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What Not to Pack for a Cruise? 21 Items to Leave at Home

What not to pack for a cruise? There are some items from home that are not allowed on a cruise ship that will send your luggage directly to the naughty room. Then there are some items that you just don’t need to bring with you. Check out these 21 items you should not bring on a cruise.

Packing for a cruise can be tricky because you’re on a ship for a certain length of time and you’re also visiting multiple destinations. You want to be prepared for both the ship and for each destination.

Then there are some amenities and items that we use on a daily basis at home, that we think we’ll need on vacation, too. But alas, there are some items that are not allowed on a cruise ship and some we just shouldn’t waste our luggage space with.

On this site, we have already listed all the essentials for a cruise to pack with some cruise packing tips, but let’s dig into what not to pack for a cruise. So you can start preparing for your cruise ship vacation.

If you’re packing for a Caribbean cruise, don’t miss our beach packing list.

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Keep reading and find out what you can and what you can’t bring on a cruise.

What items are NOT allowed on cruise ships?

For starters, and most importantly, you should not bring on a cruise… firearms or ammunition, illegal drugs, knives of any kind, explosives, pepper spray, and self-defense devices.

These items are not allowed on cruise ships for the safety of all passengers. If you pack any of these items, they will be confiscated and you may be subject to arrest.

Keep reading as we list more items in this article below along with some cruise tips.

What happens when you bring banned items on a cruise ship?

If you pack any of the lesser-criminalizing items into your luggage, they will end up in the naughty room at security. You may be asked to surrender the item to security or throw it away.

So it’s important to check with your cruise line before packing to ensure all your items are allowed on board.

Can you bring weed on a cruise ship?

No, you can not bring marijuana on a cruise ship. Even if is legal in the state you’re embarking from, it is still considered an illegal drug under U.S. federal laws.

Can you bring an empty water bottle on a cruise?

Yes, you can! In fact, we recommend bringing a reusable water bottle. Cruise ships charge for water and sodas, so it’s helpful to bring an empty water bottle to fill up with the free filtered water at the buffet.

What not to pack for a Cruise?

What not to bring on a cruise? The items listed below should not be packed in your luggage because they are simply not necessary or they are not allowed on cruise ships, illegal, and-or unsafe, and dangerous.

What Not to Bring on a Cruise

1. Beach Towels

Do you have to bring beach towels on a cruise? You do not. Leave your beach towels at home. Cruise lines provide beach towels that you can take with you off the ship. You just have to bring them back with you from the port and they’ll swap them out with new ones.

Note if you lose your beach towel, you will be charged for it.

2. Hangers

Can you take clothes hangers on a cruise ship? You can, but save your luggage space. Don’t pack hangers for a cruise. Every cruise cabin on a cruise line has several hangers in the closet. If you need more, you can always ask your room steward.

3. Shampoo, Conditioner & Soap

This one, we’d say, is optional. Cruise lines provide these basic toiletries in every cruise cabin. Of course, the quality of these items are not the best. So if you’re particular about what products you use, feel free to pack your own.

Mostly, we always pack our own, especially with my curly hair and sensitive skin. However, many cruisers forgo packing these items and are fine with what is provided.

4. Hairdryer

Do you have to pack a hairdryer on a cruise? No, you don’t. There’s a hairdryer in every cabin.

As someone who appreciates a strong blow dryer, I can vouch that the newer cruise ships provide a great option.

5. Books

Library on the Celebrity Equinox.

This may be controversial because some of us like to bring a book to read that we can hold in our hands. It’s not the same as holding a tablet. But books are one of those items that you do not have to pack for a cruise. Pack lighter.

Cruises do have libraries. Some are bigger than others, with more selections, but borrowing a book from the cruise library is an option.

Or, just for vacation, maybe, consider buying a Kindle e-reader or downloading the Kindle app to your phone or tablet.

6. Hangers

Can you take clothes hangers on a cruise ship? You can, but save your luggage space. Don’t pack hangers for a cruise. Every cruise cabin on a cruise line has several hangers in the closet.

If you need more, you can always ask your room steward.

– Don’t Miss: 25 Best Things About Cruise Vacations

Prohibited Items on a Cruise

7. Power Strip with a Surge Protector

Power strips are allowed and an item we do recommend bringing. What is not allowed are power strips with a surge protector.

So if the power strip at home has a button that automatically shuts off if there is a power surge, leave that one at home. Buy one that does not have a surge protector to bring with you.

8. Iron

You are not allowed to bring an iron onto cruise ships, so leave it off the packing list. And don’t expect to find irons in your cruise ship cabin, either.

Some cruise ships may have laundry rooms that supply ironing boards and irons for passengers to use. However, that is becoming a rare amenity on cruise ships. The last time we used a laundry room on a cruise ship was on a Carnival Cruise Line many years ago.

So, what should you do if you need to iron something while on your cruise?

  • You can call your cabin steward and request they lend you an iron to use.
  • We recommend packing a travel-sized wrinkle release spray to spray your clothes with. We will spray the article of clothing and then hang it in the bathroom while we shower so the steam can bring out the wrinkles.
  • Have your steward send out your clothes to get pressed your clothes for you for a cost. This is a service that is offered on most, if not all, cruise ships.

    Norwegian Cruise Line sometimes offers 50% off this service on cruise embarkation day, but not always, as we did not see this offer on our last Norwegian Joy cruise. See if your cruise line offers any deals on boarding day.

– Don’t Miss: Cruise Clothes for Women: Packing Light

9. Steamer

Sadly, steamers are not allowed on cruise ships either. It’s one of our favorite items to pack when we travel.

We recommend following the same methods and options mentioned in item two.

