Carnival bans passengers from carrying bottled water aboard to combat alcohol smuggling

Carnival's Achemy Bar

Carnival Cruise Lines is to ban passengers from carrying bottled water and other bottled drinks on-board its ships.

The company claims the move is to prevent guests “smuggling” alcohol on board in soft drinks bottles. Passengers will be required to dispose of most bottle liquids before embarkation and when returning from shore on visits to ports of call.

Passengers will still be permitted to carry up to a 12-pack of soft drinks or fruit juice on-board so long as these drinks are in sealed cans or cartons. Passengers will also be able to take one bottle of wine per person aboard in hand luggage.

Carnival has reduced the price of purchasing bottled water on-board in response to this change in policy. Passengers who pre-book 12 bottles online will pay $2.99 (approximately £1.94) plus tax compared to the on-board price of $4.99 (approximately £3.23) plus gratuities.

A Carnival spokesperson said “for cruises starting on or after 9 July 2015, a change to our Liquor & Beverage Policy will take effect where guests will no longer be allowed to bring on board water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages packaged in bottles. In conjunction, pricing for water purchased online or onboard will decrease to make it more affordable for guests.”

The change in policy is designed to combat alcohol smuggling but will also help to speed up the embarkation process as security personnel will no long need to check each container to verify its contents. It has been suggested that this new policy could force the smugglers to become more inventive in their aim to consume alcoholic beverages aboard without the need to pay the bar prices Carnival charge. For instance a range of widely-available liquid containers have been marketed recently that help facilitate passengers to smuggle alcoholic drinks without the need for bottles.

Passengers caught smuggling alcohol aboard will now see it confiscated and destroyed. Previously the cruise line had returned confiscated beverages to passengers at the end of their voyage.

This is not the first time the cruise line has tried to ban passengers from taking all non-alcoholic drinks aboard its cruise ships. In March 2007 the cruise line introduced a ban which was repealed just one month later.

Sister brand P&O Cruises says it has no plans to change its own policy, which allows “a small, reasonable amount to be taken on board” for consumption inside passenger cabins. Taking bottles of alcohol into restaurants or lounges will incur a corkage fee (currently £15) per item (regardless of size) per occasion. There is a clause in this policy whereby the cruise line reserves the right to confiscate alcohol at the gangway and return it back to to guests at the end of their cruise should they consider it necessary on the grounds of health and safety.

(Photo credit to Carnival Cruise Lines)