Can I Bring CBD on a Cruise Ship? (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian)

To say there’s been a revolution in public opinion around marijuana, hemp, and CBD would be putting it lightly. Following the passage of a 2018 farm bill in Congress, the rules regarding CBD oils specifically have eased; in fact, you might have noticed a boom in shops selling products with CBD oils in them. You might have even noticed CBD in places you’d never expect like convenience stores and even national chains like Bed Bath & Beyond.

Want to bring CBD oil on a cruise? Unfortunately, it’s on the prohibited items lists for many lines. Here are the details to know.

So why is CBD so popular? For many of the same reasons that taking a cruise is so popular. Many people report eased anxiety, better sleep, pain relief, and more. In a country where for years many people have turned to pharmaceuticals for health problems, some believe that CBD offers better benefits with fewer side effects and are a healthier option.

Of course, with the number of people using CBD, that also means there are more people who want to know if they can bring it on a cruise ship. That’s why we’ve looked into the rules to see if you can board your ship with CBD on your next vacation.

Relaxing Rules Mean More Acceptance. What About Cruises?

As rules surrounding marijuana, hemp, and CBD relax in the United States (and other parts of the world), it has put the cruise lines in confusing situation.

Take marijuana, for instance. If you are taking an Alaskan cruise, the ship would likely leave from Seattle, sail to Alaska, and have a call in Canada. In all three of these places recreational marijuana is legal. So you can bring it on a cruise, right?

Wrong. As we explained here, cruise lines follow federal laws, which still make marijuana illegal. It’s also illegal to take the substance into or out of Canada.

So what about CBD, which doesn’t contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana? Isn’t it legal in the U.S.? Doesn’t that mean you can take it?

The Definitive Word on CBD on a Cruise Ship

Truth is, the laws surrounding CBD are still fuzzy. For instance, PBS NewsHour put together an exhaustive article around the legality of CBD. They had this to say:

“Yes, purchasing CBD is federally legal as long as it doesn’t contain more than 0.3 percent THC, but some state laws have put restrictions on buyers. For example, Virginians can only buy and possess CBD if they have a prescription…

“…These federal provisions, as written, also have a blindspot whereby a store can sell as much CBD as it wants, as long it doesn’t make any health claims about its products, put it in food nor add it to dietary supplements.”

But one thing to remember is that cruises may depart from the United States, but they travel to other countries. So cruise lines are dealing not only with U.S. law, but Mexican law, Canadian law, Bahamian law, Aruban law, and many more.

In other words, it’s far simpler and easier simply to not let passengers bring CBD on a cruise and stay clear of violations. This keeps both the cruise line and the individual passengers in the clear.

That’s why you can’t bring CBD on a cruise.

For example, Carnival Cruise Lines specifically mentions CBD on their prohibited items list:

“Any illegal narcotics/drugs including synthetic, designer drugs, Cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana. 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.”

Royal Caribbean also lists illegal drugs and substances under prohibited items on its cruises. Then it has another specific line for “CBD Oil / CBD Products.” So while they don’t seem to be considered illegal by the cruise line, CBD still isn’t allowed.

Norwegian Cruise LinesProhibited Items List says you can’t bring on “All illegal narcotics/drugs. (Including Marijuana prescribed for medical purposes and other items used as drug paraphernalia. This includes all products containing CBD, oils, candies, and gummies or any product containing THC.”

You’ll find that other cruise lines have similar policies.

Put simply, don’t bring your CBD-infused items on your cruise. They are against the rules for now.

What if I Bring CBD on a Cruise Anyway?

What happens if you decide to risk it and bring your CBD anyway? If found, expect it to be confiscated. 

Norwegian Cruise Line says in their policies that “items will be confiscated and not transported aboard. When an item is determined to be illegal the appropriate authorities will be informed.”

Carnival has a similar notice on its website. It says that the cruise line “reserves the right to confiscate any item” and that “items will be removed and disposed of and no compensation will be provided.”

If in another country when found, you would be subject to the laws of that nation.

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  1. We have an 11 year old child with cerebral palsy, on Epidiolex for LGS seizures. While I’ve never been an advocate for CBD. The doctor prescribed this. Along with a seizure medication she was already on, she is finally doing great and no seizures since. Idk how we will ever be able to bring her on a cruise if there are no exceptions to the rules? I’d there any ship we can take her on?

    • You can contact the cruise line, but they are usually specific that CBD isn’t allowed.
      Happy to hear that it’s helping with the seizures. That’s wonderful.


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