March 1, 2003
Carnival Cruise Line becomes the first in the industry to expand its prohibited-beverage-policy to include non-alcoholic beverages. Effective this month, the addition to Carnival’s policy, which like other cruise lines such as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean does not allow passengers to bring onboard liquor for private consumption, is raising eyebrows because it now bans bottled water, juice and soda. A Carnival spokeswoman couldn’t quite pin down the rationale for such a rule, saying “it was always the intent for people not to be allowed to bring quantities of anything onboard -- but we had never articulated it or specified [the rule] in our written materials.” She defines “quantity” as ”nothing, other than one bottle of wine or champagne for a special occasion.” Enforcement-wise, Carnival is phasing in the no-bottled-water-or-juice-or-soda regulation on a gradual basis as it is still in the process of being incorporated into various materials. “The timeline,” says the spokeswoman, “is finite. We’re looking at a gradual phase-in while we ensure it’s in all materials.” Will this latest beverage regulation become as relatively widespread as has the no-liquor-onboard policy now embraced by many mass market cruise lines? Doubtful, according to several other cruise leaders we contacted, who, once finished with exclamations of shock over Carnival’s audacious new rule, quickly issued responses that fell in the “no way” category.