Drinking alcohol is one of the most popular pastimes on a cruise vacation. It’s no wonder then that with the relatively high price of individual drinks and drinks packages and alcohol playing such a large part in a cruise experience, guests talk about and attempt to sneak alcohol on board.
Most ocean sailing cruise ships strictly limit the amount of alcohol you can bring on the cruise.
Usually, it is only wine you can take on a cruise, typically one to two bottles. Beers and liquors are often prohibited.
Before you decide whether to get around the rules, it might be worth checking out our drinks packages advice and tips, and ways to maximize value and even benefit from hacks such as those highlighted in our How to cheat royal Caribbean drinks package.
Either way, no doubt sneaking on your favorite alcohol and liquors, in particular, could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.
Some people think it’s the only way they can drink on a cruise at 18 to 20, although underage drinking should be discouraged. Whereas others are convinced alcoholic cruise drinks are watered down, so try to take their own.
Finally, it’s worth considering what happens if you get caught sneaking alcohol on a cruise, so you know what you are risking.
Also, its worth checking beforehand if you can bring alcohol on a cruise in the first place for your cruise line of choice. It might be more than you think, or may allow you to use some of the methods below to sneak liquor on instead of wine.
Disclaimer: I do not advocate trying to smuggle alcohol on a cruise. The below methods for how to sneak alcohol on a cruise are methods of discussion for fun and entertainment purposes only, which we have picked up from amusing conversations with other guests and also doing our own research. If you attempt to smuggle drinks onboard, you do so at your own risk.
How to Sneak Alcohol on a Cruise Ship
Most of these items are ideal for sneaking alcohol onto a cruise ship.
However, some can be extra useful for having once you are on the ship when it comes to sneaking the use of the alcohol into other drinks without being seen.
This is where small discreet flasks can come in handy.
1. Rum Runners
Rum runners are plastic bags like flasks in which you can pour alcohol and then pack it in your luggage to disguise its contents.
To make your rum runners less detectable, pack them, so they don’t stand out clearly on the X-rays. Put the funnel cap end mixed in near other small toiletries, so it doesn’t stand out as a cap to a liquid-filled bag.
If you have any other legit liquid containers, put them layered over the rum runners, so they show on the scan over the rum runners. If the luggage gets called to be opened, there’s a chance that when they open it and see legit liquid containers, they’ll let it through rather than rummage through all your packed luggage.
If you have more than one item of luggage, split the rum runners into different bags, so if one gets called out for a manual check, the other bags might get through.
If security does a spot check and sees a rum runner, they will know what it is and confiscate it.
Rum Runners On Carnival Cruise
The couple below successfully smuggled their rum runners onto a Carnival Cruise.
The video shows how to fill the rum runners and pack in her luggage to finally to the unpacking in the stateroom.
Rum Runners on Person
Another way I’ve heard people use rum runners to sneak alcohol on a cruise is to use the smaller bags on their person. For example, tucked in their cargo pants.
Rum runners are usually sold in multi-packs, which you can find on Amazon here. Double check you get one with a funnel, so you don’t risk spilling any of your precious liquor.
They are undoubtedly one of the cheapest options for sneaking alcohol onboard.
2. Fake Shampoo Bottles (Disguised Flask)
Fake shampoo bottles are a great way to smuggle some alcohol onboard. Many are specifically made with sneaking alcohol on cruise ships in mind.
You can purchase whole fake shampoo and conditioner sets, so in theory, you could take enough liquors to make a range of your own cocktails in your stateroom.
The bottles look realistic from the outside. Make sure you choose one with foam security seals that stop leaks but, more importantly, make the bottles look sealed, so if they are opened by cruise staff, there is no smell of alcohol.
Don’t bother trying to reuse old shampoo bottles. They are notoriously difficult to clean. You don’t want to contaminate your alcohol with any remnants you inadvertently missed after going through all the trouble of smuggling your favorite liquor onboard.
The other issue with reusing old bottles is they are much more likely to leak.
The reviews show these are very successful ways of sneaking alcohol onboard.
3. Fake Suncream (Sneak Flask)
Fake suncream flasks are another good option because they naturally contain liquid, so they won’t look suspicious on a scan.
Also, it looks natural in a set if you’re taking different strengths sun creams but really taking different liquors.
The other advantage is they look like natural containers to have around while sunning yourself by the pool, so when you get the opportunity, you can add some alcohol to your soft drinks without suspicion.
They should come with funnels for easy alcohol pouring when filling and also factory seals to keep them watertight and make them look brand new opened.
4. Tampon Flask
Tampon flasks are plastic test tubes that you can fill with alcohol and disguise as a tampon. Security won’t give them a close inspection if they are discovered in your luggage.
They are more commonly used for festivals and concert-type events rather than cruises.
While they can be used to sneak alcohol onboard, they are of limited use due to their small size.
However, some women carry them around in their bags while in public areas of the ship and use them to add alcohol to soft drinks.
If you use them, make sure you pack them in a water-tight plastic bag to avoid any problems with leakage.
5. Liquor In Wine Bottle Cruise Hack
Most cruise lines allow guests to bring wine on a cruise, typically just one bottle, but sometimes more.
This presents an opportunity to replace the wine with your favorite liquor.
However, if you choose this method, you have to do it properly and make it look like the wine bottle has never been opened.
