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These Are The 5 Most Common Reasons Guests Are BANNED From Cruise Ships

You might think getting yourself banned from a cruise line was hard, but it does happen. The majority of guests are happy to follow the cruise line’s rules and regulations – they are made to ensure everyone has an enjoyable, safe holiday.

Guests who are reckless, dishonest or put others safety at risk by their bad behaviour, understandably, will be banned.

Not only will that guest be banned – but everybody in that guest’s party may be banned too – even if they had nothing to do with the bad behaviour of their friend or family member.

Disruptive Behaviour/Being Drunk:

This can include excessive noise, drunkenness, ignoring safety procedures, or any behaviour that significantly disturbs other guests or interferes with the operation of the ship.

Repeated warnings followed by such behaviour often result in you being disembarked at the next available port and you will be given a cruise line ban.

Cruise lines offer drinks packages, and although they might place restrictions on these packages – like serving passengers a certain amount of alcoholic drinks per day – there is easy access to a range of alcoholic drinks when onboard.

Some passengers might drink more to try and get their “money’s worth” out of the expensive drinks package they have bought.

Passengers may mix their drinks in a way they wouldn’t normally at home – wine, cocktails, beer, and spirits are all easily available.

You need to exercise some caution and not get too drunk when onboard a cruise ship.


Physical Altercations

Engaging in fights or physical altercations with other passengers or crew members is a certain way to get banned. Cruise lines prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone on board and understandably, have no tolerance for violence.

A few years ago there was a very famous incident on P&O’s ship, Britannia.

A guest, dressed as a clown prompted a mass brawl in the buffet of P&O’s Britannia. Passengers allegedly used furniture and plates as weapons!

This left one crew member injured as he tried to intervene to stop the fight. Other passengers fled in fear!

According to the newspapers at the time:

One witness, part of a group involved in the trouble, explained to staff that things kicked off when another passenger appeared dressed as a clown. This upset one of their party because they’d specifically booked a cruise with no fancy dress. “It led to a violent confrontation,” he wrote.

The brawl, which took place in the early hours of Friday morning during the return leg of a week-long cruise to Norway’s fjords, reportedly followed an alcohol-fuelled afternoon of “patriotic” partying on deck.
The perpetrators were said to have been confined to their cabins for the last day of the cruise. A 41-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man from Essex were arrested by Hampshire police on suspicion of assault when the ship docked in Southampton on Saturday morning.

Guardian Newspaper
p&o britannia kids
I sailed on P&O’s Britannia – not dressed as a clown – or fighting!

P&O states in their terms and conditions:

Fancy dress, novelty clothing or outfits that feature any inappropriate or offensive language or images are not permitted on board. We reserve the right to deny embarkation to guests who are inappropriately dressed.

P&O Cruises


Stealing from other passengers or the ship itself – including any form of shoplifting from onboard stores, can lead to a ban.

Security is very tight on cruise ships. Surveillance is used to protect property and the crew.

There are CCTVs all over the ships so any thief is very likely to get caught.

The thief can’t just leave the area with any stolen goods, they are stuck with the evidence onboard the ship – unless it’s just before disembarkation.

Recently two cheeky passengers tried stealing two statues from a Carnival Cruise ship!

“Two sculptures from Carnival Cruise Line’s onboard auction collection were taken during a Carnival Legend cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda.

An art auctioneer only realised the artworks were missing a day after Carnival Legend returned to Baltimore.
The sculptures, worth a combined $13,000, were taken by a couple in a 2:00 a.m. heist, according to CCTV footage.
The FBI was eventually able to confirm the identity of the couple through social media.”

Jumping Off The Cruise Ship

We have all heard examples of reckless passengers jumping off cruise ships or standing on cruise ship balcony railings for fun.

I personally hate to read about somebody “falling off” a cruise ship, as we all know it is virtually impossible to just “fall off.”

It is very disruptive to the cruise line and to the other passengers when people behave like this. If someone does jump off, they have to put lots of time, money and resources into going back and trying to rescue the missing passenger.

Recently a woman was spotted climbing on her balcony railing to take a photo for social media. She was disembarked a the next port.

“While on my balcony, I saw the woman climb on her railing. It happened so quickly. Not knowing what her intentions were, I alerted the crew. If I said nothing, and she was going to jump, that would be horrible.”

