Duty free alcohol

Most every cruise i've been on, I've bought alcohol on the cruise ship and/or port. I know there is limits and some things are different (if you are going in/out of Galveston, if you are visiting a US Virgin Island).

From what my knowledge is, my cruise in September (labadee, falmouth, cozumel) will give us 1 L per person allowance... 2 bottles.... That will cover the request by a coworker for Henessey White.

Question is has anyone had any experience going over the duty free limit? Have you been taxed? If you have, how far over the limit and how much did you get taxed?

Tags: Duty free liquor limit customs.

8 Answers

In Canada, You either pay a few bucks or lose the booze. Either way, I don't bring anything back , as it is just to much hassle

The main point is (at least in Canada) if you have some you declare it and you do not lie. If you lied and are caught they will most likely take it all and fine you and it is on file for the next time you cross the border. I have been slightly over (3 x 750 ml bottles) and they will usually just let it slide, so long as you tell them.

If you are coming back from USVI, your are allowed 4 liters plus a fifth one free (if it is made in the VI.) per person.

In the post of Los Angeles we have been passed through with a case of wine no extra fee's. But it was declared (hard to sneak a full case of wine in).

I never smuggled anything into Canada... I remember going to Duty Free on the boarder and bringing it back to Buffalo! You guys get it twice.. Once when you get off the ship and again in Canada... That stinks.

I'm not going to the USVI this time so I know it will only be 1L per person... Just trying to prepare myself when we go over if it is bad...

What the CBP charges for overages or if the confiscates the overage tends to vary from home port to home port. In part it is because the feds do collect local taxes or tariffs on the "imported" goods as well.

I can tell you from personal experience what has happened to us in the ports in NYC and in Baltimore. In 2010 I brought back from a cruise to Canada 4L of Crown Royal that was being sold as a bundle on board the ship for $64, declared all of it and the CBP waved me through with no overage charges. Another time after returning to NYC from a cruise that include St Thomas was stopped for the overage and led luggage and all to a clerks office. We had 3 bottles (1 over the limit as a household of 2 traveling adults) before assessing the duty the CBP officers wanted to look at all the bottles and receipts. They determined that since only 1 bottle was not a product of the USVI that that would count as our normal limitation and the other 2 being a product of the Virgin Islands fit the extended allotment for there so no charge but time spent. On other occasions when we have gone over the duty was between $2 & $5 per bottle and seems to be tied to the value paid of the liquor, in NYC. In Baltimore they have always assessed the overage allotment. My last 2 cruises they wanted $4 for each Liter over regardless of the price of the liquor.

Though I've never cruised out of TX, all the other cruising forums I subscribe to all have their share of tales of woe from cruisers that exceeded the 1L of spirits or the tobacco allowance, stating it was confiscated by the CBP, with no demand or offer to pay for the overage. In some cases it turned out the passenger was a resident of TX and was uninformed of their state's limitation on top of the Federal one, though it does not explain why some non-Texan passengers also suffered the same fate. While others have been allowed to pay the duty and depart for home (outside of TX) with their purchases.

Good to know. I'm going out of Ft. Lauderdale, so I wonder how FL is...

I don't buy booze in ports, way to lazy to pack it and try to get it home.


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