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9 Reasons You Could Get Banned From A Cruise Ship


While vacation is a time to kick back and relax, those who disregard certain rules could be banned from cruising again. 

Not only does following the rules ensure you have the opportunity to create more memories at sea, but it also helps foster a positive onboard environment. You don't want to be the subject of multiple news articles for a foolish decision, either, though it would be a memorable topic to bring up at your holiday gatherings! 

From theft to engaging in dangerous behavior, here are 9 reasons guests have been banned from cruising. 

Unruly behavior and physical altercations


Too much alcohol often causes people to engage in atypical behavior. From starting fights to a lack of impulse control, excessive alcohol can impair judgment, which is necessary even on vacation. 

Cruise lines make accessing wine, beer, and spirits easy throughout your sailing, especially if you purchase a drink package. Rather than constantly feeling like you need a drink in hand to get your money's worth, exercise moderation and only indulge when you truly want a drink. 

Carnival's cruise line's contract, which every passenger agrees to when booking, states, "Any Guest whose conduct affects the comfort, enjoyment, safety, or well-being of other guests or crew will be detained onboard and/or disembarked at their own expense and will be prohibited from sailing with Carnival in the future."

women fighting

"Any violation of our 'zero tolerance' policy or Code of Conduct is a breach of the Ticket Contract, for which Guest agrees to pay Carnival liquidated damages of $500, to be charged to the Guest’s Sail and Sign® account without further notice or consent, representing the reputational and goodwill damages and injury to Carnival for Guest’s violations"

Instead of getting too drunk and potentially causing a scene onboard, stay mindful of your consumption. Not only will this help ensure that everyone onboard has a positive experience, but you will also avoid any negative consequences of your drunken actions. 

Read more: 13 Things Polite People Never Do on Cruises

Fishing off your cabin's balcony


In late 2023, Carnival permanently banned a couple who shared footage revealing them fishing from their cabin's balcony, as Orlando's WDBO reported. Though the original TikTok has been deleted, copies remain circulating on social media. 

In the one-minute video, you can hear one passenger exclaim, "Oh my God, you actually caught a fish," before the other guest is seen reeling it up from the ocean. 

"Don't swing it into somebody's place," she continues. The couple was on a Carnival cruise to The Bahamas, where the ship was docked when the fish was caught. 

Read more: 15 Things You Should Never Do in Your Cruise Ship Cabin


WDBO shared an emailed statement from a Carnival representative who said, "“Fishing from our ships is prohibited. We have identified the guests, and they will not be cruising on Carnival again.”

Though there's no explicit policy in Carnival's contract prohibiting passengers from fishing from their cabin's balcony, it does violate Section 4(e) which states, “No Guest is permitted to bring on board the Vessel live animals (other than qualified service dogs, with not less than 14 days advance notice given to Carnival)." As the fish was pulled directly from the ocean and placed on the ship's deck, it's clear that they violated Carnival's rules.

Read more: Things that can get you instantly kicked off a cruise ship



From other guests' property to the cruise line's, you should not take anything that doesn't belong to you. Even things seemingly as minimal as a water bottle need to be paid for. 

Recently, John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line's Brand Ambassador, shared an update regarding a passenger who thought they were savvy by sharing a "hack" on how to get free bottled water onboard Carnival ships. The TikTok, which was originally published in July 2023, has amassed 1.2 million views and over 14,500 likes. 

In the video, the passenger removes one of the 1.5L water bottles from her cabin's shelf before showing an empty one. Then, she goes to the bathroom and refills it via the sink's tap, sealing it with a small glue bottle. Finally, she puts a new tag from a fresh bottle over the top before placing the refilled bottle on the shelf. 


On Facebook, Heald shares "....[that] the lady who was also on [TikTok] showing how to drink water from the bottles in the cabin without breaking the seal [has] been banned from cruising with us ever again."

Moreover, if you take any of the cruise line's property in your stateroom, including towels, robes, lamps, bedding, etc., do not be surprised if your final bill is adjusted, as they will charge you for the stolen items. Royal Caribbean, for example, charges $25 per unreturned pool towel, so you'll want to ensure you don't have any strays left in your stateroom on disembarkation morning. 

Read more: Carnival banned a cruise passenger who tried a hack to tamper with water bottles

Jumping off the ship


In early 2019, a passenger jumped off Symphony of the Seas, one of the world's largest cruise ships, while docked in Nassau. In addition to being incredibly dangerous, jumping off the ship is against Royal Caribbean's rules. According to The Independent, then-27-year-old Nick Naydev leaped off Deck 11 and returned to the vessel via a small boat, where he learned he was kicked off and had to purchase a return flight to Miami. 

Though the original video has now been deleted, The Independent reported that he wrote, "I was still drunk from the previous night. When I woke up I just decided to jump," in the comments.

When asked if he realized he could have died, Naydev said he "didn't really think about it." However, when he began to sober up, he admitted to being in a great deal of pain: "When I sobered up, my back started hurting pretty bad. Could barely walk for three days." 

symphony of the seas

Following the incident, Naydev was banned from sailing with Royal Caribbean for life, with Royal Caribbean calling the stunt "stupid and reckless." 

