Going on a cruise is an exciting experience for people of all ages, including those under the legal drinking age of 21.
Many 18-19-year-olds wonder if they can drink alcohol on a cruise ship.
The laws surrounding underage drinking on cruises are complicated and vary between cruise lines.
This article will explain the rules about drinking at 18 on major cruise lines in 2023.
Can 18-Year-olds Drink on Cruises?
The short answer is sometimes. When sailing in international waters, the legal drinking age is generally 18. However, many major cruise lines enforce a minimum drinking age of 21, regardless of location. The rules vary based on factors like where the cruise ship is registered, the ports it departs from and visits, and the cruise line’s own policies.
So while it may technically be legal for 18-year-olds to drink in international waters, whether they can do so depends on the specific cruise line and itinerary.
Many cruise lines err on the side of caution by refusing alcohol service to anyone under 21.
Here’s a glance at the minimum drinking age on famous cruise lines, including the minimum age for drinking in international waters.
|Cruise Line||Minimum Age for Drinking||Minimum Age for Drinking in International Waters|
|Carnival Cruise Line||21||21|
|Disney Cruise Line||21 (18 with parental consent)||18|
|Holland America Line||21||21|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||21 (18 with parental consent)||18|
|Princess Cruises||21 (18 for cruises between Australia/New Zealand, China, Europe and Singapore ports; 20 for cruises between Japan ports)||18 (20 for cruises between Japan ports)|
|Royal Caribbean International||21 (18 for cruises from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand)||18|
How Old Do You Have To Be To Drink On A Cruise?
Most major cruise lines require guests to be at least 21 years old to purchase or publicly consume alcohol. This includes cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity, Princess, and Disney.
Some luxury cruise lines like Cunard do permit 18-20 year olds to drink alcohol on cruises departing from and sailing to destinations where the legal drinking age is 18 like the UK, Canada, and Australia. However, the service still requires parental consent.
In essence, 21 is the standard drinking age on most cruise lines today. Eighteen-year-old passengers usually cannot drink alcohol on cruises, regardless of itinerary.
Exceptions may be made for cruises departing from and staying within areas with lower drinking ages. But policies vary, so check with individual cruise lines.
Cruise Lines That Allow Drinking At 18
While most major cruise lines today enforce a drinking age of 21, there are some exceptions. A few cruise lines permit 18-20 year olds to consume alcohol in certain limited circumstances or with parental approval.
Can You Drink On A Carnival Cruise At 18?
Carnival Cruise Line enforces a drinking age of 21 on all its ships. Guests must be 21 to consume alcohol. There are no exceptions for 18-20 year olds, even if sailing where the legal drinking age is 18. Underage drinking is not tolerated.
Guests must be 21 years of age or older to be served alcohol on board. Proper I.D with birth date is required. – Carnival Cruise Line.
Can You Drink On A Royal Caribbean Cruise At 18?
Royal Caribbean also prohibits anyone under 21 from purchasing or publicly consuming alcoholic beverages on any of their cruise ships. There are no exceptions made for 18-20 year old passengers based on itinerary or destination. Royal Caribbean’s policy applies fleetwide.
The minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean ships on sailings originating in North America or the Caribbean is twenty-one (21).
The minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean ships on sailings originating in South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand is eighteen (18).
The minimum age to consume alcohol at all private destinations remains twenty-one (21) without regard to where the sailing originated. – Royal Caribbean.
If you are below the legal drinking age, you won’t be able to purchase a drink package with alcoholic drinks.
Can You Drink On A Norwegian Cruise At 18?
Norwegian Cruise Line has a fleetwide policy requiring guests to be at least 21 years old to purchase or consume alcohol. 18-20-year-olds are allowed to drink when in international water.
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Norwegian Cruise Line ships is 21. Guests who are 18 – 20 years of age can purchase and consume beer or wine when the ship is in international waters (3 miles out of US territorial waters). – Norwegian Cruise.
Can You Drink On A Celebrity Cruise At 18?
