What Can You Not Bring On A Cruise (16 Prohibited Items To Leave Behind!)

Whenever you’re packing for a trip, I always make a list of ‘essentials’ I absolutely can’t forget.

However, it’s just as important to know what you can’t bring on a cruise ship.

Certain items are prohibited, and in fact, can even get you in trouble.

To avoid any hefty fines or just getting certain items confiscated, we’ve got you covered…

What NOT To Bring On A Cruise

Cruise Ship at Sea


Let’s get the most obvious out of the way. Illegal drugs are strictly prohibited onboard all cruise ships.

This includes not only recreational drugs but also marijuana prescribed for medical purposes.

Cruise lines have stringent policies in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all their passengers, and bringing drugs on a cruise ship could result in serious consequences, like being removed from the ship or legal repercussions.

Some people try to sneak certain substances onboard and that’s highly discouraged. You can actually end up in the cruise jail and handed over to local authorities at the next port.


Similarly, firearms are not allowed on cruise ships. This ban is in place to maintain a secure and safe environment for everyone onboard.

If you’re planning to bring a personal firearm for protection or as part of your personal belongings, it’s vital to check the specific cruise line’s policy regarding the subject.

Many cruise lines require you to declare your firearm in advance, and it will be securely stored by the ship’s security staff for the entire duration of the cruise.

To avoid any disappointments or potential legal issues, it’s always better to be prepared and informed. Call the cruise line directly and ask, but nine times out of ten, they are strictly prohibited and you will not be let onboard with your firearm.


And of course, we need to talk about explosives and potentially dangerous materials.

These items are unquestionably forbidden on cruise ships due to the significant risks they pose to the passengers, crew, and the vessel itself.

Examples of prohibited items in this category may include firecrackers, flares, or any materials that could potentially ignite or cause severe damage.

When packing for your cruise, remember to prioritize safety and leave behind any items that could fall under this category.


Candles are strictly prohibited on cruise ships

While you might want to create a cozy ambiance in your cabin, bringing candles on a cruise is not allowed.

Due to the high risk of a fire onboard, cruise lines strictly enforce the ban on candles, even those meant for decorative purposes.

Instead, look into battery-operated alternatives to achieve a similar effect without jeopardizing the safety of yourself and fellow passengers.


Celebrating a special occasion during your cruise could be tempting to bring along fireworks, but you’ll want to leave them at home.

Fireworks are prohibited on cruise ships due to the obvious fire hazard they pose, as well as the potential for injury.

Cruise lines often organize firework shows or other exciting events for their passengers to enjoy, so you won’t miss out on the fun without your own.

Heating Pads

If you rely on heating pads for comfort or pain relief, you’ll need to find an alternative during your cruise.

Heating pads, like other heating devices, are not allowed on cruise ships due to the potential fire risk they pose.

Consider looking into other methods of pain relief, such as over-the-counter medication or a warm towel compress, to keep yourself comfortable during your trip.

Kitchen Appliances

Toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, waffle makers, hot plates, coffee makers, electric water kettles, and blenders are all prohibited items on cruise ships.

Bringing these appliances along may result in confiscation upon boarding.

You honestly won’t need them. The ship provides an extensive array of options for food and beverages.

Most ships have complimentary coffee, tea, and water stations available throughout the day.

Although coffee makers, kettles, and hot plates aren’t allowed on board, you can still enjoy a wide variety of beverages in the ship’s cafes and restaurants.

Many cruise ships offer gourmet coffee options and expertly brewed tea that will please even the most discerning taste buds.

Plus, you’ll have ample opportunity to try new and exotic flavors during your trip.

Also, note that surge-protected power strips and extension cords are not allowed on cruises.

If you’re worried about a lack of electric outlets in your stateroom, consider bringing a non-surge-protected power bar to cover your charging needs.

Alcohol and Liquor

Cruise lines have specific policies in place regarding what types and quantities of alcohol and other drinks you can take with you.

