Like all cruise lines, Carnival makes a great deal of profit on the alcohol sold on board its ships. Consequently, a strict alcohol policy prevents guests from bringing locally purchased alcohol on board to drink during the cruise. If you prefer to avoid the per-drink charges, you have two options for lowering your total costs.

Embarkation Day and Port Visits

On the day the cruise embarks, you are allowed to bring on board one standard 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne per person. Each person carrying on alcohol must be 21 years of age or older, and the bottles must be in your carry-on luggage. No hard liquor or beer is permitted. Sealed bottles or cans that violate this policy will be confiscated and held in shipboard storage until the end of the cruise. Alcohol that is purchased during a port visit, as well as that purchased by the bottle at the shipboard shops, is also held in storage until the last night of the cruise.

Corkage Fee

You are free to consume your allowed bottle of wine or champagne in your stateroom or in public spaces around the ship at any time. If you want to drink your personal wine or champagne with a meal, you will be assessed a corkage fee. A corkage fee is a premium charged by restaurants for consuming alcohol that was not purchased on premises. As of 2013, the corkage fee was $10 per bottle in the main dining room and $14 per bottle in the separately priced steakhouse.

Port Side Liquor

The Fun Shops portion of the Carnival website allows you to purchase items in advance for delivery to your stateroom on the first day of your cruise. The Port Side Liquor section of the Fun Shops program provides an extensive menu of beer, wine and liquor as well as nonalcoholic beverages and mixers. Although prices are higher than those found at most local grocery stores, they are significantly lower than shipboard prices. You are allowed to consume your liquor anywhere during your cruise.

Cheers Beverage Program

As of 2013, the Cheers Beverage Program was in trial runs on select Carnival ships. The program allows you to receive up to 15 alcoholic beverages per day of your cruise and is priced based on the length of the journey. The program is open only to guests age 21 and above, and if one person participates, then all of-age guests in the same stateroom must participate. The program applies to all alcoholic beverages that are served by the glass and priced at $10 or less, as well as all sodas and nonalcoholic frozen cocktails. Program participants receive a 25 percent discount on wine and champagne by the bottle as well as drinks priced at more than $10. No sharing is allowed, and the program does not include room service or minibar drinks.