7 Best Drink Lists on the High Seas

Michael's Bar is a great place to sample wines by the glass, without committing to a bottle. - Photo by Celebrity Cruises

There’s never been a better time for alcohol lovers to venture out on the open seas. Across the board, cruise lines are elevating their spirits, wine, and beer programs, reconcepting bars, overhauling cocktail menus, and increasing bottle selections from just a few years ago. If you have a penchant for single-barrel bourbons, a passion for rare wines, or a yen for international beers, these are the ships you’ll want to hop on for smooth sipping — and sailing. 

best cruise drink lists bourbon

Taste small-batch bourbons on American Queen.
Photo by American Queen Steamboat Co.

1. Best for Bourbon: American Queen Steamboat Co.

Bar: Calliope Bar

The American Queen is a floating paradise for bourbon lovers. Whether you’re drinking a mint julep on the terrace of this top-deck bar, or sipping a rare Parker's Heritage Collection 27-yearold small batch in the Engine Room Bar after sundown, this line consistently impresses. With selections like Elmer T. Lee, Blanton's Single Barrel, and Eagle Rare 17-year-old, you may have a hard time leaving the ship.

What to Drink: Hard-to-find bourbons like Black Maple Hill Small Batch, Colonel E.H. Taylor Single Barrel, and selections from the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection deserve your attention.

Where to Find It: American Queen. On the Bourbon & Bluegrass itinerary, stops along the Mississippi River include tours of distilleries like Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace, and Heaven Hill. 

best drink lists rum red frog

Carnival's RedFrog Rum bar celebrates the Caribbean.
Photo by Carnival Cruise Lines

2. Best for Rum: Carnival Cruise Lines

Bar: RedFrog Rum Bar

The extensive rum selection at this poolside bar hits all of the main Caribbean ports, from Jamaica to the British West Indies. But while the cocktails are creative, with selections like Pyrat XO Reserve and Zacapa 23-year-old, you may want your drink on the rocks.

What to Drink: Try Red’s Rum Treasure with Zacapa 23 rum, coconut rum, Sprite, guava and pineapple juices, and garnished with shaved nutmeg.

Where to Find It: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream, Carnival Glory, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Sunshine, and Carnival Triumph.

best cruise drink lists gin cunard

Commodore Club serves interesting takes on the G&T.
Photo by Cunard Line

3. Best for Gin: Cunard Line

Bar: Commodore Club

Just about any libation aficionado will find a swoonworthy bottle while cruising on Cunard Line. But what really gets us excited is the bespoke gin-and-tonic program that takes after the most cutting-edge Madrid bars, where G&Ts are served in dozens of styles. You’ll have six to choose from, including the Andalusian, which is topped with basil.

What to Drink: Look for boutique gin choices, like Whitley Neil, an African distiller that makes gin in copper pots with Cape gooseberries and baobab-tree fruit.

Where to Find It: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria.

best drink lists cruise wine celebrity

Cellar Masters offers 38 wines by the glass.
Photo by Celebrity Cruises

4. Best for Wine: Celebrity Cruises

Bar: Cellar Masters

Celebrity charts the course for wine selection with more than 500 bottles per ship, including 38 by-the-glass selections. The star of Celebrity’s wine program is its Cellar Masters wine bar, where dispensers enable you to help yourself 24 hours a day.

What to Drink: The innovative system offers access to tasting portions of outstanding wines like Joseph Drouhin Chablis from Burgundy and Atalon Cabernet from Napa.

Where to Find It: Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette, and Celebrity Eclipse.

best drink lists martini oceania

Martini's lounge has 13 brands of vodka.
Photo by Oceania Cruises

5. Best for Vodka: Oceania Cruises

Bar: Martini's Lounge

At this much-loved bar, more than 13 brands and 15 flavored vodkas compete for your attention alongside live piano music. Among the starring bottles: Fris, Vox, Glacier, 42Below, Chopin, Belvedere, and Grey Goose.

What to Drink: Along with the classic martini, you’ll find an Espresso Martini, made with Van Gogh Espresso vodka, espresso, and Kahlua.

Where to Find It: All Oceania ships.

best drink lists carnival cruise tequila

BlueIguana is located up on deck, next to the pool.
Photo by Carnival Cruise Lines

6. Best for Tequila: Carnival Cruise Lines

Bar: BlueIguana Tequila Bar

Carnival serves up a party atmosphere at this poolside bar, featuring everything from margaritas to pineapple-infused tequila tea. Whether you prefer blanco (unaged), reposado (aged less than a year), or anejo (aged for at least a year) tequilas, you’ll find choices.

What to Drink: We recommend the chipotle-laced spicy margarita.

Where to Find It: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream, Carnival Glory, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Sunshine, and Carnival Triumph.

best drink lists beer celebrity cruises

Michael's Club wows passengers with selection.
Photo by Celebrity Cruises

7. Best for Beer: Celebrity Cruises

Bar: Michael’s Club

Sink back into a leather chair and admire the wall of beers: The floor-to-ceiling glass cases hold hundreds of craft and rare bottles, from the spicy Fuller’s Vintage Ale to Eggenburg Doppelbock, a creamy beer from Austria’s oldest brewery. The impressive, international selection includes lambics, ciders, and even beer cocktails.

What to Drink: We suggest Fruity Abbey Ale from New York’s Ommegang; the white pepper-scented Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale; or Belgium’s Deus Brut des Flandres Cuvee, a beer produced in the style of Champagne.

Where to Find It: Celebrity Century, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Silhouette, and Celebrity Reflection.

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