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11 Things That Will Get You Banned for Life From a Cruise

Throw him in the brig!

Cruising may seem like a relaxed, carefree vacation, and it is–if you know the rules. Every cruise line has its own set of guidelines detailed in its guest conduct policy, but it’s not often read in detail by cruise passengers. This can lead to serious consequences, including being banned for life or even being detained in a brig till the end of a cruise. From smuggling contraband to dangerous photo taking, here are 11 actions that can land you in hot water on the high seas, and very likely be banned from cruising ever again.

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Packing CBD Gummies

Taking CBD gummies on a cruise can lead to a lifetime ban, regardless of whether they’re used as sleep aids or for recreation. Carnival Cruises, for example, banned Melinda Van Veldhuizen for having them in her luggage, citing a violation of ship rules. Even with medical clearance, it’s prohibited. Cruise lines’ policies are clear: CBD products, though legal in some U.S. states, are not under federal law and are banned in the ports they visit.

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Fishing From Your Balcony

Tempting as it may be, keep your fishing rods reeled in and pack away from your balcony. Trying to maximize what looks like a world-class fishing spot will most certainly get you banned as it did for a couple on a Carnival cruise. In a report with WBDO, a representative for the cruise line said: “Fishing from our ships is prohibited. We have identified the guests, and they will not be cruising on Carnival again.” For the record, the couple reportedly reeled in a one-foot-long green-yellow-hued fish.

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Dangerously Posing for Photos

While mimicking the “I’m flying!” scene from Titanic might be okay, dangerous poses are not. A passenger on the Allure of the Seas in 2019 was banned for life after she was caught posing precariously on a railing on the outside of the ship to take a photo. While she was clearly in violation of cruise rules, guest conduct policies can be fairly vague, and any behavior deemed unsafe can lead to a ban–so before you shoot off that TikTok, think twice.

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Sunbathe Topless

Private balcony or not, ​​cruise lines take a hard stance on any form of public nudity, stating appropriate attire is required “while on stateroom balconies if visible to others onboard, on other vessels or ashore”. While some voyages and cruise lines allow topless sunbathing–Virgin Voyages allows it on Deck 17 The Perch–check the fine print as it’ll likely be in specific, designated areas and destinations.

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Having Loud Sex

Cruise ships are floating hotels, some as large as 1,200 feet long. But it’s still close quarters if you’re vocalizing your passion too loudly. A German couple was made to leave the Mein Schiff 5 on the first day of their 2-week TUI cruise for having sex too loudly thanks to a cabin balcony door left open. TUI Cruises classified it as a “security-related incident” and stated to Newsweek: “In the event of security incidents on board we reserve the right to ask our guests to leave the vessel in exceptional cases. This is based on a case-by-case examination and thorough check of the proportionality of such measures.”

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Doing a Drone Fly-By

Drone usage is already a thorny subject in crowded urban cities–New York has outright banned them–so don’t expect leniency of rules just because you have a whole ocean in front of you. Before packing your drone, check the rules first. “When it comes to drones and cruising, some cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean do allow guests to take drones aboard, but the cruise line will often keep it stowed away in a secure area,” said Emrys Thakkar, founder of Cruise Hive. “Guests would only then be allowed to use their drone during their time ashore in a port of call. However, the ports also have their own rules, which can make the use of drones even more complicated for cruise visitors. Some cruise lines, such as Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises do not allow drones to even be brought aboard for holding.”

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Smoking or Vaping in Non-Smoking Zones

Every ship has a smoking policy, and almost all of them will extend a hefty recovery fee (upwards of $200) if you’re caught lighting up in a non-smoking zone. Cruise lines like Costa Cruises and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines allow smoking on cabin balconies but others like Cunard, Carnival, and Disney all have strictly designated areas and will not hesitate to remove repeat offenders. For heavy tobacco users take note that Mexico has a new law banning smoking in public areas. While what you do off the vessel is your responsibility and won’t get you banned from a cruise line, the local police are perfectly in their right to fine or arrest you.

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Partying With the Crew Below Deck

Bin any thoughts of a shipboard romance. Guest conduct policies all state that cruise staff are not allowed to fraternize with guests or invite them into crew quarters nor are they “permitted to be in guest staterooms, except for the performance of their shipboard duties.” Try your luck and you’ll likely be kicked off the cruise and the crew fired and blackballed from the industry.


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Pranking Guests and Staff

Behaving badly on a cruise will get you immediately kicked off if not potentially banned for life. Many cruise lines have a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal activity or disruptive behavior, something ​​YouTubers NELK Boys decided to test. On a four-night Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas, they pushed boundaries doing everything from using abusive language on staff members, trolling entertainment acts and generally being disruptive, predictably resulting in them being asked to disembark after the first day.

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Behaving Recklessly

Having five cocktails in one sitting might be considered reckless but cruise passenger, Nick Naydev, took daredevil behavior to new heights on the Symphony of the Seas,  quite literally, jumping from the balcony of his deck 11 room into the water below. No surprise that he was drunk at the time, and subsequently banned–along with his group of friends–from cruising with Royal Caribbean for life. The cruise line is reportedly exploring legal action and Naydev has recovered from his self-inflicted injury.

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Dressing in Costume

While dressing up can be fun, certain attire on a cruise can lead to trouble. P&O Cruises, for instance, bans fancy dress and clothing with images or slogans as outlined in its guidelines “Fancy dress, novelty clothing and clothing personalized with images or slogans, effective from 1 January 2018.” In 2019, a passenger caused a brawl by wearing a clown costume, despite this rule. Additionally, camouflage prints, though not a ban-worthy offense, are illegal in several popular cruise destinations like Barbados, St. Lucia, and Jamaica.