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Carnival Bans Bringing Bottled Water Onboard

Monday, July 6th, 2015 | Cruises | No Comments

Sometimes the smallest things are the most touchy for clients. The onboard beverage policy – involving carry-on beverages and corking fees – is one of those. Passengers often rant and rave on the Facebook pages of a multitude of lines. Any small change or even the basic policies themselves cause a lot of noise from booked guests or potential cruisers.

Today, Carnival Cruise Lines is gingerly wading into those waters with a policy change. Booked guests are receiving a letter and agents are being notified.

Essentially, guests will no longer be able to bring any water, sodas, juices and other non-alcoholic beverages onboard in bottles. Carnival cites instances of alcoholic beverages being smuggled in those bottles – causing safety and security concerns. In turn, the line has reduced its price for bottled water to 12 bottles for $2.99, providing the water is reserved in advance. The price is comparable to what guests would pay in the grocery store.

To receive that price, the guest must reserve the bottled water online in advance; it will then be delivered to the room. If guests wait to buy it onboard, the price is $4.99 per 12 bottles. The line says it will basically break even with the new fee structure, if that.

Carnival stresses that people can still bring up to 12 cans or cartons (per person) containing juice, sodas and other nonalcoholic beverages. But bottles are not permitted. The carry-on wine policy and onboard corkage fee remains the same.

Carnival says some safety issues onboard have been investigated and found to be caused by guests’ use of smuggled alcohol. Guests are also bringing what Carnival considers as “excessive amounts” of bottled water – thus slowing down embarkation as inspections must occur.

Not suprisingly, much of the abuse cited by the line is occurring with boarding in the U.S.for Caribbean itineraries. That said, all North American ports have a high complement of “drive market” guests — who bring coolers and cart cases of water and other beverages, as they’re not restricted by airline regulations or baggage fees.

To a lesser extent, this happens in Europe or elsewhere, but the policy changes made by Carnival today are being implemented fleetwide for all itineraries, the line said.


By Susan Young | June 9, 2015
Susan J. Young, is senior contributing editor for cruises – covering ocean, river and niche cruises for Travel Agent and

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