Embarking on a cruise is an enthralling experience that presents a plethora of adventures, experiences, and amenities. However, amidst the anticipation of this exciting voyage, it’s crucial to note the age-old saying, “Knowledge is the key to better adventures.” One such vital piece of knowledge involves understanding the rules around alcohol consumption aboard. Specifically, a frequently encountered query – “Can you drink on a cruise at 18?” – requires particular attention. As the waves of global laws and cruise line policies ebb and flow, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as one might assume. From tropical Caribbean cruises to traversing the icy waters of the North, this article aims to enlighten young adults and their chaperones about the alcohol consumption norms across the world’s biggest cruise lines.

drink on a cruise, drink at 18

Age Requirements for Drinking on a Cruise

As we plunge into the intriguing world of cruise line age policies, it’s crucial to remember that just as the depth of the ocean varies, so too do the rules regarding alcohol consumption. Imagine cruise lines as distinct countries floating on the water, each with its unique constitution dictating the minimum drinking age. Unfurling the mystery, let’s dive right in!

drink at 18, cheers, drink alcohol

Many cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise and Royal Caribbean, set the bar at lower drinking age of 21 years of age for drinking alcohol on board when sailing from North American ports. This aligns with the legal drinking age of most states in the U.S., thereby anchoring their policy in familiar waters.

However, things get a little more turbulent when we navigate towards other parts of the world. Norwegian Cruise Line, for instance, lowers the drinking age to 18 for cruises that depart from Europe and Australia. Similarly, for Princess Cruises, beer and wine consumption is permitted for 18-year-olds, provided they have parental consent.

But hold your anchors, because there’s more! Just as international waters change the course of maritime laws, the location of the cruise ship can influence its drinking age policies. For instance, while aboard a Caribbean cruise or when docked at a cruise line’s private island, the minimum drinking age may fluctuate according to local regulations.

So, while you might not be able to enjoy a cold one at the start of your journey, a world of alcoholic beverages could open up as your cruise ship navigates through international waters or approaches a European country. Indeed, cruise ship policies are a fascinating cocktail of global legal drinking ages, destination-specific laws, and company rules!

Can You Drink on a Cruise at 18? Specific Cruise Line Policies

Setting sail into the intricacies of cruise line policies, let’s anchor down into the specific drinking rules, of some of the world’s biggest cruise lines. How do they handle the question, “Can you drink on a cruise at 18?”

drink at 18, alcoholic beverage

Royal Caribbean

First stop, Royal Caribbean. This cruise line follows the wave of the North American legal drinking age, requiring passengers to be 21 to both purchase alcohol, and consume alcohol. Nonetheless, should your voyage commence from regions such as South America, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, or Australia the permitted age for alcohol consumption is reduced to 18.

Carnival Cruise Line

Next port of call, the Carnival Cruise Line . Just like a carnival juggler juggling different balls, Carnival juggles different age requirements based on geography. In general, the minimum age to consume alcoholic beverages is 21. Yet, when celebrity cruises ships sailing from numerous international ports, 18-20-year-olds can consume beer and wine with a signed beverage consent form from their parents or guardian.

Norwegian Cruise Line

As we drift towards the Norwegian fjords, the Norwegian Cruise Line enters our horizon. For ships belonging to the Norwegian Cruise that depart from ports within the United States, the minimum age requirement for consuming alcohol is 21 years. However, young adults of 18 years can enjoy a drink if they’re embarking on a journey from Europe, South America, Australia, or Asia.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney may be known for enchanting fairy tales, but when it comes to the Disney Cruise Line, they have a pretty grown-up policy. No matter where, on all vessels under the banner of Disney Cruise, the mandated minimum age for consuming alcohol is 21, mirroring the policy enforced on the Princess cruise.

Princess Cruises

Lastly, we weigh anchor at Princess Cruises. This cruise line has a bit more flexibility, allowing 18 to 20-year-olds to consume beer and wine in the company of their parents or legal guardian while aboard their ships.

In conclusion, while you can’t always drink alcohol on a cruise at 18, many cruise lines do offer exceptions based on the starting point of the journey, or even the types of beverages you’d like to enjoy. Cheers to that!

Consequences of Breaking the Alcohol Policy

Rules, consequences, policy

Beware, intrepid cruisers! Straying off the charted course of alcohol policies on cruise ships can land you in some choppy waters. So what exactly happens if you attempt to sneak a tipple underage?

Picture this: You’re on a Carnival Cruise, the sun is setting, and you’re feeling adventurous. Against the cruise line rules, you decide to partake in a cheeky cocktail, even though you’re only 18 and the minimum drinking age is 21. If you’re caught, it’s not just a slap on the wrist you’re facing. The cruise has the right to disembark any guest who violates their alcohol policy. Yes, you read that right. They can end your vacation early, leaving you at the nearest port of call to find your own way home. Not exactly the exciting adventure you had in mind, huh?

Take another scenario: You’re on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, exploring the vastness of the international waters. You’re 19, and you’ve heard that the drinking age onboard varies depending on the location. You decide to test this theory by ordering an alcoholic drink. But unfortunately, you’re still in North American waters. If you’re discovered, the cruise can confiscate your alcoholic drinks afterwards, and there’s no chance of a refund. Plus, they might restrict you from certain onboard activities, which can be quite a damper on your cruise experience.

