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Can You Drink on a Cruise at 18?

Taking a cruise is a fun and relaxing holiday choice, whether it’s a honeymoon cruise or tropical getaway. Cruises offer convenient and hassle-free travel to multiple destinations, and everything you need is right on board. 

Potential cruisers aged 18-20 might be wondering what the drinking rules are aboard a cruise ship. Can you drink on a cruise at 18? Do the cruise alcohol guidelines change depending on where you go? Can you drink on a Caribbean cruise at 18? Can you spend time in bars if you’re under 21? Can you bring alcohol on board?

Sun, Sand and a drink in the bahamas

In this article, we’ll answer those questions and give you all the details you want to know about whether you can drink on a cruise under 21 years of age.

Can I Drink on a Cruise at 18?

There are different answers to this question depending on where your cruise ship is, in U.S. waters or international waters. While you are in U.S. waters, the drinking age aboard any cruise ship is 21, no matter which country you’re from or your departure country. 

Once you depart U.S. waters, the rules start to get a bit more complex. Can you drink at 18 on a cruise in international waters? The answer is, possibly. The alcohol policy will vary depending on the cruise line you’re sailing with, your geographical location, and whether or not you have parental consent. 

Let’s first take a look at the alcohol policy for some of the world’s biggest cruise lines. 

Can I Drink on a Carnival Cruise at 18?

All passengers must be 21 or over to drink alcohol on board a Carnival cruise. You are still subject to this even when sailing in countries with a lower legal drinking age than 21. However, 18-year-olds can gamble in the casino and hang out in bars and clubs where alcohol is served. 

Additionally, Carnival requires at least one passenger in each cabin to be over 25. 

Can You Drink on a Royal Caribbean Cruise at 18?

Onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, you can drink at 18 if you are departing from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, or South America. For sailings departing from Europe and South America, a parent will need to sign a consent form so you can drink on the cruise at 18. 

For Royal Caribbean ships departing from the United States, the Caribbean, or the United Arab Emirates and Dubai, the legal drinking age for cruises is 21. 

Can I Drink on a Princess Cruise at 18?

Passengers departing from and sailing in U.S. waters must be over 21 to drink on board a Princess cruise ship

However, if you are 18, you can drink on a cruise departing from and sailing within waters belonging to Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, and Europe. If you are sailing in Japanese waters, the legal drinking age onboard Princess cruise ships is 20. 

Passengers who are under 21 can hang out in the bars and nightclubs on board until 11:00 p.m., whether or not they are allowed to drink.

Can I Drink on a Disney Cruise at 18?

Passengers aboard a Disney cruise departing from and sailing within U.S. waters must be over the age of 21 and will need to show a valid photo ID. 

However, when sailing on a Disney cruise in different parts of the world, the rules start to relax a little. If a parent or guardian signs a consent form, you can drink on a Disney cruise at 18 if you are departing from a European country with a lower legal drinking age. 

You can also do this if you’re sailing between Hawaii and Australia. However, you must be in the presence of an adult over the age of 21. If you’re on a cruise departing from Australia or New Zealand and you’re 18, you can drink on board a Disney ship without parental consent. 

Can I Drink on a Norwegian Cruise at 18?

The Norwegian Cruise Line drinking age depends on parental consent and location. Passengers under the age of 21 onboard Norwegian Cruise Lines can purchase and consume beer or wine with the written consent of a parent or guardian–as long as the ship is in international waters. 

However, once the cruise ship enters U.S. waters, 18-year-olds will no longer be able to drink, although 18-20-year-olds can gamble in the casino. 

General Cruise Ship Drinking Age Guidelines

Other cruise lines around the world follow similar guidelines. Many allow passengers under the age of 21 to gamble in the casino and hang out in bars and clubs where alcohol is served, and some even have social areas just for passengers aged 18-20 years old.

However, the specific guidelines can vary from cruise line to cruise line, so be sure to read over your chosen cruise line’s alcohol policy.

Quite a few U.S.-based cruise lines don’t allow 18-20-year-olds to drink regardless of where in the world they’re sailing. Many internationally owned cruise lines will let you drink on a cruise at 18 with parental consent. You may or may not be required to be with someone over the age of 21 if you have consent to drink on your cruise. 

You will need to use your cruise ID bracelet that confirms your age to pay for purchases onboard, and some ID bracelets have distinct features for minors, so it’s very hard to purchase alcohol and drink on a cruise at 18 if the policy doesn’t allow it.

However, cruise line drinking policies only apply while onboard the ship. If you’re making a stop in a country where the legal drinking age is lower, there’s nothing stopping you from buying alcohol and drinking when you’re off the ship. Keep in mind, however, that trying to sneak alcohol back on board can get you kicked off the ship if you’re caught. 

You can also face consequences if you’re a minor caught drinking in your room onboard a cruise ship, but this rarely happens. Rooms are seldom searched and never without reason, so unless you’ve over-consumed and attracted some attention, you’re unlikely to get caught. 

With so many cruise lines to choose from, finding one with an alcohol policy that works for you is easily done with the right cruise travel agent. Let one of our trusted travel partners help you set sail on the perfect cruise for your next vacation.