5 Cruise Lines That Let You BYOB

November 9, 2011 | By | 49 Comments

And another thing … when it comes to bringing liquor onboard, most cruise line alcohol policies are cut and dry. With the exception of wine, you cannot bring your own bottle. Caught by security with a liter of Grey Goose? You’ll be embarrassed in front of your peers — and lose the booze until the end of the cruise. But there are a few exceptions: lines that know they have a captive drinking audience, but still let us tipple on the cheap. Omitting true luxury operators like Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas, which include drinks in the fare, check out five lines that let you BYOB.

Disney Cruise Line. The Mouse lets passengers 21 years of age and older bring their own beer and liquor onboard for in-cabin consumption. Makes no difference whether you schlep it on at embarkation or from a port of call. Liquor purchased at the duty-free shop onboard is, however, held until the last night of the cruise. It’s rare to see a big-ship line with such a liberal policy, but, then again, passengers are paying a premium to cruise with Disney. Be wary about packing liquor in checked luggage though — carry it on instead. The line reserves the right to remove fragile items (including beverages) from guests’ luggage, and those items will be stored until the end of the voyage.
Cunard Line. While Cunard does not allow you to bring liquor and spirits onboard at embarkation, currently the line does not collect liquor purchased ashore. This policy is, however, under review. We hope Cunard continues its sober-minded approach.
P&O Cruises. According to British line P&O, passengers are welcome to bring a small amount of alcohol with them. There is no restriction to the amount. P&O does, however, reserve the right to remove alcohol at the gangway should the need arise. If, quoting the policy, it’s “likely that the health, comfort, safety and enjoyment of passengers may otherwise be compromised.”
Azamara Club Cruises. The two-ship luxe-lite line makes passengers pay for most alcoholic drinks onboard — wine is included with lunch and dinner — but liquor can be brought aboard and consumed in-cabin for no fee.
Oceania Cruises. Here’s another “premium” line that makes you pony up for booze onboard. Bringing your own, however, is allowed. Passengers may consume their own beer or liquor, brought on during embarkation or from a port of call. But keep the party in the cabin, says Oceania.
Just for fun. When it comes to its alcohol policies, Norwegian is no different from any other big-ship line. You cannot bring liquor. Period. End of story. But, as with most other lines, you can bring wine. You just have to pay a corkage fee if you consume it in an onboard restaurant (or even to take it onboard). That fee is where Norwegian stands out. Those bring bottles onboard must pay a corkage fee of $15 for 750ml bottles, $20 for 1,000ml and $30 for 1,500ml. Ah, the novelty-sized 1,500ml wine bottle.
Get all you need to know on cruise booze in our Guide to Drinking at Sea, including 7 Ways to Score Free Drinks at Sea.
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    Comments

    49 Responses to “5 Cruise Lines That Let You BYOB”

    1. Tina C.
      November 9th, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

      Correction on “Just for Fun”: NCL charges you the corkage fee no matter WHERE you drink your wine, whether in your cabin, on the Lido deck, or in a restaurant. You are charged when you bring it onboard.

      Also, we sailed Princess last year and was able to bring wine and beer onboard at no charge and with no problem.

    2. Fran
      November 9th, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

      This is why i will cruise no more, can’t afford the booze bills anymore. We will be going all inclusive from now on.

    3. Janice
      November 9th, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

      When we were on the Crown Princess in 2010 in the Med I could bring wine onboard, it was nice to try the local wines out and sip them on the balcony.

    4. Ruthie B
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

      Maybe it’s which ship you are on but when we boarded the NCL Epic in April of this year our wine was confiscated & held till the end of the cruise with no offer of a corkage fee what so ever!

    5. Carolyn
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

      When boarding Carniaval Victory we were allowed to bring one bottle of wine each for cabin consumption:)

    6. MJM
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

      On a recent Alaska cruise HAL security told me I could bring a six-pack of beer on board.

