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Carnival Cruise Line Makes An Adult-Beverage Change

The cruise line has embraced a new trend that’s not generally in line with how many people have consumed drinks on cruises.



The cruise line has embraced a new trend that's not generally in line with how many people have consumed drinks on cruises.

Some people who buy a cruise-line beverage package take their efforts to maximize that experience to extreme levels. 

People traveling on Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) - Get Free Report, Royal Caribbean (RCL) - Get Free Report, or other cruise lines that offer unlimited drink packages make lists, solicit favorite drinks from other passengers on social media, and do their homework to be able to try things they may never try at home. 

Yes, some simply want to maximize their alcohol consumption to get the most out of their prepaid drink packages, but others simply want to try new things. In recent years, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean have tried to diversify their drink options.

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Royal Caribbean, for example, has put in place new bar concepts like Mason Jar on Wonder of the Seas, refreshing its pool bars on many ships to the "Lime & Coconut" concept and tweaking cocktail menus to differentiate its bars. 

For Carnival, its efforts to expand its beverage choices have included partnering with local brewers to offer unique beers, adding a line of hard seltzers unique to the cruise line, and bringing on a new tequila from Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar across the entire fleet.   

Now, Carnival has made another major beverage move that leans heavily into a new trend.

Two people hold up Carnival's new hard seltzer cans.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Embraces a New Beverage Trend

Cruise ships have always offered so-called virgin drinks -- traditional alcoholic beverages but without the alcohol. That's fine for fruity frozen drinks, in which the alcohol was never meant to be the forward flavor, but it still results in people drinking a beverage in a way it was never designed to be consumed.

Aside from these, virgin drinks have generally been limited to beverages associated with kids, like Shirley Temples or the lesser-known Roy Rogers. Now, Carnival is changing that in response to a trend that has been embraced by Millennials -- cocktails designed to be served without alcohol.

Call it an extension of efforts for people to cut their alcohol consumption after covid, or just see it as a new trend. Bars serving booze-free drinks has become a bit of a thing and Carnival wants to bring that thing to its cruise ships. So it's reimagining some of its most-popular spirits-based drinks to eliminate the spirits.

These aren't kids' drinks. They're adult beverages without alcohol.

Carnival Adds Alcohol-Free Cocktails (With a Twist) 

Much as it embraced the microbrew and hard-seltzer trends in a way that's unique to Carnival, the cruise line is doing the same with the alcohol-free trend. 

The cruise line has reinvented some of its most-beloved drinks from its signature bars so people can have a full bar/drinking experience while opting to skip the alcohol.

The cruise line hasn't simply taken the booze out of its cocktails. It's making versions of fan favorites from its Alchemy mixology bar with nonalcoholic spirits produced by a prominent industry distiller: Lyre’s, "making Carnival the first cruise line to offer a full range of alcohol-free cocktails," the cruise line said in a news release.

“Our new partnership with Lyre’s gives guests who want nonalcoholic cocktails the best options at sea," Carnival's senior director of beverage operations, Zachary Sulkes, said. 

"We’ve seen popularity for nonalcoholic cocktails grow rapidly, so to meet that trend, our mixologists have been working to craft alternative versions of our most popular cocktails with none of the alcohol but all the flavor.”

The new alcohol-free cocktails include new takes on seven Alchemy Bar favorites:

  • Martini Seduction: Red passion fruit nectar, fresh lime juice, and a hint of orange mix with Lyre’s White Cane instead of vodka to create this swoon-worthy drink.
  • Spicy Chipotle Pineapple Martini: Lyre’s Agave Blanco stands in for vodka to bring this spicy pineapple cocktail into its non-alcoholic form.
  • The Remedy: Orange juice, pineapple, and fresh lime juice are mixed with Lyre’s White Cane and Spiced Cane instead of dark and coconut rum.
  • Hearts of Fire: This award-winning concoction featuring fresh thyme and raspberries is re-imagined with Lyre’s Dry London instead of gin.
  • Restorative Basil Drop: Lyre’s Dry London is mixed with fresh basil and citrus to stimulate and restore the senses.
  • The Perfect Storm: This invigorating boost features strawberry puree, fresh lime, and a hit of rosemary and Lyre’s Dry London instead of vodka.
  • Cucumber Sunrise: Another award-winning favorite among Carnival guests delivers the same light and delicious flavor with watermelon nectar, cucumber, lime juice, and a splash of orange juice mixed with Lyre’s Agave Blanco instead of vodka.

Carnival’s main dining rooms will also now serve Lyre’s alcohol-free prosecco.

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