Can I Bring Food and Snacks on a Cruise?

Sometimes you’ve just got to have a Snickers bar… or some Doritos… or some Oreos. No matter your favorite snack, sometimes (or every day) you have to have it. And if you are sailing on a cruise, you can’t go an entire week without your favorite goody.

Meanwhile, you likely know the restrictive rules that cruise lines have regarding drinks. Most cruise lines allow a bottle of champagne or wine, and that’s it. Bringing on beer or liquor will result in it being confiscated. For many cruise lines, even non-alcoholic drinks and bottles of water are prohibited as well.

Given that drink policies are so restrictive, does that mean the same for food and snacks? Are you going to have to go all week without those Oreos?

The good news is that yes, you can bring food and snacks on a cruise — including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. But before you starting bringing the entire refrigerator there is more you need to know about what you can and can’t bring on your trip.

What You Can…And Can’t… Bring on a Cruise

Snack foods

As you may know, there are some major issues on cruise ships that apply to food. The first is customs.

Cruising is a popular vacation because you get a sample of several different ports. A 7-day cruise might take you to three or four different ports, not even including the home port that the ship sails from.

Of course, when you visit so many ports, there is the potential to carry with you foreign pests or diseases in food that could cause havoc with a different ecosystem. This is especially the case with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Another major issue with food and cruise ships has to do with illness. Being sick on a cruise is no fun, and the only thing worse is spreading that sickness to others in the confined space of a ship.

For both of these reasons, you aren’t allowed to bring on fruits and vegetables or home cooked items on your cruise. Instead, the only food and snacks you are allowed to bring with you are pre-packaged items.

Each cruise line makes this rule clear on their websites:

Royal Caribbean
“One of the best things about cruising is the food! And there will be many dining options available to suit most tastes and preferences. However you are free to bring non-perishable prepackaged food in limited quantities.”

Carnival
“Food Items must be pre-packaged and unopened; homemade items or pre-cooked foods will not be permitted onboard. Limitations on permitted food items are directly related to concerns for food safety and contamination prevention. We are unable to provide food preparation, refrigeration or storage for personal food or beverage items.”

Norwegian
“Unsealed food items will not be allowed onboard.”

Final Thoughts on Bringing Food on a Cruise

While it might seem restrictive to only be allowed pre-packaged items, it actually encompasses a huge variety of items. Things like candy, chips, salty snacks, beef jerky, and more fall under the umbrella. So chances are that your favorite snack is allowed on the ship.

And if you have kids? Pre-packed baby food is allowed as well.

Have more questions about bringing food? Let us know in the comments below.


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