How do cruises find bottles in checked bags?

Isn't the luggage locked?
And, what leads them to believe there's alcohol in the bags, the bottle shape and glass? xray?

I've tried searching for how xrays work on cruises but couldn't find anything.


Well-Known Member
Angelfamily, welcome to cruise addicts. As for your question, I have not personally had any bottles taken. I usually pack one bottle of rum. I have no problems. I think the problem is that some people take excessive amount on board.


Community Manager
Staff member
They use x-ray and they have the right to search your bag. If it is locked they can hold it and have you go to a security location and open it for them, that is usually not done but they do have the right to do it. In most cases they are looking for more than alcohol by x-raying luggage but if they do come across something that looks like a large stash they could very possibly question it, especially Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
They use refurbished last years model airline equipment
thanks, guys!

i've read of people putting bottles in their luggage..some get caught, some dont. I'm wondering why? If I have a bottle that looks like liqour, would they open my bags?

I'm considering using my rum runners but...isn't a random bag of liquid more suspicious than a bottle? lol

It's confusing. I know I'm going to buy alcohol on the cruise but i'd like to serve up a drink(stronger than wine) while getting ready. or even to relax on the balcony.

you guys are great! thanks


Community Manager
Staff member
The bags lay flat, stand a rum runner up on edge, don't lay it flat in the center. And ya if you have a bottle that looks like a 1.75 ltr of something with a handle on it, you might be put on the booze watch list. Princess and Holland America are usually most lenient, NCL Royal Caribbean, and Carnival are most stringent.
Ok, so I was more or less right. It's all speculation based on an xray image. It's not like they're opening bags with ANY bottle in it.

I'm cruising with Celebrity.

Thanks for the rum runner tip. put them up-right on the sides of the luggage, got it.

My friend keeps telling me that it isn't worth the hassle but I say otherwise. The way we drink, the bill will add up and no offense to the cruise line but I don't feel like over-paying for alcohol...


Forum Manager
Staff member
JMO, but it is the luck of the draw if your luggage gets searched. One cruise line searched my luggage and took my shorts and tools-screwdriver and a small pair of pliers(dont ask about the tools). I went to the front desk to question it and they denied that they even search luggage.

6 months later the cruise line returned my tools but no shorts. I did not fill out a report with the cruise line(since they dont search luggage) as at that time I had no proof if it was the cruise line or air line that searched my luggage. No document was enclosed in my luggage and my luggage was locked. oh, no bottle either.

Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
The cruise lines use the same type of scanners as the airports use.

We have never packed a bottle of alcohol. Fortunately HAL allows us to pre-order a bottle from ship services or from room service for consumption in our cabin.