Travelers have not been able to take bottled water or soda through airport security for years. But now a cruise line is getting in on the liquid-banning action.
Carnival Cruise Lines just announced that passengers will no longer be able to take bottled water or bottled soda aboard in carry on luggage during cruise embarkation. The cruise line’s rationale is safety, as Carnival claims that guests have been using these kinds of bottles to smuggle alcohol on board, causing problems with over-consumption and underage drinking. Carnival only allows of-age passengers to bring a single bottle of wine or champagne on its ships. All other alcohol must be purchased on-board in restaurants and bars.
Under the new policy, passengers can bring only a 12 pack of sealed soda cans or sealed cartons of juice aboard. Carnival is also allowing guests to prepurchase bottled water to be delivered to cabins for $2.99 per pack of 12. The new policy takes effect July 9, 2015.
Many cruising fans are deeply skeptical of this change. Critics see it as just another way for the cruise line to make money by selling drinks on-board by making it harder to “BYOB.”
Others question if the policy will even be effective at solving the problem, which only applies to carry on bags. Cruise passengers have been smuggling alcohol on board in other ways for years, particularly in checked luggage. A simple internet search reveals that there are numerous products on the market to help cruise passengers smuggle booze, including plastic pouches designed to evade metal detectors, cruise flasks, and even faux shampoo bottles travelers can fill with their liquor of choice. Perhaps carry on luggage is the wrong target.
The question in the coming days will be whether this provokes enough backlash that Carnival reconsiders its decision. Just last month, Norwegian Cruise Lines announced it would prohibit passengers from taking food away from its ship buffets and back to their cabins. It quickly reversed its decision after significant bad press. Carnival isn’t faring much better.
What do you think of this new policy? Does this make you less likely to cruise with Carnival?