embarkation now allows up to two bottles of wine per cabin. They did have a “no alcohol” policy for carry-ons, so take it or leave it. Toast on that balcony you paid for it (no additional charge to use it or restrictive hours that we know of), you’ve earned your vacation, you deserve it! In fact, celebrating a special occasion or no occasion at all (we call them “de lime in de coconut travel”, dust off something special from that cellar downstairs or wine shop from home and bring it along. Bottles must be 750ml or smaller. Next put your crown on and feel like Royalty when you pay their Royal corkage fee of $25, charged to your stateroom. But depending on the value of that special bottle, that could be well worth it, you decide!
One of our tips for our cruisers: don’t let the marriage or honeymoon be over when you pick up that final bill and it’s as long as your arm. He said, she said, you did what, when? Also feel free to tip on your tip if you like throughout the cruise.
Use your imagination. We have yet to see the boxed wine concept defined with any restrictions for carry-on! Also pack those wine freezer concoctions for a real treat on a hot pool day! Do you think it sounds better saying one bottle per person vs two bottles per cabin, are we having fun yet? In other words, per person, more than 2 adults in the cabin (drinkers or not) may be your best bet! Notice nearby passengers that don’t drink? They might carry on for you. It’s not like it’s the airport. Notice passengers ready to head back to the ship without wine, don’t take the word “no” personally and don’t forget their tip. Not to be confused with forced ship gratuities plus 15% service fees added to your sign and travel. What’s the average cost of a bottle of wine on a ship?. As far as restrictions continue, we have yet to note any restrictions stating “you must consume all wine before disembarkation” or “bottle pickup fees may apply” or “left over wine will be collected and shared equally with staff,” “no credits for left-over wine” or thank you for your generous contribution to the cleaning staff.” Imagination, I’ll toast to that!
infusion or confusion by PJ, WSD