A woman has been banned for life from sailing aboard any Carnival Cruise Line ship for packing CBD gummies along in her carry-on bag for an August 2023 cruise from Miami, Florida.
Despite the controlled substance being conditionally legal in Florida, all major cruise lines prohibit such items, as is clearly stated on Carnival’s prohibited items list.
Banned for Life for Legal Substance
Melinda Van Veldhuizen, a loyal member of Carnival Cruise Line’s Very Important Fun Person (VIFP) program who receives priority boarding as a perk for her many sailings with the cruise line, will never again set sail on any Fun Ship.
Van Veldhuizen has been banned for life for attempting to bring along CBD gummies on a cruise aboard Carnival Horizon in August 2023. The gummies, which Van Veldhuizen claims to use as an occasional sleep aid, were in her backpack. When going through security at check-in for her cruise, security spotted the item and took her to a secure area at PortMiami for further questioning.
The gummies were legally purchased online, and while CBD is conditionally legal in Florida – items must have less than .3% THC to be legal – Van Veldhuizen’s gummies were only at .01%, well below the legal threshold.
Carnival Cruise Line, however, bans all CBD products, regardless of the regulations, laws, or restrictions from homeports in different states.
These types of items are the very first listed item on Carnival Cruise Line’s list of prohibited items.
“Any illegal narcotics/drugs including synthetic, designer drugs, Cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana [are prohibited],” the list states. “While certain CBD products used for medicinal purposes may be legal in the US, they are not legal in all the ports we visit and therefore are also considered prohibited items.”
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has addressed this issue several times on his popular Facebook page in response to guest comments and concerns.
“In line with the strict rules of United States Customs and Border Protection marijuana, medical marijuana and its oil based forms are not allowed to be brought onto the ships,” Heald has said in reference to various products. “It is illegal to do so.”
The incident happened aboard Carnival Horizon‘s August 5 sailing, an 8-night Southern Caribbean cruise.
What a Ban Means
Van Veldhuizen was notified of her lifetime ban via a letter from the cruise line.
“This letter will confirm your discussion with Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Horizon personnel where you were informed that you will be disembarked from the vessel and not be permitted to sail onboard any Carnival Cruise Lines vessel in the future,” the letter explained.
“This decision was based on your actions on the current cruise, which were a violation of the ship rules, interfered with the safety and/or enjoyment of other guests on the ship or caused harm to Carnival.”
While the language of the letter is quite generalized and Van Veldhuizen’s specific violation was not mentioned, the intent of the letter is clear that she will not be permitted onboard any Carnival cruises in the future.
“Your attempt to book a future cruise will result in cancellation and a possible loss of deposit monies,” the letter continued.
The letter does not specify whether or not the lifetime ban includes other cruise lines in the Carnival Corporation family, such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, or other cruise lines owned by Carnival.
If Van Veldhuizen were to consider sailing on other Carnival Corporation lines, it would be prudent to carefully consult with a travel agent and contact the cruise line for confirmation before proceeding with a booking.
All cruise travelers should regularly review the prohibited items list for their cruise line prior to sailing, as such lists are frequently updated with new items added that could lead to embarkation delays, fines, or outright bans.