Can Felons Go On Cruises? (& More FAQs!)

Dreaming of a cruise vacation but worried about your criminal record? Don’t let your past hold you back from exploring the world!

While it’s true that some countries may have restrictions on entry for those with a criminal history, there are still plenty of cruise options available to you.

But before you book your trip, it’s important to do your research and understand the visa and documentation requirements for each port of call…

Can Felons Go On Cruises?

Individuals with a criminal record, also known as felons, are allowed to travel on cruises with or without a passport. However, it is important to consider the type of cruise and the necessary documentation required for the journey.

Additionally, felons may face restrictions on their travel destinations due to their criminal record.

We break down all these restrictions and more…

Understanding Cruise Policies for Felons

Felony Background Checks

As a felon, it’s important to recognize that some cruise lines conduct background checks on passengers.

These checks may or may not impact your ability to board a cruise, depending on the cruise line’s policies and the specific circumstances of your felony.

Keep in mind that the type of cruise, destination, and ports visited can all affect whether you’ll face restrictions on your trip.

If you want to avoid any surprises during boarding, it is advisable to research the background check policies of the cruise line you plan to travel with. This will help you be aware of any potential issues before your trip begins.

Varied Cruise Line Policies

Cruise line policies for felons can be quite varied. Some cruise lines are more lenient and may allow you to board, even if you have a felony on your record.

Others, however, may have strict policies, prohibiting passengers with a criminal history from participating in their cruises.

Make sure you’re aware of the specific policies of the cruise line you plan to book with.

Keep in mind that certain countries may also have restrictions on entry for individuals with a criminal record.

Popular cruise destinations with such rules include Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.

Therefore, even if a cruise line is lenient with their policies, the specific destinations on your journey could still impose limitations due to your felony record.

To ensure a stress-free experience, research the entry requirements for each country on your itinerary and select a cruise that accommodates your needs.

Remember, being well-informed about the cruise policies and your legal status will make your trip smoother and more enjoyable.

Travel Documentation and Visa Requirements



Before embarking on your cruise, you need to have a valid passport. Ensure that your passport is up-to-date and has at least six months of validity after your scheduled return date.

While some Caribbean countries might accept U.S. citizens with just a birth certificate and driver’s license as identification, it’s always recommended to have a valid passport for a hassle-free experience.

In case you are a felon, obtaining a passport should not be an issue as felons are generally allowed to have U.S. passports.

However, certain restrictions may apply if your felony was related to drug trafficking or is deemed a threat to national security.


Visa requirements vary depending on the countries your cruise will visit. Be sure to check the visa policies of each country on your itinerary.

While some countries might not require a visa, others may either provide visa-on-arrival or require a pre-approved visa.

As a felon, you must adhere to each country’s visa and documentation requirements.

For example:

  • The Bahamas: Felons can go on a cruise to the Bahamas as they do not have any visa requirements and do not run a background check on visitors. A valid passport is sufficient for entry.
  • Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand: These countries have specific rules against entry for some individuals with a criminal record. Check their policies to determine if your particular situation might prevent entry.

It is essential to plan and apply for the necessary visas early to avoid any delays or cancellations in your itinerary.

When applying for visas, be honest about your criminal record to ensure a smoother process. Cruise lines, such as Carnival and Disney, allow felons on board, but adhere to the visa and documentation requirements of every country they visit.

Remember to keep your travel documentation organized and accessible as you may be required to present it at various points during your journey.

Port of Call Regulations

Cruise at port

When planning your cruise as a felon, it’s important to keep in mind some countries have strict entry laws that may affect your ability to disembark at certain ports of call.

These regulations vary depending on the destination, and understanding them ahead of time can help ensure you have a seamless travel experience.