For example, Carnival Cruise Line permits each adult guest (age 21 and up) to bring onboard one 750ml bottle of wine or Champagne (sealed and unopened) per person packed in their carry-on luggage.

Keep in mind that there’s a corkage fee of $15 if you decide to consume your bottle outside of your cabin.

As for the delicious rum you bought in port, it will be held by the cruise line and returned to you at the end of your trip.

Taking a Royal Caribbean cruise? Each guest of legal drinking age is allowed to bring one (1) sealed 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne on embarkation day.

However, boxed wine and other containers are prohibited. Just like Carnival, you should pack the permitted alcohol in your carry-on luggage.

Don’t forget about non-alcoholic drinks! You’re welcome to pack a reasonable amount of non-alcoholic beverages onboard most cruise ships, but make sure they are non-perishable and pre-packaged.

This includes soft drinks, bottled water, and juice. Cruise lines expect that you won’t overdo it and approach these limitations with a fair and responsible mindset.

So although alcohol and liquor isn’t necessarily ‘prohibited,’ it’s still heavily restricted. You likely won’t be able to go on your next cruise with your favorite bottle of tequila in your checked luggage.

Hair Dryers

Hair dryer, straightener, and curling iron

You might be surprised to learn that hair dryers are usually provided on cruise ships! While some passengers prefer to bring their own, be aware there are some limitations.

Cruise lines may have wattage restrictions on personal hair dryers.

It’s always a good idea to check the specific regulations of your cruise line before packing your hair dryer.

When onboard, using the provided hair dryer can save space in your luggage and ensure you meet the wattage requirements, making your cruise experience hassle-free.


Unfortunately, you cannot bring an iron on a cruise. Irons are considered a fire hazard due to their heating elements, and they’re strictly prohibited on most cruise lines.

However, don’t worry about wrinkled clothing, as many ships offer pressing services or self-service laundry facilities with irons available for your convenience.

Be sure to check with your cruise line for the availability and cost of these services, and plan accordingly to keep your clothes looking fresh and sharp during your vacation.

Additionally, there are wrinkle release sprays you can pack in your carry on bag. These are a great alternative to irons, plus they make clothes smell SO fresh.

CBD Products and Marijuana

Most cruise lines prohibit passengers from bringing marijuana onboard, regardless of its legal status in the embarkation or disembarkation country or any ports of call.

This stance aligns with international maritime law, which largely dictates operations for ships in international waters.

In the vast stretch of the ocean, the ship must adhere to the strictest of regulations, and this often means erring on the side of caution when it comes to substances like marijuana.

CBD products, on the other hand, can be a bit of a gray area. While derived from the hemp plant and not psychoactive like marijuana, the status of CBD varies widely worldwide.

Some cruise lines may permit CBD products, especially if they’re legal in both the starting and ending ports of the cruise.

However, it’s always vital to check with the specific cruise line’s policies before packing any CBD products. Even if allowed, they may have particular guidelines on the forms of CBD (like oils, creams, or edibles) that are permissible.



Although you may be a smoker, bringing cigarettes on a cruise might have some restrictions.

In general, smoking is only allowed in designated areas, usually specific outdoor sections or certain parts of the casino.

You cannot smoke in cabins or suites, including the balconies. It’s crucial to respect these guidelines to ensure the safety and comfort of you, your fellow passengers, and the crew.

While you’re on your cruise, if you’re not sure where the designated smoking areas are, don’t hesitate to ask any crew member for directions.


Vaping on a cruise ship is subject to similar rules as those applied to cigarettes. It’s generally not allowed in cabins or suites, including balconies.

However, cruise lines may provide specific areas for guests who use electronic cigarettes.

As with cigarettes, it’s essential to follow the guidelines and only vape in designated areas to ensure everyone’s comfort and safety onboard.


The use and possession of drones on cruise ships are subject to specific policies that differ from one cruise line to another. One universal rule is clear: you are not allowed to fly a drone above a cruise ship while it’s out at sea.

While some cruise lines might permit you to carry a drone, they require it to be stored in your cabin when not in use.

