What It’s Like to Go Through Cruise Security

Anxious about security for getting on your cruise? Don’t worry. If you can handle airport security, then going through the cruise line’s process will be easy in comparison.

In fact, while every port does things a little differently, going through cruise security is much easier than airport security. From less intrusive screening to no body scanners to being able to pack liquids, cruise security will remind you of how flying used to be.

For more details, here’s what you can expect come cruise day…

Going Through Cruise Ship Security

When you arrive at the cruise terminal, the first thing you will do is line-up to pass through security. Just like at the airport, the first stop you’ll make is a security agent who will check your boarding documents and your passport/birth certificate. You’ll approach with your entire party, so it’s easiest for one person to have all the documentation in hand to give the security agent.

One thing you will notice is that port security doesn’t have the familiar blue uniforms you see at airports. That’s because they are private security teams — not the TSA. In our opinion, these private security guards are much more pleasant to deal with than TSA agents.

After having your documentation checked, you’ll next line-up for the x-ray machine and metal detector.

All of your carry-on luggage will go through the x-ray machine, which looks just like what you’d encounter at the airport. You do not have to remove liquid items or laptops from your bags. However, if the security agent screening bags through the machine sees liquid bottles (such as your carry-on wine bottle or cans of soda) then they will flag them for additional screening.

Additional screening for your liquids involves taking them to a side table where an agent will visually inspect the item. If your liquids look like they have been tampered with or if it’s clear they contain alcohol you’re not supposed to bring, then they won’t hesitate to confiscate them.

As for your person, you will go through a metal detector. We have yet to go through a port that has the body scanners that have caused so much controversy at the airport. This means you can keep things in your pockets, as long as is isn’t metal. You also do not have to remove belts or shoes. If you pass through the metal detector and it beeps, then an agent will come over and pass a wand to find the item on your body. We have yet to ever see a pat-down going through cruise security.

Once you’ve pass through the metal detector, you simply pick up your bags from the x-ray machine and you’re finished. You just head to check-in to make your way to the ship.

To sum things up, here are some major ways that cruise security is different than security at an airport:

How Cruise Security Differs From Airport Security

No TSA Agents
The blue-uniformed folks known through airports nationwide are not around. Instead, private security guards perform the check-in.

No Liquid Rules
Cruise lines have rules about how much alcohol or soda you can bring on a ship, but there are no rules about only carrying 3 ounces of liquids. So things like shampoo and sunscreen are perfectly fine to take through security and don’t even have to be taken out of your bag.

No “Nude Scanner”
Know those scanners that you step into and put your hands up? They aren’t at cruise terminals. You just walk through a metal detector. That also means you don’t have to take everything out of your pockets. You just take out whatever might set off the metal detector.

No Pat-downs
Worried about being patted down like you are a criminal? Don’t worry. We’ve never seen anyone being patted down for a cruise. They are looking for metal objects. If someone sets off the metal detector, then a wand will be used to find the object.

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  1. It’s good to learn that while you do go through an x-ray machine, you don’t need to remove liquid from you bags. My husband and I would like to go on a cruise next summer. Maybe it would be good to have a walk-in x-ray scanner for my husband’s clinic, too.


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