The Boy and I went on a quick cruise last weekend with some friends. It was a lot of fun and a nice little getaway. True to form, The Boy realized about 3 miles from the port that he forgot to pack a bathing suit. A quick stop at a Walgreens was fruitless, but luckily we picked up two (clearance!) boy-kinis at a nearby department store, and still made it to the boat in plenty of time. The Boy narrowly escaped sleeping on the lido deck for three nights.
Cruises tend to be pretty affordable, unless you enjoy partaking in the adult beverages (or the gambling), in which case it can get pretty costly. While I have no advice for avoiding gambling losses, other than to pick black 14 and always double down on 11, I have been very successful with getting alcohol onto several cruise lines (unless you are a cruise line employee, in which case I AM JUST KIDDING and STOP READING NOW). I thought I would share this knowledge, since I was under the impression that this was a common practice, but the two couples we were with did not bring any of their own alcohol on board.
The key is to disguise the alcohol as water or soda. Obviously clear liquors impersonate water pretty well, and very dark liquors such as Jaeger resemble coke. We went with strictly vodka, since we had plenty on hand, and it mixes with many juices, lemonades, etc. I have had great success using the bottles of water that are attached together. Remove the lid from one in the middle, and pour out the water (or put it in your dog’s bowl, which I did), and refill with your “alternative liquid of choice.”
Make sure you line up the fill level accurately. Then, you will need to super glue the lid to the detached ring. This can be pretty tricky, because they are all stamped with a date, which you will need to line up perfectly. Also, you will need to lift up the detached ring so it meets the bottom of the lid while the super glue dries.
The cardboard didn’t quite do the trick, so we used some knives:
At some point we got sloppy and got some super glue on the stamped-on numbers. You should try to avoid this because it distorts the stamp and is very obvious. However, a quick remedy is some nail polish remover and a q-tip, which will take off the stamp altogether. Finally, we realized the knives were not working well, so we ditched them for some toothpick things.
This did the trick and allowed the lid and the detached ring to stay pushed together while the glue dried, and then we packed the entire thing in our checked bag. Another thing we did, but did not photograph, was to buy some of those little Aquapods, which are just smaller rounder water bottles. They were nice because you could just put the super glue directly onto the detached ring, and screw the lid back on, without having to push the ring up to meet it. It dried perfectly. We then put all six bottles back into the plastic shrink-wrap packaging and put it in our carry on. The guy checked all of the bottles to make sure they were sealed, and that’s it. Lesson: diversify. Some in your checked bag, some in your carry on. Be sure to bring your own cup! I had a plastic water bottle with a lid, and a giant plastic cup with a lid and a straw. Therefore, we could just order ice and juice to our room, fill up our cups, and head out. Our friends may not admit it, but they were totally jealous!
The Boy and I are such lushes, and shared our stash with our friends, therefore we were running low pretty quickly. No worries! We bought more vodka and carried it on the boat at our first port of call (which turned out to be our only port of call thanks to inclement weather). We simply emptied the entire bottle into my giant cup, and carried it right through security. It was really that easy.
I am sure “breaking the rules” makes some people nervous, and I can understand that. However, as long as you are over 21, and bringing legal items (obviously) the worst that can happen is that they take it away.
Side effects of the cruise included feeling like we were still rocking on a boat and smelling all contents of water bottles before drinking for several days. Small price to pay.