    7. Roberto
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

      I’ve always been lucky in 3 out of my 4 total cruises(Carnival, RCL, Celebrity). In my first one(Carnival Destiny), I was able to embark with a bottle of wine plus several cans of puertorican beer(Medalla Light). In my 2nd one(Carnival Triumph), I was able to smuggle beer cans from every port. Actually I’ve never had a problem bringing beer from different ports, and on my last stop in Cozumel(Celebrity Century), I was able to bring several medium size bottles of tequila to my cabin without a problem. I wonder if there is an specific bottle size, and also…maybe beer cans are just the same as bringing soda cans.

    8. melanie pecsok
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

      on princess we asked when we left the ship. they allowed a celebratory bottle of wine (birthday/anniversary). no hard liquor. we did however bring on small gift samplers of whiskey which didn’t make it to their intended recipients.

    9. Jeff
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

      The whole Disney blurb regarding \6\ bottles or cans is so incorrect, it’s not even funny. My wife and I carried on a case each when boarded in PC, then 2 more cases in Key West. Security was so cool, they even said that if we had leftovers, let them know! That’s service

    10. Cruise Critic
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

      Jeff … clearly there is the ‘official policy’ — which we confirmed with the line — and the reality of your experience. As cruisers, we often find a divergence between the two!

    11. Mike S
      November 9th, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

      Just got off a cruise on Ruby Princess. Had no problem bringing wine or booze aboard although they were really strict about charging a corkage if you didn’t consume it in your cabin.

    12. michele moore
      November 9th, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

      well I just kept my first drink glass and filled it with my drink stuff from the cabin and just cruise about the ship. They aren’t going to know if its from your room or a bar. We still spent $ on drinks.

    13. Terry
      November 9th, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

      We recently went on a Carnival cruise, we took two bottles of wine per their policy, only to find out the policy changed about 6 months ago…now any wine must be in your carry-on luggage, not your checked bag as in the past. I was called to security and the wine was confiscated!!!! to me, it should not matter which luggage you bring it in, it is the same! but alas, we leave in a couple of weeks on a Celebrity cruise, and my package has been purchased already. I will let you know how it goes for me.

    14. Bill C
      November 9th, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

      We went on the NCL Epic in April of this year as well and they confiscated a couple bottles of wine my wife thought she could bring on …. I brought on vodka in the “rum runner” flasks —- security didn’t have a clue …. heck, in one port I walked on board with a bottle of Captain Morgan Private Stock and went right to my room

      I smuggle every chance I get

    15. Kimberly Parker
      November 9th, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

      I have sailed Princess and Holland America and I have never had a problem with wine or champagne; we brought it onboard at every port. Royal was ruthless in August when I sailed on the 4 day taking the bottles from our carry on. NCL did offer the corkage; they didn’t miss a thing and Carnival was too long ago to remember their take on alcohol. You are going to spend money on alcohol when you are in the casino, at the shows and even on the pool deck; they will get their money and more!

    16. M. H. Hoffman
      November 10th, 2011 @ 1:46 am

      If cruise lines charged reasonable prices for their drinks, maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation! ( I too bring wine adoard for consumption in my cabin. Haven’t had any confiscated yet.)

    17. Dori
      November 10th, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

      Thanks for the byob tip on Oceania. We are planning on booking the Riviera this summer. We are not big drinkers, but I have heard from the comments and passenger reviews on Cruise Critic that they are too expensive for beverage service and excursions. I would bring a few bottles of bubbly on board for our own private sail away party off of our veranda. Good to know, I would not want to be embarrassed as you stated in the article.

    18. Lisa
      November 10th, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

      Have sailed Celebrity twice and they will allow you to bring it on when you first board the ship. You can also bring it on by your checked baggage. Once on the ship if you but liquor and bring it on board they will keep it for you until the end of the cruise.

    19. Cruise Critic
      November 10th, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

      Just a heads up: Not sure we were clear, but we are not talking about wine. Most lines — there is one notable exception — “officially” allow you to bring wine onboard.

    20. Pat
      November 10th, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

      On a recent Med cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, I was surprised to see a duty free shop in the terminal, on the way onto the ship in Barcelona. After you cleared security, you could buy beer, wine, water, and carry it on board. No restrictions that I could see.

