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Carnival Cruise Line Changes Drink Package at Port of Norfolk

After Key Bridge in Baltimore was hit and subsequently collapsed, closing the Port of Baltimore, both Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International have made major changes to their operations out of the area. Both cruise lines had ships out to sea that were scheduled to return to the Port of Baltimore, and both cruise lines quickly shifted those sailings–and future sailings–to the Port of Norfolk. Both cruise lines were able to make this happen in just a few which was no small feat.

However, sailing from the Port of Norfolk means local laws and taxes will be different and cruise lines have to follow those laws. For example, when sailing from the Port of Galveston in Texas, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission only allows cruise ships to sell alcohol “made in the great state of Texas” while in port. Therefore, cruisers with Royal Caribbean can only order from a limited menu until the ship hits international waters. This includes those who have purchased the unlimited drink package. They can still use the unlimited drink package, but from a limited menu.

However, cruisers who are sailing with Carnival Cruise Line, who have purchased the unlimited drink package, may not use that package on Day 1 of their cruise. The unlimited drink package does not go into effect until Day 2 at an adjusted rate. Carnival Cruise Line has this same policy for New York as those laws prohibit the selling of unlimited drinks at a set price.

Carnival Cruise Line has now announced it will be adopting the same set of rules for its drink package it uses in New York and Texas for its sailings from Norfolk. An email from Guest Services President Colleen Oliverio explains why.

“Our temporary shift in operations from Baltimore to Norfolk for Carnival Legend necessitates a slight modification in how we implement the Cheers! program. We cannot offer Cheers! benefits while in waters under the Commonwealth of Virginia’s jurisdiction. Therefore, we will not offer Cheers! benefits on the first day of your cruise.”

While the cost of the unlimited drink package will be prorated on sailings out of Norfolk, it is unclear as to the reason for the change. Additionally, Royal Caribbean has not made the change.