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Old 02-21-2007, 03:05 PM
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I heard rumors that on some cruise ships, the drinking age is lower than 21 (18, maybe?). This got me wondering:

This isn't necessarily in reference to drinking, but which jurisdiction to cruise ships fall under? The USA's? I'm speaking specifically of time spent aboard a ship, not when debarking at a Caribbean port or some such.

To return to the example being used, is it even legal for cruisers under 21 to be allowed to consume alcohol, despite our national laws on drinking age? Is it foolish to place any merit on what I've heard about certain cruise ships allowing a younger drinking age?
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Old 02-21-2007, 04:04 PM
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It can be a mess. Admiralty law applies when on the high seas, and this leaves things up to the ship's master (captain). It is the usual case with ships leaving and returning to U.S. ports that the Captain defers to U.S. law and will turn over someone who did something serious to the FBI or other U.S. police officials, even though the ship may be flagged from another country and the crime occurred outside U.S. waters. The various treaties and international agreements apparently allow this to be lawful. This is when I wish Carlalena was here! I think she deals with some aspects of maritime law.

The drinking age is mostly aligned to the laws and customs of the area. Thus ships sailing from U.S. ports generally use 21, but ships sailing from European or South American ports may have lower drinking ages. Frankly this has much to do with the cruise lines wanting to "get along" and not make any needless enemies among juridictions that can mess with their operations. It is quite common, for instance, for U.S. Immigration and Customs agents to board cruise ships leaving Caribbean ports and heading for home. I've sat next to these officers at pool bars more than once as we left Cozumel with our next port being Miami...and they were in uniform. It can often be a "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" relationship.
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:21 PM
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On one of my first trips to Mexico on Princess I was walking with a member of the cruise staff and as we passed the ship's boutique, which was closed because we were in port, two officials in uniform came out loaded down with shopping bags;
I turned to the staff member, but before I could ask the question, she whispered, "it's the price of doing business down here."
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:03 PM
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I don't know what the drinking age for Princess is-when we went with them, we did not have the kids with us, so I never checked. Last year we went on Grandeur (RCCL). The drinking policy was if someone is 18 y/o, and is travelling with a parent, the parent can sign for the child, to give permission and to state that they will keep an eye on them and then they can drink on the ship. My son was 17 y/o at the time. This year he is 18 y/o, so he was hoping to be able to enjoy a few beers by the pool, however, we are going on Carnival and you have to be 21 y/o, no exceptions. Which is kind of a bummer, my niece is going with us, she will be 19 y/o and that is legal drinking age in Canada,where we're from, but not on the ship. Kind of confusing, best bet is to check with the cruise line themselves -- perhaps it depends on which country owns the franchise ie. American, British (what's their legal drinking age) etc. Also as a f/u question, the Caribbean islands - would the drinking age reflect who owns the island - ie. St. Thomas and San Juan - 21 y/o, Tortola ?? (these are where we are going) or is it different in the Caribbean and does anyone really care about the age of the person enjoying a nice tropical drink??
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:16 PM
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Can only tell you about CCL and NCL.. CCL its 21 like the states. (How diligent they are on carding varies)

On NCL, they allow parent of those 18 to 20 sign a wavier allowing the younger folks to have beer and wine on ship.
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:18 AM
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Dave and Jim,

Have been away awhile and just wanted to comment what great posts on this subject.

IslandCruz
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:57 AM
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I love cruising!,

Since you were last on RCI, they have changed their policy and you have to be 21 to drink on their cruises from U.S. ports. The ships maintain their age limits while in port in the Caribbean.
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by f-mattox:
On one of my first trips to Mexico on Princess I was walking with a member of the cruise staff and as we passed the ship's boutique, which was closed because we were in port, two officials in uniform came out loaded down with shopping bags;
I turned to the staff member, but before I could ask the question, she whispered, "it's the price of doing business down here."
I don't know if it still happens but I recall my first cruises to Cozumel when the local authorities were always ushered to the buffet for breakfast as we were mooring.
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by IslandCruz:
Dave and Jim,

Have been away awhile and just wanted to comment what great posts on this subject.

IslandCruz
Thanks. I think most people on cruises have no idea of how confused things are when it comes to the law. More than one U.S. citizen probably thinks their "constitutional rights" still exist while in the middle of the Gulf Of Mexico.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:26 AM
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I don't understand how they can make you report winnings in the casino. You're on a ship not registered in the US, you're in international waters, so is it only the IRS that has "constitutional rights". Seems like they can pick and choose what they want to enforce.
 
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