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What not to pack for a cruise

What not to pack for a cruise

Have you booked a cruise and suddenly wondering about what not to pack for a cruise? IN this guide we will round up what not to wear on a cruise as well as items that are prohibited on cruise ships and should be left at home so you have no surprises on embarkation day.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

What not to pack for a cruise (prohibited items)

What Not to Bring on a cruise
What Not to Bring on a cruise

Can I bring an Iron on a cruise?

One of the biggest worries currently and historically on ships is the risk of fire. Cruises take fire hazards very seriously and as such many of the items on the what not to pack for a cruise list are connected to them having heating elements.

As such the answer to can I bring an iron on a cruise is definitely not! And you won’t find one in your stateroom either. Guests are not permitted to use irons aboard.

Now if you are worried about crinkled clothing and wrinkled formal wear I feel your pain. Now we have some amazing hacks to help prevent your clothes from getting wrinkled – you can read more about it here – spoiler alert it involves a lot of rolling.

Alternatively, the ship will always have a dry clean or laundry service once you get on board but this will cost a premium especially if you are on a more long term cruise

Click here for information on how to pack for a world cruise.

Can I bring a Clothes Steamer on a cruise?

Now I have told you that irons are a big cruise no no you might be thinking okay what about a clothes steamer? Well I have bad news.

As I mentioned before the prohibited items on a cruise are largely connected to devices that have heating elements and therefore clothes steamers are another thing to add to your what not to bring on a cruise list.

Can I bring a Surfboard, kayaks, boats etc on a cruise

Anything that can be launched off a cruise ship is firmly on the prohibited cruise item list. This includes surfboards, kayaks, canoes and other types of boats.

I assume this is to with the temptation of launching them off the ship but haven’t been able to find anything in detail.

I have heard rumours of some people being allowed to bring onboard and have them stored for them but have found no concrete cruise policy.

If you want to bring one of these with you be sure to speak to the cruise line and get it in writing first but I would say it is likely they will say no anyway so best to just leave these at home.

Homemade Food / Unpackaged Food / Fresh Fruit itinerary dependent

Food safety, like fire safety is a big concern on cruise ships. viruses can spread like wildfire aboard a ship and therefore it is prohibited to bring any home made or unapackaged food unboard.

Similarly fresh fruit and vegetables may not be brought on and off the ship due to customs regulations.


If you are on a Alaska Cruise or somewhere where there is deep sea or flying fishing excursions it can be tempting to want to bring these back onboard but it is prohibited.

This is for food safety reasons again. If you go on one of these excursions and want to eat your catch either find a restaurant locally to cook it before boarding or organise shipment back home.

Can I Bring a Travel Kettle on a cruise?

After the iron, the question we get most about what to pack for a cruise is related to the kettle.

Unfortunately you will not be able to bring a kettle on a cruise again due to the fire risk and heating element. There also will not be a kettle in your room.

However tea and coffee is always available (and usually for free) on board the ship somewhere – in my experience usually on the lido deck.

You can also order tea and coffee via cruise room service however some lines may charge for this and others may charge only at certain times of day

Can I bring a Coffee Maker / Mug warmer onboard?

Again the answer to this is no for the same reasons that you can’t bring a travel kettle onboard.

Can I bring Helium balloons on a cruise?

Now this one always surprises me because you absolutely can not bring helium balloons on a cruise ship. I know people love to decorate doors on cruise ships and balloons are a popular addition but helium balloons are not allowed and are firmly on the cruise banned list.

Why? to be honest I can’t get a straight answer. I presume it is something similar to the reasons you can’t bring drone and kites and flying things not being allowed but I am not sure.

I currently have some feelers out on this one and hope to get a more definitive answer to explain their presence on the banned list.

Can I bring Water and Soft Drinks on board?

Now this one comes with a lot of caveats such as it depends what ship you are on, it depends on what line you are on and in some cases it depends on the duration of your cruise.

But either bringing water or soft drinks will either be banned or limited so it is best to reach out to your line before sailing and packing.

Can I bring Alcohol on a cruise?

At time of writing the permitted alcohol allowances that can be brought on cruise ships is the following:

  • Carnival – one bottle of wine per adult (Bottle size can be no larger than 750ml)
  • Disney – Two bottles of wine
  • Holland America – 1 bottle of wine / champagne per adult. There is corkage fees to be consumed outside of stateroom but not inside.
  • MSC – no alcohol is permitted to be brought onboard even for stateroom consumption.
  • Norwegian – alcohol allowed however there is a corkage fee of 15USD per bottle. This applies even to bottles consumed in staterooms.
  • P&O – 1 litre of wine or champagne, beer or other alcohol is allowed but only if brought on during embarkation
  • Princess – one bottle of wine per adult (size 750ml)
  • Royal Caribbean – Two bottles of wine per stateroom (750ml size only_

Can I bring a Corkscrew on a cruise?

Now if you are trying to avoid corkage fees it can be tempting to bring a corkscrew on board but can you bring a corkscrew on a cruise?

