Is alcohol confiscated ?

Many YouTube clips are from people demonstrating how to prevent alcohol from being confiscated from passengers by cruise ship staff. These clips show how to smuggle it on board.

These clips are submitted by Americans embarking on Caribbean cruises.


My wife and I are about to depart on a cruise of a number of European rivers. Are we likely to have any alcohol we might wish to take confiscated from us ?




13 Answers

That depends on how well you hide it.

I don't know that the River Cruises are as uptight as the Ocean Cruises.

Perhaps someone with river experience will chime in.

Ocean cruise lines are becoming more strict in cracking down on smuggle booze. Why take the chance?

It depends on the cruise line. For the most part if they find it they will confiscate it. Some lines will hold it for you until the end of the cruise and some lines will destroy it. The effort it takes to smuggle booze onboard I would find exhausting. Thankfully, I am not a big drinker. But at times I will buy a bottle of scotch for my room.

Yes, I agree, some lines that catch you smuggling spirits on board will destroy it. Others, will hold until the night before disembarkation. They treat wine and champagne differently though, on Princess and HAL you are allowed one bottle of free wine p.p. at the original embarkation port and all you want to bring on board, in addition to the free, except you have to pay the per bottle surcharge, $15.00--Princess $18.00---HAL. If you want to take the one free bottle to the MDR or buffet, other than consuming it in your cabin, you have to pay the surcharge or corkage fee there for it. However, if you have paid the surcharge on your wine at boarding, then there is no additional charge in the MDR or buffet. The surcharge for wine is applicable at all ports of call on your cruise. On many lines, if you buy spirits from a port duty free shop, you give it, in the sealed bag, to the crew at the gangway and they deliver it to your cabin the night before disembarkation, same as they do with the spirits you purchase from the ship's duty free outlet.

You can find out what type and amount of alcohol the cruiseline allows, as well as the procedure for bringing it on the ship by either reading your cruise contract or the FAQs on cruise line website. Then if you choose to bring more than that amount, prepare to be sad if it doesn't make it to your cabin Big Smile If you booked through a TA, they can also help with finding out what is allowed.

It appears most of these river cruise lines don't express their alcohol policy one way or another. I'm not sure if they are being coy or what. For instance, Viking River Cruises has been pretty much open, allowing guests to bring both wine and spirits on board without surcharge, note "Viking River Cruises" not "Viking Ocean Cruises", the new Ocean Cruise contingent has a strict alcohol policy like most major ocean cruise lines now do.

Of the well known lines' booze policy, Disney and Azmara are the most lenient and Carnival, Costa and MSC are the worst, most strict. Of the more stylish lines, almost all sailing smaller vessels, Regent and Crystal are the best since they allow you to bring your own alcohol bought at ports and consume it in your cabin; in addition their alcohol at the ship’s restaurants, bars, and in-room bars is complimentary. Crystal, Regent, Seabourn, SeaDream and Silver Sea include all drinks, but only standard brands and limited wines. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, top rated two ships in the world, charges for their liquor and doesn't include any free booze because they say their typical guest profile tends to favor liquor rated far above the level of the standard brands carried by the other luxury lines. Strange though, they still charge for water, must be pretty good stuff. Not certain if they allow you to bring your own spirits on board, they don't say, bet they frown on it though.

Are we not talking about cruise lines sailing from America here, though ? I may be wrong but I think that cruise ship operators within the European mainland might be a tad less prohibitive ?

This is what I am seeking to ascertain. Speaking for myself, I really only enjoy a good bourbon, or a first class single malt Scotch like Laphroaig or a well casked MacAllan.

Hitherto, my holidays have generally been touring the South of France or Tuscany. I can pack a case of whisky in the boot of my Bentley, but if I'm going to get my booze confiscated when cruising, this cruise might be the first and last that I take.

At this point maybe I should mention that I might be a tad anal about my drinking. Not only do I hugely prefer my own choice of whisky, but I usually take my own crystal whisky tumbler.

I've lost a few over the years, generally through breakage, but fortunately when once in Manila, the hotel manager sent out and had a travel box made for it. It is teak lined with velvet, and inlaid with Mother of Pearl and silver filigree. If cruise lines don't permit any latitude for discerning customers, then they can sink into mediocrity and bankruptcy and bad cess to

them ! I also take my own humidor ( a gift from Raul and Fidel Castro ) for my Havana cigars.

God help any cruise line that seeks to impose unlawful restrictions on my smoking a fine Cuban Montecristo.

Is it worth the risk to have your booze confiscated and perhaps thrown away, especially since it is your personal favourite brand? My suggestion is to check with the cruiseline to see what their policy is for guests caught smuggling alcohol, and then youcsn decide.


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