Norwegian Cruise Line has quietly added walkie-talkies to the prohibited items list, meaning guests can no longer bring walkie-talkies of any size onboard.
This may be a challenge for some travelers who use inexpensive walkie-talkies to keep in touch while on the ship as different family members attend different activities.
Walkie-Talkies Now Banned
Norwegian Cruise Line recently updated its Prohibited Items List to include walkie-talkies. This makes 32 items now explicitly banned by the cruise line, and follows another recent update, when fans were banned in March 2023.
There is no explanation or clarification of why walkie-talkies are now prohibited, but there could be several reasons. The frequencies of certain walkie-talkies could possibly interfere with other onboard signals, including radios used by crew members or frequencies that need to be kept clear for emergencies. Some walkie-talkies might even interfere with onboard wi-fi service, though this is unlikely.
The ban could also be a result of unruly behavior, such as young cruisers playing rowdy games involving walkie-talkies, or possibly throwing the small, hand-held radios and creating disturbances, though no reports of such behaviors have been made public.
Some guests are speculating that the move could be an attempt by Norwegian Cruise Line to encourage guests to pay for wi-fi packages in order to use social media messaging, or else to pay for a “Phone and Messenger” package through the Norwegian Cruise Line app.
Rates for the in-app phone and messaging access are $9.95 (USD) per person, and the package does not include calls off the cruise ship.
Whatever the reason, all types of walkie-talkies are now banned. Unlike the ban on small fans earlier this year that was later clarified with some exceptions, the prohibition on walkie-talkies appears to be absolute, regardless of the size, style, manufacturer, or strength of the small radios.
Why Cruisers Like Walkie-Talkies
Some cruise travelers use walkie-talkies as an inexpensive, convenient way to keep in touch with family or group members, especially on larger ships when different individuals want to join in different activities or when parents may be relaxing in an adults-only area while children are at the pool, waterpark, or arcade.
A walkie-talkie can be a quick way to check in or locate someone without needing to rely on sometimes intermittent internet service, especially if guests are not staying in the same cabins or perhaps even on the same decks.
Walkie-talkies are especially favored by families who prefer to unplug and put away cell phones while on vacation, or if not everyone in the family has a cell phone to stay in touch onboard.
Similar Banned Items
While Norwegian Cruise Line has not offered an explanation about why, specifically, walkie-talkies are now prohibited, there are several other items on the prohibited list that are similar.
Read Also: Things You Can’t Take on a Cruise
For example, number 20 on the list is “large batteries” and walkie-talkies and their charging bases may use batteries that aren’t approved. While “large” would typically refer to marine batteries for boats, scooters, and similar items, this could be one interpretation that relates to walkie-talkies.
Numbers 25 and 26 relate even more closely to walkie-talkies. Prohibited item number 25 lists “Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), ham radios, satellite phones, transformers, lasers and laser pointers,” and while most inexpensive walkie-talkies do not have emergency beacons or lasers, they may use similar frequencies that could be problematic.
Prohibited item number 26, “Any form of radio/ telephone signal jamming equipment,” is also related. While walkie-talkies are not intended as jamming devices, using them in close proximity with other equipment could potentially create a localized jamming effect.
Cruise lines regularly update their prohibited items list as new items become a concern, or they may remove items that are no longer seen as troublesome. Just 18 months ago in January 2021, for example, Norwegian Cruise Line’s prohibited items list only contained 28 items, whereas the addition of walkie-talkies brings the list to 32.
At this time, no other major cruise line has banned walkie-talkies.