How to Sneak Alcohol on a Cruise

by Chanize Thorpe

How to Sneak Alcohol on a Cruise

by Chanize Thorpe

Many first-time cruisers experience sticker shock at the end of their sailing: That's when the final bill for onboard purchases arrives at your cabin door, and you see just how many glasses of wine you had with dinner, drinks you ordered by the pool, and cocktails you signed for while listening to the piano player in the lounge. Those drinks can really add up: On average, you'll pay $10 for wine by the glass, $6 for a bottle of beer, and $12 for a mixed drink. And that's if you order drinks with house liquor, rather than upgrading to a top-shelf liquor. Oh, and did we mention an additional 15% tip is automatically added? Ouch. There are some ways around those high bar bills, though.

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Small bottles of liquor / iStock / jacqylaw
Collection of nips
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1. Pack tiny bottles.

Nips, those nifty 3-ounce plastic bottles of booze, are popular for smuggling spirits. A quart-size storage pouch can fit at least five miniatures of your favorite vodka, rum, whiskey, or gin. Buy them from your local liquor store and then squirrel them away in your checked bag.

Nips, those nifty 3-ounce plastic bottles of booze, are popular for smuggling spirits. A quart-size storage pouch can fit at least five miniatures of your favorite vodka, rum, whiskey, or gin. Buy them from your local liquor store and then squirrel them away in your checked bag.

Opaque mouthwash bottles
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2. Change mouthwash into magic.

A mouthwash bottle looks right at home in your suitcase, so it's a common choice for sneaking in booze. It’s so popular that it's easy to find YouTube tutorials detailing the process of getting the bottle ready, from selecting the right type (dark rums do better in white containers) to dyeing alcohol with food coloring, sterilizing the bottle, and even resealing the cap.

A mouthwash bottle looks right at home in your suitcase, so it's a common choice for sneaking in booze. It’s so popular that it's easy to find YouTube tutorials detailing the process of getting the bottle ready, from selecting the right type (dark rums do better in white containers) to dyeing alcohol with food coloring, sterilizing the bottle, and even resealing the cap.

Tipsy Tubes
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3. Pack a fake flask.

If the thought of a minty aftertaste to your liquor isn't too appetizing, another option is to find a flask that might look like, say, a shampoo bottle.These clever containers, also used at concerts, are easily the most ingenious decoys we’ve ever seen: Creative companies such as Tipsy Tubes and Smuggs Jugs sell 8-ounce bottles that look just like sunscreen, bronzer, shampoo, and lotion bottles. 

If the thought of a minty aftertaste to your liquor isn't too appetizing, another option is to find a flask that might look like, say, a shampoo bottle.These clever containers, also used at concerts, are easily the most ingenious decoys we’ve ever seen: Creative companies such as Tipsy Tubes and Smuggs Jugs sell 8-ounce bottles that look just like sunscreen, bronzer, shampoo, and lotion bottles. 

Aluminum cans
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4. Turn soda into beer.

There are fewer restrictions on bringing nonalcoholic beverages on board than there are on liquor. Most lines, for example, allow you to bring up to a 12-pack of soda per person. One of the more inspired ways of getting cans of beer on board is to carefully open the case of soda and replace the center cans with beer. Before boarding, it's important to glue the sides of the box down so it looks like the case was never opened ... or so we hear. 

There are fewer restrictions on bringing nonalcoholic beverages on board than there are on liquor. Most lines, for example, allow you to bring up to a 12-pack of soda per person. One of the more inspired ways of getting cans of beer on board is to carefully open the case of soda and replace the center cans with beer. Before boarding, it's important to glue the sides of the box down so it looks like the case was never opened ... or so we hear. 

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