Carnival Cruise Line Warns Guests About Inappropriate Attire

One guest on a recent Carnival Venezia cruise had trouble with camouflage clothing. Where is such attire banned, and why?

At a time when many cruise lines are relaxing dress codes onboard and formal nights have long since become optional, Carnival Cruise Line is taking steps to be sure guests are aware of restrictions on what to wear in certain ports of call.

Because there are different laws in different countries, guests should be aware of such policies and be sure they pack appropriate clothing for their cruise vacation.

Camouflage Clothing Not Permitted

Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald recently responded to a concerned guest who had their visit to Barbados interrupted due to inappropriate attire.

The incident happened on the October 28, 2023 sailing of Carnival Venezia, a 12-night roundtrip Southern Caribbean voyage from New York.

Along the way, the ship visited St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten, before returning to New York on Thursday, November 9. After the cruise, the upset guest reached out to Heald to describe what happened.

“On November 3rd while on Venezia I was marched back to the ship like a common criminal by the Barbados police! Why!!? Because I was wearing camo shorts and a camo backpack. Where was Carnival’s notice on this. Nobody told us at all. No compensation given. We were not rebels or terrorists to the government but were made to feel like we were,” the unidentified guest explained.

Multiple other passengers onboard the same sailing dispute the claim that there was no notice of the attire restrictions. The guideline was printed in the ship’s onboard newsletter, mentioned in several announcements by the ship’s cruise director, and mentioned in the onboard shore excursion and shopping presentations.

Carnival Venezia Cruise Ship
Carnival Venezia Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Mariusz Lopusiewicz / Shutterstock)

Heald was diplomatic with the complaint, promising to speak with the cruise line’s executive team to be sure announcements are made.

“Thank you and I am sorry that this happened and I will speak with the beards to see if we can add some kind of notice,” Heald said.

Heald also noted that any camouflage or military-style clothing is not permitted in various Caribbean nations, including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Dominica.

“It is better to leave this kind of clothing at home,” Heald stressed.

It must be noted that Carnival Cruise Line does not set the attire guidelines for the ports the cruise line visits. Just as different destinations have different laws, each country may have its own requirements for appropriate dress code. As guests in those countries, travelers must always obey local laws.

Why Is Camouflage Clothing Banned?

Different countries have a variety of reasons for banning camouflage clothing. The reasoning can related to fear of confusion with authorized military personnel or law enforcement officers, or the possibility of terrorist activities.

Because styles can vary, bans on camouflage are generally broad and cover all types of attire, even clothing such as swimwear that couldn’t possibly be confused for official military attire and even if the camouflage pattern is in an obvious non-camouflage color, such as pink.

Camouflage Clothing
Camouflage Clothing (Photo Credit: MatrixMuse)

Even small articles of clothing – a scarf, shoes, belts, or cloth face mask, for example – may not have camouflage patterns. Similarly, bags or purses are also prohibited in camouflage patterns.

Read Also: What to Wear When You Go on a Cruise

Anyone caught wearing camouflage clothing may be subject to steep fines, interrogation, or even imprisonment, depending on the country and the individual circumstances of any incident.

In addition to several Caribbean ports of call, camouflage clothing is also forbidden in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Antigua, Ghana, and various other countries.

Other Clothing Restrictions to Be Aware Of

While the overall restrictions on camouflage clothing may seem extreme to travelers accustomed to many individual freedoms, different types of clothing are actually prohibited in many areas.

When cruising the Mediterranean and visiting cathedrals in Italy, for example, guests must be dressed modestly with covered shoulders, and short-shorts or miniskirts are not permitted. Similarly, guests to very conservative nations such as Bermuda will want to restrict swimwear to the pool or beach, as it cannot be worn in other public areas.

Different shore excursions or activities may also have restrictions on attire, such as requiring long pants and close-toed shoes for horseback riding. Even onboard, such restrictions are common – guests onboard Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, or the upcoming Carnival Jubilee cannot wear skirts to ride Bolt: The Ultimate Sea Coaster for example.

Ultimately, guests are also responsible for knowing – and obeying – the laws of the countries they visit. In the weeks leading up to a cruise vacation, travelers should learn about possible restrictions at ports they will visit, and plan their cruise attire and packing accordingly.


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