Greed Floats: Carnival Cruise Line Bans Liquids

Rather bring a case of Coca-Cola on board than pay $36 for a single can (or whatever they charge now-a-days). Well, too bad. If you’re cruising with Carnival you may not bring liquids on board, even if they’re non-alcoholic liquids. From Upgrade: Travel Better:

The reason is economics, pure and simple. The cruise ships weren’t selling as many drinks on board as they wanted.
“Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said guests had been bringing on too many nonalcoholic beverages. “There had been some abuse of the previous policy which is why the new policy is more restrictive,” he said.”

Other cruise lines don’t seem to have any such policy. You’d think Carnival would be more worried about the drunk people who are always falling off the ships.—MEGHANN MARCO

Carnival Cruise Lines bans liquids, extorts passengers [Upgrade: Travel Better]
(Photo: Hank Leclair)


Edit Your Comment

  1. healthdog says:

    Wow. That’s just nasty. I can’t think of a time when you are more of a captive audience then when you are on a cruise ship. People were abusing their liquid rights? Really? What are you going to do next, Carnival – seize extra clothing because the guest shop isn’t doing well?

  2. ArntorFTL says:

    I always wonder why people go on cruises. It seems like a largely unenjoyable way to spend a vacation: You are essentially a captive, subject to whatever rules and regulations the liner sees fit to impose, overcharged for just about everything and prone to getting some food borne illness or another. And if the service sucks, tough luck, it isn’t like you can just hop off the boat on a rowboat and row home in protest.

    Then again, I’m more of a pessimist than most…

  3. detrop says:

    i love how in that article about the people falling off the ship, the captain, identified as a “Briton” says that, upon hearing that two passengers had fallen overboard, he turned around “‘rather immediately'”.

  4. simian-fever says:

    I didn’t need another reason to never go on a cruise, but the more the merrier. You deserve whatever you get when you willingly subject yourself to a floating prison.

  5. Manue says:

    I don’t plan to go on a cruise… but this is the kind of rules I hate. I would wash my shampoo bottles and fill them with rum. I guess we can still bring shampoo, no?

  6. mopar_man says:

    I always wonder why people go on cruises.

    I went on once for a high school year-end trip. Never again will I go on one. While it made frequent stops on our trip, the time spent on the ship was boring. For the price of a cruise, I’d sooner rent a car and drive across the country. At least then I’d get to see something for the money and do what I want.

  7. madktdisease says:

    The alcohol policy isn’t changing in any way, just the non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol was banned before, except for the “wine”, which in our case was cheap champagne bought in Miami the night before. What we did to get around that was order a bottle of rum and whiskey for 38-45 each (expensive, yes, but cheaper than their mixed drinks) delivered to our room , and we’d mix them with soda, the free fruit juice, or add a shot to their horribly weaksauce drinks.

    Before, you could bring in however much soda you wanted – which, for us, wasn’t worth lugging into and out of a taxi, not to mention they handle the luggage themselves and it would’ve gotten crushed and our clothes ruined.

    Next, they’ll start charging for milk and fruit juice. Ridiculous.

  8. homerjay says:

    Marge and I enjoy cruising- and we’re not old by any stretch. I’m not entirely sure what it is about it that we like. I just like knowing that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t communicate with WORK.

    Still, if anyone was going to pull a stupid move like this, its Carnival.

  9. orielbean says:

    They are the crappy cruise line anyways. My aunt the cruise travel agent likens them to Walmart vs Neiman Marcus. If you are gonna spend a ton of money on a nice cruise, go with anyone else.

  10. Kornkob says:

    While I’m not interested in a cruise, I can certainly understand why people want to go on them.

    I like to visit new places. However, I don’t like to travel because it is too damn much work. The ‘getting there is half the fun’ philosophy doesn’t do it for me.

    I’m not, however, interested in spending a week living out of a boat. I have less confidence in the cleanliness and safety of a cruise ship than I do a hotel.

  11. Sudonum says:

    I’ve been on one cruise, pre 9/11. If I recall everything except alcohol was included, soft drinks too. It was Princess, not Carnival. I think cruises are a pretty good value for what you get. And I do remember seeing a good bottle of wine on the dining room menu that was priced ridiculously low, especially for a cruise. I mentioned it to the Matre’D and asked if he could have a couple bottles sent to the cabin. They were there when we got back from dinner.