This is where Wine Corker Cruise Kits come in. These allow you to re-cork your wine and even reseal it.
It can be a bit more time-consuming to set up compared to other methods. Recorking the bottle isn’t always easy for some, and then you have to heat the seal so its looks as new as possible.
Here’s a video example of the wine resealing method:
6. Umbrella Flask
Depending on the cruise you are going on, an umbrella flask could be an option for sneaking alcohol use.
They can be used both for smuggling alcohol onboard and on ships or excursions.
Just carry the BoozeBrella in your bags as if you are ready for all weather. Even though it’s purely a flask and not an umbrella anyone can use.
7. Binocular Flask
Not being bottle shaped its more likely to go unnoticed through the Xrays.
Another good thing is that each side is a separate flask so if you wanted you can put different liquors in each side, approximately 8 oz each side.
8. Booze Bra / Bra Flask
A booze bra or, as otherwise known, Liquor bra or wine rack bra.
This is a more extreme way to smuggle alcohol on a cruise, but for some, it’s an option to hide up to 25 oz of alcohol on your person.
It’s one of those methods that sound good but maybe isn’t as good when put into practice. It might not be a good fit or comfortable for some. The tube needs to be hidden at all times. There’s also the possibility it could leak.
However, 25 oz is 25 oz for some, so worth the effort.
9. Mouthwash Bottles
Mouthwash bottles have been a popular way of sneaking alcohol on cruises. Thoroughly rinse an old Listerine bottle and fill with your favorite clear liquors like vodka and gins. Then, color them with food coloring to match ordinary mouthwashes, typically pinks, blues, and greens.
Or these days, you can buy colored variations of gin and vodka, so you might not even need to add the coloring.
The disadvantage of this method is the cruise lines know it’s an old trick. Some even mention it in their terms of what they look out for in their alcohol policies, so if they spot it you can expect them to flag it up to be checked.
The temptation is also to buy the larger bottles of mouthwash, which most people wouldn’t normally take on a short vacation.
10. Hairbrush Flask
The hairbrush flask is a good secret alcohol container for carrying around with you. Holding 6oz of liquor, you can keep it close by at all times in a bag and use it to discreetly top up soft drinks.
The bonus with this alcohol flask is that you can use it for its original intended function as well, as brushing your hair. Some also double up with a mirror on the back.
11 Wine Backpack & Beach Bags
You pour your wine or liquor into a pouch hidden within a compartment in the bag.
You can also use it as a backpack in its own right as well.
It could be used to sneak alcohol through security, but more likely used to have it on you around the ship or on excursions, so you have your alcohol discreetly accessible and close by.
Most importantly, its leak proof. As you can see from the reviews, it works very well.
Foolproof Way To Sneak Alcohol On A Cruise
The most foolproof way of sneaking alcohol on a cruise would be using factory-sealed shampoo flasks. These are containers you naturally fill with liquid to avoid suspicion.
The factory seal hides any smell of alcohol should they be handled in an inspection.
This works for all cruises, even those that don’t allow any drinks onboard, such as MSC and Costa Cruises which don’t allow non-alcoholic onboard, and only water if it is for medical purposes. This saves the cruise lines time from having to check bottles to see if they sneakily contain alcohol. Plus they make more money from purchases on the ships.
However, guests will still try sneaking alcohol on MSC and Costa Cruises using these methods.
- Drinking Age In International Waters – for each Cruise Line
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Rum Runners Show on Xrays?
Although liquid can be detected on a cruise scanner because of the shape of the rum runner, it is much less likely to be noticed than the outline shape of a bottle full of liquid.
How to Sneak Alcohol On A Royal Caribbean Cruise?
Royal Caribbean limits guests to 1 bottle of wine. This allows using it to smuggle liquor onboard instead.
Other disguised flasks also work well, including shampoo, conditioner, and fake sun creams.
Rum runners are another popular option.
Does Royal Caribbean Check Luggage For Alcohol?
The Royal Caribbean guest policy states that their security may inspect containers and specifically mention mouthwash, water, and soda bottles, so avoid those options.
How to Sneak Alcohol on a Carnival Cruise?
Carnival cruises allow one bottle of wine to be taken onboard. This gives an option to fill it with liquor and reseal it.
Rum runners in checked luggage and other sneak flasks can work just as well with Carnival as with any other cruise line.
If Carnival does discover your alcohol, it will be confiscated and permanently discarded.
How To Sneak Liquor on a Cruise?
You can sneak liquor on a cruise using a variety of disguised flasks such as fake shampoo bottles and rum runners. Filling a wine bottle with liquor is another option if the cruise line has a wine allowance for boarding guests.
How Do You Sneak Alcohol onto a P&O Cruise?
P&O Cruises allow guests to bring 1 liter of wine, beer or spirits onboard. This is more than most other cruise lines allow for alcohol, many of which don’t even allow spirits or liquor.
Still, if you wish to try and take more onboard use the methods like Rum Runners or containers to disguise the alcohol.
Do Cruise Ships Search your Luggage?
If security spots anything suspicious as your luggage passes through the Xrays, they can pull out bags to be searched, or sometimes they just do spot checks. Even if your luggage is locked, they can remove them.
Can Sniffer Dogs Smell Alcohol on a Cruise?
Sniffer dogs can be trained to detect alcohol. However, they are not used for this purpose when boarding cruise ships.