The answer is is depends on the cruise ship and the line. You can read all about who does and who doesn’t allow it in our dedicated post. However if in doubt safe yourself the hassle and either leave it at home or take a plastic one or only screw top wine with you.


This one should go without saying but cruises universally ban weapons (and their definition of a weapon is broad and does not just include guns).

The reason for this is passenger safety. Read on to find out more things that can be considered weapons and therefore are banned on cruise ships.

Imitation Weapons

They might not be real but imitation weapons can be used as a threat and can scare people. These are banned so leave them at home.


Again in the interests of passenger safety all types of restraints which includes handcuffs are banned from being brought onboard by passengers.

Dive Tanks

Even if you are going on a Caribbean Cruise or a cruise around the South Pacific where you plan to do lots of scuba diving, Dive tanks are banned.

This is because the tanks are a fire hazard / combustion source and therefore are never allowed onboard.

Metal Detectors

I have personally never seen anyone try to bring a metal detector on board but don’t you try because they are banned.

I have read this is to do with frequencies and cruise equipment. Whatever the reason they are a big no no.


As I have stressed in this article cruise companies are very concerned about fire hazards and risks. And let’s face it there is no bigger risk than fireworks.

You will absolutely not be allowed to bring fireworks on board.


Another big no no to bring on cruises is drugs i.e. Cannibis etc. – even those for medicinal purposes and even if they are legal in the port you are docking in.

Don’t risk bringing any drugs on aboard.

Even if medicinal or permitted in the state the ship is docking in.

Hookah Pipes / Shisha

Now although dependent on the ship and the line you are sailing with cigarettes, cigars and vaping is allowed in designated areas. However Hookah Pipes or Shisha are universally banned.


Hoverboards while a lot of fun are a huge risk when used on deck. For safety reasons therefore hoverboards are banned.

Candles and Incense

Again fire is the main worry of any shipping company. As such anything with an open flame is banned and this includes candles and incense on cruise ships.

Surge Protected Power Bars

If you want to bring a power bar with you because you are worried about lack of sockets and USB ports in your stateroom be sure you bring one with you that doesn’t have surge protection otherwise it will be confiscated.

Baby Monitors

Baby monitors are another surprising item on the cruise prohibited list. I presume this is because anything with a frequency like a baby monitor can interfere with the cruise ships internal radio channels.

What not to wear on a cruise


While a fashion statement for some and great fun, heelies are not permitted on cruise ships. Similar to the hoverboard they pose a risk to the wearer and other passengers when out on deck so are not allowed to be worn.

Rollerblades / Roller skates

For the same reason as the heelies and the hoverboard.

Expensive Jewelry (in port)

While you may want to bring your expensive jewellery with you for formal night on a cruise I would recommend not wearing it when in port.

Not all ports are wealthy and expensive jewellery can make you a target. Also many shore excursions can include physical activity which could lead to a loss.

If you want to bring expensive jewellery be sure to only wear on the ship and to utilise the cabin’s safe when you aren’t wearing it. And make sure that any jewellery you bring can be worn with a variety of outfits so you don’t over pack.

For more information on how to create a cruise capsule outfit click here.

FAQs about What Not to Bring on a cruise

What not to pack for a cruise (prohibited items)
What not to pack for a cruise (prohibited items)

Can I bring a Hairdryer on a cruise?

This is actually a bit of a sneaky one to add because it is not banned to bring a hairdryer on cruises. However it takes up valuable packing space when there is always a hairdryer in every stateroom I have ever been in on a cruise ship.

For a full list of what toiletries to pack for a cruise check out this post.

Can I bring a Drone on a cruise ship??

Drones depending on the line may or may not be allowed to be brought onboard. However, their use will be confined exclusively to when in port and away from the ship.

Any drone being flown while on the ship will be immediately confiscated.

Do you need to bring beach towels on a cruise?

We often get asked about whether or not you need to bring beach towels on a cruise and I have good news for you.

You do not have to bring beach towels on a cruise. Unlike some resort hotels where the towels are meant to be used exclusively on the property cruises have no such rules.

IF you are wondering about packing for a Caribbean cruise or even a South Pacific cruise and thinking about taking your own towel I would say leave them at home and just use towels you can get on the ship.

However be warned if you do not returned them after your shore excursion you may be charged.

Can I Bring Hair Straighteners or Curling Irons

The good news is that even though hair straighteners and curling irons have internal heating devices they are not on the cruise prohibited item list.


These are not allowed to be used on the ship. Nothing that flies is permitted onboard which is why drones and helium balloons are banned. Some ships may let you use them in port but not on the ship.

Dive knives

Now this one is a it really depends on the line and ship item. Some will allow you to bring on others will ban as a weapon. But even where you can bring them on you will be required to leave them in custody of the ship rather than in your stateroom.

Be sure to check with your line before travel.

Have you been on a cruise? What would you add to this what not to pack list