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These Are The 5 Items Most Regularly Confiscated by Cruise Lines

There are various things you aren’t allowed to take on cruise ships – but unless you have spent hours reading pages of the cruise line’s terms and conditions, you might get caught out.

Some of the things that you shouldn’t bring onboard a cruise ship seem perfectly obvious – others – not so much.

In this article, we look at the top five things things that cruise lines confiscate.

MSC World Europa Emma Cruises Valetta

#1 Alcohol

Rules around taking alcohol on board a cruise ship are complex and varied.

Some cruise lines allow you to bring a certain amount of wine or other alcohol onboard when you first embark, others ban you from bringing alcohol altogether.

Any bottles confiscated will be given back to you when the cruise is over.

If you are allowed to bring alcohol onboard, most lines will charge you a “corkage fee” if you want to consume it in a restaurant. If you drink it in your cabin, then no corkage fee applies.

The exception to this rule seems to be Norwegian Cruise Line, who charge you a corkage fee the moment you bring alcohol onboard.

Wine & Champagne Policy
Guests may bring bottles of wine and champagne on board. When bottles are brought on board and served or consumed in any restaurant, public room area or in their stateroom, a corkage fee will be charged according to bottle sizes noted below.
750 ml Bottle: $15.00 USD
1,500 ml Magnum: $30.00 USD
Wine or champagne sent directly to the ship by travel agents, friends, family, etc. or from another retail source, are subject to the same fees.

Norwegian Cruise Line

If you like the odd glass of wine and don’t want to purchase a drinks package, it might be worth researching whether you can bring a bottle or two with you when you embark.

Can You Bring Alcohol on a Cruise? – Searchable Cruise Line Table

It is worth noting that if you buy alcohol in port, when you try and take it back onboard it may be confiscated and returned to you at the end of the cruise.

You may be allowed to take a certain amount of soft drinks/cans onboard when you embark the ship too…

I very rarely buy a drinks package when I cruise, find out why here:

Drinks Packages Aren’t Worth it For Me – Here’s How I Decide (Price Lists & More)

#2 Irons and Steamers

Most mainstream cruise lines do not allow guests to bring Irons or clothes steamers onboard.

They are banned from cruise ships due to safety concerns. If you bring them, and the cruise line spots them, they will be confiscated.

All confiscated Irons and steamers will be returned to you at the end of the cruise

Quite a few cruise lines have self-service laundries onboard, so you can go along and use the ironing board if your clothes have creases.

If not, you may have to pay for the ship’s laundry service, as they offer clothes pressing.

Or maybe do as I do – if I have a particular dress or shirt that is very creased, I hang it in the bathroom and let the steamy atmosphere after I have had a shower help the creases drop out.

You can also buy anti-wrinkle clothes spray and take that with you when you cruise. It may be worth a try…

Find out more about alternatives to irons and steamers on cruises below:

.Can You Bring a Clothes Steamer on a Cruise? (Cruise Line Guide and Alternatives)

#3 Candles and Incense Burners

Fire is one of the greatest risks onboard a cruise ship, so no candles, incense burners, or anything with an open flame is allowed.

This does make perfect sense, it just isn’t worth the risk of guests starting a fire. Why not bring LED candles instead if you really want a romantic atmosphere on your balcony in the evenings?

To find out how devastating a fire can be onboard a ship, watch this video next. It is thought that the fire on the Star Princess was started by a carelessly discarded cigarette – although no one knows for sure.

#4 Knives

Many cruise lines state they will not allow Knives with a blade longer than 4 inches/10.16 cm.

Some other cruise lines, ban bladed items ( like knives and scissors) altogether.

Personally, I am surprised that cruise lines allow passengers to bring any sort of knife onboard!

Many people seem to carry a Swiss Army Knife or a pocket knife, and if you do, it would be better to put it wrapped up in your suitcase, as you may be stopped at security if you are carrying one.

It would be best to check the Terms and Conditions of your cruise line before packing your pocket knife.

#5 Electrical Extension Cords

Older ships often don’t have as many plug sockets as you would like, and it isn’t surprising guests started bringing along power strips to plug in their many electrical items.

Many cruise lines have banned bringing power strips on cruise ships due to the chance that the surge protector will overload the circuit and cause potential electrical damage or fires.

MSC Preziosa and Divina Premium Balcony Cabin plug sockets
On older ships, you may find you are short of useable sockets in your cabin

Alternatives include USB charging stations, multi-socket outlets, or outlet adapters which don’t contain a surge protector. 

To find out more about that, and my suggestions of what to use instead of a power strips, read the article below:

Cruise Lines Don’t Allow Power Strips – These are Your Alternatives

I never would consider packing an electrical extension cord, I have a travel adapter like the one below, which is easy and convenient to pack.

Other Banned items…

Of course, there are huge lists of things you can’t bring on board – and why on earth you would want to pack these things, I have no idea…

These are just some of the things banned by Norwegian Cruise Line – and I would assume people have tried bringing them on board, or they wouldn’t be listed…

  • Crossbows, crossbow bolts, and long bow arrows
  • All firearms including replicas, imitations, non-firing weapons, starting pistols and their components
  • Air, BB or pellet pistols or rifles
  • Any remotely controlled or autonomously flying devices, toys or drones
  • Spears or spear guns
  • Bicycles
  • Kayaks, canoes and rafts
  • Metal detectors
  • Restraining Devices (i.e. handcuffs, leg, and head restraining straps)
  • Fireworks, flares, and pyrotechnics
  • All illegal narcotics/drugs
  • Martial Arts Weapons
  • Stun devices (i.e. Tazers and Stun Guns)
  • Fresh flowers
  • Walkie-talkies

Luckily there are no rules about not bringing onboard my mascot Captain Hudson!

Hudson in Mia Tui Bag
Hudson in Mia Tui Bag
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My Favourite Bags – Mia Tui

I bought my first Mia Tui bag in 2017 and I've not used another brand since. They come with me on every cruise and are FANTASTIC. They are beautiful, almost indestructible and have so many pockets and useful parts.

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Before You Go

Find out about other bizarre things that used to be allowed on cruise ships, but are now banned here:

6 Things Once Allowed on Cruise Ships But Are Now Banned (For Good Reason!)

Find out about everything you should have with you on embarkation day here:

Disembarkation Day – Everything You Need to Know – Hints and Tips For A Stress-Free Day

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.