Countries with Strict Entry Laws

There are several countries with strict entry laws for felons. Some of these include:

  • Canada: Canada is known for its stringent border control measures, particularly concerning travelers with criminal records. Felons may be denied entry to the country, even for a brief port of call visit.
  • Australia: Australia, like Canada, has strict entry requirements for individuals with a criminal history. If your felony conviction occurred less than ten years ago, you may face difficulties obtaining the necessary visa to enter the country.
  • United States: If your cruise itinerary includes returning to the United States after visiting international destinations, be aware that felons may face restrictions upon re-entry. This is particularly relevant if your legal status or parole conditions have changed during your trip.

To ensure a smoother travel experience, research the entry requirements of the countries on your cruise itinerary and consider:

  1. Obtaining travel documents, like passports or visas, well in advance
  2. Checking for any necessary pre-approvals or waivers from the destination country
  3. Consulting with your parole officer, if applicable, to ensure compliance with travel restrictions

By taking these steps, you can prepare for potential entry challenges and enjoy your cruise getaway without any unexpected surprises.

Traveling with Probation and Parole Restrictions

Before planning a cruise, it’s important to consider any probation or parole restrictions that may apply in your situation, especially if you have a felony on your record.

These restrictions often influence your ability to travel to particular destinations, so careful consideration of the options should be taken to ensure a smooth trip.

Make sure to review the conditions of your probation or parole and look for any specific limitations on travel.

Some restrictions may prohibit leaving the jurisdiction, limiting your options for international cruises or cruises that cross state lines.

Ensure you understand the extent to which these restrictions may impact your ability to travel freely before purchasing cruise tickets.

It’s necessary to communicate with your probation or parole officer about your travel plans.

Speak openly about your intentions and request a travel permit if required. Be prepared for the possibility of needing to provide additional information, such as your itinerary or a reason for your travel.

After receiving permission from your probation or parole officer, it might be helpful to consult an attorney.

They can offer advice on any legal documentation or steps required to minimize the risk of any potential issues that may arise while on the cruise and in the various ports of call.

When communicating with cruise lines, be honest about your criminal record and any probation or parole restrictions.

Some cruise lines may have specific policies that could limit your boarding eligibility. Be upfront from the beginning to avoid any surprises during the trip.

Also, verify the entry requirements of the cruise’s destination countries.

Some countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, may have strict rules against allowing individuals with a criminal record to enter.

Obtaining necessary visas or permits well ahead of your cruise departure date is crucial to ensuring a smooth journey.

By following these guidelines and fully understanding your legal restrictions, you can plan a more enjoyable and worry-free cruise experience.

Tips for Felons Planning a Cruise

woman overlooking balcony on cruise ship

Selecting a Cruise Line

When planning your cruise, it’s crucial to choose a cruise line that is more likely to accommodate you despite your criminal record.

Not all cruise lines have the same restrictions, so it’s essential to do some research.

Royal Caribbean, for example, is known to allow felons on board as long as the specific cruise doesn’t go to a country that restricts entry to felons.

Before booking your trip, carefully read the requirements and restrictions of each cruise line.

You should also reach out to the customer service representative of the cruise lines you are interested in and ask them about their policies regarding passengers with criminal records.

This way, you can avoid wasting time and money booking a cruise that might not allow you to travel due to your record.

Addressing Probation and Parole Issues

If you’re currently on probation or parole, you should consult with your probation or parole officer before planning a cruise.

They may have specific requirements or restrictions that you need to abide by, and they may also need to provide written permission for you to travel.

If your probation or parole officer approves your travel plans, make sure to keep a copy of the approval documentation in your possession during your trip.

Additionally, always be mindful of any restrictions placed on you, like checking in with your officer while on the cruise or following a particular itinerary.

Remember that restrictions and policies can vary widely between countries, so always be prepared with the necessary documentation and follow any rules laid out for your probation or parole.

Taking the time to address these issues beforehand will help ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip for you on your cruise.

Can a Convicted Felon Get a Passport to Go on a Cruise?