Conversely, other cruise lines have an outright ban, prohibiting passengers from bringing drones onboard at all.

Furthermore, cruise ports often come with their own set of stringent regulations regarding drone usage.

Flying zones, altitude limits, and times of operation can be restricted, making it essential to familiarize yourself with these rules before launching your drone.

Homemade Food

On a cruise ship, passengers are typically allowed to bring commercially packaged snacks like chips, candies, and granola bars.

These factory-sealed goodies are generally accepted because they come in tamper-evident packaging, which assures their safety and hygiene.

On the contrary, homemade food items are not allowed on board. Such restrictions are in place mainly due to health and safety concerns, as there’s no standardized way to confirm the freshness or sanitary conditions of personally prepared items.

Dogs and Cats

Service animals and luggage

Most cruise lines do not permit dogs or other pets on their ships, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

One of the few cruise lines that allow pets on board is Cunard Line, specifically on its flagship Queen Mary 2.

They offer a dedicated kennel service with space for both dogs and cats, but you’ll have to leave your bird, hamster, and other small animals at home.

Keep in mind, though, that these kennel spaces are limited and must be booked in advance.

While most other cruise lines prohibit pets, they usually make exceptions for service animals.

These animals, such as guide dogs for the visually impaired, are allowed on board to help guests with their specific needs.

It’s essential to check with your cruise line beforehand to ensure they accommodate service animals, as policies may vary across different companies and ships.

Remember that if you’re bringing a service animal, you’ll need to provide documentation to the cruise line confirming its status.

This usually includes a certification from an accredited organization or a letter from a licensed medical professional.

If you are bringing a service animal, familiarize yourself with the specific requirements and regulations of the ports of call. Some countries may have different rules regarding the entry and exit of service animals.

Specific Cruise Line Rules

When preparing for your cruise, it’s important to keep in mind that each cruise line has its own set of rules and guidelines.

This means that certain items may be permitted on one cruise line but not on another. It’s always a good idea to check your cruise line’s website for a comprehensive and updated list of prohibited items.

You’ll find that most cruise lines do not allow passengers to bring their own alcohol on board, as they have their own bars and restaurants.

However, policies regarding alcohol can vary between lines, so double-check for any limitations on bringing wine or other beverages for special occasions.

Another common restriction that you may come across is the prohibition of certain electrical appliances. This is due to the potential fire hazard they pose in a ship’s confined quarters.

Examples of such appliances include coffee makers, kettles, hot plates, and mug warmers. So, you might want to skip packing these items for your cruise.

While many people love to travel with their hobbies, there are some that are best left at home during a cruise.

Items like drones, remote-controlled toys, and hoverboards are typically prohibited. Additionally, most cruise lines ban guests from bringing aboard any weapons or self-defense tools such as guns, handcuffs, brass knuckles, and martial arts equipment.

As for your wardrobe, some cruise lines have dress codes for specific events and dining rooms, so make sure to pack appropriate clothing.

Avoid packing overly revealing clothing, offensive slogans, or costumes that might be culturally insensitive. Also avoid any items of clothing with pineapples. IYKYK.

By familiarizing yourself with the specific rules and regulations of your chosen cruise line, you can avoid any unwelcome surprises at embarkation and ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience.

Just remember to always check the official website or contact your cruise line directly for accurate and up-to-date information on prohibited items and guidelines.

Will My Bags Be Searched On A Cruise Ship?

Yes, when you board a cruise ship, your bags will be checked. This procedure is a security measure to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew members on board.

Cruise lines have specific lists of prohibited items, such as firearms, hazardous chemicals, and illegal substances. By examining bags, they can ensure that none of these banned items make their way onto the ship.

The process for checking bags is generally straightforward. Bags are typically sent through scanners, much like at an airport.

These scanners help identify any potential contraband or banned items. The primary goal of this inspection is to maintain a secure and safe environment for all aboard.

This process is in place for everyone’s benefit and to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

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