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Can You Bring Bottled Water On A Cruise? Here’s A Useful Guide!

In the past, many cruise lines permitted you to bring as much bottled water on board as you required. However, many cruise lines have placed restrictions on bringing water on board today. So when can you bring bottled water on a cruise?

Key Takeaway

The Short Answer: Typically, you can bring a limited amount of bottled water onboard, but policies vary by cruise line. However, as of 2023, Norwegian Cruises and MSC Cruises do not allow guests to bring their own bottled water.

As in prior years, we found during our research for 2023 that policies differ vastly across the different cruise line companies. While most mainstream cruise lines will allow you to bring bottled water, there are certain limitations.

Some restrictions limit the type of container your water comes in, the amount you are permitted to bring on board, and the size of the container. There are various reasons for these restrictions. The most cited reason is that the cruise ship operators hope to prevent alcohol from being smuggled on board. Keep reading for information on individual cruise line policies.

Can You Bring Bottled Water On A Cruise?

Most cruise lines will permit you to bring bottled water on a cruise, but some cruise lines prohibit this altogether. Even when cruise lines allow you to bring water onboard, several restrictions may apply.

These are the most typical restrictions:

  • size of containers
  • number of containers
  • type of containers

The restrictions on bottled water can apply to the amount of bottled water permitted on board. The restrictions can also apply to the type of container in which your water is permitted to be.

Most cruise lines that allow you to bring bottled water on board require that you place it in your carry-on luggage rather than checked luggage. (In this context, check luggage means the bags that you leave with porters before entering the terminal building.)

It’s important to remember that there are exceptions for other special items, such as water needed for medical purposes. There are also exceptions for babies. Before embarking on a cruise, it’s important to check your specific cruise line’s policies to understand what you can and cannot do.

Why The Restrictions On Bottled Water?

The primary reasons that cruise lines impose strict regulations regarding bottled water revolve around their alcohol policies. Generally, water bottles have been seen as the perfect place to smuggle illegal alcohol on board. 

Many cruise lines claim that the issues they have had on their ships in the past have resulted from smuggled alcohol. Because people often smuggle alcohol in water receptacles, there is a need to conduct thorough searches of all luggage brought onto the ship.

These thorough checks slow down the process of passengers embarking, causing unnecessary delays.

Royal Caribbean Bottled Water Policy

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines permits you to bring non-alcoholic beverages on board the ship, provided they are in your carry-on cruise bag and not in your packed luggage. You may not exceed 12 of the standard 17 oz bottles, cans, or liquid cartons per stateroom. This total of twelve containers extends to bottled water and other non-alcoholic beverages.

You may only bring this number of non-alcoholic beverages on board the first day you board the ship.

However, there are certain exceptions. Distilled water may be brought on board for infant, medical, or diet use. There are no limitations on how much water can be brought on board for these reasons. 

Also, if you are sailing on consecutive cruises, your allotment applies per sailing.

If you would like to bring other special beverages on board, you may need to fill in a special needs form.

Carnival Cruises Bottled Water Policy

Carnival cruises will allow you to bring water onto their ships. However, it cannot be in a bottle. Water may only be brought on board in a sealed can or carton. You are permitted to bring up to 12 sealed cans or cartons of water per person. No glass or plastic bottles will be permitted, as these are considered too easy to smuggle alcohol in.

These containers must be 12 ounces or less in size. This quantity of 12 is applicable per cruise. This means that if you embark on multiple cruises one after the other, any additional quantity will be stored for safekeeping until the next cruise begins.

Any water brought on board must be placed in your carry-on luggage, not in your packed luggage. Distilled water may also be brought on board for medical reasons. However, this may only be brought on board if carried along with the applicable CPAP machine.

Norwegian Cruise Line Bottled Water Policy

Norwegian Cruise Line has prohibited guests from bringing bottled water on its cruises. The only exception is water used with medical devices or to reconstitute infant formula. This distilled water must, however, be factory sealed.

Branded boxed water is available for purchase on board Norwegian cruises. (E. Warren/2023)

Note that Norwegian has its own branded water for purchase. You can order it in bulk in advance, and it will be waiting for you in your stateroom.

Princess Bottled Water Policy

Princess Cruises does not seem to have any express restrictions on bottled water at current. This means that you are allowed to bring as much bottled water on board as you need to. However, you may only bring this water on board when you embark.

Celebrity Cruises Bottled Water Policy

Celebrity cruises appear to have no express policy regarding bringing bottled water on board. However, Celebrity Cruises is owned by Royal Caribbean, so the same or similar policies may apply. So, at a minimum, you should be able to bring 12 standard 17 oz water bottles per stateroom. (Note that if you book under Celebrity’s “all included” rate package, your cruise includes a drink package that covers bottled water.)

Can you bring bottled water on a cruise

Disney Cruises Bottled Water Policy

Disney Cruises permits passengers to bring a case of water on board their ships, provided it is unopened, in its original packaging, and kept in their carry-on luggage. There generally do not seem to be any strict regulations regarding how many bottles of water are allowed or how big the bottles are allowed to be.

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MSC Cruises Bottled Water Policy

MSC Cruises has also completely banned guests from bringing their own bottled water onto its ships. This is most likely a part of their effort to prevent alcohol smuggling and speed up the embarking process for its guests. 

Guests on an MSC Cruise are expected to purchase a drinks ticket with bottled water or purchase individual water bottles as and when needed.

Holland America Line Bottled Water Policy

Holland America Line has a similar policy to other companies regarding bottled water. You are permitted to bring only a case of 12 cartons or cans on board their ships. No plastic water bottles are permitted due to the ease with which alcohol can be smuggled in these receptacles.

As with most other cruise lines, you are only permitted to bring this water on board for embarkation, the day you board the ship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you bring a pack of water on a cruise?

Most mainstream cruise lines will permit guests to carry a certain amount of bottled or packaged water with certain restrictions. Typical restrictions may include restrictions on the amount (e.g., 12 individual sealed containers), size (e.g., less than 17 ounces), and/or packaging (e.g., a ban on glass or plastic bottles).

How do you carry water on a cruise?

For cruise lines that permit you to carry your own bottled water (including water in cans or cartons), you must have it in your hand luggage rather than your checked luggage. Also, the container should be sealed.

Can I bring distilled water on a cruise?

If you require distilled water for use in a medical device, you most likely will be permitted to bring it on. However, some cruise lines may require advance notice.

Is water free on a cruise?

On mainstream cruise lines, there is typically a charge for bottled water. Water from the tap or fountains is free. If you find bottled water in your cabin, you will likely incur a charge for drinking it unless you have a certain loyalty status on the cruise line, or are in a premium category stateroom.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, when you can bring bottled water on a cruise varies by the cruise line. As always, we recommend checking with your specific cruise provider to confirm their policies when booking your cruise.

Elaine Warren

Founder & Crew Chief

Elaine founded this website after publishing the book The Family Cruise Companion’s Guide to Cruising With Kids. She has sailed on 40 cruises (and counting). She loves helping families navigate their way to an adventure-filled, fun, and memorable vacation.

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Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API