You’ve spent a day ashore seeing the sights, enjoyed another memorable feast in the main dining room, and now it’s time to retreat to the bar for a quick nightcap before bed. Yet suddenly it’s 2am and you’re begging the bartender for one more, while the chances of you making that 7am shore excursion are swiftly receding to zero. We’ve all been there, and we all know it’s a waste of precious holiday time.

One of the major benefits of a cruise holiday is the amazing packages it can offer, from free excursions to all-inclusive food and drinks deals. Of course, this can also be to your detriment, as recent events have shown how easy it is for people to get carried away with the prospect of free food and booze, and ruin their holiday (and their fellow passengers’ holiday) as a result.

There are ways to enjoy the pleasures of the grape and the grain (separately, of course) without writing off the next day or even the rest of the holiday in extreme cases. Here are a few simple tricks of the trade to avoid going overboard and enjoy drinking alcohol (responsibly) on a cruise.

Cruise drinking guide

1. Line your stomach beforehand.

As anyone who’s ever drunk on an empty stomach will know, nothing blots up booze like a good dinner, so make sure to line your stomach before your start drinking on a cruise. However, be warned: no amount of steak in the world will absorb that second bottle of 15 per cent barolo you just ordered (it’s meat, remember – not magic).

2. Don’t try to keep up with the pros. 

Some cruisers, it must be said, can really put it away. But should you meet someone like this, it’s imperative that you don’t try to match them drink for drink (after all, you wouldn’t challenge Roger Federer to a game of Swingball). Instead, buy your own, drink at your own pace, and cheerfully admit to being a lightweight.

3. Everything in moderation. 

Sailing all-inclusive? Very nice, but it doesn’t mean you have to take the ‘all’ part to heart. Ask yourself: will I really have a better holiday if I drink the bar dry? (If the answer is yes, perhaps you need a cruise where drinks are extra. After all, nothing sobers you up like paying six quid for a pint.)

4. Don’t get peer pressured into shots.  

The two most dangerous words in the English language must be “Shots, anyone?” Even if you politely decline, you’ll get one anyway (people buying shots aren’t noted for paying attention). The solution? Point to something in the distance and then, when everyone is looking away, simply pour yours into the nearest plant pot. Problem solved.

5. Don’t always go for your favourite tipple. 

Here’s a pro tip for you: try ordering a drink you don’t even like. That way, instead of guzzling delicious chilled chardonnay till bells ring in your head, you’ll be nursing that negroni for hours.