Carnival Repeals Nonalcoholic Drinks Ban

April 19, 2007

Carnival Bans Bringing Aboard Nonalcoholic Drinks

Carnival Cruise Lines, which earlier this year implemented an amended beverage policy declaring bring-aboard water, juice and soda to be as off-limits as liquor, has changed its mind. The line, according to a spokesman, has "been re-examining the policy and have decided to continue to allow limited quantities but to monitor the situation."

The ban, put into effect as test effort, was the result of what Carnival folks felt was quantity abuse -- folks bringing cases and cases of beverages, and rolling ice chests onboard.

The temporary ban sparked some outrage amongst Cruise Critic members. Voters in our If lines ban me from bringing nonalcoholic drinks onboard I will... home page poll were clearly infuriated; the poll netted 2,733 responses, a record high for just 24 hours of voting. Thirty-four percent said they would smuggle the stuff in; another 34 percent said they'd choose another cruise line, and only 28 percent said they'd follow the rules.

Still, Carnival's retreat doesn't mean it'll put up with abuse from multi-case-packing passengers. In its revised policy, the line notes that "Guests may bring small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages." And don't miss the fact that in addition to liquor, which already is banned from bringing onboard in most cases, "All liquor, excessive quantities of wine and non-alcoholic beverages, to be determined at the discretion of security and embarkation personnel, will be confiscated and discarded without compensation."

Cruise Critic member Redlef puts the whole issue into perspective with his response on a Carnival forum thread entitled It Looks Like Carnival Has Changed The Beverage Policy Again. Redlef writes, "We got onboard early and saw four or five cheap rolling ice chests [that had been discarded by cruisers on the previous voyage] in the halls. The room stewards said that it was not unusual that the cruise did not want to fool with the empty chest on the way back."

And, notes Redlef: "That's funny. People don't want to pay the extra buck for a soda, but they'll schlepp two cases of it and leave a $30 cooler behind as garbage.

"I guess on my next cruise, I'll bring my clothes in paper bags, then walk around and grab all the empty ice chests I can find. A poor man's luggage set!"

Royal Caribbean, which was the first cruise line to expand its "no bring-aboard" policy to all beverages, maintains its stance.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor