5 Things You Should Never Bring on a Cruise, Experts Warn
These no-nos violate policy, cost too much money, or simply won't serve you well on your voyage.
Toiletries, check. Swimsuits, check. Dressing-up wardrobe, check. If you're packing for a cruise, you might already know some of the essential items that should make your list for a comfortable voyage. But do you know which items you absolutely should not bring on board? Read on to learn what experts advise keeping off your list, whether because it violates policy, costs too much money, or simply won't serve you well on the seas.
"Don't bring electronics that don't comply with the voltage on the ship," advises Steph Shuster, experienced cruiser and CEO of DCL Magazine — the Disney Cruises Fan. "I've seen families bring everything from kettles to hotplates. You don't want to be the passenger who blows the circuit for the whole floor."
And it's not just the embarrassment and inconvenience of such a potential fail: Some electronics are banned by policy, so make sure you read up on what's allowed.
Your cruise will have stated rules that dictate how much of your own alcohol you can bring on the ship—and it's not much. (Cruise lines want you to buy the overpriced drinks on board just as much as you might want to avoid doing so.) So know the rules and don't violate them; the cruise line can and will confiscate your stash if it's discovered and you aren't likely to get it back at the end of the cruise either.
"There are clearly stated rules on what's permitted for each cruise line," Shuster says, noting Disney forbids any wine or champagne in excess of two bottles or beer in excess of six. Any more "must be discarded prior to entry and no compensation offered," according to its stated guidelines.
The cruise line's own insurance policy.
Although experts widely agree that it's essential for cruise passengers to buy insurance before boarding a cruise—especially in the fast-changing travel circumstances of the pandemic, one cruise pro suggests digging deeper into your options before coming on board with the first available policy offered to you.
"Never purchase the cruise line's offered insurance policy," explains Jeremy Camosse, author of the book Cruise Hacks, and web editor in chief of the shore excursion site Gangwaze.com. "They are simply re-selling a major insurer's product. You'll pay a significant premium by purchasing from the cruise line rather than directly from the provider."
Cruise cabins can be notoriously small, so some frequent cruisers recommend packing over-the-door hangers to keep shoes and other small items organized and easily accessible. But, frequent cruiser Jill Robbins notes for Insider, this is far from a fool-proof plan—and she's stopped doing it altogether because, in fact, they are prohibited on many cruise ships.
"I've seen several articles that advise packing an over-the-door shoe organizer to hold small items in an easy-to-see fashion, though some cruise lines prohibit them because the metal hooks can damage the doors," she writes. "I simply make do with drawers for stowing smaller items, though I bought a set of magnetic wall hooks for my upcoming cruise and I'm excited to see how they work. I've also heard of other passengers using suction wall hooks to hang lighter items."
This one should go without saying, but it gets a little tricky when you might not even realize you're carrying a weapon on board—and certainly didn't intend to—and policies vary to boot. Cruise Critic notes that Swiss army knives aren't banned on all cruises: Carnival allows knives onboard, as long as the blades are less than four inches long, but Royal Caribbean prohibits all knives.
Of course, you might also be flying in order to get to or from your cruise, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has its own set of rules, which mandate that utility tools must go in checked luggage.