All cruise ships have a Duty Free shop for drinks, but RCI like most lines do not allow them in the cabin until the last night of cruise. Any drinks found when boarding or reboarding at ports will be removed till the last night of cruise.
It is impossible to generalise, because cruise lines adopt different policies. Most ships have duty free shops on board - but will not deliver purchases to your cabin until the last night of the cruise. However, on our last P&O cruise, we were allowed to purchase duty free spirits for on-board consumption - although prices were unattractive. The P&O cruise answer book also stated that although they reserved the right to prevent passengers from taking alcohol on board, they would not normally enforce this condition except in case of abuse. With Princess Cruises, I have never experienced any problem taking spirits on board - in my large baggage (in unbreakable polycarbonate bottles) OR in my hand baggage. I have taken spirits onto Royal Caribbean ships in my main baggage. Princess have also allowed me to return to the ship with spirits purchased in various ports, including Barcelona, Venice, and Palma. Princess and Royal Caribbean also allow passengers to bring wine on board - although they will charge a corkage fee, if you want to drink it in the restaurant. If you are travelling on a cruise line which takes a stricter line, you could transfer the liquor to half litre bottles, carry the bottles in a cagoule or jacket with large pockets - and wear the jacket when you walk through the security scanner. Also, don't forget that at many major ports, baggage scanning is undertaken by the port authority - and not by the cruise line.
Because security has been tightened up on cruise ships your luggage goes through a scanner and it is not unknown for passengers to be called "downstairs " whilst their cases are investigated, your hand luggage is scanned as well when you go onboard. Your choice.... Neil.
You can take bottles on board to drink in your cabin but not to yake to the table. protest to no avail. How do they jusify their punitive table prices for DUTY_FREE wine at table, whether by glass or by bottle.Socially ypu will find people on the table eeping a bottle to themselves because sharing it round in the usual custom is so expensive. Its horrific and disgraceful to whach up the charges like this. Tis the same for port trips when you can often get a better deal from the local coaches or even taxis harby going ashore. Try sharing with passengers of like mind in a taxi-it's really worthwhile.
We had a couple of bottles of champagne in our suitcases when boarding Legend this year and the cases were held back and the bottles removed to be returned to us upon departure but our table waiter told us that we could pay corkage and drink them at the table, however this option was not given to us when the bottles were removed.