How to Sneak Tequila onto a Carnival Cruise Ship12/24/2010
My travel experiences, pre legal drinking age, were limited to short trips to nearby U.S. vacation hot spots. Shortly after graduating high school, a friend of mine invited me to join himself and his family for a 5 day cruise along the Caribbean. I couldn’t say YES fast enough!
My partner in crime and I caused so much trouble during the trip that it’s a miracle that someone didn’t in-act vigilante justice! However, that cruise remains the most memorable boating adventure that I’ve ever experienced.
The Carnival cruise ship departs from New Orleans with planned stops in Cozumel and a small island owned by the company. I couldn’t be happier to enjoy the experience with one of my best friends growing up.
Two 18 year old’s on a cruise ship for the first time w/o parental supervision (for the most part), what could possibly go wrong?
The neighbor in the cabin next to us was a catalyst for our adventures. He was a mid-20s New Yorker on vacation to get away from the stresses of everyday life. We had every intention of scoring a few alcoholic beverages through our connection, but weren’t sure how to proceed.
Cozumel provided us our first opportunity.
A common saying in Mexico is,”If you can look over the bar, you can order a drink”. I wasn’t much of a drinker up to this point in my life. In fact, most of my drinks before 18 were due to social pressures, and trying to “look cool.” I mean there’s nothing cooler than a bunch of underage drinkers sipping on cold Smirnoff Ice’s, right??
Any who, knowing that I could order drinks in Cozumel didn’t wet my appetite. Our goal was to sneak a bottle of local Mexican tequila on board the ship. My friend was going to be turning 18 at midnight, and we wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion.
The problem, well actually there were two problems, is buying tequila and ordering a drink of tequila are two different things. The tourist vendors request the age to purchase alcohol be no less than 21. Our New Yorker friend covered the age issue by whipping out his New York drivers license. Problem solved.
The second problem was that Carnival enforces a strict, no tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. We found this issue to be a bit more challenging.
Carnival employs about 4 -5 people (maybe more now) dedicated to checking everyone’s baggage before re-boarding the ship. There is no way of getting around security.
We put our three brilliant minds together and came up with a strategy.
I was to take my shirt off and wrap it around the inconspicuous bottle of tequila. The New Yorker would lead and distract security while my friend in the back would cover if I had any issues.
Getting caught wasn’t an option. I’m not sure what would happen, but I know it wouldn’t be good. (I did some research and here’s an idea of what would happen if you got caught sneaking alcohol on a cruise ship).
As we approached I began feeling very nervous. I’ve never done this before. What’s going to happen?
The New Yorker went first, as planned. I followed a close second.
I felt a security employee reach for my shirt covered bottle.
He knocked on my shirt, clearly feeling a glass container below, and asked, “What is this?”
I panicked and with nothing else to say I pointed to the New Yorker and said, “It’s his!”
I could not believe what I just said. I just threw my new friend under the bus. There’s no turning back now!
To my utter disbelief, the security guard waved his hand to let us through and said, “Ok.”. I couldn’t believe it! We couldn’t run up those stairs fast enough, ensuring he didn’t have second thoughts about his decision.
I locked my cabin door, hid the tequila, and sat waiting, fully expecting security to whisk me away for my dirty deed. They never came.
We enjoyed an incredible birthday party that night, full of dancing, story telling, and great laughs from our adventure a few hours before.
No one knew the perils we had gone through that day to achieve our goal, except the three individuals involved, myself, the birthday boy, and the New Yorker.
And that folks is how to sneak tequila onto a Carnival Cruise Ship.
P.S. Carnival, if you are reading this I do apologize. This happened when I was 18 and I’m sure security is beefed up by now. The experience did contribute to my most memorable cruise ever!