Before you click on this article and feel the need to flame me in the comment section, this article is published with purpose. Visit any discussion forum or Facebook group about cruising, and you’ll often see people ask if you can bring a drone on a cruise ship. Of course, that fires everyone up with endless opinions and misinformation.
It possible to bring a drone on a cruise ship?
The answer isn’t straightforward, as cruise lines’ policies vary greatly.
Many cruise lines have an explicit ban on carrying a drone onboard, while some allow carrying a drone with several restrictions.
In this article, we’ve listed the drone policies of popular cruise lines, whether they allow carrying a drone, and with what limitations.
Why do people carry a drone on a cruise ship?
For the anti-drone people, it’s important to realize that there are legitimate reasons that someone would be carrying a drone on a ship including cruise line-sponsored marketing videos and events.
Here are a few reasons why some people might want to take a drone on a cruise:
- A drone hobbyist can explore areas like remote beaches, high hills, unique landscapes, and other places where it’s tricky to set foot in.
- Drones can help capture weddings, parties, and live events on the cruise ship (or onshore), albeit with prior permission from the cruise line.
- Marketing professionals for travel companies often use cruises to visit as many places in a short time as possible for the creation of videos for specific projects. Many of these folks will use a drone for their work.
- For travel vloggers and content creators, drone imagery can help their content stand out among a sea of similar-looking photos and videos of the same cruise port or cruise destination by other influencers.
Which Cruise Lines Allow Passengers to Bring a Drone Onboard?
Most cruise lines do not allow carrying a drone onboard. However, a few allow you to carry one with certain restrictions.
Here’s a list of the few cruise lines that allow carrying a drone onboard, along with their restrictions.
Carnival Cruise Line Drone Rules
Carnival Cruise allows passengers to bring certain items onboard, including drones that they can only use off the ship. On its official website, the cruise line states that drones are allowed, but they must be handed over to the Chief Security Officer during check-in. However, you can pick up the drone for port use only.
Royal Caribbean Drone Policy
You can carry a drone on a Royal Caribbean cruise, which you must store safely in the stateroom. You cannot use the drone onboard or in Royal Caribbean’s private destinations like Perfect Day at Cococay, Haiti, and the Bahamas. You can only use the drone on land and outside the port area.
Celebrity Cruises Drone Regulations
Similar to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises has the same drone policy. You’re allowed to carry your drone on the cruise ship but not allowed to use it onboard under any circumstances. If found operating a drone on the cruise ship, the crew will confiscate it and return it only at the end of the trip. (If you’re lucky)
Cruise lines that prohibit drones (for the most part)
While these cruise lines specifically state in their policies rules against drones being brought on a ship, there may be a legitimate reason why the company will allow a drone to be placed with security and checked out at the port. It’s always worth asking!
Are drones allowed on Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)?
No, as per the cruise line’s prohibited list of items, drones or game-flying devices are not allowed onboard for the safety of other guests and the welfare of the vessel.
Can you Carry a Drone on a Disney Cruise?
Disney Cruise has a strict policy against drones and other electrical devices. If the crew finds a drone in your luggage during the security screening process, they will confiscate it. It could also result in a delay in the transfer of your luggage to your stateroom.
Can you bring a drone on Holland America Cruise?
According to Holland America Line’s list of prohibited items, passengers cannot bring drones or other remote-controlled aerial devices/toys onto the ship.
However, the cruise line also states that it can make exceptions for company-sponsored events, provided the fleet security gives prior approval.
According to a user on this forum, he emailed the cruise line about carrying a drone onboard.
The company replied that it would reach out to ship security to make an exception for bringing the drone onto the ship. So it’s possible with proper authorization.
Are drones allowed on MSC Cruises?
No, MSC Cruises doesn’t allow carrying a drone on its cruise ship.
However, some users who’ve contacted MSC Cruises disclosed that if you bring a drone onboard, you must hand it over to the crew and pick it up while departing the ship.
Can you bring a drone on Virgin Voyages?
Virgin Voyages explicitly states that drones aren’t allowed on their Lady Ships.
On its list of prohibited items, the cruise line specifically mentions that it will confiscate the drones before the cruise ship sets sail. The crew will only return the drones on the home port’s arrival.
BUT – We’ve spoken with people who have boarded with drones after speaking with security staff allowing them to disembark at ports and collect the drone for use outside of the port area.
Are drones allowed on Princess Cruises?
Drones are prohibited on Princess Cruises. The cruise line states that Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles (RPA), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and other remote-controlled aerial toys are restricted on the cruise ship.
However, it can make exceptions if you get it approved in advance by Fleet Security for company-sponsored events.
Can you bring a drone on the luxury cruise lines like Regent, Oceania, and Silversea?
Regent, Oceania, and Silversea cruises do not allow carrying a drone onboard.
Silversea Cruise Line states that due to varied port authority laws, passenger safety, and ship security, it prohibits onboarding all types of aerial drones.
3 Things to Consider before bringing a drone on a cruise ship
Cruise Line Policy
Depending on the cruise line policies, several cruise lines completely ban carrying a drone onboard. Other cruise lines require you to check in the drone with the security staff, while only a few allow it onboard stored in the cabin.
These policies can change anytime, and you should keep yourself updated by visiting the cruise line’s official website or contacting them through email or call.
Port & country regulations
While some cruise lines allow you to carry your drone onboard, it doesn’t mean you can fly it freely anywhere, or even anywhere near the port.
Individual ports and countries visited by your cruise will have their own policies on drone flying. There are no-fly zones in many ports and some countries due to close proximity with airports or military bases.
Drones are classified according to their weight. Hence, larger and heavier drones have more flying restrictions than smaller ones. Most commonly, drones under 250 grams have the least restrictions and will be more likely to be allowed.
How to check no-fly zones for your drone?
You can check a country or its port’s official website for no-fly zones. There are a few websites that have organized country (and US State) specific rules/laws including UAV Coach here.
Additionally, several apps like OpenSky & B4UFLY, and more provide visual information about no-fly zones.