Effective July 9, and in order to increase safety on its ships, speed up embarkation and cut alcohol smuggling, Carnival Cruise Lines will stop travelers from bringing bottled soda, bottled water and other bottled nonalcoholic beverages onboard.
Carnival released the new policy today (June 9) in a letter sent to booked passengers and travel agents.
Guests will still be able to carry limited amounts of juice or soda on board, as long as the beverages are packaged in cartons or cans. The current allowance is a 12-pack per person. In addition, cruisers can pre-purchase bottled water at lower prices and have it delivered to their staterooms before they cruise.
Staff members who man metal detectors and security points will be trained to confiscate bottled soda and water before passengers get back on board.
Carnival changed its policy because of issues, stemming from passengers who try to smuggle booze. Checking each bottle to see if it's filled with alcohol bogs down embarkation. But most importantly, according to spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz, there had been security incidents, some with tragic consequences. The main goal was to try to ensure safety for their guests and to decrease the likelihood of security incidents.
Back in 2007, Carnival Cruise Lines issued an unconditional ban on bringing non-alcoholic beverages onboard, but backtracked a few months later.
Now Carnival is softening the burden as it offers passengers discounted prices - $3 on bottled water, plus tax, for 12 pre-purchased bottles, delivered to cabin. If passengers buy it after already on board, the price increases to $5, plus gratuity.
The allowance for wine has not changed. Passengers 21 and older are still able to bring a bottle per passenger, carried in hand luggage.
The line's stance on guests caught smuggling alcohol has changed significantly. In the past, Carnival would confiscate the beverages and return them to cruisers at the end of the voyage. Now, the alcohol is not returned.