Celebrity’s New Alcohol Policy Effective 7/28/06

Celebrity Cruises has instituted a new alcohol policy.

The change in the verbage of the policy now results in passenger’s luggage being searched for containers of alcohol. If smuggled alcohol is found, the cruise line can now confiscate or dispose of such items. Celebrity may now refuse embarkation to passengers caught trying to smuggle.

Perhaps most startling about this is the change in the policy regarding guest bringing their own fine wines onboard. There is still language describing a corkage fee, and it specifies that beverages brought onboard by an authorized vendor will be subject to a corkage fee. However, information from “Captains Club” representatives seems to indicate that passengers bringing their own wine onboard for consumption are not “authorized vendors”. Authorized vendors would only include suppliers for special circumstances like a corporate event, group event, or wedding.

On my last cruise, I brought 6 bottles onboard wrapped in bubble wrap in my carry-on bag. The bag went right through the security x-ray machine, and no one even blinked an eye. I’ve talked with many other past Celebrity Cruisers who have done exactly the same thing and have never even been questioned. The only cases in the past when I’ve heard of alcohol being confiscated, were when that alcohol was purchased in a duty free shop.

I paid the corkage fee on two of my six bottles, gave one as a gift, and then hosted a wine tasting in my room with other guests. The new policy will apparently prevent guest from participating in either of these practices. Personally, this is dissappointing to me. Sharing a unique or special wines with new friends was one of the joys of my last cruise.

I’ve talked with several frequent Celebrity Cruiser who are also extremely dissapointed with the new policy. One expresses dissapointment that he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the romantic notion of sharing a private selection of wine on the balcony as he sails away from a beautiful European port with guests of his choosing. Another cruiser pointed out that the ships wine list, though varied, is by no means all encompassing, and that wine connoissuers enjoy supplementing that selection with wines for their own choosing.

I am currently working on a letter Celebrity requesting that rethink this new policy. I will post a copy of my letter when it is complete.