Warning: These Things Could Get You Kicked Off a Cruise (Or Denied Boarding)

Getting kicked off a cruise ship? It’s rare, but it does happen from time to time. The same thing goes for being denied boarding. For the vast majority of passengers, it’s nothing they will have to worry about. However, there are some situations where the cruise lines reserve the right to either remove you from the ship or not let you even board in the first place.

All of the following are situations where at least one cruise line has either taken a passenger off the ship (or didn’t let them on) or they explicitly reserve the right to do so according to the passenger cruise contract that’s agreed to when buying a ticket.

Bringing a Baby Younger than Six Months

It seems harsh to deny someone boarding because they have a small infant. However, it’s actually in the interest of the baby’s health. Cruise lines won’t let children younger than six months board because of the difficulty in providing medical care in the middle of the ocean. Were the child to get sick, it could be a day or two to the nearest port. In addition, your child must be older than one year for trips that sail to Hawaii or across the Atlantic.

Don’t worry too much about running afoul of this rule, however. The online reservation systems the cruise lines use typically won’t let you book a trip if your child will be younger than the minimum age at the time of sailing.

(Read: The Complete Guide to Taking a Baby on a Cruise… From Someone Who’s  Done It)

Being More than 24 Weeks Pregnant

First things first, if you are pregnant, then it’s a good idea to read up on Zika and the risks associated with it. Second, just know that you can cruise while pregnant… up to a point. Cruise lines don’t allow you to sail past a certain week of pregnancy — usually around the 24th week. Similar to not sailing with small children, this is for the health of both mother and baby. Being at sea means there is often no quick access to hospitals if there is an emergency.

But just know that cruise lines are serious about this rule. Disney reportedly denied boarding to a woman because she was too far along in her pregnancy:

Show Signs of Contagious Illness

A runny nose? You’re fine. But if you are having signs of serious sickness — especially gastrointestinal illnesses with diarrhea and vomiting — then you could be denied boarding. It’s nothing against you, but the health of literally thousands of passengers and crew is at stake. If you report symptoms, you can be checked out for no charge by the cruise line’s doctor to decide if you are fit for travel.

Risky Behavior That Could Harm Others

If you read through your passenger contract, it actually gives the cruise lines broad authority to deny boarding or remove passengers. For instance, a passage in Carnival’s ticket contract states that “Carnival and the Master each reserves the right to refuse passage, disembark or confine to a stateroom… any Guest whose physical or mental condition or behavior would be considered, in the sole opinion of the Captain in consultation with the ship’s physician, a risk to any Guest or crew member.”

In other words, if the Captain thinks you might harm others, then you can be booted off the ship.


Smoking is heavily regulated on a cruise ship. This is not only for the comfort of passengers, but also for safety reasons. Fire is a major concern on a cruise ship. That’s why smoking is never allowed in cabins and is only allowed in designated areas. If you are caught smoking in a disallowed area, you will be asked to stop and could be fined. In addition, some cruise contracts state that the cruise line has the right to disembark passengers for violating the policy.

Trying to Sell on the Cruise Ship

It’s an odd thing to include, but buried inside the cruise passenger contract for Carnival is the following statement: “Guest further agrees not to solicit anyone on the vessel for any commercial or professional purposes. Guest agrees that any violation of this Clause may subject Guest to disembarkation.”

That’s right! If you solicit people on the ship for your business, it could get you kicked off.

Underage Drinking

Bottles of alcohol

Cruise lines take underage drinking seriously. In fact, we’ve seen it explicitly stated in cruise contracts with passengers that they have the right to remove underage passengers who are caught purchasing (or attempting to purchase) alcohol on the ship. This also includes any adults traveling with the minor. And if you purchase a drink for someone underage, that’s against the rules too.

Not Letting the Staff Search Your Room

It sounds, draconian, but it’s written in black and white in the ticket contract with Carnival:

“Guest agrees Carnival has, at all times with or without notice, the right to enter and search Guest’s stateroom, personal safe or storage spaces, or to search or screen any Guest, and/or personal effects, at any location, to ensure compliance with any of the restrictions set forth in this agreement. Any Guest who refuses any such search or screening may be denied boarding or disembarked and no refund of the cruise fare will be issued.”

That’s right. If you refuse the search, then you can be denied boarding or taken off the ship.

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean states they may remove a passenger from the ship when “when a Passenger refuses to permit search of his person or property for explosives, weapons, dangerous materials or other stolen, illegal or prohibited items.”

Have you ever seen someone removed from a ship? Tell us the story in the comments below.

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  1. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line did not let us board at Singapore, saying that we are Botswana citizens, and that cruise will be in the Thai waters, hence Thai authorities need visa. We told them that since we intend to remain on board and not disembark and cross immigration and are in transit for 8 hours, we do not need Thailand visa. But they did not let us board. We had to wait in Singapore for 4 days to get our luggage which they could not offload. We lost over 20000 US Dollars of our savings.


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