Whilst every cruise company has their own policies regarding the acquisition and consumption of alcohol and tobacco aboard their liners, many offer the duty-free sale of such products so you can pick up your favourite tipple and other comforts at lower prices.
Whether you’re looking to buy presents for loved ones back on land or purchase a commemorative keepsake to remember the journey by, duty-free shops are always great to have on board. However, tempting though it may be to get a bottle of bubbly or that delicious oak-aged whiskey and take it back to your room to celebrate, that’s not always possible.
|Cruise line||Can I buy alcohol?||Can I buy tobacco?||Consumption|
|Carnival Cruises||Yes||Yes||More info|
|Royal Caribbean||Yes||Yes (200 cigarettes per person limit)||More info|
|Princess Cruises||Yes||Yes||More info|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||Yes||Yes||More info|
|Cunard Line||Yes||Yes||More info|
|MSC Cruises||Yes||Yes||More info|
|Holland America Line||Yes||Yes||More info|
|P&O Cruises||Yes||Yes||More info|
|Fred Olsen||Yes||Yes||More info|
Here, we’ll guide you through the availability of alcohol and tobacco on the major cruise lines, as well as their policies for the consumption of these products onboard.
Carnival Cruises offer duty-free alcohol and tobacco throughout many of their on-board shops. Their alcohol policy does require that the person buying the drink must be aged 21 and over. Furthermore, alcohol bought from one of the on-board shops will be retained until the last night of the cruise and then distributed to the buying party.
Duty-free alcohol and cigarettes are available in many of the shops on Royal Caribbean cruise liners. The purchase of duty-free cigarettes is limited to 200 per person if travelling outside of the EU. For smokers, there are dedicated smoking areas on the ship but these are reserved for cigarettes that were purchased prior to boarding the ship. Guests found to be in breach of the smoking rules will be fined $250. Similar to Carnival Cruises, the sale of alcohol is restricted to passengers over the age of 21.
With up to 30% off mainland retail prices, Princess Cruises’ on-board shops are hugely popular with passengers buying alcohol and cigarettes. In a similar vein to Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises will retain duty-free alcohol bought on the ship until the last night and will then give it to the passenger before they depart.
As well as some Celebrity Cruise’ ships offering free cocktails in their casinos, the liner stocks a wide range of tobacco, cigarette and alcohol products, tax and duty-free. The sale of alcohol is reserved for over 21s, only unless a parent signs a waiver allowing the sale of alcohol to their offspring aged 18-20.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Alcohol and cigarettes bought duty-free will again be retained until the last day of your cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with a free cocktail being provided for attendees to the captain’s cocktail party.
On all three Cunard vessels, duty-free liquor and tobacco products are available to purchase. Liquor bought on these ships cannot be consumed during your time onboard but will be available for collection when you’ve reached the end of your cruise. However, the tobacco purchased duty-free can be taken away and enjoyed onboard and ashore.
An array of cigarettes, tobacco products, fine wines, and spirits are available to purchase onboard MSC’s cruises. Liquor purchased onboard these duty-free shops will be retained until your final night of the cruise, where it can then be redeemed, but you won’t be able to consume it until after you’ve disembarked.
Holland America Line
Liquor and tobacco can be purchased from the duty-free shops onboard Holland America ships. Liquor will be retained until the last day of your cruise. Please note, that since January 2017, Holland America has banned smoking on all cabin balconies, subject upon to a $250 fine if anyone is found to be in breach of the policy. Smoking-designated areas for players are available in all casinos except Oosterdam and Eurodam, which have smoke-free casinos.
Touted as having the best value duty-free shops onboard any cruise line, P&O Cruises have a range of liquor and tobacco products they describe as comprehensive, guaranteeing that they’re cheaper than many of the shops you’ll encounter ashore. Alcohol products bought here will be held until the end of your cruise, when you can then collect them. Tobacco products can be taken away at any time and consumed in the designated smoking areas.
Alcohol is available to purchase from Fred Olsen’s onboard duty-free shops, but please note this will be collected and stored until the end of your cruise. Tobacco products are available at reasonable prices, and can be enjoyed during your cruise. Subject to your particular cruise itineraries, cigars and cigarettes can be bought at duty-free prices during the last few days of your cruise.
Note: This post was updated in October 2017 for accuracy and timeliness.
Images sourced via freestockphotos.biz Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: melalouise