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These Are The 5 Most Common Reasons Guests Are Denied Boarding on Cruise Ships

Imagine the excitement of getting to the port and seeing the ship docked in front of you – then being denied boarding. It’s hard to think of anything more disappointing…

In this article, we look at the top five reasons people are turned away at the cruise port – so that you won’t find yourself in this situation!

#1 A Lack Of Necessary Documentation

The cruise line will tell you well in advance the documentation you will need to bring with you. This includes:

  • Passport
    • Check that it is valid and in date.
    • Often cruise companies expect you to have six months left on your passport when you travel.
  • Visas
    • Check whether you require a visa long before you travel. They take a while to be issued.
    • Having a good travel agent helps with this, they will tell you if a visa is required.
  • Cruise-specific travel insurance
    • Cruise lines are within their rights to check you have valid insurance before you board.

To find out more about getting cruise travel insurance, check out my step-by-step guide below:

Cruise Travel Insurance – Why You Need it and How to Get It: (Step by Step Illustrated Guide)

To find out about other things you may want to print out and bring with you, and things you might want to pack, read the article below:

Cruise Paperwork! Make Sure You Don’t Forget Essential Paperwork, or You Won’t Be Sailing Anywhere…

Embarkation Day
Embarkation Day – have your documentation ready

#2 Intoxication

If a passenger arrives at the boarding area visibly intoxicated or under the influence of drugs they may be denied boarding.

This could pose a safety risk to themselves, the crew or other passengers, so why would the cruise line want to take that risk?

It’s just common sense to make sure you haven’t been drinking or taking drugs when you arrive for your cruise.

soda alcohol drinks

#3 Late Arrival

Cruise ships have strict boarding times and you are encouraged to show up at exactly the right time.

Cruise lines tend to have more problems with people showing up too early, keen to get onboard – cluttering up the terminal building – than they do waiting for latecomers.

Arrive at the time you are given – or as close to it as you can manage.

If you arrive after the final boarding time, the cruise line are within their rights to deny you boarding, as the ship must leave the port at a set time to keep on schedule.

I arrived in plenty of time for my cruise on Ambassador’s Ambiance – and embarked without a hitch. Unfortunately, the cruise was then cancelled before we sailed, and we all had to disembark and go home again – it was very disappointing!

Find out more about that here:

#4 Safety Concerns

If a security check raises concerns – whether that is due to suspicious behaviour or because items are found during luggage scanning that pose a risk, passengers can be denied entry onto the ship.

When you embark a ship, you will go through similar security procedures as you would in an airport.

Hand luggage and suitcases are scanned to make sure you are not trying to smuggle anything you shouldn’t onboard.

If guests are trying to smuggle a banned item – like a bottle of wine or an iron, for example – the item will be confiscated and returned at the end of the cruise.

Sometimes they find far more dangerous things in peoples luggage – such as weapons, explosive materials or drugs.

In these circumstances, you would be denied boarding, and it is likely that the police would be called.

Don’t pack anything you shouldn’t!

Find out about the top five things confiscated by cruise lines in the article below:

These Are The 5 Items Most Regularly Confiscated by Cruise Lines

#5 Pregnancy

Despite making this clear in the cruise lines terms and conditions, people still arrive at the cruise port, having not disclosed their pregnancy to the cruise company.

You can cruise when you are pregnant, but there are strict rules about how far into the pregnancy the guest can be, and medical evidence about your health may be required.

Pregnant guests can travel with us up to the 24th week of pregnancy . If you will enter the 24th week of your pregnancy at any point during the cruise (i.e. you are 23 weeks + 1 day or more at any point in the cruise), unfortunately you won’t be permitted to travel with us.
All pregnant women are required to produce prior to travel a doctor’s or midwife’s letter on headed notepaper stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and the pregnancy is not high-risk. 

P&O Cruises

They will be turned away at the port, and will not be entitled to any refund.

The cruise line is not responsible for reimbursing you if you don’t follow their rules. Travel insurance won’t pay out either under these circumstances – as you are in breach of the cruise company’s terms and conditions.

Before You Go

Find out the top reasons why guests are banned from cruise lines here:

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

Find out the nine things you are agreeing to when you book a cruise here:

9 Things You’re Agreeing to When You Book a Cruise Without Realising

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.