Even on the family-friendly Disney Cruise Line, the rules are strict. Caught drinking underage? Be prepared for serious repercussions, which can include being denied boarding or even expulsion from the ship.

These are not just mere tales of the sea. Real-life passengers have faced penalties for flouting the rules. There have been cases where young adults, enticed by the sparkle of forbidden champagne or the allure of an exotic cocktail, have faced the harsh reality of their actions, sometimes even legal consequences.

The guidelines are explicit, and the repercussions of violating them, harsh. Remember, it’s always better to enjoy the cruise and wait your turn to sip on that piña colada. Navigating the world of cruise ship alcohol policies isn’t a journey to be taken lightly. Don’t let the lure of the drink steer you off course!

Alternatives for Underage Drinkers on Cruises

If the sea of alcohol on cruise ships is off-limits to you due to age restrictions, fret not. Your cruise journey can still be as colorful as a Caribbean sunset and as bubbly as champagne. Let’s embark on a voyage of discovery, exploring the treasure trove of alternatives available for those under the legal drinking age.

Drink at 18, beer

When you’re aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship or perhaps one of the majestic vessels from Princess Cruises, every sip doesn’t have to be a battle against the high tides of the drinking age. Ever heard of a ‘Mocktail’? These non-alcoholic versions of popular cocktails can give you a taste of the exotic without the kick of alcohol. Imagine savoring a refreshing ‘Virgin Piña Colada’ or a tangy ‘Nojito’ (Mojito sans rum) while basking in the sun on the deck of a Norwegian Cruise ship. It’s the high life, sans the high!

Even the extravagant Celebrity Cruises have a myriad of mocktails that cater to young adults, and their beverage consent form is free from age restrictions when it comes to these delightful concoctions. Enjoy a ‘Berry Nice To Meet You’ or a ‘Tropical Cooler,’ and you won’t miss the alcohol one bit.

The fun on a cruise doesn’t stop at the drink menu. There’s a galaxy of activities on cruise ships that don’t involve alcohol. From adrenaline-pumping water slides on Carnival Cruise vessels to immersive Broadway-style shows on Disney Cruise Line, the possibilities are as vast as the ocean itself.

Try your luck at the onboard arcade, challenge your new friends to a karaoke showdown, or simply soak up the beauty of the international waters from the private islands of the cruise line’s itinerary. You could also hit the ship’s gym or attend a yoga class. The world’s biggest cruise lines are floating cities teeming with opportunities for fun and adventure!

To all the young adults out there, remember, a cruise is an experience, not just a voyage. The ship is your oyster, and you don’t need alcohol to make it a pearl of an experience. So, even if you’re too a young adult up to drink beer or wine, raise a glass of your favorite mocktail and toast to a memorable journey on the high seas!


Navigating the ocean of information we’ve just cruised through, the key takeaway is clear: the world of cruising has complex and diverse policies when it comes to the legal drinking age. From the stern rules of most cruise lines that align with the North American standard of 21 years, to exceptions that allow 18-year-olds to drink beer and wine in certain circumstances, it’s a wide spectrum that requires thorough research before embarking on your cruise journey.

We dropped anchor at different ports, learning about the specific alcohol policies of some of the world’s biggest cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise, Norwegian Cruise, Disney Cruise, and Princess Cruises. Remember, while the high seas may call for high spirits, the consequences of breaking these alcohol policies can throw you off course. Always abide by the cruise line rules to ensure smooth sailing.

Yet, the voyage isn’t all about the spirits that flow from the bar. We’ve explored the bountiful treasure of alternatives for underage cruisers. With mocktails flowing and activities galore, a cruise trip promises a vibrant rainbow of experiences that don’t require a passport to the world of alcohol.

As we dock at the end of this cruise line age policies exploration, we invite you, our fellow cruisers, to join the conversation. If you’ve sailed these waters before, we’d love to hear about your experiences. If you’re preparing to set sail and still have questions, drop them in our comment ocean below.

And finally, always remember: A cruise isn’t defined by the alcohol you can drink at 18, but by the memories you make. So, set sail on this great adventure and create a sea of unforgettable moments!


Can you drink on Royal Caribbean at 18?

The short answer is no, not usually. The general drinking age on most Royal Caribbean cruises is 21. Nonetheless, for voyages embarking from regions such as South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, where the permissible age for alcohol consumption is generally lower, individuals aged between 18 and 20 can partake in alcohol consumption, provided they have an endorsed parental approval document.

Can you drink beer on a cruise at 18?

This depends on the policy of the specific cruise line and where the cruise is departing from. Some cruise lines like Carnival allow 18- to 20-year-olds to consume beer or wine while in international waters, as long as they have a signed parental consent form. However, most cruise lines maintain a minimum drinking age of 21, regardless of the type of alcoholic beverage.

Can I be 18 and go on a cruise?

Absolutely! You can definitely embark on a cruise at 18. However, cruise lines have different policies when it comes to traveling unaccompanied at that age. Major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise, and Carnival require passengers under the age of 21 to be accompanied by a passenger who is at least 25 years old in the same or adjoining cabin. So, it’s best to check specific cruise age policies before you book your journey.