Can You Drink at 18 on a Cruise Ship?

By Anna Duncan

At 18 years old, you are considered an adult in many countries, with the right to vote, own a gun or join the army. But some activities and privileges are still off-limits until you reach 21. When it comes to drinking alcohol on a cruise ship, there is no universal answer as to whether passengers aged 18 can drink or not.

Cruise ship policies on alcohol consumption vary from one line to the next. Some operate under international laws that require all passengers aboard their ships to be 21 in order to consume alcohol. Others allow passengers aged 18 and up to drink alcoholic beverages if accompanied by an adult of legal drinking age who is responsible for the minor’s consumption.

In general, if you are under 21 years old, it is best to check with your particular cruise line before boarding the ship. You may even need to provide proof of age if you choose to bring alcohol onboard with you. Cruise lines such as Carnival have a strict policy that restricts anyone under 21 years old from consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages on its ships. Other major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean have more relaxed rules and allow passengers aged 18 and up to consume beer and wine while onboard the ship.


It is important for anyone under 21 years old planning a cruise vacation to check with their particular cruise line before booking a trip in order to make sure they understand the policy regarding consumption of alcoholic beverages onboard the ship. Generally speaking, most major cruise lines allow passengers aged 18 and up to drink beer and wine while onboard, but there are some exceptions that restrict anyone under 21 from consuming any alcohol.