Back in the good old days, cruisers could embark with a few bottles of wine or champagne and consume the Caribbean rum they bought ashore back on the ship. Then cruise lines cracked down on alcohol not purchased onboard, confiscating any purchased alcohol until the end of the cruise and allowing guests to bring only one bottle of wine onboard the ship with them. Luckily for those passengers who preferred bottled water, soda, and juice and didn’t want to pay shipboard rates, the cruise lines allowed nonalcoholic beverages to come aboard.
Well, that liberal policy is coming to an end. CruiseCritic reports that Carnival will ban cruisers from bringing all nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages onboard, with the exception of one bottle of wine or champagne. No more six packs of soda or bottled water for those long, hot shore excursions—unless you’ve made your purchase onboard. According to CruiseCritic, Royal Caribbean has already invoked a similar policy, though I couldn’t find evidence of this on the cruise line’s website.
Why would Carnival ban nonalcoholic beverages? A Carnival representative said the reason was abuse of the previous policy. I interpret that cryptic statement to mean people were bringing so much soda and water onboard that they didn’t have to buy any drinks on the ship. Mainstream lines are known for their nickel-and-dime policies, so it’s not surprising they want to squeeze more revenue out of their beverage services.
As for me, I like to bring a water bottle onboard and fill it up in the buffet restaurant. I wonder if my trusty Nalgene bottle is likely to be banned in the future, as well.