New Federal Alcohol Consumption Screening Grades Americans – On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, the United States Preventive Services Task Force funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published its unhealthy alcohol consumption recommendation in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), “recommends screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings in adults 18 years or older, including pregnant women, and providing persons engaged in risky or hazardous drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use,” according to the report.
The net benefit is defined as benefit minus harm of the preventive service as implemented in a general, primary care population. The USPSTF assigns a certainty level based on the nature of the overall evidence available to assess the net benefit of a preventive service.
The available evidence usually includes consistent results from well-designed, well-conducted studies in representative primary care populations. These studies assess the effects of the preventive service on health outcomes. This conclusion is therefore unlikely to be strongly affected by the results of future studies.
What Is Unhealthy Alcohol Use?
healthy adult men aged 21 to 64 years should not drink more than 4 drinks a day or more than 14 drinks a week;
healthy men aged 65 years or older should not drink more than 3 drinks a day or more than 7 drinks a week; and
healthy adult women of all ages should not drink more than 3 drinks a day or more than 7 drinks a week.
A “drink” is considered to be 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of liquor. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to injury, illness, and early death. In pregnant women and all adolescents, any alcohol use is considered unhealthy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to birth defects and future developmental issues in children. Among adolescents, drinking and driving is a major cause of injury and death.
Given these new federal unhealthy alcohol use consumption guidelines, how do federally regulated cruise ships fit into the equation?
Cruise Line Unlimited Drink Packages (as of November 14, 2018)
- Carnival Cruise Line – Cheers! Program includes all spirits, including cocktails, cognacs, whiskies and other spirits, as well as beer (including self-serve beer stations) and wine and champagne by the glass, with a $20 USD or lower menu price per serving. Only one drink at a time may be ordered. Sharing is not permitted. Ordering a double shot would be considered ordering two drinks, therefore, you cannot order a double shot. There is a 5 minute wait time between ordering drinks. Once on board your ship, you can sign up for CHEERS! at a bar location and the cost is $56.95 USD per person, per day plus 15% gratuity.
- Celebrity Cruises – Premium Package $69 USD/per night. Just $14 per night more than Classic Package. Includes drinks up to $15 and those of the Standard and Classic beverage packages. An 18% service charge is added to each check. Wines by the bottle are discounted by 20%.
- MSC Cruises – Unlimited consumption of selected drinks! Savor the freedom to satisfy your thirst at any moment with a dedicated selection of house wines by the glass, one brand of draught beer (Heineken*) and/or Miller Lite bottled beer (for Caribbean itineraries only), selected spirits and cocktails, non-alcoholic cocktails, soft drinks and fruit juices by the glass, bottled mineral water, classic hot drink (espresso, cappuccino, cafe latte, hot tea) and coffee and chocolate delights. You can take advantage of this offer in all onboard bars, as well as the self-service buffet and restaurants, excluding specialty restaurants. Abusing the terms of the package may result in the service being withdrawn and the remaining days not being refunded. The price of the package applies to each day of the cruise, except for the day of disembarkation; the package cannot be purchased on a daily basis. Once activated on board, the package cannot be terminated and refunded. The package must be booked by all guests occupying the same stateroom, or traveling together, including minors who must book the Child version of the package. The package is not obligatory for infants under 3 years old (i.e. who have not yet reached their 3rd birthday). The following items are not included in the package: tobacco, souvenir glasses, ice cream menu, retail items, minibar and room service. $35 per person / per day.
- Norwegian Cruise Lines – Ultimate Beverage Package includes a variety of spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to and including $15 USD and unlimited fountain soda and juices at all bars, lounges, restaurants and Great Stirrup Cay. Order the Ultimate Beverage Package online! Available to purchase up to one week prior to your sail date: Ultimate Beverage Package (age 21+) soft drinks, beers, spirits, cocktails and wines by the glass during your entire cruise.
- Princess Cruises – Includes cocktails, wine, beer, fountain soda, specialty coffees, bottled water, teas and other individual beverages up to $12 USD each. Alcoholic drinks are limited to 15 beverages per 24-hour period (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.). Alcoholic drinks requested above the daily limits are at the discretion of the shipboard management and crew and charged at regular menu prices. Prices and offer may vary on Australia voyages $59.99 USD per person, per day.
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Line – For the person that wants it all, the deluxe beverage package includes virtually unlimited combinations of beverages on their Royal Caribbean cruise. Toast to virtually unlimited options with cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee, tea, and bottled water* – plus a 40% discount on bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100. Onboard pricing is currently $57.00-$63.00/per day for 2018 sailings and $63.00-$70.00/per day for 2019 sailings. Offerings inclide: Cocktails, Spirits, Liqueurs, Beer, Wine by the glass
- Journal of the American Medical Association
- Carnival Cruise Line Drink Packages
- Celebrity Cruise Drink Packages
- MSC Cruises Drink Packages
- Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Packages
- Princess Cruises Drink Packages
- Royal Caribbean Drink Packages
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Video: Are Social Media Memes Encouraging Unsafe Alcohol Use?