What Is the Minimum Drinking Age on a Cruise Ship?


Unwinding with an afternoon pint, sipping on sunset cocktail and a watching a show with a G&T. These are some of the things that make cruises so enjoyable. Of course, minors will not be served. But, with different countries enforcing different regulations it can be difficult to determine what’s allowed. To clear up the confusion, we’ve put together this handy guide that explains the minimum drinking age for alcohol on a cruise ship.

ID please!

In general, most cruise lines will enforce a minimum age policy of 21 for purchasing and consuming alcohol on-board ships. This is a blanket rule that applies to all North American ports. That said, there are some exceptions depending on where the itinerary departs from. For ships sailing from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Asia the minimum age for alcohol service and consumption is 18. The age limits apply to both pay-as-you-go service as well as pre-purchased drinks packages. ID will be checked by the bartenders themselves or by door security at adults only venues.

Responsible service

As seen in any bar, all passengers are expected to observe company conduct policies which outline the responsible consumption of alcohol. These can usually be found at guest relations desks or in cabin welcome packages. All bartenders are trained in the responsible service of alcohol and won’t hesitate to refuse a customer if they are under-age, too intoxicated or exhibiting disorderly behaviour.

Still not sure?

While 18 and 21 are the general age limits it always pays to do your research. Company websites should explain any age regulations, while travel agents and booking companies such as Cruise 1st will also be happy to answer any questions regarding drinking age limits.

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Derek Gavey


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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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