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    Beer & Wine on Board: Pour Your Own!

    At home, you want a beer or a glass of wine you help yourself. Cruise lines are increasingly adapting a similar style. Self-serve is becoming the rage.

    Celebrity Cruises started the trend in a rather elegant way, with Italian-made "enomatic" wine dispensers installed in the Cellar Masters wine bar on Celebrity Solstice (launched in 2008), featuring fine wines from around the world.

    The idea was that cruise passengers can try a sampling whenever they want – just a 1-ounce taste in up to a 5-ounce glass – by swiping their shipboard spending card at the fancy dispensary machines. Only cards coded for those 21 and older will work on the self-serve machines. The machines can now be found on nearly every Celebrity ship.

    Recently, Norwegian quietly added wine dispensers to its fleet, starting with the Norwegian Breakaway, which debuted in the spring. They will also be found on the Norwegian Getaway, which debuts from Miami in January.

    On Breakaway, the self-serve machines are in the atrium, buffet area and Studio Lounge (for solo travelers in Studio accommodations). On Getaway, the dispensers will be in the buffet, The Haven suite complex and Studio Lounge.

    Wes Court, director, Restaurant & Beverage Development and Operations at Norwegian, said passengers can pour themselves a taste (starting at about $2.75 for 1.5 ounces), a half glass or a full glass, choosing from several reds and whites at each machine.

    Carnival has likewise added self-serve wine as an option in the Library Bar on its Carnival Breeze and on the newly revamped Carnival Sunshine (formerly Carnival Destiny).

    Self-serve beer is also a new option on Carnival Sunshine.

    From dispensers in the Sunshine's Pizzeria del Capitano and in the deli area of the Lido Marketplace buffet, passengers can pour themselves a cold one with a swipe of their shipboard card – up to a 14-ounce glass of either Bud Light (for 28 cents per ounce) or Carnival's own branded beer, ThirstyFrog Red (for 29 cents per ounce).

    The trick here, though, is beer requires some experience to pour from a tap. If you don't know what you're doing you may get a glass of foam.

    The line is evaluating feedback from guests to see if the offer will be expanded to other ships, a Carnival spokesman said.

    Norwegian is also looking at possibly adding self-serve beer down the road.

    "The whole philosophy behind this with wine is pretty cool and on the beer side too when you start talking about craft beers, the idea of trying a small sampling." Court said. "You could try two ounces of Opus One (the Bordeaux blend) and it's not $200 per bottle."

    By Fran Golden – USA Today (“Cruises Go Self-Serve with Wine, Beer”)

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecra....com/index.html

    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

    Photo credit: Porthole Magazine

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    Interesting. It would be kind of nice to sample, or also just have a small amount for a reasonable price when you want. I'm not a beer drinker, and usually only have wine with dinner, but it seems like it would be nice to sample different wines whenever you want. They did day fine wines from around the world...think I would like to sample.

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    I remember our first cruise when the neighbor got his bill and was yelling so loud that we all heard him, "There is no way that I drank this much!" Of course, we all knew that he had. While I think this is a great way to get you to sample something that you normally could not afford or would not purchase, I do see this as another money making opportunity for the cruise line. And the heavy drinker, once again, swipes and consumes!

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    I agree Debbie&Jerry. Not only is it another way to get more money out of the cruiser, but it's another do-it-yourself thing that takes the people aspect out of the cruise experience. Don't we have enough drive-through and automated contact in our everyday lives already?

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    Good thoughts Debbie, and Jan. I had wondered how this would go over on Carnival. They have had some problems with under-age drinking in the past and people drinking too much. I don't mind the money making new things for the cruise lines as long as they're optional, and they keep the other services, and keep the cruise prices down. Most of us do go on cruises to enjoy the pampering a bit.

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    Oasis and Allure had this YEARS ago near the main dining room!! It was FABULOUS...but it had so many breakdowns and problems that they pulled them out...too bad. I LOVED the idea os a small tasting of new wines at a reasonable price. Hope it comes back to RCCL.

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