booze cruise charleston sc

History of the Booze Cruise

Synonymous with fun in the sun and relaxation, a booze cruise has great time written all over it. As the activity became increasingly popular among tourists, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or for birthday and company outings, we started to wonder, where exactly did the booze cruise come from? After a little digging, we realized that the booze cruise has been around for quite some time, but they had a different meaning.

Let’s dive in!
Booze cruises back in the 1800’s were not used as a party reference, but as a term used for shopping trips. Selling alcoholic beverages on the water was considered “duty free” and was cheaper, specifically in Europe across the English Channel. Going on a day trip on a boat from one country to another was like going on an alcohol run to Costco, just a bit more glamorous

During the Prohibition era, if people were able to find alcohol, they took to the water to consume it, as they were less likely to get caught. This is around the time that the term Booze Cruise becomes more pleasure related.

Booze Cruises | Saltwater Cycle

Over the decades, a noticeable behavioral change has taken place among those cruises. What once started out as a shopping trip, turned into illegal activity, slowly evolved to formal dining on the water, and eventually led to the cruises we all know and love today, like on Saltwater Cycle and the Charleston Brew Barge.

Today, the traditional booze cruiser is a much different clientele than the Titanic era. Big groups of a much younger and louder demographic profile flock to our boats year round, purely for enjoyment!

 We attribute this to tourist behavior changing over the years, as Millenials and Gen-Z’s place travel as one of their top priorities. Tourist behavior generally changes when on vacation. The experience becomes enhanced when you are in the sun, cracking a few cold beverages, listening to good music, and forgetting about real life for a few hours.


A Booze Cruise today means time to chill on the Charleston Intercoastal. Taking a private charter or meeting like-minded travel companions is the best way to create your own personal oasis.

As a cruise operator today, Saltwater Cycle generally ends to attract a younger, thrifier type of passenger, looking for packages that are cost effective as well as unique. While we do still get plenty of 50th birthdays, corporate outings, and college reunion groups, the traditional older customer base has certainly evolved.


Now that you know the history of the booze cruise, are you ready to book yours? Click on the link below to get started and we will see you on the water! Cheers!