Can I Bring Marijuana on a Cruise?

In the United States, the laws regarding marijuana have eased considerably in the past decade. What started as legalization of medical use has turned into full legalization for many states. Still others have enacted medical marijuana laws, as well as easing restrictions on related products like CBD oil.

Marijuana on a cruise ship

Thinking of bringing marijuana on your cruise? Unfortunately for many, marijuana of any type (including both medical and recreational) is not allowed on cruise ships, even if the ships sails from a state where the drug is legal. This rule includes items like CBD oils as well.

Rules Regarding Marijuana and Cruise Ships

Obviously there is some conflict between the laws in many states and the federal rules around the drug. While some states have chosen to legalize marijuana, it’s still illegal at a federal level.

This puts the cruise lines in a limbo. With conflicting laws, they choose to stay on the safe side and follow federal law.

Here’s what Carnival Cruise Lines says about marijuana on its ships:

“Carnival recognizes that some state and local governments in the U.S., and in the destinations we visit, might allow marijuana use. However, Carnival Cruise Line follows U.S. federal law, which strictly prohibits possession and use of recreational/medicinal marijuana and other illegal controlled substances.”

Norwegian Cruise Lines has a similar policy, and specifically mentioned medical marijuana in its prohibited items list:

All illegal narcotics/drugs. (Including Marijuana prescribed for medical purposes and other items used as drug paraphernalia. This includes Hookah Pipes).

Remember as well that on a cruise, it’s not just a matter of United States’ law. Ships sail from port to port, putting passengers under the laws of several different countries in the course of a single cruise.

Banning marijuana helps the cruise lines stay in the good favor of local laws, no matter where they sail.

What About Medical Marijuana on a Cruise?

You might think that medical marijuana would be legal if you have a prescription. However, just as with the state versus federal rules, medical marijuana is illegal on a federal level and specifically mentioned as prohibited by cruise lines.

It doesn’t matter if you have a doctor’s note for a medical need, or if it’s recreational, marijuana of all types is prohibited.

Can I Bring a Vape Pen, Edibles, Synthetics or Other Infused Products?

The rules put out by the cruise lines are clear and broad-encompassing. If it’s marijuana (or a synthetic), then you can’t bring it on the ship. This includes everything from actual buds to more discrete products like edibles, chocolates, and the popular vape pens/cartridges.

If it was marijuana in it, then it’s not allowed on a cruise.

What About Marijuana on Alaskan Cruises?

Let’s say you are headed on an Alaskan cruise. If you’re headed to Alaska, odds are that you will be sailing from Seattle, Washington.

The state of Washington is seen as one of the most progressive in the United States when it comes to marijuana laws. It’s currently one of many states that allow the recreational use of the drug. Within the state, people can purchase it for personal use with no penalty. 

In addition to Washington, Alaska is also extremely progressive on marijuana use. Recreational use is perfectly legal for adults.

Since most cruises from Seattle head to Alaska, it creates an extremely unique situation where a cruise is traveling from one state to another where both allow the drug to be used legally. So it begs the question. If marijuana is legal in both states, does that mean you can bring it on your cruise?

No. Marijuana (medical or recreational) still is not allowed on cruise ships, no matter where it departs or sails to.

While the drug is legal in both Alaska and Washington, it is still illegal at the federal level. That means technically it’s not even legal in Alaska/Washington if the federal government chose to enforce the law.

What About CBD Oil on a Cruise?

Many states have relaxed rules on CBD oil, even if marijuana is still illegal in those states. Even so, cruise lines lump CBD in with its cousin and ban it from their ships. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean specifically mention these products in their “Prohibited Items” list. Norwegian Cruise Lines doesn’t make a specific mention of CBD but does prohibit “all illegal narcotics/drugs.”

Can I Buy Marijuana in Port and Bring it Home?

Many people buy alcohol while in port and bring it home with them for after the cruise. So can you do the same if you sail to a place where marijuana is sold legally, like Alaska?

While it may be legal for you to buy in port where your cruise stops, it’s still against the rules to bring it onboard the cruise, even if you don’t plan to consume it on the ship.

That said, if you want to enjoy the product while in port, then that’s legal to do (assuming you follow the state laws). When you are off the cruise ship, you are no longer under their rules. There’s nothing against you partaking, assuming you are doing it legally in port.

What Happens if I am Caught With Marijuana on a Cruise Ship?

If you are caught with an illegal drug like marijuana on a ship, it’s difficult to say exactly what will happen. That’s because there are overlapping rules of law on a cruise ship, much of which depends on where the ship is located at the time of the offense.

Chances are that small amounts of marijuana that you try to bring on the ship would likely just be confiscated. But it’s really up to the cruise line. At worst, they could alert local authorities to the situation.

In fact, in some Caribbean locales, the local police are known for entering staterooms when a cruise ship is in port looking for small amounts of drugs. This gives them an opportunity to levy fines on cruise passengers who aren’t aware of the local laws.

Our advice is to simply not risk it.

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  1. Pot on a cruise ship is bad news. Where will you smoke it? Privacy is zero. And it is NOT condoned at any level: (1) Passengers: they are typically people who like buffets and cabaret music and disco and drinks; totally non-heads, the newlyweds and almost-deads. (2) The administration: it doesn’t matter where pot is legal: you can be off the dock in California and you are in federal jurisdiction and the CG can pull that ship over there–or anywhere else, even 90 miles out–and run a dog through the ship. If drugs are found the Captain is held responsible and it is, at the least, a black mark on the ship and the cruise line with the Federal govt. However unlikely this scenario you can believe the Captain looks at it that way.

    There have been cases, honestly, where cruise ship passengers were checked with drug dogs and busted right off the cruise before it started. It sucks like all bigoted pot laws suck just like cruise ship disco-dancing drunks suck.

  2. I vape marijuana in public fairly often (in a state where legal medical use is just developing) and people honestly don’t care (not that I’m doing it right up in their faces). Welcome to the future lol.

  3. Seems to me that some laws need to be changed. I can not go on a cruise ship and absorb the very medicine prescribed to me by a physician, because some lame brain doesn’t get the need for it. Shame on this nation of self absorbed politicians. We need to change things people.


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