Another cruise passenger onboard at the time

A picture was later posted of the woman wearing a blue bathing suit standing on the balcony railing, with hands over her head holding on to the ship’s superstructure to try and steady herself.

The ship’s crew later tracked down the woman and removed her when the ship docked at the next port, Falmouth, Jamaica.

A statement from Royal Caribbean said:

“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. 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.”

Royal Caribbean Spokesperson

Sitting, standing, jumping, laying or climbing on, over or across any exterior or interior railings or other protective barriers is strictly prohibited, according to Royal Caribbean’s Terms and Conditions.

Find out more about the stupid things people do to get banned here:

Is It Common to “Fall Off” a cruise ship?

No, it’s virtually impossible to accidentally fall off of a cruise ship!

There are railings and barriers all around the ship, and realistically, you would have to be fooling around, or purposely climbing on the barriers to fall into the sea below.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association:

Investigations into every overboard incident from the 10-year period beginning in 2009 found all of them to be “the result of an intentional or reckless act.”The organisation recorded a total of 212 overboard incidents on cruise ships from 2009 to 2019. But of those hundreds who went into the water, only 48 were successfully rescued. 

CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association)

Recently a 20-year-old man jumped overboard on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

He reportedly said ‘I’ll fix this right now’ before jumping overboard after a disagreement with his father over his drinking. He jumped in front of members of his family. 

Liberty of the Seas was travelling between Cuba and the Bahamas’ Grand Inagua Island when the incident happened – at 4 am in the morning.

A fellow passenger said that he had been hanging out with the man, who was ‘pretty drunk’ in the hot tub until 3.30 am.

The 20-year-old’s father has since tried to blame Royal Caribbean for serving alcohol to his son – who was underage for drinking in the USA.

It has also been suggested that he had got drunk while the ship was docked in the Dominican Republic earlier that day, where the legal drinking age is 18.

Royal Caribbean was quick to respond:

Our policies strictly prohibit guests under the age of 21 from being served alcohol onboard.

Royal Caribbean International

It is hard to understand how he could have been served alcohol onboard when any alcoholic drinks would have to be bought on his cruise card – which would clearly show he was under 21.

Being Found With Illegal Substances

Cruise lines enforce strict policies against drugs, and getting caught with them typically results in an immediate disembarkation and a ban.

You will likely be handed over to the police, and you could face a prison sentence for drug smuggling.

When you board a cruise ship, your bags will be x-rayed to check for alcohol and weapons. At many ports, the luggage is also checked by a sniffer dog who may be trained to detect drugs and explosives.

Norwegian Joy – Image NCL – Two passengers were caught attempting to smuggle drugs onboard

There are examples of people being caught trying to bring large quantities of illegal drugs onboard – and at the other end of the scale, people have been banned for trying to bring one packet of CBD Gummies on a cruise

(CBD gummies contain cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical present in the cannabis plant. CBD has properties that are said to help manage anxiety, pain, and other conditions.)

In January 2024 two Norwegian Cruise Line passengers were accused of bringing more than 100 bags of marijuana on board a ship heading from Miami to England.

A drug-sniffing dog alerted authorities to find 56 vacuum-sealed bags of “a green, leafy substance” in a passenger’s luggage.

Image Erik Fenderson

A further 56 vacuum-sealed bags of cannabis were found in the luggage of a friend of his. Officers found her at a bar on board the ship and took her back to her cabin to search her bags.

The gentleman claimed that this marijuana was all for personal use – and that he had a medical marijuana card back in California.

Both passengers were charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance.

The passengers have not yet gone on trial. If found guilty on these charges, the maximum each could face would be up to 80 years in prison or $4 million in fines.

Some experts in this area of law predict they will each get 2 to 10 years in jail and a $100,000 fine, if it is their first offence.

What If You Need To Take Prescription Drugs onto a Cruise Ship?

If you plan on bringing drugs on a cruise ship, you should make sure that you also bring your prescription.

That way, if there are any questions asked about the drugs, you can prove they you are legally allowed to take them.

Don’t try and smuggle drugs onboard!

Before You Go

Find out about things that were once allowed on a cruise ship, but are now banned here:

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

Find out what polite cruisers do to make things easier for the crew below:

11 Things Polite Cruisers Do That Help The Crew on a Cruise

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