Royal Caribbean's New Free Booze Policy: Staying Drunk on the High Seas

Royal Caribbean Cruises, which I believe is one of the leaders in irresponsible alcohol practices in the cruise industry, is adding to its already controversial beverage policies with an offer of free booze when two passengers book balcony rooms or higher levels on trans-Atlantic re-positioning cruises this spring to Europe.

South Florida Business Journal covers the story in an article New Twists in Boozing and Ocean Cruising. The Journal explains that Royal Caribbean is offering the free booze to passengers who buy balcony cabins on:

Royal Caribbean Cruises - Free BoozeNavigator of the Seas’ 15-night sailing from New Orleans to Rome (Civitavecchia) on April 6;

Independence of the Seas’ 13-night sailing from Port Everglades to Southampton, U.K. on April 7;

Brilliance of the Seas’ 11-night sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Lisbon, Portugal on April 13; an

Adventure of the Seas’ 14-night sailing from San Juan to Southampton on April 21.

We have seen a correlation between too much booze and women and children being sexually assaulted, drunken brawls and passengers going overboard. Royal Caribbean does not mention whether there is a limit to how many drinks its bartenders and waiters will serve the passengers. Carnival recently stated that there is a 15 drink "limit" on its all-you-can drink policy. So if that is any indication of the standards of the cruise industry, then the new free drink policy on the Royal Caribbean ships will be surely result a significant portion of the passengers being intoxicated.

We have written about Royal Caribbean drinking policies before. Consider reading Booze Cruise: The Royal Caribbean Way.

The South Florida Business Journal mentions our blog in its article

"Maritime attorney Jim Walker of Walker & O'Neill has written some critical blogs about alcohol consumption on ships. He alleges some cruise lines routinely over serve passengers with bartenders being incentivized to do so. Of course, Walker is in the business of suing cruise lines when something unfortunate happens to passengers or crew members.

Carnival recently imposed a limit of 15 drinks in a 24-hour period for its booze bundles, which Walker likened to "no limit at all." A contrarian might argue that some people can knock down a beer an hour all day long and into the night without being stumbling drunk.

The danger for cruise lines is lawyers in some cases are trying to hold them liable for over serving passengers. Walker has a blog about a lawsuit involving a female passenger on one ship, who was allegedly raped by members of a ship's crew after drinking too much." 

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Photo credit: Cruise Critic

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Erica Klein - January 25, 2013 10:03 AM

If 15 drinks consumed in a single day isn't a license for intoxication, I don't know what is. And women get drunker faster than men due to physiological factors.

You've done a great service to all those who sail in bringing this to light, Jim. Thank you!

ambar - January 25, 2013 1:39 PM

well i worked on royal they teach u serve safe and stuff but if u dnt sell u dont make money since ur salary is 50 dollars and the rest u make it of gratuities. and on the side we are adults and we should need no babysitter to watch how much we drink for us. some guest are just dumbasses and they go on cruises to behave like a 17 years old.

sz - January 26, 2013 12:28 AM

These are transatlantic sailings. The average age is about 60-65 and probably less than 10 kids on board IF that. Traditionally VERY low bar revenue on this type of cruise, so I'm sure it's just an incentive to get people who wouldn't otherwise book to do so . . .

Craig Pavlus - July 24, 2013 11:55 AM

At some point there should be a limit on the amount of alcohol consumption on a ship. There is the safety of fellow passengers and frankly safety to ones own body. Lines can't need the money this much.
Craig Pavlus

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