What NOT to Pack for a Cruise

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Getting everything packed and organized for a cruise is a lot of work but sometimes knowing what NOT to pack for a cruise is just as important as knowing what to bring along. Having a list of what not to bring on a cruise is key when packing for a cruise to avoid bringing the wrong items, overpacking or worse, having your items confiscated by security before boarding. We’ve put together a list of what not to take on a cruise to help you.

Our list of what not to bring on a cruise ship is broken down into two parts. The first being what can you not bring on a cruise as dictated by the cruise lines themselves. These are generally for safety and security reasons. The second being that, from personal experience, there are items that we’ve packed for cruises and just not needed or found useful on our trip.

What Not to Pack for a Cruise: Forbidden Items


You can’t bring your own alcohol on board the ship with the exception of:

  • Carnival – One bottle of wine (750mL) per adult
  • Royal Caribbean – Two bottles of wine (750mL) per stateroom
  • Princess – One bottle of wine (750mL) per adult
  • Norwegian  – Wine allowed but corkage fee payable ($15/bottle) even if consumed in stateroom (no limit specified)
  • Disney – Two bottles of wine (750mL) or six beers (12oz)
  • Celebrity – Two bottles of wine (750mL) per stateroom



You cannot bring your corkscrew on board as it’s considered a weapon and will be confiscated. Your stateroom attendant will bring your a corkscrew on request however.



If goes without saying that weapons of any kind are not allowed aboard cruise ships.


Powerstrips with surge protectors

Powerstrips for charging multiple items at once can be brought on board but only if they do not have a surge protector built in. It can actually be hard to find one without a surge protector these days.

What to bring instead: A cruise-approved powerstrip without a surge protector like this


Irons / Clothes Steamers

Electronic items that generate heat are some of the main things not to bring on a cruise as a potential fire in a cabin is a major safety hazard. You therefore can not bring travel irons or clothes steamers with you on a cruise. Some ships have a laundry room with ironing facilities. Make sure you hang your formal wear up as soon as you have access to your stateroom. Using a garment bag for travel can also help. Or just pack items that don’t require any ironing.

What to bring instead: Wrinkle release spray



If you’re celebrating a birthday on board, bring along the decorations but leave the candles at home. The aren’t allowed in your stateroom. If you let your waitstaff know in advance they are usually able to arrange a small cake and candle at dinner for you to celebrate.



Leave your drone at home. Drones, although popular for photography these days, are on the list of what not to bring on a cruise ship.


Wheeled shoes / hoverboards / rollerblades

Tell your kids to leave all wheeled shoes and sports equipment behind. This is for safety reasons on a moving ship.


Bottled Water / Soda*

This might be surprising but, what can you not take on a cruise? Bottled water! You can not bring bottled water onto a cruise. You are able to bring canned water like La Croix or even boxed water like these as your “soda allowance” if your cruise line allows this but plastic bottles are a no-no.

You can of course bring your own personal refillable water bottle like this on board but disposable plastic water bottles (even one!) will not make it through security. It’s worth noting though that you may need to fill glasses to fill your water bottle at your table rather than filling it directly from drink machines for hygiene reasons, this depends on the cruise ship’s policy.

*It’s worth noting that Norwegian does not allow soda, water or juice of any kind to be brought on board at embarkation. Carnival allows 12 cans per person and Royal Caribbean allow 12 cans of soda per stateroom. Princess doesn’t list a number of cans but they are allowed. Holland America, Celebrity and Disney doesn’t specify a limit to soda either but you have to be able to carry it on in your carry on bag.

What to bring instead: Refillable water bottle


Large Coolers

You’re permitted to bring small coolers into your stateroom by most cruise lines. Carnival prohibits coolers larger than 12″ x 12″ x 12″ If you’d like to bring a cooler that doesn’t got against the Carnival cruise what not to bring list then here is a good one – soft sided 12 inch cooler


Coffee Pots / Travel Kettles

Again to prevent fire hazards, you can not bring electric coffee pots or travel kettles on board. You can bring a french press if you’re really fussy about your coffee though. Have a look at these travel-sized french presses.

What to bring instead: Travel French press and coffee mug combo


Homemade/Unpackaged Foods

These are not allowed and will be removed from your luggage.


What Not to Pack for a Cruise: Stuff You Don’t Need

While the above items on the list are what can you not take on a cruise ship, the following items aren’t necessarily forbidden by cruise lines, it’s just better not to bring them along.


Ripped jeans / jean shorts

While there’s nothing to say you are forbidden from packing these items, you’ll find that ripped jeans or jeans shorts are top of the list of what not to wear on a cruise. Whilst you can wear it casually around the ship or on excursions, you can’t wear ripped denim in the main dining room so it’s better to just leave them at home. Make sure your cruise clothing is neat and tidy.



There’s almost always a hair dryer on board in your stateroom. Check with your specific ship before you set out.





When we were prepping for our recent Carnival Cruise what not to pack and leave at home was just as important as planning what to bring. Having a good understanding of what can you not bring on a Carnival Cruise for safety reasons will prevent your items being confiscated by security.

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what not to bring on a carnival cruise
royal caribbean what not to bring


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