What NOT to pack for your cruise

Stop and think twice before bringing some items on a cruise ship.

Naturally, safety and security for both passengers and crew members is of the utmost priority to every cruise line. It’s all about making sure everybody onboard enjoys themselves and has no reason to feel unsafe or at risk anytime while at sea or onshore. Travel is pretty clear when it comes to weapons, items of self-defence or even children’s toys replicating these items, so the best bet is to leave them at home.

So while some people may wish to take some seemingly odd belongings with them on holidays, there are some everyday household items which appear harmless to most people but which, purely for safety reasons, cruise lines must clamp down to ensure they don’t make it onto the ship.

Each cruise line has their own list of what can and cannot be brought onboard by a guest and there are some slight variations even with items in this list, so make sure you check with your cruise line prior to going onboard at the start of your holiday on whether anything you wish to take away might be a concern to them.

1. Candles & Incense

Sure, they’re romantic if you’re travelling with your significant other or celebrating a special occasion, however cruise ships don’t handle uncontrolled fire well. Make sure you mark your special milestone by organising a private meal in one of the ship’s finer restaurants.

2. Clothes irons

Do you really want to be doing laundry on holidays anyway? Cruise ships have that covered and can happily refresh your linens for you as required. You’ll find information about how this can be arranged in your stateroom. On Carnival ships, there are laundry facilities if you absolutely must cater to your own laundry needs while at sea.

The same policy generally applies to any device which generates heat such as coffee machines and kettles. There’s no shortage of places onboard to get a cup of tea or coffee.

3. Bicycles, Skateboards and Surfboards

These might form part of your everyday routine at home, but cruise ships aren’t equipped with enough space to use them anyway. If you’d like to ride a bike, head to the ship’s gym and if you’re travelling on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas, you can go surfing on their dedicated Flowrider attraction.

4. Powerboard & Extension Cords

This is a tricky one. While we all usually have multiple devices to keep charged and electricity outlets in a cabin can be limited, a powerboard is a risk a cruise ship can’t afford to take. That said, some cruise lines may allow you to bring a surge-protected board, however you’ll need to discuss this with them directly. It’s generally a no though.


5. HAM Radios

We’re sure there are plenty who still enjoy this old-fashioned hobby, however a cruise ship may consider it an insult when you think about all the activities they are putting on for guests to enjoy. Plus, anything which could, or will, potentally interfere with the ship’s own navigation and radio communication systems can’t be permitted. The same rules applies for radio beacons and satellite location devices.

6. Sticky tape or masking tape

This is something which cruise lines have only recently started to look at unfavourably. While there is no risk to the ship, it is more the leftover marks which cruise companies are trying to avoid. If you wish to put up some notices or signs, it’s best to bring magnets which leave no residue, don’t peel paint and stick them to your stateroom door or mirrors.

7. Remote controlled cars, planes, drones etc

A two-fold approach is taken to these items. Aside from the sheer ease of being able to lose them overboard (with absolutely no chance the ship will retrieve them for you), they can be a potential nuisance to other passengers. Another ‘best to leave at home’ scenario.


  1. Hi, the statement you have made with regard to powerboards in your story is very misleading and in some respect incorrect. Surge protected powerboards are incompatible for use on cruise ships, or vessels of any type. It may pay to check your source.