Can You Bring Food On a Cruise and How Much?

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A cruise is an exciting way to travel and escape your everyday life for a bit. The only downside to a cruise is figuring out what you can and cannot pack.

Cruise ships have a lot of restrictions when it comes to what you’re allowed onboard. From no irons to sharp objects, you want to pack smart to prevent having your items confiscated. But what are the rules when it comes to food? Can you bring food on a cruise?

Keep reading to learn the rules when it comes to bringing food on a cruise so that you can best prepare for your upcoming vacation.

Can You Bring Food On a Cruise?

Yes, you can bring food on a cruise, but only to a certain extent. You are permitted to bring non-perishable food onboard. For the most part, this food must be pre-packaged and processed. Here are examples of food items that you can bring onboard your cruise:

  • Granola bars
  • Bags of chips
  • Pre-packaged cookies
  • Packaged beef jerky
  • Packaged and sealed baby food and formula

Just make sure that these snacks are in their original packaging and unopened, or they may be confiscated. You cannot bring fruits, vegetables, or home-cooked meals onboard. If you try, they will be confiscated by the crew.

How Much Food Can You Bring on a Cruise?

While you can bring some non-perishable food on your cruise, that doesn’t mean there’s no limit to the quantity you can bring on. 

For the most part, cruise lines don’t provide exact limits on how much food you can bring on. However, cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line describe “limitations” on the quantity of food you can bring onboard without expressly saying what those limits are.

Lido Dining Food
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

Use your judgment to determine whether you’re following the cruise line’s guidelines. It should be a reasonable amount of snacks for yourself or the people in your party. In general, bringing a few snacks here and there won’t get you in trouble, but you may run into some problems if you have an entire checked bag full of snacks.  

Why Are There So Many Restrictions for Bringing Food on a Cruise?

There are two main reasons why bringing your own food onto the cruise ship is so restricted. 

The first has to do with international customs. Cruise ships make stops in multiple countries, and different countries have their own laws regarding what you can bring into the country. This is because you risk bringing foreign diseases and illnesses, which could be carried through food.

In the same respect, you risk getting other passengers onboard sick if you carry unpackaged food. Cruise ships are isolated, so if one passenger gets sick with something contagious, it can spread quickly.

Food on a Cruise Ship
photo Credit: El Greco 1973 / Shutterstock

Restrictions aside, being able to bring food on a cruise ship is excellent news for those who don’t want to go a week without their favorite snacks or for parents of picky eaters who request the same granola bars every day. Let’s check out specific food policies on popular cruise lines.

Different Cruise Line Policies for Food

To give you an idea of what to expect on your next cruise, here are some of the food policies of the most popular cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean cruise passengers can bring non-perishable prepackaged food in limited quantities. They also allow you to bring select beverages on board.

Non-alcoholic beverages must be carried in your carry-on luggage on boarding day and must not exceed 12 standard cans, bottles, or cartons per room. Finally, Royal Caribbean allows milk and distilled water to be brought on for specific reasons, including infant, medical, or dietary use.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line allows passengers to bring pre-packaged, unopened, and ready-to-eat snacks. Homemade items and pre-cooked food are not allowed. Carnival Cruise Line also allows you to bring non-alcoholic beverages, but only in can form, and the cans must be in your carry-on.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises specifically lists prohibited items as perishable food, meat products, and food that requires refrigeration. You can bring a small amount of prepackaged snacks on board. Contact Celebrity Cruises to find out what the exact amount is. 

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is quite strict with their food and drink policy. Unlike other cruise lines, no drinks of any kind are permitted to be brought on board, including non-alcoholic drinks. In terms of food, the only restriction is no unsealed food items are allowed on board.

The Verdict: Don’t Go Overboard

To sum up, yes, you can bring limited quantities of food on a cruise, as long as it is non-perishable and pre-packaged. However, it’s essential to check with your cruise line before embarkation day to avoid getting any prohibited items confiscated.

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