  12. capnfive says:

    I have to say, I at least respect the fact that they’re being honest about why they’re doing it and no coming up with some B/S “security” excuse. That’s what I was *expecting* to read… (it still sounds pretty lame)

  13. LAGirl says:

    never been on a cruise. never will go on a cruise. i think they are cheesy. this stupid rule makes them even cheesier.

  14. exkon says:

    Don’t know why everyone is dogging on cruises, after a year long of working hard, a cruise is a great way to relax.

    I know this rule may seem kinda lame, but in reality, they offer “cola passes” for like $30 for the length of the cruise and you can drink all you want.

    I’ve been on 4 cruises and all of them enjoyable. Everything is taken care for you food, water, places to see. People are extremely friendly and they wait on you hand and foot. Bad customer service is something you will never if rarely see on a cruise.

  15. gorckat says:

    I went on a company paid cruise on Holland America ~10 years ago…

    First stop: Key West
    Second Stop: Liqour store for a few cases
    Third stop: The bathtub in one of our four adjoining rooms where we put together the money that kept a guy on the cruise staff making sure the beer stayed iced until it was gone :p

  16. ChiSoxFan says:

    @LAGirl, don’t you think it’s a bit strange and ignorant to deem something “cheesy” if you’ve never been on one? I’ve been on a few Royal Caribbean cruises and one Carnival cruise just a couple months ago. The RC cruises are very classy and fun. There are formal dinner nights when men dress in suits and tuxedos. Carnival was more of a party atmosphere but the food wasn’t nearly as good. We met a ton of great new friends, saw a ton of new places, and didn’t need to worry about planning what to do each day for food, entertainment, etc. It is very relaxing.

    On topic, this is a low move by Carnival. My wife and I brought on Champagne to have mimosas on our balcony in the mornings and it was great. Back to Royal Caribbean for us now I guess.

  17. angelina jolie-laide is a gaudy tulip says:

    mmmm besides that, i don’t really think royal caribbean enforces their “no alcoholic beverages to be brought onboard” policy. i went on a cruise this past summer and i distinctly recall my mother bringing about 30 bottles of beringer white zinfandel. for a weeklong cruise….the lush.

  18. superlayne says:

    I would only go on a really nice cruise. My dad was planning to have me and my family go on their $400 Mexico/South America adventures or whatever…

    If I’m stuck on a boat it needs internet and lobster. Free lobster.

  19. ChiSoxFan says:

    The key is really going on a good line and making sure you have a new ship. Newer ships have much larger rooms and amenities and are also much better at limiting motion. Most of the time you don’t even know you’re on a ship.

  20. EtherealStrife says:


    Exactly. I only go on ships that are 5 years old or younger, as a general rule. I get seasick really easily, and I’ve never had a problem on the dozen or so cruises I’ve been on.

    If you plan ahead you can get a decent cruiseline (I personally like RCC, can’t stand Carnival) for cheap.

    As far as the liquids are concerned, the worst that’s happened to me was a bottle fee ($15/bottle). I didn’t mind though, since I was still saving around 50 dollars on what they charge. :) You can declare it right away and pay the fee, or try and sneak it by in your luggage. A friend of mine was caught doing that and didn’t get her bag for seven or so hours after everyone else. Turns out they hold em at the purser, and she’d missed the call they’d made to the room. hehe


    RCC used to do lobster on some of their cruises (free). And most of their boats have internet access at sea (not free).

  21. billhelm says:

    these cruise lines also do soda packages where for ~40-50 for a 7 day cruise, you can get unlimted sodas. kind of a rip unless you drink a lot of soda. my wife and I shared one on our recent cruise on royal caribbean. she just had to get all the sodas from the bar, but we shared them. water, lemonade and ice tea are free, at least on royal caribbean.

  22. krunk4ever says:

    @Sudonum: that’s exactly what I was thinking. Cruises are like non-stop buffets with tons of free food and drinks 24/7.

    //krunk (^_^x)

  23. ChiSoxFan says:

    Yeah food on both RC and Carnival were similar but RC was MUCH better and great every night. Had the following for no additional cost on every cruise I’ve been on-Lobster, Osobucco(sp?), escargot, prime rib, steak, many types of shrimp, etc. Maybe it’s not right for some people who aren’t as social or like being in the same place for a whole vacation. We’ve met some great friends just hanging out in the ship’s hot tub or bar. Going to shows, auctions, and everything else.

  24. Cruises are fun because you can visit a half a dozen places without unpacking and repacking constantly and spending lots of time schlepping to and from hotels.

