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Old 01-10-2013, 07:59 AM   #1
kmaria
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customs limit on bringing back alcohol?

I've seen on various trip reports the cardboard suitcase rum purchases, but someone just told me that you can only bring 2 bottles per person through customs. Was I just seeing things and is that true, or can you have more than that?

To be clear, I am talking about alcohol purchased in port. Thank you
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:31 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by kmaria View Post
I've seen on various trip reports the cardboard suitcase rum purchases, but someone just told me that you can only bring 2 bottles per person through customs. Was I just seeing things and is that true, or can you have more than that?

To be clear, I am talking about alcohol purchased in port. Thank you
It depends. On a closed-loop cruise (which all non-repositioning DCL cruises are), one of two rules applies:

1. If your cruise stops in a US-controlled territory (in DCL's case, St. Thomas), each adult over 21 is permitted 5 liters of alcohol, provided 4 of those 5 are purchased in the US territory AND at least one is produced in that territory. In short, buy your alcohol in St. Thomas, and make sure at least one bottle is Cruzan, and you're fine.
2. If your cruse does NOT stop in a US-controlled territory (meaning, Western Caribbean, Alaska and Bahamas cruises) you are permitted ONE liter of alcohol per adult over 21.

One other item of note: Customs handles people in family groups, so there's no need to say who is assigned what bottle. They want to know how many are in your group, how many bottles of alcohol you purchased, and how much money worth of souvenirs you're bringing in. The alcohol allotment does not extend to minors, the souvenir allotment ($800/per person or $1600 for St. Thomas) does.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:55 AM   #3
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All Disney cruises that stop at Castaway Cay qualify for the additional liter of Bahamain rum.

Per Disney's site
Question:
Are there limits to the amount of duty-free merchandise that I may bring into the U.S. from the Bahamas?

Answer:
Each Guest returning from the Bahamas to the U.S. can bring back up to a total of U.S. $800 worth of duty-free merchandise (retail price). Each Guest 21 and older is limited to 2 liters of alcohol, of which 1 liter must be produced in the Bahamas, and Guests 18 and older are limited to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars (excluding Cuban cigars). These limits are mandated by U.S. law and are subject to change.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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You can bring back more if you want, you just need to declare it and pay the duty on it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:25 PM   #5
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As a general rule, it's best to go with what's on the US Customs website. Here is the most current information: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/va...exemptions.xml
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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You can bring back more if you want, you just need to declare it and pay the duty on it.
Do you know how much the duty is or how it is calculated?

With our past cruises we have flown, so it would be a pain to bring back alcohol. This one, we are driving & going to Cozumel. I wouldn't mind bringing a bunch back if the price was right.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #7
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Thanks everybody, I really appreciate the detailed responses. I get tripped up in these things sometimes Especially when you hear different things from different people, as I have lately! We are eastern Caribbean and will be going to St. Thomas so I guess we can bring home a max of 10 bottles or so, if I understand correctly. Hmm... that should do it
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:59 PM   #8
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Do you know how much the duty is or how it is calculated?

With our past cruises we have flown, so it would be a pain to bring back alcohol. This one, we are driving & going to Cozumel. I wouldn't mind bringing a bunch back if the price was right.
I believe that once you factor in the personal exemptions, it's 3% of the dollar amount (1.5% for US insular possessions.) So if you go on a Western Caribbean cruise and bring back 3 bottles of tequila valued at $10 each, you'd owe about $0.60 (you get the first free, so you have to pay 3% of $20, which is $0.60.)
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kmaria View Post
Thanks everybody, I really appreciate the detailed responses. I get tripped up in these things sometimes Especially when you hear different things from different people, as I have lately! We are eastern Caribbean and will be going to St. Thomas so I guess we can bring home a max of 10 bottles or so, if I understand correctly. Hmm... that should do it
As a practical matter, there's one other thing you should know: DCL is the only cruise line which will not accept alcohol deliveries. Most shops on the island will advertise things like "free delivery to the ship with purchase of X bottles!" DCL will refuse those deliveries, and most shops won't even try any more. This is a roundabout way of saying, if you plan to buy 10 bottles of alcohol, you have to plan to [I]carry[I] 10 bottles of alcohol on the ship. I'm not suggesting it can't be done, but I am suggesting that you may want to plan ahead since you'll end up lugging it around, at least somewhat.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:05 PM   #10
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I believe that once you factor in the personal exemptions, it's 3% of the dollar amount (1.5% for US insular possessions.) So if you go on a Western Caribbean cruise and bring back 3 bottles of tequila valued at $10 each, you'd owe about $0.60 (you get the first free, so you have to pay 3% of $20, which is $0.60.)
Well if that is all that it is, then I might as well bring back as much as I feel like carrying.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #11
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Well if that is all that it is, then I might as well bring back as much as I feel like carrying.
There may be IRS taxes involved as well, but the government website didn't specify what those may be. Other sites say it's in the $2-3 per bottle range. So it sounds like the $0.60 is duty, but there are also excise taxes in play.

Yay for government transparency!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:26 PM   #12
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Update: here's the excise tax chart. It looks like a bottle of 80-proof liquor costs about $2.14.
http://www.ttb.gov/tax_audit/atftaxes.shtml
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:52 AM   #13
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As a practical matter, there's one other thing you should know: DCL is the only cruise line which will not accept alcohol deliveries. Most shops on the island will advertise things like "free delivery to the ship with purchase of X bottles!" DCL will refuse those deliveries, and most shops won't even try any more. This is a roundabout way of saying, if you plan to buy 10 bottles of alcohol, you have to plan to [I]carry[I] 10 bottles of alcohol on the ship. I'm not suggesting it can't be done, but I am suggesting that you may want to plan ahead since you'll end up lugging it around, at least somewhat.
Right! It would be our last stop. I doubt we will purchase 10 in any case, but likely more than just one or two bottles.
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