Are you ready to go on a cruise but not 21 yet? Are you a parent and curious if your older teens can enjoy a cocktail with you. Many who are under 21 and about to embark on a cruise want to know the minimum drinking age on a cruise ship before they set sail.

In this article, we will dive into each cruise line and the legal drinking age while onboard.

Person of legal drinking age on a cruise ship with drink sitting on a table over looking ocean

Legal Drinking Age on Cruise Ships

The legal drinking age on cruise ships varies across different cruise lines. Many different factors come into play when setting the minimum drinking age and some lines may require a signed waiver from legal parents or guardians.

One of the biggest factors is your departure and final arrival ports. Many countries have a minimum drinking age of 16 to 18, however, for this article, we are going to focus on cruise ships leaving from North America where the legal drinking age is 21.

Drinking Age On Cruise Lines in North America

Many of the ships setting sail from North America have a minimum drinking age of 21, even though many Caribbean countries drinking age is between 16 and 18. There are some exceptions and every cruise lines treats this differently. See below for more information on how each cruise line defines the minimum drinking age.

Drinking Age on Carnival Cruise Line

While it may be known as the “Fun Ship”, Carnival Cruise Line has the stricts policy when it comes to drinking onboard & at their private destinations. The legal drinking age on Carnival Cruise Line is 21 years of age. Carnival’s Liquor & Beverage Policy states:

The minimum age for the purchase and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the bars, lounges and gift shops is 21 years of age. Carnival reserves the right to request ID prior to the purchase of alcohol and refuse the sale of alcohol to anyone. 

Carnival Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean’s Legal Drinking Age (21)

Royal Caribbean follows suit with Carnival and sets the legal drinking age on North American Royal Caribbean sailings to also be 21 years old. Royal Caribbean’s policy also applies to their private destinations such as Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee Haiti, regardless of the country those destinations are located and regardless of where your sailing originated.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Drinking Age (18*)

Norwegian Cruise Line does allow those who are 18-20 to consume beer and wine while the ship is in international waters with parental consent. Authorization will be given only when the accompanying parent completes their Young Adult Alcoholic Beverage Waiver Form which is located at guest services. This does not apply in Alaskan and Hawaiian waters. Read their official policy here.

Virgin Voyages Drinking Age (18)

Ahoy sailors 18 and older, you have found a ship where you can drink responsibly and have a good time! Yes, Virgin Voyages has the least amount of rules regarding drinking ages. While onboard, Virgin Voyages drinking age is based on the waters your ship is in, so once you hit international waters or any other country, you are good to enjoy beer, wine and cocktails!

Mojito on Virgin Voyages where drinking age is 18

Drinking Age on Disney Cruise Line (21)

So, what does the Mouse say about drinking on his cruise ship? It’s not good news for young adults sailing out of North America, drinking age on Disney Cruise Line is 21. more information can be found in their Dining, Food & Beverages FAQs. This policy also extends to their private island.

MSC Cruises Drinking Age (21)

On all sailings originating from the US, MSC Cruises drinking age is 21, regardless if you are in international waters or not.

Can Under 21 Drink At Ports of Call?

While you may not be able to enjoy a drink under the age of 21 while on the ship, these rules do not apply when you disembark the ship at a port of call (with the exception of private destinations). Most countries in the Caribbean have drinking ages between 16 and 18.

Drinking Ages in the Caribbean

  • Antigua and Barbuda Drinking Age: 16 Years Old
  • Bahamas Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Barbados Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Cuba Drinking Age: 16 Years Old
  • Dominica Drinking Age: 16 Years Old
  • Dominican Republic Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Grenada Drinking Age: 16 Years Old
  • Haiti Drinking Age: 16 Years Old*
  • Puerto Rico Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Saint Lucia Drinking Age: 16 Years Old
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Drinking Age: 16 Years Old
  • Trinidad and Tobago Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Turks and Caicos Islands Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • US Virgin Islands Drinking Age: 18 Years Old

Drinking Age in Mexico and Western Caribbean

  • Mexico Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Belize Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Cayman Islands Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Jamaica Drinking Age: 18 Years Old
  • Roatan Honduras Drinking Age: 18 Years Old

NOTE: There may be some rules and stipulations to each of the countries above. Please take a look at our Guide To The Drinking Age in the Caribbean for more detailed information.

Have Fun But Drink Responsibly!

A cruise can be a blast and being able to knock back a few beers or cocktails can lead to a fun and relaxing time, however, drink responsibly. If this is your first time drinking, be sure to take an easy and see how your body reacts to the alcohol. Parents, be sure to educate your young adults on not over indulging.

If you find that you have had a little too much, and experience your first hangover, we recommend making sure you have packed medication. Check out our cruise packing list guide for more ideas on items to pack for your next cruise and check out these 23 essential items you should pack for your next cruise.

Cruise Drinking Age FAQs

Can you drink at 18 on cruise on a cruise in international waters?

Yes, you can drink at the age of 18 on certain cruises like Virgin Voyages, however, the drinking age on most cruises is 21. See the article above for which lines you can drink on.

Can you drink at 18 in the Bahamas?

Yes, the legal drinking age in the Bahamas is 18.

Can 18 year olds drink on Virgin voyages?

Yes, Virgin Voyages drinking age allows 18 year olds to drink once the ship is in international waters. This also includes their Beach Club at Bimini, which follows Bahamian law of 18 to drink.

What is the drinking age on a cruise in international waters?

For sailings that disembark from North American, most cruise lines required you to be 21 or older, however, some cruise lines will allow you to drink if you are 18 or older.

Can 18 year olds drink on Carnival Cruise Ships?

No, Carnival Cruise Lines drinking age is 21, regardless if you are in international waters or not.

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