Go ahead, pick your poison. Whether your pleasure is stout, pale ale, brown ale, IPAs or just a generic “cold one,” beer lovers will find plenty to like on cruise ships. Some lines are even embracing the meteoric rise in popularity of microbrews with special beer-themed cruises.
Sip suds on these cruise ships.
Celebrity Equinox: This ship is debuting Celebrity Cruises‘ new Gastrobar, featuring more than 40 beer varieties and elevated pub grub. On tap you’ll find Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Stout and Old Speckled Hen Pale. The drink menu is full of dark, golden, brown and India pale varieties, and lager fans will find diverse selections from France, Massachusetts and Belgium. The Celebrity Eclipse will get the pub next spring.
Carnival Sunshine, Breeze, Freedom, Legend and Magic: Try Carnival Cruise Line‘s own branded ThirstyFrog Red Lager, accompanied by snacks such as coconut shrimp in the island-themed RedFrog Pub on these ships. Other selections on the beer menu include some Caribbean brands. Carnival also recently signed a deal with Cigar City Brewing to offer the Tampa-based company’s craft beers, specifically Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale and Invasion Pale Ale, on all 13 of the cruise line’s Florida-based ships.
AmaLyra: On this AmaWaterways river ship, combine Dutch and Belgian beer drinking with tulip viewing as you cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium. The sailing will be hosted next spring by beer columnist Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack. Special events will include a beer-pairing dinner, beer-related excursions (including to a Dutch windmill brewery) and onboard discussions and tastings. The one-week cruise embarks Amsterdam on March 31. The line will also host a one-week, beer-focused holiday sailing in December 2015.
Royal Caribbean ships: You can order up a pint in English-style pubs on 11 Royal Caribbean ships, including the world’s largest ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. The menu features some 35 beer selections including Boddingtons Pub Ale, Murphy’s Stout and Chimay Blue Belgian, and the pubs themselves are cleverly named — Globe and Atlas on Oasis and Bow and Stern on Allure.
Wilderness Adventurer: Sip craft beer and hear from Seattle craft beer scene experts Kendall Jones & Kim Sharpe Jones as you cruise with Un-Cruise Adventures on this 60-passenger ship in the Pacific Northwest, including to the San Juan Islands. The cruise embarks Seattle on October 4. The resident expert on a similar April 2015 cruise will be Robyn Schumacher, one of the owners and brewers at Stoup Brewing in Seattle.
Avalon Vista: Attend Oktoberfest in Bavaria and gain beer knowledge shipboard on this Avalon Waterways ship, on a nine-day cruise from Vienna to Munich in October 9, 2015. The cruise will feature onboard tastings, visits to historic breweries and lectures on such topics as European beer-brewing techniques. There’s also a beer-focused cruise from Amsterdam on the Avalon Panorama next spring.
Crystal Serenity: Join the Wine and Food: Microbrews cruise in November aboard this Crystal Cruisesluxury ship and sail from New York to Miami, via the eastern seaboard and Caribbean. Once onboard, you’ll hear from beer experts, brew masters and chefs. The experts will show how to make beer cocktails and how to cook with beer, while discussing such oddities as beer made with bacon. There will be tastings at sea and on shore, with optional small group Boutique Adventures visiting micro- and nano-breweries in New York and Charleston. The two-week cruise embarks on November 5.
Volendam: On any cruise in Alaska beer lovers should check out the local beer scene. Alaskan Brewing Company and Haines Brewing are among many brands you’ll want to sample en-route. In September, as part of its Culinary Arts Center Program in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine, this Holland America Line ship has the added benefit of playing host to Patrick Hoogerhyde of Snow Goose Restaurant and Sleeping Lady Brewery in Anchorage. The sailing embarks Seattle on September 10.
Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Jewel: O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on these Norwegian Cruise Line ships is an Irish pub named in tribute to the line’s CEO, Kevin Sheehan, and open 24 hours a day. There are nearly 30 varieties of beer available including Beck’s, Newcastle and Bass Pale Ale among eight varieties on draught. For something different try a Snakebite — half Heineken and half Strongbow Cider. Complimentary American comfort food is part of the pub’s attraction too.
Queen Mary 2: The iconic Golden Lion on Cunard Line‘s oceanliners is a classic British pub down to the etched glass windows. Belly up to the bar and on tap you’ll find Guinness, Boddingtons Bitter and Bass Ale, among other varieties. The comprehensive international beer menu has such selections as Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen. Pub lunches are popular, with the traditional menu including Ploughman’s lunch and fish & chips served with mushy peas.