Carnival Cruise Line Retracts, Clarifies Recently Changed Policy

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In mid-May, Carnival Cruise Line updated its prohibited items policy to specifically ban drones for any type of use, including use in ports of call.

Now, that policy has been amended and clarified that drones may be brought onboard the cruise line’s ships, but may not be used onboard and must be held by ship’s security.

Guests Can Bring Drones on a Cruise

Carnival Cruise Line’s prohibited items list specifically addresses drones under the “Items for Port Use Only” section as follows:

“Drone(s) are allowed, but must be held in the custody of the Chief Security Officer and must be checked out/in by the owner for PORT USE ONLY.”

The cruise line’s brand ambassador, John Heald further clarified how this guests may retrieve their drones while in port on his Facebook page.

Drone (Photo Credit: Kathrine Andi / Shutterstock)

“This will be done on the morning of the arrival into port and handed over and then collected at the gangway when you return. Please though, remember you must check with the ports you go to and see what their restrictions are about flying a drone in their airspace,” Heald said.

The policy on Carnival’s website further emphasizes that guests must check with local authorities and follow all applicable laws when using drones.

“It is the responsibility of the guest to check the local laws of each port as Carnival will not be responsible for confiscated items by foreign governments,” the webpage states.

This is sure to be welcome news to drone enthusiasts who enjoy flying their equipment in unique areas and who can capture amazing photos of top cruise destinations.

Drones can be a popular tool for bloggers, journalists, travel agents, and other professionals, as well as for any amateur enthusiasts eager to capture stunning footage of their cruise getaway.

Earlier Restriction Lifted

In the surprise announcement on May 18, 2022, Heald had previously said drones would no longer be permitted aboard Carnival ships at all.

“There have been some instances where these drones have caused problems, and also one recently where a drone pilot crashed his drone very close to the ship while in one of the ports,” Heald said at that time. “This causes all sorts of problems, including paperwork and environmental stuff which is one of our top priorities.”

Now, drones will once again be permitted, but with the stricter check-out policy involving ship’s security.

Carnival Elation Cruise
Photo Credit: Nazar Skladanyi /

Other equipment permitted to be brought on board but which is only permitted to be used while in port, never on the ship, includes snorkel gear, skateboards, golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets, metal detectors, and similar sports and hobby equipment.

These items, however, are not listed as needing to be checked in or out for use.

Read More: Things You Can’t Take on a Cruise

Only one other piece of equipment may be brought onboard a Carnival cruise to be held by security until checked out for appropriate use in port: recreational dive knives.

These must be checked in and out for dive excursions during the cruise, and otherwise will be held by security or guest services.

Why Won’t Ports Permit Drones?

Now, it is up to guests to investigate whether or not their drones are permitted for use while in port. Different cruise destinations will have different protocols for drone use, depending on the size and specifications of the drone as well as the type of port facility.

Drone in Port
Drone in Port (Photo Credit: Pakhnyushchy / Shutterstock)

In areas where cruise ships dock at or near military ports, for example, it is unlikely that any drone use will be permitted. Similarly, if port facilities are near airports, drone use is likely to be prohibited to protect the safety of aircraft.

Some ports may also prohibit drones to protect local residents’ safety and privacy, or drones may be restricted in certain areas where they pose other risks, such as near wildlife refuges where drone activity could threaten nesting birds or sensitive species.

Depending on the port, it is possible cruises guests may be able to apply for special permits or individual permission to use drones, depending on the circumstances.

It is always best to err on the side of caution, however, and to stay updated on whether or not drones may be used in port before packing them in cruise luggage.

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