Skip to Content

Can You Bring a Drone on a Cruise? (Read This First)

Cruises are the best. They provide superb value for your money as you get to see so many amazing places within a short period. If you own a drone and have gone or are planning to go on a cruise, you may be considering bringing your flying machine to take some stunning aerial photographs and videos. But before you pack your drone, it’s worth doing a little research to find out whether you can bring drones on a cruise or not. 

Some cruise lines such as  Royal Caribbean Cruise, Carnival Cruise, and Celebrity Cruise are the few cruise lines that allow passengers to bring drones aboard, but they have rules about what type of drones are allowed. Almost all other cruise lines prohibit passengers from bringing a drone aboard.

As you can see, there aren’t many cruise lines out there that allow passengers to bring drones aboard. Even Carnival, which permits drones, insists that only camera drones are allowed and both Carnival and Caribbean cruise lines explicitly forbid the operation of drones while on the cruise. 

Bringing a drone on a cruise

While both the Royal and Carnival cruise lines may allow you to bring drones onboard, they have policies against using drones while on the cruise. The reason for this is for the safety and privacy of other people onboard. Drone accidents are not uncommon and other people onboard may not take kindly to appearing in your photos or videos. 

So while you can take a drone aboard these two cruise lines, your drone is to remain in your cabin at all times until you dock. The policy against the operation of drones doesn’t end at the docks either, as you have to be away from the port before you can use your drone. So in a nutshell, you can only transport your drone on the Caribbean Cruise and Carnival Cruise and use your drone on land away from the ports. 

If you are on the Royal Caribbean cruise (link), you are also not allowed to use drones at their private destinations which include CocoCay, in the Bahamas, or Labadee, Haiti. If you are caught operating a drone onboard, your drone will be confiscated and returned to you at the end of the cruise. However, you’ll be warned and reminded of the Cruise’s policy and may even be subjected to disembarkment. 

When you reach your destination and are away from the ports, you are allowed to use your drones assuming full responsibility for understanding all drone rules and regulations in the area.

Are drones allowed on a Disney Cruise?

You can’t take a drone on a Disney cruise (link) for safety reasons. Yes, drones are not permitted and listed with serious prohibited items like firearms on Disney cruise lines. Their use is prohibited for the safety of everyone on board. 

Remember that Disney Cruises are mostly patronized by families, young families to be precise, and children are bound to be on board. So if you are traveling on a Disney Cruise line, leave your drone at home. Don’t even bother to bring it on board – and we don’t think this rule is going to change anytime soon.

Can you bring a drone on Celebrity cruises?

Celebrity Cruise has a drone policy that’s similar to that of the Royal Caribbean. They do allow you to bring a drone on board but you aren’t allowed to fly the drone until you are on land away from the port. Your drone must be kept in your room at all times while on the ship.

Can you bring a drone on a Princess cruise?

Drones are among the list of prohibited items on Princess Cruises. According to their policy, drones are prohibited on all Princess cruises at all times. This policy includes any flying device or toy. As long as an item is capable of flying, you can’t bring it on Princess cruises. 

The cruise line didn’t explain the reasoning behind banning drones on their website, but we suspect it’s mainly for security/safety reasons. 

Another cruise line with a very similar policy to that of Princess’ is the Norwegian Cruise Line which explicitly forbids any autonomous or remote-controlled aircraft of which drones are among. The reason for this is for safety purposes although it’s possible this policy may be revised as drones become even more popular. 

Things to consider before taking your drone on a cruise

Since not all cruise lines allow passengers to bring drones aboard, it’s in your interest to do your research about drone policies before getting on a cruise. And it’s not just a matter of finding out the drone policy of the cruise lines you’ll be on. Each country has its own specific laws on drones. So before going on your next cruise trip, find out about the following:

  1. What are the drone policies of the cruise line you are traveling with? This isn’t difficult to find out as most cruise lines have a website where you can find out about items you can or can’t bring onboard.
  2. Find out about any drone laws in the ports your cruise will be stopping at. Being able to bring a drone on a cruise doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use a said drone on an island or country along the route of your cruise line. We are sure you don’t want any legal issues in a foreign country caused by flying your drone illegally. 

Why do most cruise lines have policies against drones?

The main reason drones aren’t allowed on most cruise lines is for safety. The cruise line isn’t keen on having any drone-related accidents onboard that might cause injury to their passengers. Cruises have a high density of people for the given area, which means not a lot of open space to fly a drone safely. After all, a basic drone safety rule is to never fly over crowds. 

Privacy is another matter and since most drones are fitted with cameras, the idea is to maintain the privacy of everyone onboard. Other passengers onboard the cruise don’t want to end up featured on your video to appear who-knows-where.

Even when drones are allowed on a cruise line, it’s just for transportation since you are strictly forbidden from using drones onboard. There’s also the possibility that drones may interfere with the proper functioning of some instruments aboard and cruise lines want to avoid this by ensuring drones are not used on the cruise. 

Which ports are drone friendly, and what are the laws?

Remember we suggested that you research drone laws in any ports your cruise will be stopping by? The reason for this is because not all ports are drone-friendly as drone laws will be different in different countries and at different ports. 

Even if you are allowed to bring your drone onboard, be sure to find out about the drone laws in any port before bringing your drone out to fly. Your cruise line will not take any responsibility for your action and it’s assumed that you know the drone laws in any port you are in before flying your drone. 

There are a number of drone-friendly ports around the world such as Aruba, Cozumel in Mexico, Roatan in Honduras, and so on. Cruises to Alaska may have some drone-friendly destinations, just keep in mind that you can’t fly a drone in a National Park. For European cruises, it will vary by country and city whether you can fly a drone, but most European cities do not allow drones, although you may be able to fly out in the countryside. 

While you have the green light to fly drones in these areas, you still have to follow general drone laws such as not flying over large crowds, not exceeding 400 ft from the ground, having your drone in your line of sight at all times, not flying at night, and so on. 

What is the penalty for flying a drone in an unauthorized port or cruise line?

There are consequences to our actions and this applies to flying a drone unauthorized on a cruise line or port. For cruise lines that don’t allow drones on board, you are not supposed to be in possession of a drone in the first place. If you are found with a drone in your possession, it will be confiscated and may not be returned to you. 

Even cruise lines that allow drones onboard will still confiscate any drone in use since there are regulations against the operation of drones on the cruise. Depending on their policies, your drone may be returned to you at the end of the trip with a stern warning never to fly a drone on their cruise again. You may also be subjected to disembarkation at your own expense for onboard drone usage.

In the case of using a drone in a restricted port, your drone will be confiscated by local authorities and chances are that you won’t get it back. You may also face fines and civil penalties. 

So if the ports your cruise will be stopping by aren’t drone-friendly, then bringing a drone on your trip will be unnecessary baggage since you can’t fly it on your cruise or at the ports. And any attempt to illegally use your drone may land you in legal trouble or at the very least, the confiscation of your drone.

What is the best drone to bring on a cruise?

If your cruise line allows you to bring a drone onboard and your cruise will be stopping by some drone-friendly ports, you can start thinking about packing your drone. We’ve been asked about the type of drone to bring on a cruise and our response is always to bring compact and light drones like the DJI Mini 2 or Mavic Air 2. 

The benefit of bringing a lightweight, compact drone is that they are easier to transport. For one thing, they’ll fit into your luggage without any problem. You can also pack your drone in a special drone case or bag. If you have a DJI drone, there are several bags and cases available at the DJI online store. Check if your drone manufacturer has specially designed cases or bags for travel.