Yes, but there are limits and a few gotcha’s. Although there are minor differences between the cruise lines and policies get tweaked periodically, in general you can bring one bottle (max 750 ml) of wine or champagne per adult age 21 or over.

And that brings us to the first gotcha. We took a last minute cruise this past Christmas and our table mates were complaining that they had brought a special bottle of wine for Christmas dinner and it had been confiscated. Ater a little exploration, we figured out why. In order to insure that the bottle didn’t get broken, they had very carefully wrapped the bottle and packed it in their checked luggage. Here is the official word from Carnival Cruise Line (as an example):

Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages on board. However, at the beginning of the cruise during embarkation day, guests (21 years of age and older) may bring on board one bottle (750ml) of wine or champagne, per person, only in their carry-on luggage. A $10 corkage fee per bottle will be charged should you wish to consume this wine in the main dining room; $14 corkage fee per bottle in the steakhouse. (A corkage fee is a charge exacted at a restaurant for every bottle of liquor served that was not bought on the premises)

Notice that little restriction? That is the one that caught our friends. Pay attention to the corkage fee as well. The good news is that fee only applies to the dining room. If you enjoy that wine on your balcony, you don’t have to pay the corkage. I would recommend a nice tip to your room steward for the glasses and the corkscrew…

One more potential gotcha is the issue of fortified wines. Do they fall under wine or alcoholic beverage? Of course, the first problem is that wine IS an alcoholic beverage so is the issue the alcohol content? Not exactly since the fine folks at will show that wine falls in the 11% range, while beer (which is NOT allowed) is only 4%. Confused? Me too. So do what I do, when in doubt call the cruise line and ask point blank. Get the name of the person who gave you the answer. Even better if you have the time, get it in writing.

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Filed Under: Ask the Cruise Dork

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