Drinking Age In International Waters (All Cruise Line Drinking Ages)

Depending on your age, or those you are traveling with, you might be looking to book a cruise on which you can legally drink alcohol.

While all US cruise ships adhere to the rule that you must be over 21 years old to drink alcohol on a cruise, there are some differences in the drinking age on cruise ships when you sail in international waters.

Below we have covered all the drinking ages for all the main cruise lines in international waters, including exceptions.

Drinking Age in International Waters

For further clarification of the rules, I’ve covered them beneath the table and links to the cruise line policy so you can double-check the details yourself.

How Old Do You Have to be to Drink on a Cruise In International Waters?

When purchasing and drinking alcohol on a cruise ship, you must adhere to the age laws.  

International Waters are defined as 3 miles out of US territorial waters.    This means that if the cruise ship is within 3 miles of territorial waters, all passengers must adhere to the drinking age of 21.

Once outside US waters and into international waters, some cruise lines allow a lower drinking age of 18 years.  

This is sometimes with exceptions, which we have highlighted.  We’ve also provided links to cruise line alcohol policies so you can double-check any finer terms beneath the tables.

Cruise LineUS Cruises – International Waters Drinking Age
Carnival 21
Celebrity Cruises21
Costa Cruises21
Disney Cruise Line21
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line18
Holland America
MSC Cruises21
Norwegian Cruise Line18 (excl. Alaska and Hawaii)
P&O Cruises21
Princess Cruises21
Royal Caribbean21
Virgin Voyages18
Drinking Age in international Waters

If you are traveling with or of the age of 18, you can get more specific information here about which cruise lines allow 18-year-olds to drink.

What Defines a US Cruise?

While it can vary slightly depending on the cruise line, a cruise is usually classed as a US cruise if it departs from a US port or if it visits at least one US port as part of its itinerary.

Drinking Age on International Cruises

For those on international cruises outside of the US, the drinking ages are typically lower than 21.

Although they can still vary depending on certain circumstances, for example, parental consent is required on some cruise lines.

Cruise LineRest of World
Carnival 21
Celebrity Cruises18
Costa Cruises18
Disney Cruise Line21 (18 parental consent)
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line18
MSC Cruises18
Norwegian Cruise Line21 (18 parental consent)
P&O Cruises18 (16 with meal)
Princess Cruises18 (20 in Japan)
Royal Caribbean18
Virgin Voyages18
Drinking Age for Rest of World Cruises (Outside US).

Can You Drink Under 21 On a Cruise

If you leave or visit a US port as the port of your itinerary and are with US territorial waters, you will not be allowed to drink under the age of 21.

If you sail outside US territorial waters into international waters, some cruise lines (not many) lower the drinking age to 18, often subject to extra conditions such as parental consent.  As well as there being possible exceptions to the rule.

18 and 21 year olds Drinking on a Cruise

Drinking Age on Cruises – Cruise Line Policies

For more information on each individual cruise line policy, we have provided a summary and a quote of the main terms below.   

There are also links to the drinking policies if you need to check any further details or possible changes.

Carnival Cruise Drinking Age

Carnival Cruises has a flat age of 21 for purchasing alcohol on one of their cruise ships.  

Even if you are a young looking 21 year old or older, still take your I.D as its likely you will be asked for it, as they even state in the terms.

“Guests must be 21 years of age or older to be served alcohol on board. Proper I.D with birth date is required.”

From Carnival Age Restrictions here.

Celebrity Cruises Drinking Age

Celebrity Cruise’s drinking age is 21 for US waters and 18 for the rest of the world.

“The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Celebrity Cruises® ships sailing from North America is 21. The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Celebrity Cruises® ships sailing from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand is 18.”

From Celebrity Cruises Before you Board, under “Alcohol Policy

Costa Cruises Drinking Age

The Italian cruise line Costa cruise line has a drinking age of 21 for any cruise from or to US ports.  For the rest of the world, the  drinking age is 18.

“The Guest agrees that no alcohol shall be purchased or consumed by any Guest under the age of twenty-one (21) on cruises embarking or disembarking Guests at U.S. ports, or under the age of eighteen (18) for all other cruises.”

Full Costa Cruises Terms here.

Cunard Drinking Age

British cruise line Cunard has a drinking age of 21 in US waters and 18 years of age for the rest of the world.

Even if you are of age, make sure you take some ID as they are likely to check.

“Guests who are under 18 years of age are not permitted to purchase or consume alcohol on board.  However, whilst in U.S. waters, Cunard enforces and abides by the U.S. legal drinking age of 21 years.

Proof of age may be required.”

Cunard age limit for drinking alcohol here.

