Can You Drink At 18 On A Cruise?

Can You Drink At 18 On A Cruise? Are you a young adult eager to set sail on a cruise but unsure about the minimum drinking age? Or perhaps you’re a parent wondering if your older teenager can indulge in a cocktail with you onboard. The legal drinking age on cruise ships can vary, and it’s important to know the rules before you embark on your adventure. In this post, we’ll find out the different cruise lines and their respective policies on the minimum drinking age. So, whether you’re ready to sip a refreshing beverage by the pool or simply curious about the regulations, let’s look the details and find out if you can drink at 18 on a cruise.

Can You Drink At 18 On A Cruise?

Unfortunately, the answer to whether you can drink at 18 on a cruise is not a simple yes or no. It depends on several key factors:

1. Cruise Line Policy:

  • International Waters: Some cruise lines, like P&O Cruises and Virgin Voyages, allow 18-year-olds to drink in international waters (outside the territorial waters of a country). However, this doesn’t apply when docked in ports.
  • US-based Itineraries: Most cruise lines with itineraries originating in the US, Middle East (e.g., Dubai), or some Caribbean islands (e.g., US Virgin Islands) require passengers to be 21+ to drink everywhere onboard, including international waters. This is due to compliance with US federal law and local regulations.

2. Port Age Restrictions:

  • Legal Drinking Age: Even if the cruise line permits 18-year-olds to drink in international waters, some ports of call might have higher legal drinking ages (e.g., 21 in Mexico). In such cases, disembarking passengers must adhere to local laws.
  • Cruise Line Policy: Cruise lines often enforce stricter policies onboard than local laws, regardless of where the ship is docked. They might not serve alcohol to 18-year-olds even if it’s legal in the port.
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3. Parental Waiver (Limited Cases):

  • Specific Cruise Lines: A few cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Princess Cruises, allow 18-20 year olds to drink in international waters with a signed parental waiver. However, this option is rare and typically has strict conditions, like parental presence during alcohol consumption.

4. Consequences of Breaking the Rules:

  • Refusal of Service: Cruise lines can refuse to serve alcohol to underage passengers, even if they presented false identification.
  • Fines and Legal Trouble: Violating local laws in ports can lead to fines, confiscation of alcohol, or even detention.
  • Disembarkation: The cruise line might disembark passengers who repeatedly flout alcohol policies.

Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly research the specific policies of your chosen cruise line and all ports of call before sailing. If you’re unsure, always err on the side of caution and avoid underage drinking, which can lead to unpleasant consequences.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Drink on a Cruise?

When it comes to the legal drinking age on a cruise ship, it can vary depending on the cruise line and the port of embarkation. So, how old do you have to be to drink on a cruise? Here are some policies of a few popular cruise lines to find out.

1. Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean requires passengers to be at least 21 years old to drink on their cruises departing and returning to the US. However, if your cruise is departing from a port outside the US, such as Europe or Australia, the minimum drinking age is lowered to 18 years old.

2. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line also requires passengers to be at least 21 years old to consume alcohol on their cruises from North America. However, they allow guests who are 18 years old or older to consume beer and wine with the consent of a parent or guardian.

3. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line follows a similar policy, requiring the legal drinking age to be 21 years old on their cruises sailing from and returning to US ports. However, if the ship is sailing from a port outside the US, such as Europe or Australia, the minimum drinking age is reduced to 18 years old.

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4. P&O Cruises

Guests aged 18 and over can consume alcohol in international waters on P&O Cruises sailings departing from the UK. However, this excludes when docked in ports where the legal drinking age is higher than 18.

5. Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages allows passengers 18 and older to drink responsibly in international waters, with a focus on curated cocktails and mindful consumption. Their ships boast stunning designs and offer an adults-only experience.

6. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Guests aged 18 and above can enjoy a selection of alcoholic beverages in international waters on Fred. Olsen sailings. It’s important to note that their ships tend to cater to a more mature clientele.

7. Marella Cruises

Formerly known as Thomson Cruises, Marella offers sailings from the UK where passengers 18 and over can consume alcohol in international waters. Their ships are popular for their relaxed atmosphere and family-friendly amenities.


Whether you can drink at 18 on a cruise depends on various factors such as the cruise line policy, the itinerary, port age restrictions, and potential parental waivers. Some cruise lines permit 18-year-olds to drink in international waters, while others adhere to stricter regulations, especially for US-based itineraries. Port age restrictions may also affect drinking privileges, as some ports may have higher legal drinking ages. Violating alcohol policies can result in consequences like refusal of service, fines, or even disembarkation. It’s crucial to research and understand the specific policies of the chosen cruise line and all ports of call to avoid unpleasant consequences. Ultimately, underage drinking should be approached with caution to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, regardless of personal desires or circumstances.

Read more: Can You Drink At 18 On A Cruise?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you bring alcohol on Royal Caribbean cruises?

Guests are not allowed to bring beer or hard liquor onboard for consumption. Alcohol seized on embarkation day will be returned at the end of the voyage if in the original sealed package.

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Are cruises strict with underage drinking?

Cruise line policies vary, but most allow 18-year-olds to be in bars and nightclubs on their own or with adult family and friends. However, the drinking age is 21 on ships visiting the US or sailing with US-based cruise lines.

What is the legal drinking age in the Bahamas?

The legal drinking age in the Bahamas is 18. However, it is important to note that importing, possessing, or dealing unlawful drugs, including marijuana, is a serious offense in the Bahamas with heavy penalties.

Can 18-year-old tourists drink in America?

No, the legal drinking age throughout the US is 21. Using a fake ID to purchase alcohol is illegal and can result in fines and potentially jail time.

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