Cruise ship beers

Since going on the cruise I’ve been thinking about beers on cruises. As I mentioned, the beer menu on our cruise had a paltry selection: Miller, Coors, Bud, and the couple of breakouts Bass Ale and Foster’s Lager. (There was probably Heineken and Beck’s, too, I don’t recall for sure.) Needless to say, I was hoping for a better offering.

The wine list on the ship, on the other hand, was expansive. You could buy wine packages for the cruise, each package staggered in pricing and having its own list of wines, or simply order from the considerable general wine list. This of course got me thinking, if they can have such a large selection of wines, why not beers?

Take it a step further, and also offer beer packages similar to the wine packages: for X dollars you get Y beers a day, from a variety of package options. Each package of course has a wide variety of brews, and recommendations on what food they are best paired with.

And, the ship could feature beers from whatever region you are currently sailing. So, Alaskan cruises could feature beers from the Alaskan Brewing Company (a vintage Smoked Porter to go with a plank-baked salmon, perhaps) and other regional breweries (like Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver).

Seems odd that they don’t do more of this, so I did some quick searches online, and surprisingly, found some hits:

  • Frommer’s The Beer-Drinker’s Guide to Cruising, Part I and Part II. Interestingly, Part II talks about beers available on the cruise lines, and says this:

    Coming in a close second is Royal Caribbean (www.royalcaribbean.com), whose regular 35-brand list includes quality brews like Bass; Boddington’s; Foster’s (in the 25-ounce oil can!); Harp, Murphy’s Stout, and Murphy’s Amber (Ireland); Kirin and Asahi (Japan); Newcastle Brown Ale (UK) and Singha (Thailand). On Alaska sailings, RCI’s ships stock Midnight Sun’s Fireweed Honey Wheat Beer and Kodiak Nut Brown Ale (brewed in Anchorage); Grant’s Hefe Weizen and Lazy Days Summer Ale (Washington) and Alaska Brewing Company’s Alaskan Amber, Alaskan Pale Ale, and Alaskan ESB.

    Man, I must’ve gotten the short end of the stick or something. Hell, maybe I didn’t ask the right questions…

  • All About Beer Magazine is promoting Brew Cruises… but it looks to me like they might just be regular cruises with beer-related offerings at each stop. Though looking at the Alaska cruise—which is what we did—the only "local beer culture" you find on that run is in Juneau.
  • On the other hand, here’s a series of blog posts from someone who went on a brew cruise (to Alaska even). Sounds way better than I was imagining.
  • BellaOnline has a short article about Beer Prices on Cruise Ships.

So maybe my next cruise will be a beer cruise…

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