Friday, June 12, 2015

Carnival Says, "No More Bottles"

We've all probably been invited to a BYOB gathering as some point in our lives. It's Bring Your Own Bottle to a get together with friends where your hosts may provide mixers and guests bring liquor. Years ago it was possible to bring your own liquor on cruise ships. The only caveat was that you not make mixed drinks to consume in public areas. All that has changed over time, but some passengers have made a game of "smuggling" liquor on board. Most cruise lines allow each passenger to bring a bottle of wine or champagne in their carry on upon embarkation and reasonable amounts of soft drinks and bottled water are often allowed, but there is still the art of "smuggling" liquor by some who aren't satisfied by the low fares we currently enjoy.

Carnival Cruise Line has revised their policy of what can be carried on and, while you can still bring on a bottle of wine or champagne per guest upon embarkation, if you want to bring soft drinks they must be in cans. The line no longer allows bottles, even bottles of water. It's a "gotcha" because many passengers were using water bottles to bring on clear alcohol (gin and vodka) and other spirits in colored soft drink bottles. Carnival says that practice has slowed down lines at security as bottles were checked for contraband alcohol. We won't even get into the other sneaky ways personal spirits are spirited on board, but we're somewhat insulted that Carnival considers bottles to be a safety issue. Sure, some passengers might get drunk and rowdy by consuming illicit alcohol, but they could also do that by purchasing buckets of beer at the pool.

According to our friends at Cruise News Daily, passengers "may hand-carry (not in checked luggage) 12 cans or cartons (12 ounces or less) of sparkling water, soda, juice, or milk per person. (Certain exceptions are made for medical needs.) As always no alcoholic beverages may be brought aboard, except for a 750-ml unopened bottle of wine or champagne (per adult). To ease the pain, Carnival has reduced the price on a 12-pack (500 ml) of bottled water to $2.99 plus tax if ordered in advance, which is near grocery store prices, and probably is worth any extra for not having to carry it. Once onboard, the price is $4.99 plus gratuity. Carnival says the rule change is not expected to produce a significant amount of revenue since the water is being sold at a discounted price. It's all about control of alcohol, and most of the "illegal" alcohol comes aboard disguised as bottled water."

Folks, if you can't afford a few dollars for the convenience of buying your bottled water from the cruise line you should probably stay home.

Image: Carnival Freedom in Key West ©

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