Do Cruise Lines Water Down Their Drinks?

Drinks on cruises

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Are you wondering if cruise lines water down their alcoholic drinks? Well, you’re not the only one!

In fact, cruise lines watering down their drinks has been a popular conspiracy theory that has been discussed in cruise Facebook groups and on Reddit forums.

On the one hand, cruise lines watering down their drinks could be a way for them to save money. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that cruise lines would risk their reputation by serving their passengers watered-down alcoholic beverages.

Which raises the question…

Do Cruise Lines Water Down Their Drinks?

cruise ship drink

No, cruise lines do not water down their alcoholic drinks. In fact, if you sit at a bar for long enough, you’ll see the bartenders break the seal before opening new bottles of alcohol. If a cruise line were to get caught watering down their beverages, it would damage to their reputation and it would deter cruise passengers from ever purchasing the drink package again.

In this post, we take a deeper look at why you may feel the effects of alcohol less on a cruise ship.

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Why You Feel The Affects of Alcohol Less on a Cruise Ship

cruise ship bartender

Here are some reasons why cruisers may not feel the affects of alcohol when compared to drinking on land:

1. You’re Eating More

When cruisers say they feel the affects of alcohol much less on a cruise ship than on land, it’s most likely because they are eating more. It’s no secret that food will lessen the affects of alcohol.

With a main dining room, several casual dining venues, and an all-you-can-eat buffet at your disposal, you’ll be eating much more on a cruise than you would eat at home. Since you’re eating more food and more frequently, chances are that this is slowing down the affects that alcohol has on your body.

2. Increased Hydration

If you’re on a Caribbean cruise or cruising through tropical destinations, chances are you’re staying more hydrated than normal. Typically, when it’s hot outside, we naturally drink more water to stay hydrated.

You may even be making an extra effort to increase your water intake.

Drinking water can dilute the effects of alcohol to a certain degree. By diluting the alcohol, it will take longer (and more drinks) for you to feel the full affects of your alcoholic beverages.

3. Alcohol Is Measured

Typically, the alcohol on cruise ships is strictly measured. This means that a shot of alcohol will be between 1.25 to 1.50 ounces.

If you order a drink on a cruise and find it weaker than what you would order at home, it could be because your bartender at home is being more generous with the alcohol. Bartenders on cruise ships have strict guidelines, so they must be precise with the alcohol measurements.

However, there are cruise passengers who report that becoming friendly with a bartender or adding an extra tip will result in a more generous pour.

Related: 13 Big Drink Package Mistakes Not to Make on a Cruise

4. Activity Levels

When you’re on a cruise, there’s a chance that you’re more active than usual. Whether it’s participating in pool-side activities, onboard attractions, or going on shore excursions in port, these activities keep you busy and help to sober you up.

If you’re drinking throughout the day but also participating in activities, there’s a good chance you may not feel the affects of alcohol as much as if you were sitting still.

Related: 13 Big Tipping Mistakes To Never Make on a Cruise

5. Mixer Ratios

Mixer ratios can vary depending on the cruise line and which bartender you have. It’s not uncommon for a drink to feel “weak.” However, this is most likely due to the mixer ratio.

If a bartender puts too much juice or soda in your drink, it can throw off the ratio you may be used to.

On a past cruise, I ordered a cocktail with that “watered-down” taste. However, I simply asked the bartender if he could remake it with less mixer, and he did without an issue.

Once I received my drink, it was made the right way, and I enjoyed it.

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Final Thoughts On Do Cruise Lines Water Down Their Drinks

Well, there it is, everything you need to know about cruise lines watering down their drinks!

Although cruise lines watering down their alcohol could be a way to maximize profits, the risk just isn’t worth the reward. This conspiracy theory is fun to think about, as alcohol certainly does affect you differently on a cruise ship.

However, major cruise lines would never risk their reputation and passenger safety to save a little bit of money.

At the end of the day, customer satisfaction is extremely important to cruise lines. So, if you feel like you have a weak drink, don’t be shy to ask the bartender to remake it!

In this post, I shared if cruise lines water down their drinks and why cruise passengers feel the affects of alcohol less on a cruise vacation.

What’s your favorite cruise conspiracy theory? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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  1. Patricia Ramos
    February 25, 2024 / 12:57 am

    I have read a few articles here that I have really enjoyed and have been pleasantly surprised that they were written by Ethan. I really liked this one and the one he wrote about Virgin cruises. Lot’s of talent here, I suppose it is hereditary!
    Thanks for your insight!

    • February 29, 2024 / 3:58 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this one & the recent Virgin Voyages posts! Yes, Ethan has been contributing articles over the last few months & I definitely appreciate them as well.


  2. Lisa
    February 25, 2024 / 2:06 am

    We definitely drink lots of water! We get
    the premium package on Celebrity, and with every meal
    we get a bottle of Aqua Panna water each. That way when the sommelier keeps filling the wine glass, it doesn’t hit so fast!

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