Yes, it is possible for a convicted felon to obtain a passport. However, the process can be challenging and may depend on the specific circumstances of your conviction.

For instance, if you were convicted of a drug-related offense, it could impact your ability to get a passport.

Additionally, certain parole restrictions could also prevent you from obtaining a passport and affect your ability to travel.

When applying for a passport, you should be transparent about your criminal record and provide all necessary documentation to support your application.

The U.S. State Department will review your application and determine if you are eligible for a passport. It is essential to be patient during this process, as the review may take some time.

Keep in mind that even if you are issued a passport, it does not guarantee entry to all countries.

Some countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, have restrictions on allowing people with criminal records to enter.

As a result, your travel options on a cruise might be limited if you have a felony on your record.

Before booking a cruise, research the ports of call and their requirements for entry thoroughly.

This can help you avoid any potential complications or disappointments during your travels.

By being proactive with your research, you can better ensure a successful trip and enjoyable cruise experience, even with a criminal record.

Remember, each cruise and destination may have different requirements and restrictions, so it’s crucial to be well-informed and prepared.

While a felony on your record may present some challenges, it does not necessarily prevent you from enjoying a cruise vacation with proper planning and preparation.

What Cruise Can a Felon Go On?

Back of a cruise ship

Although a felon can go on a cruise, there are certain limitations depending on the type of cruise and the destinations involved.

You’ll need to consider factors such as passport requirements, port of call restrictions, and cruise line policies.

But just because you have served some jail time doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a great vacation. You just have to do a little more planning and research before booking…

Cruise Types and Destinations

For specific cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, you can usually book a cruise as a felon. However, Be aware of some countries that may restrict entry to individuals with a criminal record.

Some major cruise destinations with such limitations are Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.

In terms of cruise types, consider sticking to closed-loop cruises, which begin and end at the same U.S. port.

This way, you’ll only need government-issued identification and a birth certificate instead of a passport, which might be harder to obtain as a felon.


It’s important to bring the proper documentation on your cruise. This may include your government-issued ID, birth certificate, and/or passport, if required.

Ensure you have the necessary paperwork for each port of call on your itinerary.

Do Your Research

Before booking your cruise, research the policies of specific cruise lines regarding passengers with a criminal history.

While most companies don’t explicitly state any restrictions for felons, they do reserve the right to refuse service for any reason.

Additionally, some countries you may visit will have their own rules for allowing entry to individuals with a criminal record.

In summary, while you can go on a cruise as a felon, you must be aware of certain limitations based on your itinerary and cruise type.

As long as you do your research, gather the appropriate documentation, and choose your destinations carefully, you can still enjoy a vacation at sea.

Can a Felon Go on a Carnival Cruise?

Yes, as a felon, you can go on a Carnival Cruise. However, it is essential to understand that there are certain limitations and policies that you must adhere to.

Carnival Cruise Line is committed to a safe environment for all guests and crew, and they reserve the right to deny boarding to persons convicted of specific felonies.

These felonies may include but are not limited to:

  • Aggravated physical and/or sexual assault
  • Armed robbery and related offenses
  • Other violent crimes

Before you book your cruise, it would be a good idea to review Carnival’s Guest Screening Policy, which states that they use consumer reports prepared by a third-party consumer reporting agency to conduct a criminal background check for guests who have booked a cruise.

Keep in mind that regardless of your felony conviction, you must also adhere to the visa and documentation requirements of each country the cruise ship is visiting.

Failing to obtain the necessary documentation can result in denied entry or other complications during your travels.

In some cases, if your felony was committed more than 10 years ago or you have been pardoned by the president, you may be allowed on board. It’s important to note that other cruise lines may have different policies, so be sure to research their specific guidelines before booking.

To ensure a smooth experience, make sure you have all required documentation ready before embarking on your cruise, be aware of Carnival’s policies, and respect the rules and regulations of the countries you’ll be visiting.

By staying informed and prepared, you can enjoy your cruise vacation to the fullest.

