Cruise alcohol policies vary a lot, but most of the mainstream lines allow their guests to bring wine onboard. A corkage fee is applied for drinking it in the restaurant. The following are our tips for getting free alcohol on cruise. With some exceptions, the following don't include wine.
The following review is integrated with How to Cruise For Free.
9 tips for getting free alcohol on cruise
1. Attend alcohol tastings, parties and art auctions: Alcohol tastings are often hosted onboard at liquor stores. Try before buying, or choose not to buy at all ;-). Captain’s cocktail parties are one of the most important venues onboard. Captain’s Party is usually held at cruises' beginning - occasionally at the end, and is open to all passengers. Disney Cruise Line offers Captain's party open to all guests on formal night, with free alcohol on cruise provided. Carnival Cruise Line organizes Farewell Fun Parties, which offer complimentary drinks but are often not well attended. Princess Cruises hold similar ones on 14-night or longer cruises. After some free alcohol on cruise, purchasing silly shapes and squiggly lines instead of a new car makes more sense. Major cruise lines know that and therefore provide free drinks at art auctions. Put on a monocle, but better leave your checkbook in the stateroom safe and go get some free booze. Art auctions at sea and free wine always go together.
2. Loyalty programs: Cruise lines are generous with past passengers. If you sail just once onboard Holland America ships, you have the chance to attend "Mariner Champagne Brunch" which is complimentary. After 200 days at sea you’ll get not only Champagne brunch, but also complimentary wine tasting and half off HAL wine packages. On Celebrity ‘Select’ tier, an exciting perk is complimantary wine tasting seminar. Royal Caribbean hosts nightly open-bar cocktail events for the repeaters. Princess Elite members receive free mini-bar selections on embarkation day.
3. Casino on board: Sign up for NCL Players Club "Casinos at Sea", and make sure your card is verified each time you play - you could get free drinks then. Norwegian casino players have to pack 1,500 sea-bucks for getting the “drink card”. This, of course, requires time and money. The easier way is by "Harrah Total Rewards" card - membership is free and its holders who book their voyage through Norwegian "Casinos at Sea" get a drink card. Don't forget to mention that you've got the TR status when you book.
4. Two for one: Some onboard bars advertise BOGO hour-long free alcohol on cruise specials. The daily newsletters will best inform you about time and place. Don't miss the the two-fors deals - BOGO events are really worth it.
5. Suite guests: They are among the rewarded. Inquire about access to the special clubs and suite guests' happy hours. Book Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean (or up), and you’ll access Concierge Club Lounge on Enchantment of the Seas, Radiance, Freedom, Oasis and Voyager-class ships.
6. Luxury upgrades: On the most luxury fleets like Seabourn, alcoholic beverages (French Champagne as well), are included in fare, and a stocked bar is available in every suite. Premium wines cost extra, and after all, you’ll pay a substantial amount of money more to sail on luxury ships.
7. In-cabin service: Some cruise lines offer liquor bottles via room service. Order a bottle of vodka, a pack of sprites or seven ups, and mix your own cocktails. This way you can save a lot, and have a cocktail in stateroom instead of waiting in line and paying much more at bars onboard. Not all companies offer this service option, but Princess and Oceania do include. Prices vary by line, so do savings.
8. Liquor-gift: Buy a Princess ‘Bon Voyage’ gift, referring to order pre-cruise options - it can be delivered to cabin. ‘Bon Voyage’ liquor is a good deal. An extra bonus is the nice set of glasses that you may use during the voyage. You aren't supposed to take drinks out of cabin, but some guests shared they had never been questioned about doing so. The liquor-gift saves a lot of money compared to drinks you can buy at the bars.
9. All-you-can drink packages: Beverage packages were created for people who want to have whatever, whenever they want, it with the convenience to know it's been already paid at fair price. All-you-can drink packages can be your way to keep track of consumed alcohol, so there is no surprise when the time to settle account comes. It usually makes sense for your account to buy drinks package. Don't forget that a few cruise lines allow sharing drinks - double-check before you buy beverage packages for each of the company.
3 Cruise Lines that allow bringing alcohol on cruise
When it comes about bringing alcohol on cruise, most alcohol policies of cruise lines are cut - you cannot bring your own alcohol on cruise, with exception of wine. If you happen to be caught by security while smuggling a liter of whiskey, you'll not only be embarrassed in front of other guests, but also lose the booze till the end of cruise. A few exceptions are available. Not counting the real luxury cruise operators like Regent Seven Seas or Seabourn, which include all drinks in their fares - check out the three mainstream lines that let bringing your own booze.
- Azamara Club Cruises: The luxury two-ship Azamara Club Cruises includes free alcohol on cruise in fares - beer, wine, and select liquors are provided, but you can bring alcohol aboard and consume it in cabin without issue. $10 corkage fee is applied for consumption outside cabins. Liquor purchased from onboard duty-free shops is delivered to cabin the last night before disembark.
- Disney Cruise Line: Disney lets its guests, who are 21 years or older, bring own alcohol on cruise for consumption in cabin. Beverages have to be packed in not checked carry-on luggage. Coolers with drinks aren't allowed. Liquor that has been purchased from onboard duty-free Disney shops is held until last night of cruise. Disney reserves right to remove from guests' luggage fragile items (which includes beverages), and such items will also be stored till the end of voyage.
- P&O Cruises: According to the British P&O Cruises, guests are welcome to bring small amounts of alcohol on cruise. There are no amount restrictions. P&O does reserve right to remove liquor at gangway should need arise, if the health, safety or comfort of passengers may be compromised.