How Sober Cruising Became a Thing — and Made Mocktails on the Water Chic

These cruise lines are serving non-alcoholic drinks, and elevating the "mocktail" in the process.

<p>Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises</p>

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

These days, zero-proof cocktails are on the rise just about everywhere, including at sea. At first blush, nonalcoholic drinks and cruises may seem to be unlikely bedfellows, but more and more passengers are eschewing booze while vacationing at sea. “Demand for NA drinks is way up the past couple of years,” says Ana Esteves, the vice president of hotel operations for Lindblad Expeditions.

In response, Esteves says, the line is spending as much time crafting zero-proof cocktails as it is perfecting recipes for traditional drinks. High-end ingredients like fresh herbs and seasonal shrubs are bringing complex flavors to spirit-free creations such as the Tropical Zana Zana, which combines heirloom-carrot juice, vanilla, and dill.

Lindblad is just one of several cruise lines polled by T+L that have seen increased demand for nonalcoholic offerings — ones that go far beyond the typical carbonated soft drinks or straightforward fruit juices and smoothies. While terms for these thoughtful beverages abound — “mocktail” may still be the most popular — there seems to be a nearly universal uptake of the trend.

<p>Brian Cicioni/Travel + Leisure</p>

Brian Cicioni/Travel + Leisure

Celebrity Cruises director of beverage operations Daniele Salamone says the line has seen a surge in interest when it comes to zero-proof cocktails. One guest who sailed aboard Celebrity Beyond back in March said the bartenders had no problem making an alcohol-free version of her favorite lemon lavender martini. It's available to anyone who asks. Two favorites on board Celebrity ships are the French Influence and Moroccan Iced Tea, though there are a slew of creative mocktails at Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud, too.

<p>Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises</p>

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity is currently charging $30 per day (plus a 20 percent service charge) for the zero-proof package. In addition to zero-proof cocktails, that package includes fresh juices, frozen smoothies, and specialty coffees and teas. Compare that with the classic package at $89 per day, and you’d save around $500 over the course of a seven-day cruise (once you factor in the service charges). Celebrity Cruises also offers a Mixology 101 class at the World Class Bar that can be tailored to non-drinkers as well.

New line Explora Journeys makes a point of stocking zero-proof spirits on its Explora I, such as Ceder’s, Ovant, and Seedlip, says the line’s senior lead of food and beverage services, Thibaut Briançon. Venues on the ship also offer nonalcoholic French Bloom sparkling wine, Briançon notes. And the company is at work developing specific NA drink pairings for certain dining venues aboard.

Other lines, including Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises, a sibling brand to Explora, offer NA drink packages that are similar to (but more affordable than) those that cover beer, wine, and spirits.

<p>Ryan Wicks/Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises</p>

Ryan Wicks/Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

<p>David Vargas/Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions</p>

David Vargas/Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions

Holland America Line and Oceania Cruises both serve a wide variety of nonalcoholic cocktails; the Oceania Vista, in particular, has a full lineup of mocktails made with Lyre’s products at its wellness-oriented restaurant, Aquamar Kitchen. On many Royal Caribbean International ships, it’s  possible to request booze-free alternatives from the Bionic Bar, the robot that shakes up umbrella drinks.

While the shift is driven by consumer demand, it’s also about inclusivity, says Salamone. “We’re always trying to personalize service,” he notes. “Zero-proof cocktails help people to not feel left out.”

For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.