    But I had a lot more fun on an Alaska cruise — lots of nature sightseeing and historical tourism — than a Carribean one that was full of extremely drunk college students. We also went to Alaska with our entire extended family as a reunion, so we had lots to do on the “at sea” days.

    (However. I’ve never cruised Carnival because they’re bad. And cruises aren’t my favorite form of vacationing. But they’re fun.)

  25. informer says:

    How is this enforced? Do they X-ray your luggage or rifle through your things or what?

  26. Red_Eye says:

    Awesome! Terrific idea! In other news Carnival’s board considers banning feminine hygiene and incontinence products except for ones sol on ship. Oh and baby formula.


    This is nothing new folks just look at theme parks, 6 Flags you pay $50 to get in for the privilege of not being able to bring in any outside drinks at all and having to pay $5 for a bottle of soda that you would normaly overpay $1.39 for at a gas station. W00h000 sounds great. Supply and demand works great when you can NIX the competing supplies…

  27. Indecision says:

    The last time (which was also the first time) I went on a cruise, it was with Carnival. Juice, tea, and water were complimentary, and I assume that’s still the case. Skip the “case of coca-cola” and drink stuff that’s healthier for a few days. It won’t kill you.

    (I say this as someone who, at the time, drank *nothing but* soda. I managed the entire week just fine without it.)

    This new policy is still lame, but honestly, the reason I went on the cruise is because it was cheaper than travel, hotel, entertainment, and dining expenses for a more traditional vacation. Plus, real food instead of Wendy’s.

  28. Chaoticfluffy says:

    @informer: I can’t speak specifically to this new rule, but most cruise lines won’t let you board the ship on the first day until you’ve gone through a metal detector and your baggage has gone through an x-ray machine. It’s actually a lot like airport security, except without the TSA.

  29. zentec says:

    A cruise vacation doesn’t appeal to everyone, but having been on a number because my wife likes then, I have come to the conclusion that you definitely get what you pay for.

    Carnival ranks lowest on my experiences and whoever it was that made the comment that they’re the Walmart of cruises is dead on target. They appeal to the lowest common denominator and they know they can get away with it because their customers are likely to be the ones that can’t start their day without a package of Zingers and a 24 ounce diet Pepsi breakfast.

    Royal Caribbean ranks higher, but they’re working diligently on reaching the lows as achieved by Carnival. Their 5,000 passenger ships are like being snowed into a luxury airport terminal with no hope of flights out for seven days, or until you get to the other end of the Panama Canal. Avoid these monstrosities.

    Out of all the ones that are reasonable by price range, I thought Disney was the best. Sodas, coffee, tea, water are part of the deal. Help yourself and try not to make a mess of it. Although if you do, someone will clean it up pretty damn quickly.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want a really good cruise, treat it as a once in a lifetime or at least once every five to ten year event and pick one that is upper class. If I want to vacation with the Dukes of Hazard fan club or the spring break crowd, I’ll go to Myrtle Beach.

  30. TVarmy says:

    @superlayne: The internet on the RC ship I was on was uberexorbitaint. $1.50 a minute, regardless of data you sent. This wasn’t wifi or ethernet, but a terminal you had to use.

    I’m under 21, so I didn’t have much to do. Everyone on board seemed to just drink and gamble all the time, and I’m pretty sure the pool was not safe to swim in (chemically, think about it), because a ton of extremely drunk college kids were swimming in it. Plus, the location kind of sucked (Coast of California and Mexico). California is my favorite state, and I would have loved to see more of it, but you can’t see a city in it in just 6 hours. You have to rent a hotel room or find a friend/timeshare out there and stay a week, and visit some of the cooler restaurants and places.

    I’m not too big on drinking (An anti-depressent I’m currently on makes it unsafe for me to drink, as well) or gambling, so I don’t think cruises offer much for me compared to land-based vacation, based on my experience.

  31. ThePlaz says:

    I just came back from a carnival cruise (Valor) over spring break. (saw this article before leaving) They don’t enforce most of the rules and we walked right on with liquids. And they don’t check your portered bags. The carry ons go through metal detectors each time you get on the ship, however. In general ship security is more worried about passports and guns. They hardly ever do things which would hurt/annoy paying guests. Lots of people brought wine in glasses from their staterooms to dinner. Water in a glass is free from the bar. If you like soft drinks, a card is available for $4.50 a day (I think) for unlimited soda and juice for kids. (makes sense if you buy more then 3/day) Adults are $6 i remember. Individual sodas are $1.75.