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Are drones allowed on cruise ships?

Nov. 12, 2022
4 min read
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Drones — small remote-controlled flying devices, many of which are equipped with cameras — have become one of the best ways to snag aerial photos of some of the world's most picturesque destinations, as well as footage of cruise ships. With that in mind, many travelers are naturally curious about whether they can take drones on a cruise and if they can fly a drone while on a cruise ship.

At the time of publication, only three of the industry's eight major cruise lines permit passengers to bring drones on board.

Even in cases where drones are allowed, cruisers cannot fly them from the ship. They are for use in port only, and cruisers are responsible for adhering to any local regulations, including rules about how far drones must stay from buildings, vessels and restricted areas, such as airports. In some instances, the location may require a permit to use the drone. Passengers who don't follow any of these regulations risk incurring fines or having their drones confiscated by their cruise line or local authorities.

Here's a rundown of cruise line drone policies.

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Carnival Cruise Line

A drone shot of Carnival Spirit in Australia. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

Carnival Cruise Line's drone policy allows cruisers to bring drones for port use only. The aircraft must be stored with the chief security officer and checked out and back in by the owner when going ashore and returning to the ship.

Celebrity Cruises

On Celebrity ships, drones are permitted for use ashore only, and they must be operated outside of the port area. When on the ship, they are to be stored in passenger cabins. Anyone caught using a drone on board will receive a guest conduct warning and could risk temporary drone confiscation, as well as early disembarkation.

Disney Cruise Line

Passengers on Disney Cruise Line are not allowed to bring drones on board.

Holland America Line

A drone with a camera. MARK NEWMAN/THE IMAGE BANK/GETTY IMAGES

Drones and other remote-controlled aerial devices aren't permitted on any of Holland America's ships.

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MSC Cruises

MSC includes drones on its list of banned items that cannot be brought on board.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian includes "any remote-controlled or autonomously flying devices, toys or drones" on its prohibited items list.

Princess Cruises

"Drones ... and any other remote-controlled aerial devices/toys" aren't allowed on Princess cruises.

Royal Caribbean International

A drone shot of Radiance of the Seas in Alaska. MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL

Royal Caribbean's cruise drone policy is identical to Celebrity's: Drones are permitted for use only on land, outside of the port area. When on the ship, they are to be stored in passenger cabins. Anyone caught using a drone on board could receive a guest conduct warning or be debarked early from the voyage.

Got more cruise questions? TPG has answers:

Featured image by YAGI STUDIO/DIGITALVISION/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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