Home Port Change Impacts Carnival’s Drink Package

Carnival informed future cruisers that it will not be able to offer its CHEERS! drink package while sailing in Virginia waters.

After the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in the Port of Baltimore, Carnival had to move quickly to temporarily relocate Carnival Legend’s homeport to Norfolk, Virginia.

An unexpected side effect of this last-minute change is that the cruise line will not be able to provide its drink package on the first day of the Spirit-class ship’s upcoming sailing on March 31, 2024.

Carnival Announces Drink Package Change To Norfolk Sailing

With damage from the bridge collapse in Baltimore keeping the port closed to cruise traffic, Carnival Cruise Line had to quickly re-route Carnival Legend, which was homeported in Baltimore, from where it has been alternating between Eastern Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries. 

The cruise line decided that the best option would be to temporarily relocate the 1,124-passenger vessel to Norfolk, Virginia. But changing the location came with a caveat: the ship will not be able to offer the CHEERS! drink package while in Virginia. 

Guests sailing on Carnival Legend’s next voyage, which is a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise beginning on March 31, have been informed that their CHEERS! package won’t be available until the second day of their cruise and that they will be given a pro-rated refund for the lost day. 

“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,” read an email from Colleen Oliverio, Vice President of Guest Services. 

“You will be issued a one-day pro-rated refund according to your original source of payment,” continued the email.

On embarkation day, guests will still be able to purchase a la carte drinks from bars once onboard, but these will not be part of the drink package.

Carnival Legend Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Tony Davis

The reason for the service disruption to Carnival’s drink package is unclear, but guests can rest assured that the remainder of their cruise will not be impacted. Beginning at 6 a.m. on day two, they’ll be able to enjoy drinks as they call on Bimini Islands, Bahamas; Nassau, Bahamas; and Freeport, Bahamas. 

It’s unclear if the 88,500 gross-ton ship’s current voyage, a 7-night Bahamas cruise that will now conclude in Norfolk instead of Baltimore on March 31, will also be impacted by this change. 

Similarly, it’s not yet known if Carnival Legend’s final two sailings before moving to Europe for the summer, which were both supposed to be based out of Baltimore, will also be impacted. These include an 8-night, round-trip, Eastern Caribbean cruise beginning on April 7 and a 12-night transatlantic cruise to Barcelona, Spain, embarking on April 15.

All About The CHEERS! Drink Package

Like many cruise lines, Carnival offers its very own drink package to enjoy onboard, which is of particularly good value to people who plan to buy a lot of drinks onboard.

Carnival’s program, CHEERS!, includes 15 non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks per day, per person. This includes all spirits (including cocktails), beer, wine (valued at $20 or less per serving), sodas, frozen cocktails, energy drinks, specialty coffees, hot tea, bottled water, and other non-alcoholic bottled beverages. 

Carnival Cruise Bar
Carnival Cruise Bar

However, the package excludes beverages sold in a souvenir glass, bottles of liquor, beverages sold off the ship or at the gangway, beverages ordered through room service, and beverages that come from mini bars. Each sailor is also supposed to purchase their own package and are not allowed to share drinks, especially with minors. 

Read Also: Should You Get a Cruise Line Drinks Package?

Passengers have to be over 21 years or older to purchase the program. Once 15 alcoholic drinks have been consumed in a 24-hour period, no more drinks can be purchased until the next day. Crew members also have the right to refuse service for any reason as long as they are acting in the best interest and safety of passengers and crew. 

For cruises that are 5 nights or less, the CHEERS! program can be purchased for $69.95 per person, per day before sailing, or $74.95 per person, per day once onboard. For longer sailings, pricing begins at $59.95 per person, per day, when purchased online before cruising. 

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