How to Sneak Alcohol on a Cruise

by  Chanize Thorpe | Dec 2, 2016

Many first-time cruisers experience sticker shock at the end of their sailing: That's when the final bill for onboard purchases arrives at your cabin door, and you see just how many glasses of wine you had with dinner, drinks you ordered by the pool, and cocktails you signed for while listening to the piano player in the lounge. Those drinks can really add up: On average, you'll pay $10 for wine by the glass, $6 for a bottle of beer, and $12 for a mixed drink. And that's if you order drinks with house liquor, rather than upgrading to a top-shelf liquor. Oh, and did we mention an additional 15% tip is automatically added? Ouch. There are some ways around those high bar bills, though. For example, Disney Cruise Line, Cunard Line, and Holland America Line allow passengers to bring one or two bottles of wine or Champagne on board without an extra charge. But there are caveats: Consumption is usually in-cabin only, and hard liquor and beer are off the table. Plus, if you want to drink your own wine with meals, you'll have to pay a corkage fee in the neighborhood of $20. There are also opportunities to sip drinks on the house while cruising. For example, most welcome parties, formal nights, and art auctions include complimentary drinks, usually inexpensive bubbly. Frequent cruisers get invited to additional soirees to mingle with the ship’s commander-at-sea, so it pays to sign up for the line's loyalty program.

Small bottles of liquor / iStock / jacqylaw

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