      However, Barcelona was the only port where we saw this. We had our wine quarantined when we tried to bring some on board as a souvenir from Tuscany — got it back on the last night, which was fine, but I wonder why it’s OK to bring it on board in Barcelona, but not in Livorno?

    21. Ivan Alexander
      November 16th, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

      Just got back from Med cruise on Costa Serena and although the written policy said no to any food or drink , we had no problem . I brought on 12 beer at one port and my wife brought on wine and didn’t even put it in her bag just set it on the security screening belt and picked it up on the other side . It seemed to be the norm, as most passengers were doing it

    22. Kenneth
      November 28th, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

      We have been successful in taking on minatures (with plastic caps), hidden in various areas and have enjoyed them where ever. Also, we have taken bottles back on board, just ignore the man at the table and go up to your cabin.. My wife speaks Polish and pretends we don’t understand…

    23. char
      December 10th, 2011 @ 9:54 am

      Sailing on the Carnival Freedom next week. Do I take a chance as I have in the past with some plastic “apple juice” bottles in my checked luggage? How bad have they gotten lately?

    24. Kelly Bentley
      December 27th, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

      I once packed a fifth of Captain Morgan and 3 2-liters of Coke and a case of Bud Light on a Carnival cruise…in a checked bag…it made it to the room…and the room steward made sure we had plenty of ice for our beer!

    25. Bird
      January 19th, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

      Is there a alcoholic drink package (like on Celebrity) on Holland America? Also is there any problem with bringing Liquor on board?

    26. Suzanne Smith
      June 13th, 2012 @ 9:09 am

      Holland America has drink cards. You buy a card and get 10% off. So you buy it in increments of 50 bucks. Just remember there is a 15% gratuity added to each drink. Cards go quick. We bring on board wine for consumption in our room. We purchase a wine package at a discount now because we are 4 Star Mariners.

      No doubt, adult bevs are the most expensive part of some trips!

    27. Andre Robitaille
      June 13th, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

      On Caribbean Princess we brought 3 bottle of Baccardi rhum in Puerto Rico and never was any question ask.

    28. Bud Doyle
      June 20th, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

      We won’t sail Celebrity again because of their nigardly and strident buze and luggage search policy, as we enjoy pre-dinner drinks on our balcony.
      HAL is terrific in allowing unlimited wine carried on at embarkation (and maybe ports), and Oceania is also accommodating. Both lines do ask that your BYOB be consumed in your own stateroom, or if in the restaurant they’ll charge corkage, which we believe is fair.
      It is a bit of a revelation about our habits as we chose our lines in part based on their liquor policy. We’re not big drinkers, but we refuse to pay exorbitant prices in the public areas ($50 for a $10 bottle of wine).

    29. Cassandra
      June 27th, 2012 @ 8:53 am

      CCL allows a bottle of wine per adult upon embarkation in the carry-on luggage.

    30. Anne S
      June 27th, 2012 @ 9:30 am

      We’ll be on our 9th cruise in Sept. mostly Princess. After the first couple we decided to buy an inexpensive wine corker to leave in our suitcase. Why would you pay a $15 fee for something you can do yourself free. In fact pre our own corker I went to a bar to ‘borrow’ theirs which I returned within a few minutes.

    31. Sam
      June 27th, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

      Oceania is good about byob. Drink in room or they also have corkage for personal wines in dining room.

      As far as prices, they have some pretty good happy hour prices. Order a drink just before and take into dining room for reasonable drinking of their booze.

      Since all soft drinks and coffee are free its easy to have plenty of mixer availble for mixed drinks. They wil
      Keep your in cabin refrig stocked with your preference.

    32. marty
      June 27th, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

      You don’t mention Princess. They allow you to bring on wine. Although they say 1 bottle per person, they never seem to care how much you bring on.

    33. Vincent Lombardo
      June 27th, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

      Sailed Celebrity Silhouette. Others were saying they were bringing in wine without being stopped. So we tried. From several stops, we brought in 6 bottles of wine and one Grappa. They were in our shopping bags and went through X-ray. Nothing was said. So we brought them to our room. Like others said, if they would charge a lot less, people would not sneak it in.

