6 Ways to Get Caught Sneaking Alcohol on a Cruise

Sneaking alcohol on a cruise ship makes the cost of the vacation cheaper, right? Sure. But it’s not as easy as it used to be. In an earlier article, we covered how to sneak alcohol on a cruise; now, let’s talk about ways to get caught sneaking alcohol on a cruise.

Here are some ways to get caught sneaking alcohol on a cruise ship:

1. Pack it in carry-on. Just like when you go through airport security, the cruise terminal security is the same. The security agents are like bloodhounds trying to sniff out liquor, so don’t try it.

2. Use food coloring. The old myth of adding food coloring to your vodka and making it look like Scope mouthwash doesn’t cut it anymore. The agents at the cruise terminal are onto it and will open the bottles to make sure it doesn’t smell like booze. It will get confiscated.

3. Fail the water bottle test. There are a lot of ways to put booze in a water bottle. You can just put it in there and hope that the agent thinks it’s water, or you can bring a case of water onboard and fill a couple of bottles full of liquor – either way, you’ll get busted. Shake a sealed water bottle, and the bubbles go away quickly, alcohol not so much.

4. Check booze pier-side. Blatantly checking your booze in your bag curbside is a good way to get your clothes smelling like alcohol when your bag gets tossed into a cage, or your luggage is delayed to your room. Just like the inside of the cruise terminal, every bag goes through a security screening x-ray machine once the curbside porter takes it. This is done in the cruise terminal. Agents are watching for bottles and things that stick out.

5. Use shampoo bottles. I saw this one the other day when I was at the cruise terminal. Someone actually filled two shampoo bottles up with booze and thought they would get away with it. It won’t work.

6. Wrap it in Coke. A new trick (to me) and way too much work is cutting a Coke can open and wrapping it in over a beer can. You can bring coke on the ship, beer not so much, so when the agent inspects your pre-opened case of coke (and they will), you will get busted.

Moral of the story: Don’t try to scam the system because you will get caught.


Depending on the cruise line, you’re allowed to bring wine and champagne onboard; some even allow beer. Check the cruise line rules before you go out of your way to sneak booze on the ship.

Also, a majority of the cruise lines let you pre-order alcohol to keep in your room during the voyage. Holland America has a great package, a bottle of Jim Beam, and four soft drinks for $38 plus gratuities. I think it cost me about $43 at the end of the day.

If you are feeling risky, try one of those rumrunner flasks or plastic pouches that you can wear on your body.

Good luck with whatever you try out, and let me know if it works.

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