Disney Cruise Line Drinking Age

Disney cruise lines have a drinking age of 21 when departing or visiting any US port.

The age can be as low as 18 if you have parental consent on ships that depart from any European country with a lower drinking age.

Make sure you have a valid ID on you as it’s likely you will be asked.

“The drinking age on board is 21, and a valid photo I.D. is required.”

“However, during roundtrip cruises departing from any European country that has a lower drinking age, parents or guardians may sign a Beverage Consent Form that allows their 18- to 20-year-old children to consume alcoholic beverages while in the adult’s presence.”

You can read the full question and answer here.

MSC Cruises Drinking Age

MSC Cruises is an Italian cruise line.  If the cruise ship departs or visits, a US port on the itinerary, the drinking age will be 21.  

Otherwise, outside the US, being a European cruise company, the drinking age will be 18

“Alcoholic drinks in any form will not be sold to Minors” during the cruise. When the itinerary includes a port located in the U.S.A the same conditions will apply for any passengers under the age 21.”

You can read the MSC drinking policy here (under “Alcohol”).

Norwegian Cruise Line Drinking Age

Norwegian cruise line allows passengers aged 18 – 20 to drink alcohol onboard once they are out of international waters.

Parental consent will be required for all cruises where guests are under 21.

“The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Norwegian Cruise Line ships is 21. Guests who are 18 – 20 years of age can purchase and consume beer or wine when the ship is in international waters (3 miles out of US territorial waters). The age modification does not apply for Alaska and Hawaii sailings. The parent or legal guardian must be onboard the sailing with the young adult and present themselves at the Front Desk so they can sign the form allowing the consumption of beer and wine only.”

“On cruises embarking in a country where the legal drinking age is lower than 21 and where a young adult (age 18, 19 or 20) is not travelling with a parent or legal guardian, they will generally not be permitted to consume alcohol.”

You can read the Norwegian Cruise line drinking policy here (under “Alcohol”)

P&O Cruises

P&O cruises is a British cruise line.  They adhere to the minimum age of 21 for any US cruise.

However, in the rest of the world, the drinking is age 18, and even as low as 16 if ordering alcohol with a meal, as long as with a parent or guardian.

Do take some I.D. as you will likely be asked, even if you are of age.

“Anyone under the age of 18 (under 21 when in United States of America waters) will not be served alcoholic beverages on board and must not be in possession of alcohol. Please don’t be offended if we ask you to verify your age.”

From the P&O drinking policy here.

Princess Cruises Drinking Age

The drinking age on Princess cruises is 21 on any US cruise.  For the rest of the world, the age is 18, except for Japan where it’s 20.

“The age for drinking on Princess ships is 21 years old*”

“*For cruises between Australia/New Zealand, China, Europe and Singapore ports, the drinking age will be 18 years old. For cruises between Japan ports, the drinking age will be 20 years old.”

Princess Cruises Drinking Policy can be found here (under “Age Restrictions on Drinking and Gambling”.

Royal Caribbean Drinking Age

The Royal Caribbean age is 21 for any US-related cruises and private islands and 18 for the rest of the world.

  • The minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean International ships on sailings originating from North America or the Caribbean is twenty-one (21).
  • The minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean International ships on sailings originating in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is twenty-one (21).
  • The minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean International ships on sailings from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand is eighteen (18). 
  • The minimum age to consume alcohol at all private destinations remains twenty-one (21) without regard to where the sailing originated.
You can read the full Royal Caribbean drinking age policy here.

If you are booking a Royal Caribbean cruise you might also want to check out our How to Cheat Royal Caribbean drinks package tips out.

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas sailing in International Waters

Virgin Voyages Drinking Age

Virgin Voyage’s drinking age is 21 in US waters and 18 in international waters unless local laws specify otherwise.

Find the Virgin Voyages Drinking Policy here.

Viking Cruises Drinking Age

Viking (formerly Viking Cruises) is a Swiss cruise line with a fleet of river and ocean cruise ships.

“Please note you must be 21 years of age or older to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.”

From Viking FAQs under “Can I upgrade the complimentary beverages?”, find here.

Legal Drinking Age in the Caribbean

Drinking ages in the Caribbean vary depending on which island you are visiting.

For example, there is no drinking age limit on Antigua and Barbuda but a purchase age limit of 16 years of age.

You can see all the Caribbean Drinking ages on Wikipedia here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Bahamas Drinking Age on a Cruise?

The minimum age for drinking on a cruise in the Bahamas will vary according to the cruise line you are sailing with.  Therefore it will be between 18 and 21 years of age.

For excursions to the Bahamas, the drinking age limit is 18 years of age, both for consumption and purchasing.

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