One of the most commonly asked cruise questions is “How do I sneak alcohol on a cruise?” Enjoying a beer or pina colada by the pool, wine with dinner or a craft cocktail as a nightcap are quintessential cruise vacation pastimes — but the high cost of drinks on board can force budget travelers to consider alternatives. While most cruise lines allow you to carry a bottle or two of wine, they prohibit passengers from bringing additional beer, liquor or other alcoholic beverages on board.

These policies, while understandable from a business perspective, lead to a black market, where cruisers purchase contraptions to conceal alcohol on board the cruise ship, either on their person or in containers that conceal their true contents. It’s an arms race between creative cruisers looking for illegal ways to smuggle booze and the on-board and in-port security teams assigned to find and destroy contraband alcohol.

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If you’re tempted to sneak a glimpse of alcohol on a cruise, TPG strongly encourages you to reconsider your plans and follow the cruise line’s rules. Not just breaking the rules, but there are consequences if you get caught. Here are five reasons why you should probably give up trying to sneak alcohol on your next cruise.

Your alcohol will be confiscated

If you are caught smuggling alcohol on board, port and cruise security staff members have the right to remove alcohol from your possession and are not required to return it.

“Any hard liquor, beer, other forms of alcoholic beverages, and non-alcoholic beverages, with the exceptions noted above, are strictly prohibited (in both carry-on and checked baggage) and such items will be confiscated and discarded, and no Compensation will be given,” it said Carnival Cruise Line’s Contract of Carriage, which all passengers agree to abide by when they book a cruise.

Related: Can I Bring Alcohol on a Cruise Ship? A line-by-line guide

Royal Caribbean has a similar policy. “Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage, etc.) and will dispose of containers containing alcohol,” the line’s online FAQs clarifies.

Get caught — and yes, security staff know where cruisers like to hide their booze — and your effort to save money could be a waste of money if you never see your booze again.

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You will be called

Tourists who are brazen enough to break the rules may not mind being held accountable for their misdeeds, but he knows it will happen. If your prohibited alcohol is found on board (instead of port security), you will be called to the crew area to ‘stick to your rule violation’ and receive a lecture on the ship’s alcohol policy.

“If your Baggage is locked, the lock may be removed by Security or, alternatively, by Baggage Security until you appear for inspection and any items in question are further identified and/or surrendered. will be kept,” states. Passenger Contract of Princess Cruises.

Don’t want to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you get caught? Follow the rules, and don’t try to sneak more drinks on board than you’re allowed.

You will miss the bar scene

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Sugar Cane Mojito Bar. Jim Hughes/Norwegian Cruise Line

The fun of drinking on a cruise ship is checking out all the different bars, sampling classic and craft cocktails, and chatting with the bartender or other patrons. If you only plan to drink your own smuggled booze, you’ll be left to toast your friends in your cabin or retreat to the dark corners of the ship with a flask. Don’t miss out on the best cruise nightlife because you don’t want to pay cruise ship prices for drinks.

Related: This is the best cruise ship bar

You can get out of the ship

On a more serious note, smuggling alcohol onto a cruise ship can get you booted from it. This especially applies to minors who are caught drinking alcoholic beverages in order to participate in certain underage drinking, or adults who are under the legal drinking age drinking alcohol in a cruiser.

“Guests who violate any alcohol policies (excessive consumption, serving alcohol to persons under 21, exhibiting irresponsible behavior, or attempting to conceal alcoholic items at security and baggage check points or at any other time) may be disembarked or not allowed to board, at their own expense,” reads Royal Caribbean’s online FAQs.

You don’t want to risk ruining your long-awaited vacation and losing all the money you invested on the cruise just for a few drinks.

Related: Cruise mistakes that will ruin your vacation in an instant

You will miss out on the best beverage package prices

Chances are your attempts to ditch alcohol on a cruise will fail — or you won’t be able to carry enough booze to last you a week. Inevitably, you will buy some drinks on the ship, maybe even a drinks package. Your lack of foresight will cost you because you missed the best time to buy Cruise line beverage package.

Many lines offer discount drink packages purchased online prior to the cruise ship’s departure. Once on board, the price increases. If you plan to drink a lot, your best bet is not to smuggle alcohol on board but to sign up for an all-inclusive beverage package while you can still get pre-cruise discounts.

Bottom line

Drinking on cruise ships is not a cheap pastime, and on a cheap cruise, you can spend as much on alcohol as you did on your cruise fare. However, the risks of smuggling alcohol on board outweigh the potential benefits – especially since the chances of getting caught and having your contraband confiscated are high. Play by the rules, and you might get a little more money – but it’s worth it to enjoy what a cruise ship has to offer without stressing about getting caught and possibly kicked off.

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