Are Felons Allowed on Royal Caribbean Cruises?

Yes, as someone with a felony on your record, you can still go on a Royal Caribbean cruise. However, you should be aware that the specific cruise does not go to a country that restricts entry to felons.

Each country has its own rules and regulations regarding entry of individuals with criminal histories.

Some of the major cruise destinations that might not allow you entry if you have a criminal record are Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.

It’s important to keep in mind that Royal Caribbean does not explicitly state any restrictions for passengers with a criminal history.

However, they do reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, and have been known to run random background checks on passengers.

So, while there isn’t a general policy against felons on Royal Caribbean cruises, it’s still a possibility that you could run into difficulties if your past comes to light.

When planning your cruise, remember that most cruises require passengers to have a passport.

If you are unable to obtain a passport due to your felony status, this could be an obstacle to booking your dream vacation.

Additionally, you might also encounter issues if the cruise requires travelers to have travel insurance, as some insurance providers may not cover felons.

While there are some potential challenges, as a felon, you can still enjoy a Royal Caribbean cruise by researching the specific itinerary and ensuring it doesn’t visit countries known to restrict entry to those with a criminal record.

It’s also essential to pre-plan and gather any required documentation, such as a passport or travel insurance, to avoid complications during your trip.

Can Felons Go to the Bahamas on a Cruise?

While there is no blanket ban for felons entering the Bahamas through a cruise, you should be prepared to navigate the immigration process.

To start, you’ll need a valid US passport to travel to the Bahamas. As long as you are not on probation, parole, or have specific travel restrictions related to your conviction, you should be able to obtain a passport without issue.

Remember to begin the passport application process well in advance of your planned trip, as obtaining or renewing a passport can take several weeks.

While the Bahamas does not require a visa for US citizens visiting for short periods, you may be asked to provide additional documentation upon arrival, such as a copy of your criminal record, a letter from your parole officer, or proof of rehabilitation.

This is at the discretion of the Bahamian authorities, be honest and cooperative with any requests they may have.

When booking your cruise, remember to review the itinerary and check if there are any other stops in countries that may be more restrictive for felons.

By researching each destination’s specific rules, you can avoid any unpleasant surprises during your trip.

In summary, a felon can go on a cruise to the Bahamas as long as they are adequately prepared for the immigration process and have checked the rules for all destinations on the cruise itinerary.

Make sure to allow yourself enough time to gather any necessary documentation, and enjoy your cruise to the Bahamas.

Can a Felon Go on a Cruise to Mexico?

It is possible for a felon to cruise to Mexico, but there are certain factors and requirements you need to keep in mind.

First, you need to be aware of the type of cruise you’re planning to go on. There are two types of cruises, closed loop and open loop.

For U.S. citizens, closed loop cruises are ones that originate and terminate in the same American port city.

These cruises typically have less restrictive entry requirements, often only requiring proof of citizenship.

For these closed loop cruises, as long as the specific cruise doesn’t take you to a country that restricts entry to individuals with a criminal record, you should be able to participate.

However, note that if a closed loop cruise makes an unscheduled stop in a foreign port, the officials there may ask to see your passport.

Regarding passports, obtaining one may be another challenge for you.

While having a felony doesn’t automatically disqualify you from obtaining a passport, there are specific restrictions depending on the nature of the crime, outstanding debts, or child support payments. If you can obtain a passport, this will likely contribute to a smoother travel experience.

Don’t forget to keep in mind the cruise line’s policies.

Although major companies like Royal Caribbean do not explicitly state restrictions for passengers with a criminal history, they maintain the right to refuse service to anyone at their discretion.

It’s best to confirm with the cruise line you’re planning to travel with to avoid any unexpected issues.

While it might require extra effort and research on your part, it’s often possible for felons to enjoy a cruise to Mexico.

Take the time to meet the specific requirements, and you’ll be able to embark on your dream vacation.

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