Carnival is one of the better-known cruise companies out there. For this reason, I booked a cruise with them a couple of months ago, keen to enjoy the sun, the fun, and the family friendly atmosphere. If only I had read the small print.
Don’t get me wrong, this was a highly enjoyable cruise. The boat was comfortable, the atmosphere was relaxed and fun and whenever I look at the trinkets I bought from the gift shop I am filled with fond memories.
There is just one thing that I would have changed about this cruise experience. I wish I had snuck in several bottles of wine or a bottle of liquor. And, on top of that, I wish I had bothered to read the Carnival beverage policy which is online. Next time I go on a cruise, I will be reading the entire site, small print and all!
Now, passengers are allowed to bring a small amount of their own alcohol onto the cruise ship. More specifically, we could bring a 750cl bottle of either wine or champagne each. Any other kind of alcohol and larger volumes of wine and champagne were totally forbidden. I only learned of this in the queue to get on the boat, when a lady I got chatting to explained to me. Never mind, I thought, I will just buy myself a few beers in the onboard bar.
I should have known that when a cruise ship tightly restricts the amount of alcohol that passengers can bring on board, this is because they want to capitalize on your craving for booze and charge you extortionate prices for a single beer or a single whiskey and soda. And this is precisely what Cruise did.
Wait, there’s more. There were further rules stating that if we bought alcohol on board (in one of the enticingly named ‘Fun Shops’) we had to hand it over to a staff member to ‘keep it safe’ for us until we disembarked. The same went for any alcohol we bought when we stopped off at a port – this, too, had to be handed over for ‘safe keeping’.
In short, then, I enjoyed my cruise experience overall. But, I have one caveat: I wish I had found some way to evade the bag checks and to bring my own inexpensively bought alcohol on board so that I would have been able to disembark with a lot more money in my wallet.