Bringing Alcohol On Board a Ship



It's almost like a high school prom. Hundreds of otherwise sane adults are scheming to smuggle alcohol onto the cruise. When I hear this brought up, I have to wonder to myself - do these people do this in restaurants, too?

First, let's review WHY restuarants, bars, and cruises don't want you to bring alcohol onto the premesis. It's primarily a legal issue. If they are serving you, they can cut you off. They can stop you from being a truly obnoxious drunk that disrupts the entire cruise. If they do NOT have control over your alcohol intake, you can now get abusively drunk, or even create serious medical problems.

If you've ever been on a cruise with a drunkard in the room next to you, you realize what sheer hell it is to be trapped for 7 days straight next to a swearing, yelling, moaning, puking drunk. If someone is obnoxious or loud and not drunk, usually you can reason with them. If someone is drunk, it actually can be risky to your own health to try to confront them. I've heard cases where the person in the next cabin called in the ship crew for assistance - the drunk realized who had "called the cops" on them - and made the rest of the cruise a terror for the caller.

If you're going on a cruise, you're already saving hundreds of dollars - if not thousands - over the land based alternatives. If you were on land and going out to fancy restaurants, you wouldn't be bringing a brown bag of rye in your jacket pocket, and sneaking to the restroom to drink it between courses. Why does it seem OK to act like a cheating teenager just because you're on a boat? If anything, the boat environment makes it far WORSE - because now your activities affect not only yourself, but also every person in nearby cabins. A cruise is a very tight spaced situation. There's no privacy.

If you just plan on having a few beers each day, then for heaven's sake, buy them at the bar. They're cheaper there than in most city bars I know of! If you have a super-special bottle of Champagne that you've been saving for your 40th anniversary, then simply pay the corkage fee. It's a tiny price to pay to have it handled properly.

If you try to break the rules and stuff bottles of alcohol into your baggage, first, you'll probably be caught and the alcohol will be confiscated. The ship's crew X-rays baggage for obvious security reasons. Next, you're just asking for a disaster. I've heard of those illegal bottles breaking during baggage handling - soaking not only the cheater's own clothes, but the clothes of other nearby bags. You now have ruined a honeymooning couple's dry-clean-only gown, because you wanted your quart of vodka. That really isn't fair at all.

Plus, your luggage is going to be super-full anyway, from the clothes and important things you are bringing. Do you want to really add extra weight and volume to your baggage to bring along something you could just as easily buy on the ship? Is it worth deliberately breaking the rules to save a few bucks?

I don't mean to sound like a non-drinking prude here :) I really enjoy drinking wine, beer, and cocktails. I've gone to many parties and drinking events. But I know that people who get too much alcohol into them rarely THINK they are drunk or that they are bothering people. It really is important to have someone else (i.e. the bartender) doing that pouring for you and in essence watching out for you. If your real aim here is to just sit in your cabin all night and get drunk, alone, maybe the cruise isn't the best way to be spending your money.

Really, the cruise ship's prices for alcohol are incredibly reasonable. If you really are so into alcohol that you are going to be spending hundreds of dollars a day, then either accept that as the price of your addiction - or take a land based tour. If you are going to be that drunk for so much of the trip, then the close quarters of a cruise is probably not the best atmosphere for you. You'd do much better on a beach with a case of Bud, where the ground isn't moving on its own, and where nearby people are more able to move away and find another location to hang out in if they wish.

Beer Prices on Cruise Ships

Cruising Tips and Information Main Page