The minimum drinking age on all Celebrity Cruises ships is also 21 in the US. Celebrity allows 18-20-year-old passengers to drink alcohol on cruises sailing in international waters or to destinations with lower drinking ages with the consent of their parents.
However, on ships in Europe, South America and Australia, where the legal drinking age is
lower than twentyone (21), a parent who is sailing with his or her son(s) and/or daughter(s)
who is between the ages of eighteen (18) to twenty (20), may sign a waiver allowing the
eighteen (18) to twenty (20) year old to consume alcoholic beverages. – Celebrity Cruise.
Can You Drink On A Disney Cruise At 18?
The minimum drinking age on Disney Cruise Line is 21, both in US waters and international waters. However, there is an exception for guests who are 18 years old and have parental consent. If you are 18 and want to drink alcohol on a Disney Cruise, you will need to have your parent or guardian sign a waiver.
This waiver will allow you to drink alcohol in designated areas of the ship, such as restaurants and bars.
However, during round-trip cruises departing from any European country that has a lower drinking age, parents or guardians may sign a Beverage Consent Form that allows their 18- to 20-year-old children to consume alcoholic beverages while in the adult’s presence. – Disney Cruise Line.
Can You Drink On A Princess Cruise At 18?
The minimum drinking age on Princess Cruises varies depending on the itinerary. For cruises between Australia/New Zealand, China, Europe and Singapore ports, the minimum drinking age is 18. For cruises between Japan ports, the minimum drinking age is 20. In US waters and international waters, the minimum drinking age is 21.
When sailing from North America, the legal drinking age on Princess Cruises is 21. However, when sailing from Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand, the legal drinking age is 18. Guests under 18/21 (as applicable) booked under Princess Plus will receive the Zero-Alcohol Drink Package and will not receive any refund for the difference. – Princess Cruise Line.
Legal Drinking Age On A Cruise – Region Wise
|Region||Legal Drinking Age|
|The Virgin Islands||18|
Can I drink alcohol on a cruise at 18 if my parents are with me?
Most cruise lines do not allow 18 year olds to drink alcohol under any circumstances, even with parental supervision. A few may permit drinking at 18 only in certain ports if parents approve. But the policy is usually 21+ only while the ship is sailing.
What happens if I get caught drinking underage on a cruise?
Cruise lines strictly enforce the legal drinking age. If caught drinking when under 21, you may be expelled from the ship at the next port without a refund. You could also face criminal charges for underage drinking depending on the cruise line and itinerary.
If you are caught drinking and disorderly, you may even be sent to jail (brig)
If the drinking age is 18 where my cruise ship departs from, can I drink onboard at 18?
Probably. Most cruise lines enforce a company-wide drinking age of 21 regardless of where the ship departs from or ports visited. There are certain exceptions for specific cruise lines like Disney, Princess, NCL, etc, where 18 years old can consume alcohol with parental supervision.
Is there anywhere I can drink under 21 on a cruise ship?
No. Cruise line drinking policies apply throughout the ship, including your stateroom. Smuggling alcohol onboard is also strictly prohibited. The only option is to wait until you are 21 to book a cruise if you want to drink alcohol.
What’s the drinking age on river cruises in Europe?
River cruises with itineraries entirely within countries where the drinking age is lower like Germany may permit alcohol consumption at 18 with parental approval. But most river cruise lines still enforce 21+ drinking for the entire voyage. Always check with individual cruise operators.
Most major cruise lines today enforce a minimum drinking age of 21 for alcohol consumption on cruise ships.
While it may be legal for 18 year olds to drink in international waters, the cruise lines establish their own policies.
An 18 or 19 year old usually cannot purchase or publicly consume alcohol on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, or Disney cruises without parental supervision.
So while the legalities are complex, the reality is simple:
You generally have to be 21 to drink on mainstream cruise lines today regardless of itinerary.
18 and 19 year old passengers should not expect to consume alcohol freely, unless sailing on a crusie line that allows 18 years to old to drink within limited regions. Carefully check individual cruise line policies before booking. Many prohibit drinking under 21 worldwide.