Between buffets, dining rooms, specialty restaurants, and pool deck grills, bringing your own food on a cruise may not feel necessary. But you’d be surprised at the number of times you find yourself craving a granola bar between meals or in the middle of a particularly long shore excursion.

Perhaps you or someone you’re traveling with has dietary restrictions or medications that need to be taken with food. Or maybe you have cute kids who can turn their noses up at dinner or a spouse who has a 2 a.m. craving but doesn’t want to pay extra for late-night room service.

So, what’s wrong with bringing snacks on a cruise? Is it allowed, and if so, are there restrictions? And can you bring your own drinks on the cruise?

Here’s what you need to know.

Note: If you have a special need or dietary restriction, it’s a good idea to contact your cruise line’s special requests department before you set sail to make sure they will provide the food you need or allow you to bring it on board.

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Can you bring food on a cruise?


The short answer is yes, you can. However, there are restrictions that limit the types of foods and how they are packaged. For example, you can’t waltz across the board with several dozen of Grandma’s freshly baked cookies or the ingredients to make your own salad.

What Kinds of Snacks Can I Bring on a Cruise?

Cruise ships allow any prepackaged food. These include things like granola, protein and cereal bars; packs of crackers and cookies; almonds; beef jerky; and bagged items such as chips, crackers and popcorn. It also includes baby food and formula.

Candy is also allowed, so pack all the fruit snacks, M&Ms, and licorice you love.

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The catch is that your treats must be shelf-stable and sealed, so don’t open a giant bag of Reese’s pieces, Life Savers gummies, or Doritos, eat a handful, and then try to board with the bag open.

You should avoid bringing anything that is fresh, that requires refrigeration, or that you have prepared at home and put in your own container. If it can break at any point during your trip, it’s a no-go.

Can you bring drinks on a cruise?


The answer is not as simple as yes or no. You can bring drinks, but there are limits, especially when it comes to alcohol.

Each cruise line has its own policy, but in general, everyone can bring a limited amount of their favorite non-alcoholic beverages, including water, juice, soda, coffee, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Lines that allow it are Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages. Lines that do not allow this are Holland America (with the exception of bottled water, which is allowed in limited quantities), MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Note that all major cruise lines have milk alternatives, including soy and almond. Some also offer oat and coconut milk. If you need a specific type, your cruise line should be able to accommodate it with advance notice, so you don’t have to bring your own.

According to the terms of Alcohol Policies Almost every mainstream cruise line allows up to one 750 mL bottle of wine, sparkling wine or champagne per person 21 years of age or older. Sometimes the line will charge a corkage fee of between $15 and $25 per bottle; Some lines will only charge you if you consume the bottle outside your cabin.

None of the main lines allow passengers to bring their own beer or liquor.

The exception is luxury cruise lines. Because they include alcohol in their fares and don’t stand to miss out on the associated onboard revenue, they allow cruisers to bring as much alcohol as they want, regardless of reason and type.

All cruise lines will also allow passengers to bring distilled water onboard for use in medical devices such as CPAP machines.

How to Bring Drinks on a Cruise

If you’re traveling with beverages that don’t include alcohol, the most common rule is that each person can have up to 12 cans or cartons. Sometimes plastic bottles are allowed, but you should check with your cruise line to be sure. Glass bottles are almost always prohibited. Beverages must be sealed; Open containers are not allowed, even if they comply with the above rules.

If you are bringing wine, sparkling wine or champagne, glass bottles are allowed.

All beverages must be carried and cannot be placed inside checked bags for boarding. If they are found in checked baggage during the landing process, your bag will be held until you claim it. You’ll need to open your bag in front of security personnel, who will determine whether what you’ve packed meets your ship’s regulations. If not, your items will be confiscated.

With all this in mind, there are still cruisers who will try Sneak alcohol on board. don’t do that It’s not worth the risk that you’ll get caught, have your alcohol confiscated, and be labeled a cheapskate or a rule breaker.

Can you eat on a cruise ship? How about drinks?

The answer here, again, depends on the types of food and drink. In many ports of call, you may have prepackaged items, but fresh items will be confiscated. In other words, don’t expect fresh fruit from the breakfast buffet to take ashore as a midday snack. You will often not be allowed to take it. In some ports, including some in Mexico, officials use trained dogs to sniff out any contraband.

Ports are often a bit more flexible about drinks. This is especially true in hot-weather places where it is easy to dehydrate. However, be smart about what you bring. Water bottles (single-use or reusable bottles you fill yourself) are a better idea than to-go cups of coffee, which are sometimes banned.

Can you bring food and drink back to your ship from port?

Danny Lehman/Carnival Cruises

The rules here are the same for what you can bring on a cruise. You can bring back prepackaged, shelf-stable foods, but you want to avoid anything that isn’t homemade, fresh, in sealed packaging, and not shelf-stable. I once had to throw away (read: eat and give away as much as I could before reboarding) six of the cutest donuts because I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be able to bring them back on board with me. I only found out when one of the ship’s security guards told me that I could not board the tender boat with my belongings.

You can also bring non-alcoholic beverages that are sealed and within the limits of your cruise line.

The difference between bringing alcohol into port is that passengers are allowed to do so – but there are conditions.

Cruise lines understand that travelers often spring for it Duty free liquor as a souvenir. If you decide to buy a bottle (or several) to take home with you, you can bring it back to your ship. However, you will not be allowed to carry it with you.

When you reboard your ship and go through security, you must leave your distance with the crew member. They will take your name and cabin number, and you can either pick up your purchase on the last night of the trip, or it will be sent to your room. The same rule applies if you buy a bottle in the onboard shop.

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