10. Coffee Maker

haven cabin with lavazza coffee maker
Haven cabin “penthouse suite” on the Norwegian Getaway had a Lavazza machine coffee maker. We’ve heard they most recently have been replaced with Nespresso.

Coffee lovers, it would be best if you left your coffee makers at home.

Depending on your cruise line and the cabin you booked, a coffee maker may be provided for you.

On the newer ships, we’ve had coffee makers in our cabin on Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Line ships. But you should always do the research in advance. You never know when they’ll add or remove them.

The best is when you stay in a suite. We stayed in the Haven on Norwegian, and the Lavazza coffee maker was the best amenity of the cabin. We made cappuccinos every afternoon to enjoy on our balcony.

What to do if you must have coffee in the morning?

  • You can pack instant coffee packets.
  • Keurigs and Nespresso machines are becoming popular across cruise ships. Find out if you’re cruise ship cabin has one. You may be able to bring your favorite single-serve coffee pods.
  • The easiest and best thing to do to have your morning coffee is to set up room service for the morning for a set time. Do this the night before. Room service will knock on your door with a fresh thermos full of coffee and anything else you ordered from the menu. It’s a great wake-up call to start your day.

11. Hot Plate & Other Cooking Appliances

With all the all-inclusive food included on a cruise ship, why would you bring a hot plate? Leave the hot plate and any other cooking appliances at home.

Hot plates, toaster ovens, electric kettles, rice cookers, and Instantpots are not allowed.

12. Candles & Incense

For safety reasons, candles and incense are not allowed on cruise ships.

However, there are plenty of safe alternatives to choose from that will give your cabin the same ambiance.

We recommend packing flameless candles. We love to bring the flameless tea candles you can buy at the dollar store and use as a nightlight.

13. Heating Pads & Heaters

Cruise vs All-Inclusive Resort

What’s the difference between a cruise vs an all-inclusive resort? We break down the key differences and similarities between them, so you can plan the perfect vacation that fits your needs.

What not to pack for a cruise? Anything that produces heat. That includes a heating pad and heaters.

Alternatively, bringing air-activated heating pads is safer if you need a heating pad for aches and pains. These have been lifesavers in the past.

14. Perishable Food

Leave all meats, vegetables, and anything that can perish at home.

You are allowed to bring pre-packaged snacks and non-perishable food items. We usually bring protein bars that we normally pack when we travel, in case we ever need them.

You cannot bring any food items off the ship at cruise ports.

15. Alcohol

If you think you’ll be able to bring your own alcohol to save on the cost of drinks, think again. Most cruise ships restrict outside alcohol. They want you to buy the ships on

There are ways that people do sneak alcohol onto cruise ships, but if you’re caught, they will be thrown out.

There are exceptions! Some cruise ship lines may allow a limited amount of alcohol, like a bottle of wine, but every cruise line is different. Check with your cruise line what their rules are.

When you buy local liquor at cruise ports and return to the ship, security will take the bottles from you and hold them until the end of the cruise. You will receive your liquor at the end of the cruise before disembarking.

infographic list of things not to pack on a cruise
What not to pack for a cruise? Save this handy list to Pinterest!

16. Drones

Drones are not allowed to be used on cruise ships, or you can’t use them.

Some cruise lines will allow you to bring a drone to be used on land only. Of course, in this case, security will hold your drone until your get off at the port.

The drone policies vary between cruise lines.

17. Bicycles, Scooters, Rollerskates…

Anything with wheels is not allowed on a cruise ship. That includes bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, and skateboards. This would be a dangerous activity on a cruise with 2,000 to 5,000 passengers. You can leave these at home with all the things to do on a cruise.

But we could see how fun it would be to rollerskate around an empty ship.

18. Inflatables

Inflatables are not allowed on a cruise ship. That includes rafts, kiddie pools, and blow-up balls.

There is only enough room for people to swim in the pools. Leave the inflatables at home.

19. Weapons of Any Kind

What not to pack for a cruise? Weapons!

Weapons of any kind are prohibited, and you can not bring them on a cruise ship. If you can’t bring it on a plane, you can’t bring it on a cruise ship.

That includes anything considered a weapon, such as pepper spray, mace, a taser, and knives.

20. Explosives or fireworks

What not to bring on a cruise? Of course, you can’t bring explosives or fireworks on a cruise ship. That would be dangerous and irresponsible. Leave fireworks to the professional.

Disney Cruise Lines is the only cruise line that still has fireworks displays on some of its cruise ships and itineraries.

21. Illegal Substances

Illegal drugs are not allowed on cruise ships. You will be disembarked at the next port if caught with illegal drugs and turned over to local authorities.

Cruise Essentials to Pack

Before you set sail, be sure to pack these essentials that will help make your cruise even more enjoyable. These items include everything from sun protection essentials to must-have medications. So don’t forget to add them to your cruise packing list.

We hope this list helps you avoid any packing disasters and gives you an idea of what not to bring on a cruise. If it’s dangerous or unsafe, don’t bring it. Let’s keep packing simple.

What do you like to bring on a cruise? Let us know in the comments below.

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Monday 25th of July 2022

Are you allowed to bring your personal mobility scooter on Norwegian? I can’t walk more than a few steps. Would I need a note from my doctor?


Friday 12th of August 2022

@Kathy, thank you. We contacted Norwegian and told them we are bringing my mobility scooter. I gave them the measurements and it fits through the door. It also comes apart.


Monday 25th of July 2022

Hi Harriet - Depending on the cruise line, you can bring a mobility scooter on Norwegian, but you have to book an accessible stateroom that will make things easier to store the scooter and charge it. You need to give the cruise line advanced notice and there is a Special Needs Guest form to be filled out at least 90 days before your cruise to inform them about your scooter. You can read NCL's Mobility and Scotter guidelines here: Hope this helps.