    34. Cruise Critic
      June 28th, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

      @Marty, please note the second sentence of the piece: “With the exception of wine — and even some lines, like Royal Caribbean, say no to vino — you cannot bring your own bottle.”

      We’re excluding wine.

    35. Chuck Calin
      July 8th, 2012 @ 7:45 am

      How sucessful have “Rum Runners” been at getting booze past security?

    36. Tami foltt
      July 23rd, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

      We all 3 brought rum runners no problem on ncl. Even noticed it looked like they had opened our bags.

    37. Mary
      August 23rd, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

      I have been on some cruises and going on one in Oct. I just call the Bon Voyage store, order it, and have it delivered to my room when I get there and I drink Jim Beam.

    38. zoncom
      September 12th, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

      You forgot 2 big ones. HAL and Princess.

    39. Jen
      September 12th, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

      What has worked in the past for us is to bring boxed wine and put it in your luggage or carry on. This was on NCL. Security is looking for bottles…not boxes. They have never looked at us twice. ..and there are some very good quality boxed wines out there now. Good luck!

    40. Cruise Critic
      September 12th, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

      Zoncom … please read the caveat. We’re not talking about wine. The official policies for HAL and Princess dictate that you cannot bring liquor or beer onboard.

    41. Martha
      September 21st, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

      Run Runners work very well. At least 10-15 couples in our gorup bought them and used them on RCCL. No problem, as they say!

    42. APRILSTWINS
      September 24th, 2012 @ 8:55 am

      I smuggled booze on NCL with no problems. Just take it out of their original containers.

    43. Anne
      December 27th, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

      I have a 6-compartment bottle bag that I’ve loaded with wine & brought on Princess without comment, both at embarkation & in port. So much for the “1 bottle” policy. And they’ve never said anything about a couple of 6-packs of beer, either.

    44. Carolyn
      May 22nd, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

      It pays to ask in advance. Before a recent transatlantic on Holland America I found out that we could bring all the wine we could carry aboard. And so we brought 6 bottles in our carry-ons and enjoyed a glass every night in the cabin. There was an $18.00 corkage fee to bring it to the dining room.

    45. Bruce Selleg
      August 14th, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

      Just finished a cruise on HAL, they did not have any problem with wine taken on board with the understanding that it is consumed in cabin. This is far different then NCL, which is why I will never cruise with them again.

    46. Kenneth
      August 21st, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

      Brought a case of wine on board for a HAL Alaskan cruise without any problem at all. The only difficulty was the need to integrate this “cabin wine consumption” with the wine purchased in the dining room at dinner, the wine purchased while dining for lunch and the cocktails purchased in the lounges. Although we consumed all of our wine, it probably took another week for our livers to recover.

    47. Shirley
      September 25th, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

      We have sailed on Rccl,Celebrity,NCL,Princess, and Holland…take a plastic bottle for each of us.,Whisky AND Vodka in the checked luggage our cabin Stewart always keeps fresh ice and we enjoy our coctails on the balcony…My husband drinks Jack Daniels and I was going to order it ahead to our cabin and they wanted $40.00 for a small bottle. wine is a real rippoff too. why do they have to charge so much. We are booked on Paul Gauguin and all drinks are included. Also we love Azamara because wine and beer are includes at meals and you can bring whatever you want to drink in the cabin…Azamara is the bEST ALL AROUND CRUISE LINE.

    48. Cruising: 10 Tips Making The Most Out Of A Cruise - the Lala
      October 13th, 2014 @ 12:00 am

      […] charge a corking fee if you uncork your bottle while outside of your stateroom. Check with your specific cruise line for details outlining how many, if any, bottles of wine and champagne you can pack and if a corking […]

    49. Val F
      November 17th, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

      This is where P&O wins ‘hands down’ over virtually any other cruise line. As long as people are sensible about their alcohol consumption there are no limits on bringing your own alcohol onboard; either at embarkation or port visits. In 28 years of cruising with P&O I have never witnessed this privilege being abused. Although I personally drink very little alcohol, I object to the rip-off on many other cruise lines and now boycott them on principle.

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