I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I like variety. I like my beers to be flavorful, hearty (like a porter) in cooler weather, and I particularly enjoy IPAs and almost anything from Belgium. Up until recently, a nice selection of beer was a missing piece of my cruise experience.
Up until the late 2000’s, cruise ships’ beer selections were comprised of mostly staple beers; similar to what you may find at your local stadiums and arenas; rarely carrying more exotic imports or crafts brews. My wife and I cruised the Norwegian Sky in 2008 (or 2009) and to our surprise, the Sports Bar had a very nice selection of beers from around the world. We were thrilled, because we are not fans of the beers typically available on ships. In fact, the Sky’s Sports Bar EVEN SERVED COMFORT FOODS, like fritters, wings, burgers and more. Now, most ships have sports bars, but this was the first time we encountered a cruise ship sports bar as a dining option. It was great, and we felt like it was our little secret!
Back to the beer…USA Today reported that more than half of Royal Caribbean’s customers will come from outside of North America this year, and that they will be likely to find at least one familiar beer from home on the menu! That’s a plus for folks who reside in the United States and Canada. Imports on about half of the Royal Caribbean fleet now include Foster’s (Australia), Kirin (Japan), Peroni (Italy), Carlsberg (Denmark), Spaten (Germany) and Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic). From the United Kingdom and Ireland, beers include Bass Ale, Boddingtons Pub Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale, Guinness Draught, Murphy’s Stout and Harp Lager. Other beers carried include Widmer Brothers (Oregon), Red Hook (Washington), Sierra Nevada (California) and more, including a personal favorite, Chimay, from Belgium!!
Although I understand distributorships will have a say, I would like to see the cruise lines offering beers from home ports, as well as those available at ports of call. During our Alaskan Cruise on Princess, we found a few varieties of Alaskan Brewery Beer on board! It just went together so well with the Alaskan experience of the cruise.
Wine may be fine and liquor may quicker, but I for one am going to enjoy my cruising experiences even more with a variety of beers on board!