Standing on your balcony


From professional photo ops to exciting shore excursions, there are plenty of opportunities for the perfect selfie on your cruise. Poses you should avoid, however, are those standing on any railings, especially balconies. 

In 2019, CNN reported about an incident that led to a woman being barred from sailing with Royal Caribbean again. Peter Blosic, another passenger on the cruise, spotted a guest climbing on her cabin's balcony to pose for a picture. Had she taken one wrong step, she could have ended up seriously injured. 

“Earlier this week on the Allure of the Seas a guest was observed recklessly and dangerously posing for a photo by standing on her stateroom balcony railing with the help of her companion, " a Royal Caribbean spokesperson told CNN, "Security was notified and the guests were later debarked in Falmouth, Jamaica as a result of their actions and are now banned for life from sailing with Royal Caribbean."

Read more: Simple tips to safely take a cruise ship vacation

Bringing illegal drugs onboard


Though many states have legalized recreational marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level. Since cruise terminals are federal facilities, they're banned onboard ships. Moreover, it isn't legal worldwide, so even if it does become legal in the United States, other countries have differing laws. 

Medical marijuana isn't exempt from the cruise ship ban, either. All forms of the drug are prohibited, including joints, hash oil, vape pens, edibles, etc. If you rely on medical marijuana to treat your illness, speak with your primary care doctor about alternatives for your sailing. 

Some cruise lines have drug dogs on-site to sniff personal belongings before passengers can board. I saw a drug dog onboard Carnival Elation before departing from Jacksonville, too. 


Cruise lines have the right to deny boarding or kick passengers off who are caught with illegal substances. In September 2023, TikTok user @infamousxdrew shared how they were kicked off their family cruise onboard Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas when caught with medicinal marijuana. 

"Unfortunately," he says in the video, "they saw my medical marijuana...and all the senior security advisors or whatever they're called...have [come] to the conclusion that I must disembark." He was removed from the sailing while the ship was docked in Falmouth, Jamaica, and was escorted through customs and immigration by a security officer.

Additionally, two Norwegian Cruise Line passengers allegedly brought more than 100 bags of marijuana aboard Norwegian Joy, a 167,725 gross registered ton vessel that was bound for Southampton from Miami, as reported by USA Today. The guests were charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance. 

Read more: Can I bring weed on a cruise?

Throwing things overboard


Cruise ships have strict rules about throwing objects into the ocean because they're committed to protecting the marine environments in which they operate. They're delicate ecosystems that can be easily disturbed, even if you have the best intentions. For that reason, avoid throwing things overboard. 

If caught, you could face being fined or banned from sailing with the cruise line again. According to Section 9(i) of Carnival's contract, "All guests must adhere to Carnival’s environmental policy as follows: Any dumping or pollution of any kind including discharge of any item into the ocean and/or waterways is strictly prohibited."

"Guest will be strictly liable for any illegal dumping or pollution. Any willful or negligent act of discharging or releasing any unauthorized item overboard, without the express permission of the ship's staff may result in a $500 charge, per violation, posted to [the] Guest’s Sail & Sign® account"

Smoking in non-designated areas


Like throwing things overboard, cruise lines have policies that state they can assess a fine to those caught smoking (or vaping) outside the designated areas. While your first infraction won't get you banned, if you continue to violate the ship's smoking rules, you face potentially not being allowed back on for future sailings. 

Royal Caribbean's website, for instance, states, "If a guest is in violation of this stateroom policy, a cleaning fee of $250 USD will be applied to their SeaPass® account and may be subject to further actions." The webpage continues by saying guests who violate the smoking may face "one or more enforcement actions," which includes denial of boarding on any future Royal Caribbean Group cruise (i.e., those operated by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, or Silversea). 

Even if you aren't actively caught, it's important to be careful what you share on the internet. Carnival Cruise Line banned a passenger who claimed they've been on 30 cruises and always got away with smoking on their balcony, tipping the cabin steward $50 for an ashtray and to presumably refrain from turning them in. 


"Anyone caught smoking on the balcony will face serious consequences," John Heald wrote on Facebook, "If we catch someone doing so or find ash or anything [smoking-related] on the balcony there will be a $500 fine and the serious possibility of not being allowed to cruise with us again."

Read more: How To Get Away With Smoking On A Cruise Ship

Dressing up in elaborate costumes 


No, you don't have to break your child's heart and tell them they cannot dress up on your upcoming Disney cruise. However, if you're sailing with P&O, a European line headquartered in Southampton, you'll want to pack carefully. As reported by The Guardian, a guest dressed as a clown sailing about P&O's Britannia started a "mass brawl" late one night during the 7-day sailing, leaving multiple crew members injured. 

"Fancy dress, novelty clothing or outfits that feature any inappropriate or offensive language or images are not permitted on board," states P&O's website. So before you pack a random costume hanging out in the back of your closet, consider why you want to bring it. Are you trying to humor other guests? 

Though most articles of clothing are permitted on a cruise, refrain from packing things with foul language and other inappropriate imagery to help maintain a respectful environment for all passengers and crew. 

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