Boats, Booze & Bribery
Did I end up in-jail or in-toxicated?
Often we’re asked about sneaking alcohol on a cruise ship. As a service to our wonderful Ship Mate community, I gave it a go. Risking ship jail or worse, getting banned from my cruise, I attempted to smuggle 4x the allotted alcohol on my last sailing. I kept video documentation of the process, from preparation to outcome, solely for your amusement. Ok, that’s a lie – it was also in hopes of getting shipfaced on a budget.
“Alcohol” is one of the most common topics in cruise forums. People love to discuss the cost of booze, smuggling alcohol, favorite cocktails, missing the ship, waking up in lifeboats, etc.
Cruises and alcohol go together like Bud Light and limes. Did you know that the average cruise passenger consumes 8x the alcohol that they would in their normal, daily routine? Carnival Cruise Lines, alone, makes over $500 Million per year on booze. It’s all true – here are more intoxicating stats.
People sneak alcohol on-board for various reasons. Some have a strong preference towards their own brand, which may not be served on their cruise line of choice… hats off to my Bacon Vodka people out there. Others seek convenience. Why leave the comfort of your balcony if you don’t have to? Those stairs can be tough, especially after a few bacon vodkas. Others enjoy the thrill. It’s a risk. They waddle through the metal detectors with rum sacks taped to their inner thighs like a whack-Pablo-Escobar. But most often, it’s to save money. I personally tend to spend more on my weekly booze tab than on the cruise itself. Don’t judge – much of that goes towards treating others. I get generous when I get drunk.
The smuggling methods chosen by cruise-goers tends to vary, significantly. The strategies I’ve come across range from clever to just plain stupid. I’m always impressed with the individual that requires three trips to the local crafts store to manufacture their chosen smuggling vessel. Often it involves razor blades and super-glue (and complete sobriety given these tools).
Another common approach is to ride out the anchor-buzz. Time at port is spent stockpiling the maximum amount of $1-dollar-cervezas into one’s being as possible. They then ride out this buzz for as long as possible once back on the ship (assuming they make it). Somehow, the risks associated with getting as drunk as possible in a foreign location, while adhering to a pretty important deadline, are lost on some.
For my experiment, I picked the two easiest and most logical methods I could find:
- Including it in my checked bag
- Carrying it on my person
There were two of us going. According to the cruise line, we were permitted to bring one, 750ml bottle of wine each. Instead, we brought the equivalent of five bottles (one 3L box of wine and one 750ml bottle). To round out the arsenal, I tacked on a liter of vodka. This was emptied into plastic bladders (“Rum Runners”) and distributed throughout my lower half so I could waddle through security like a whack-Pablo-Escobar. The Rum Runner was the first product on the market for sneaking alcohol on a cruise, but now there’s a hilarious assortment of options, from shampoo bottles to secret suntan lotion containers.
The “box of wine trick” is definitely a gamble. I’m batting 0.66 when it comes to successfully sneaking my favorite cubed, grape juice on board. Twice I was able to get it through and once I found a bright orange citation in its place. To increase my odds, I came up with a strategy that I’m rather proud of. On the side of the box, I taped a $10 bill. By doing this, I imagined a few different scenarios:
- Security man recognizes the bribe, takes the bait, and leaves the wine. I win.
- Security man is scared to take a box of wine with money taped to it in fear of being accused of theft, so leaves it. I win.
- Security man is very confused and chooses the easy route – leaving it. I win.
- Security man un-tapes the $10 and takes the booze. I lose a little.
- Security man takes both. I lose, big-time.
- Security man takes both and unscrews my shampoo bottle to get back at me for messing with his mind. wtf.
When game-time finally approached, I was pretty nervous. In my preparations to sneak alcohol on my cruise, I’d forgotten to consider one major hurdle. I’d be going through security belt-less… I had an extra three pounds of Russia’s finest in my shorts… and my 1990’s cargo-shorts were 3 inches too big in the waste.
Rather than spoil the ending, watch for yourself and see the conclusion of “Project: Sneak Alcohol on a Cruise Ship.”
Sneaking Alcohol on a Cruise – Caught on Video
If you have any proven methods, please include them in the comments below. Also – let us know of any failed attempts to sneak alcohol on past cruises, or other cruise booze incidents you’d like to share.
And if you’re not done talking boats and booze, you can find more in our cruiseline forum here: Sneaking Booze on a Cruise
Disclaimer: this is meant only for entertainment. We do NOT encourage sneaking alcohol on a cruise. Your wife will not be happy if you get booted off the ship before it ever leaves port. That would not be a fun car ride home.