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I have never been a fan of the prepaid alcohol plans offered by most cruise lines as I believe such arrangements encourage over-consumption of alcohol in an environment often already more dangerous than what can be found on land.  

Norwegian Cruise Lines–in an effort that can only be understood as motivated by profit and not passenger safety–has just announced an interesting new twist to its prepaid beverage plan, which it calls “The Ultimate Beverage Plan,” garnering a significant negative reaction from its customers.

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers are now prohibited from carrying any of their own drinks aboard the ship, including water. Starting July 15, 2016, passengers will be banned from bringing any kind of beverages in hand or in luggage and will be forced to purchase all drinks from an NCL restaurant or bar.  NCL claims to be doing this for security and safety reasons. The one exception is factory-sealed bottles of distilled water used for medical devices or infant formulas.

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Currently, Carnival and Royal Caribbean allow passengers to bring aboard alcohol, soda, and other beverages in limited quantities.  It is understandable that passengers would be infuriated by NCL’s new policy as drinks aboard an NCL ship are exorbitantly priced. Passengers who have a couple of bottles of water, a few beers at lunch or by the pool, and a glass or two of wine at dinner can expect to add a few hundred dollars a day to their vacation budgets.  

I have no doubt that the duty-free stores lining the ports that NCL ships visit must also be pretty upset with this decision. In the end, as a lawyer who represents injured passengers in claims against cruise lines like NCL, I would be happy with any measure that might limit alcohol consumption onboard a cruise ship.

I have personally investigated thousands of potential claims against cruise lines when people have been seriously injured as a result of tripping, slipping, and falling.  One of the common defenses mounted by the cruise lines’ lawyers is that the passengers were intoxicated at the time of the incidents.  This defense is infuriating as often the alcohol consumed has been provided or sold to those passengers by the cruise line itself.

NCL’s new ban will certainly make it easier to demonstrate that whatever alcohol was consumed had to have been sold by their bars and restaurants, rather than purchased off the ship by the passenger.  I hope that NCL will make an added effort to educate its servers on how to identify passengers who may have had too much to drink so as to prevent them from being over served and therefore being at an increased risk of causing injury to themselves or others.

Our law firm fights hard to protect the legal rights of people who have suffered accidents during their cruises because of the negligent conduct of cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Disney, Princess, Holland America, Regent Seven Seas, and MSC. If you have been hurt while on a cruise, call our maritime accident attorneys today for a free initial consultation at 1-866-597-4529, email us at [email protected], or contact us by SKYPE.  We are ready to help you be reimbursed for lost wages, medical expenses, loss of cruise, and pain and suffering.