13 Items that Are Banned on Cruise Ships (& Why)

Things that are banned and prohibited on cruise ships

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Going on a cruise can be an exciting and relaxing vacation experience. However, you might be surprised to learn that some common items you would typically bring on a regular land vacation are prohibited or banned on cruise ships.

Bringing these items could lead to them being confiscated, a trip to the “naughty room” at the cruise port, or, in the worst-case scenario, getting kicked off the ship. It’s important to remember that these restrictions are in place for the safety and security of all passengers and crew.

With that being said, here are 13 things you should never bring on a cruise, along with some tips to ensure a smooth sailing experience.

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Things You Should Never Bring on a Cruise Ship

1. Travel Clothing Steamers and Irons

things not to do in cruise cabin - prohibited items

Although you might see advertisements claiming that certain portable clothing steamers are cruise-approved, be cautious. Typically, cruise lines do not allow travel clothing steamers or irons, and bringing them will likely result in being removed from your luggage and confiscated for the duration of your trip.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to check the cruise line’s prohibited item list to confirm what is allowed.

In fact, as we disembarked a recent cruise, we saw a large table filled with clothing steamers and irons that were confiscated from cruise passengers ready for pick up after the cruise!

2. Perishable and Homemade Food

Princess Cruise Fruit Plate

While you can bring pre-packaged snacks like chips or candy, it’s important to be aware that homemade food, perishable items, meats, and cheeses are prohibited.

Additionally, do not take these items off the ship at ports of call, as you could face fines for bringing restricted items into foreign countries. Instead of bringing food off the cruise ship, eat before disembarking or buy local food in the cruise port of call.

Related: What Food and Drinks Can You Bring on a Cruise?

3. Heating Blankets

Cruise ships do not permit heating blankets and other electrical appliances, including coffee makers and kettles. If you try to bring these items onboard the cruise ship, they will be confiscated.

If you require additional warmth, consider alternatives like heated water bottles. You can also ask your stateroom attendant for extra blankets!

Related: Can You Bring a Power Strip on a Cruise? Which Power Bars Are Allowed

4. Camouflage Clothing


Camouflage clothing is prohibited in many countries, including several Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia. While you can bring camo clothing onto the cruise ship, leaving it at home is best to avoid any issues when disembarking at various ports.

I have witnessed instances on cruise ships where passengers were sent back to their cabins to change because they wore camouflage clothing into the port of call. Instead of risking such situations, it’s practical to opt for more colorful clothing.

Not only does it comply with local regulations, but it also enhances your vacation photos!

5. Curtains, Drapes, and Room Dividers

A popular travel hack that can be found on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok is to use curtains or drapes as room dividers.

However, Carnival and other cruise lines have begun to crack down on this. They may no longer allow cruise travelers to use magnet hooks to hang curtains or dividers in their cabins.

It’s a good idea to find other ways to create privacy in your cabin or to book an adjoining cabin if you’re traveling with family members.

Tip: Rules and policies may differ from one cruise line to another, so be sure to check your cruise line’s website for information specific to your sailing.

Related: 17 Worst Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid

6. Drones

Policies on drones vary by cruise line, which can confuse those who want to bring a drone on vacation. While some allow you to bring drones with permission, others will keep them in security or not allow them at all.

Always check your cruise line’s specific rules regarding drones before packing one. Furthermore, verifying the cruise port of calls drone guidelines is important to ensure you are not breaking any laws.

On our recent MSC cruise, we noticed a sign at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve saying drones are banned in the cruise port. Although the rule was obvious at this specific port, it may be different at every port of call.

7. Flowers and Plants

Live plants, including bouquets of flowers, are not allowed on cruise ships. Although a bouquet is a very nice gift, cruise lines won’t allow you to board the cruise ship with them.

However, you can order flowers to be delivered to your cabin if you want to add a touch of greenery to your stay or to give them as a special gift!

Related: 15 Simple Ways to Make Your Cruise Feel More Luxurious

8. Household Power Strips

Most cruise ship cabins have limited electrical outlets. While a non-surge-protected power strip or power cube without an extension cord is allowed on most cruise lines, a surge-protected power strip will likely be confiscated.

Always check with your cruise line for their specific rules to avoid any issues!

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9. Large Scissors

It’s crucial to note that scissors with blades over 4 inches are strictly prohibited. However, small, blunt scissors for personal grooming are generally allowed.

To ensure you’re within the limits, it’s highly recommended to verify the exact measurements your cruise line permits. If your scissors are too large and surpass the guidelines, they will be confiscated, causing inconvenience, and you’ll have to pick them up on disembarkation day. It’s important to adhere to the guidelines to avoid such situations.

If you’re flying into a cruise port of call to board a cruise ship, it’s crucial that your scissors also adhere to the airline guidelines. While it’s important to focus on the cruise line guidelines, considering the airline guidelines ensures a smooth transition from the airport to the cruise ship!

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10. Nerf Guns and Water Guns

Replica weapons, including Nerf and water guns, are prohibited on cruise ships. Although these may seem fun to bring on a cruise vacation, they will be confiscated by security.

To avoid disappointing your children, choose other types of toys for their entertainment. Beach toys like small buckets and shovels are a great alternative, and they are allowed on cruise ships.

11. Illegal Substances

Illegal substances, including marijuana and even CBD products, are strictly prohibited. Keep in mind that these items may be legal where you live, but cruise ships sail to many different countries and also adhere to federal laws.

Some cruise ships may use sniffer dogs to detect these items. Possession can result in severe consequences, including removal from the ship and being banned from the cruise line. To avoid any issues, leave your CBD products and other illegal substances at home.

items that are banned on cruise ships and why
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12. Hard Alcohol

While some cruise lines allow you to bring a limited amount of wine, hard alcohol is usually prohibited. Attempts to smuggle alcohol onboard, such as using disguised containers, often fail.

If a cruise line confiscates your alcohol, you will not get it back. Instead of going through the hassle of smuggling alcohol onboard, consider purchasing a beverage package for a stress-free experience.

Related: 13 Big Drink Package Mistakes Not to Make on a Cruise

13. Ammunition

This may seem obvious to many, but bringing ammunition on a cruise ship is not allowed. In fact, it can cause a bigger problem in cruise ports of call.

Recently, there was a cruise passenger who forgot he had ammunition in his backpack, and was arrested in Grand Turk (one of the cruise ports of call), when discovered.

What happened next?

Although this was likely an innocent mistake on the part of the cruise passenger, he was arrested and faced years in prison if he had been found guilty. He was apprehended and spent time in jail. Luckily, he was finally released with a $9000 fine, but this was no joke!

When you’re packing, it’s important to check all of the pockets inside your suitcase, bags, and backpack to ensure you’re not bringing any prohibited items onboard.

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Cruise lines have specific rules and regulations to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all passengers. Familiarizing yourself with these guidelines before packing is a great way to avoid any potential issues during your trip.

Have you ever had something confiscated on a cruise or been called down to the “naughty room”? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer has been cruising with his family since he was four years old and has been on more than 30 cruises. As a frequent traveler, Ethan shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like from a young person’s perspective. Ethan also writes about men’s fashion, travel and college advice on the website WhatToWearMen.com.


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