Ah, the age-old question: Can I bring booze on a cruise? The answer has changed over the years. It used to be “sure,” then “absolutely not,” and now it’s an ambiguous “depends.”
Each cruise line has its own stance, and we’ve produced a handy guide explaining cruise lines’ alcohol policies. Still, some crafty cruisers, fed up with monstrous bar tabs, have come up with ingenious ways to tote their tipples onboard. We researched exactly how they’re sneaking alcohol onto cruise ships:
Pack a private “mini” bar.
The great thing about those little bottles of booze, once reserved for planes and hotel minibars, is that they’re less than 3 ounces and can fit in a quart-size bag, which means you can stash them in your carry-on bag. Those who bring this contraband onto the ship have been known to squeeze as many as five bottles into one bag.
Repackage your “mouthwash.”
Believe it or not, many heavy drinkers — if YouTube™ videos are to be believed — are sneaking alcohol onto ships in large mouthwash bottles checked in their airplane luggage. (Hint: It helps if the carrier has a first-bag-free policy. Otherwise, the airline fee would seriously eat into your savings).
The classic method is to empty a bottle of, say, wintergreen mouthwash, sterilize the bottle with boiling water, and let it dry. Then fill it with alcohol and dye the liquid with green or blue food coloring. Wrap it in your unmentionables, and the odds of ship security discovering it are slim. Check out this humorous YouTube video (it has more than 100,000 hits!) with a short tutorial on how to tint alcohol to make it look like mouthwash.
Hunt down the right match.
Apparently, mouthwash comes in a wide variety of colors these days, so if you’re going to use this method, keep looking until you find your perfect hue. One brand sells a clear mouthwash, which can be emptied out and filled with your choice of gin, vodka, or white rum; another has an opaque white bottle, which makes it easier to conceal dark liquids. Our source, who insisted on anonymity, has done this several times with different brands, including an amber-colored mouthwash that he used for anejo rum.
Remember to reseal.
The key to avoiding any drama, should your bag be inspected, is to make sure your doctored bottle is properly resealed so the contraband doesn’t leak all over your suitcase. Some people simply use super glue; others go so far as us Gorilla Glue® adhesive, which is waterproof.
Bring a refillable water bottle.
Some lines — like Disney Cruise Line — allow you to bring alcohol aboard but limit you to drinking it only in your cabin, or in a dining room if you pay a corkage fee. Whether you’re sneaking in alcohol or following the rules and leaving a bottle in your stateroom, bringing a refillable water bottle allows you to play bartender in your room but sip your libation by the pool.
It’s up to you to determine how far you’re willing to go to sneak liquor onboard. The worst that can happen: It’ll get confiscated. Think you have the chops to try this yourself? We don’t, but we’d love to hear your story and all the details!