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15 things cruise lines really do not want you to bring on ships

22 Feb 2024
Calista Kiper

In the excitement of planning for a cruise, there’s one important aspect you don’t want to mess up: packing.

Of course, you want to be sure to pack all the items you might need on your vacation.

But to prevent any mishaps, you’ll also want to look into the items that cruise lines prohibit you from bringing.

Each cruise line has its own set of rules, and if you end up packing a banned item, you could delay or even cancel your own vacation.

If you fail to follow cruise line guidelines, for example, you could delay the crew and your bags as they search your belongings.

Beyond the obvious—such as weapons and drugs—there are other items you should be mindful of before you head to the cruise port.

Even seemingly innocent items like extension cords could be banned onboard. 

Read on to discover the 15 items cruise lines really do not want you to bring onto the cruise ship.

1. Paint

Paint presents a risk to fire safety onboard. Royal Caribbean prohibits all dangerous chemicals, such as bleach or paint.

If it spills anywhere, the paint could cause damage to the ship. Cruise lines do not want you to make any permanent changes to the cabin door or stateroom’s appearance.

2. Your pet 


Icon of the Seas is welcoming guests with a family dog onboard, but this does not include your family dog!

Pets are not allowed onboard, with the exception of trained and pre-approved service animals.

No exceptions will be made, even for emotional support animals

Smuggling your furry friend onboard is also a bad idea. Recently, a cat smuggled onto Ovation of the Seas was discovered and almost euthanized, if it wasn’t for a crew member from Guest Services adopting it.

3. Weed


It might be legal in your home state, but marijuana is still prohibited on cruise ships. This includes weed in any form, even CBD products or oils.

Even if you use it medicinally, many countries that you will visit have laws against the consumption of marijuana.

Because cruise ships sail between many different countries, they have to comply with the laws of each one.

No illegal drugs or substances are allowed to be brought onboard, and the consequences for bringing marijuana on a cruise are not worth the risk.

You could be kicked off the cruise ship, banned from the cruise line, or even incarcerated on land.

4. Fireworks

If your cruise falls during the 4th of July, it’s natural to want to celebrate.

Royal Caribbean sets up plenty of decorations and events for the patriotic holiday, but there will be no fireworks onboard.

Any explosive or flammable items are prohibited onboard a cruise ship.

For everyone’s safety, leave the pyrotechnics at home.

Quantum Class ships, however, do have a virtual fireworks display in Two70.

5. Weapons

Be very cautious when it comes to bringing anything resembling a weapon.

Leave the guns, knives, nunchucks, crossbows, throwing stars, swords, brass knuckles, ammunition, and even toys like Nerf guns at home.

Cruise lines really do not want you to bring weapons onboard. Leave them behind, and enjoy a peaceful vacation instead.

Read more: 15 things you don't need to bring on a cruise

6. Extension cords

Cruise line staterooms are infamous for lacking outlets, especially near the beds.

Yes, you’ll want to problem-solve, but be careful what you pack!

Extension cords with a surge protector are not permitted on cruise ships, due to the risk of fire.

Typically, if you bring an item with a surge protector, the cruise line will confiscate it and return it to you at the end of the cruise.

Instead, bring a cruise-friendly power strip without a surge protector.

7. Pepper spray 

Self-defense items such as pepper spray and night sticks are not allowed on cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean makes an effort to prevent cruisers from packing anything resembling a weapon.

However, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to personal safety.

Cruising is one of the safest forms of travel, with plenty of crew members and security onboard who want to make sure you feel secure.

As a matter of fact, you’re more likely to be injured on your way to the port than on your cruise ship.

In a worst-case scenario, the worst you’ll experience is probably some seasickness or contracting the flu. 

Pepper spray won’t do anything against errant waves anyway.

8. Irons

Iron on a cruise ship cabin

For fire safety, cruise lines are very strict about any items that produce a flame or generate heat.

This includes heating pads, clothing irons, electric kettles, coffee makers, and toaster ovens/microwaves. 

It’s very unlikely that you will need any of these items. For example, you can pack wrinkle-release spray or pay staff to iron clothes for you.

When it comes to heating appliances, Royal Caribbean does make an exception for grooming products such as hair straighteners.

9. Sunscreen 


While sunscreen is permitted onboard cruise ships, double-check before you pack whatever’s in your medicine cabinet.

Yes, of course, you want to be protected from the bright sun! 

However, many ports of call, including Cozumel, Mexico, and St. Thomas, are prohibiting sunscreen to protect their reefs and marine life.

Some locations only allow reef-friendly, biodegradable sunscreen, while others prohibit it completely.

Make sure to do your research before you pack any sunscreen.

10. Rollerblades

Wheeled items such as rollerblades, roller skates, skateboards, and Heely’s are prohibited onboard cruise ships.

This is for guest safety since cruise ships can rock and shift with the movement of the ocean and wind.

Additionally, passageways should be kept open and safe for all cruisers. No one wants to have a bad fall or crash in the middle of their vacation!

11. Knives

While some cruise lines do allow small pocket knives, Royal Caribbean is not one of them. They are very strict when it comes to anything that could be used as a weapon.

All knives are prohibited, and so are large scissors.

The only exception would be personal grooming objects and scissors with a blade smaller than 4 inches.

Read more: Things that can get you kicked off a cruise ship in an instant

12. Drones

Royal Caribbean is actually one of the few cruise lines that allows you to bring a drone onboard.

However, while onboard the ship, you must store the drone safely in the stateroom. If you do use the drone while onboard, Royal Caribbean will confiscate it until the end of the cruise.

Cruisers can only use drones on land and are responsible for obtaining the proper permits with local authorities.

Additionally, you are not allowed to use drones on Royal Caribbean’s private destinations such as Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee, Haiti.

13. Alcohol

English beers

You are prohibited from bringing alcohol such as beer or liquor onboard. 

Security will examine all liquids, and throw away any alcohol that they find. If they find any prohibited alcohol on embarkation day, it will not be returned to you!

Royal Caribbean wants you to purchase their alcohol while onboard, but this doesn't mean that you have to splurge on the drink package.

Guests can pack up to 750 mL (one unopened bottle per adult) of wine or champagne on embarkation day. You will have access to these two bottles throughout the whole cruise.

However, if you purchase any alcohol on the ship or at a port of call, security will keep it safe for you until the last day of the cruise.

Alcohol will still be available for purchase onboard, whether or not you choose to purchase the drink package.

14. Pre-cooked food


Whether it’s home-cooked or leftover from a restaurant, cruise lines will not allow you to bring unpackaged food onboard.

If you try to bring open, pre-cooked food onboard, security will throw it away.

Additionally, you’ll have no need to pack food beforehand. Your fare will include access to many complimentary dining locations.

You can, however, pack pre-packaged snacks in your luggage.

15. Camouflage clothing

camouflage shorts

While this isn’t a cruise line regulation, knowing if your cruise travels to the Caribbean is important.

In many Caribbean countries, it is illegal to wear camouflage clothing or accessories because it is part of the military uniform.

Don’t pack any camouflage items if you’re traveling to these countries: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Although enforcement varies, you could be detained, fined, or imprisoned. Authorities will likely remove the item and you risk being sent home.

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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