Can You Fly a Drone on a Cruise Ship?

Can You Fly a Drone on a Cruise Ship? Taking your drone on a cruise vacation opens exciting possibilities for aerial filming and photography. But are there rules about launching your quadcopter or mini-drone from a cruise ship deck? Safety and privacy concerns come into play on a crowded vessel in international waters. This article clearly explains the official policies of major cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian regarding drones. We discuss rules for take-off and landing as well as any potential restrictions on recording or use based on location. Read on to find out what you need to know about flying your drone while enjoying your ocean cruise.

Can You Fly a Drone on a Cruise Ship?

Can You Fly a Drone on a Cruise Ship?

Unfortunately, flying a drone on a cruise ship is generally prohibited by most major cruise lines. Here’s why:

Safety concerns:

  • Drones pose a risk to passengers and crew if they collide with people or infrastructure.
  • Falling drones could damage the ship or equipment.
  • They can interfere with ship navigation and communication systems.

Privacy concerns:

  • Drones equipped with cameras can violate passenger privacy.
  • Noise from drones can disrupt the peaceful environment on board.


  • Many ports and destinations have restrictions on drone use, and cruise lines need to comply with local regulations.


  • A few cruise lines, like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, allow bringing drones on board for use exclusively at specific ports or private destinations, under strict regulations and with prior approval.

What you can do:

  • Check the specific policy of your chosen cruise line regarding drones.
  • If allowed, be aware of and adhere to all regulations and restrictions.
  • Fly your drone responsibly and respectfully of other passengers.

The Legality of Flying Drones on Cruise Ships


  • Consider bringing a traditional camera for capturing memories.
  • Some cruise lines offer drone photography as a shore excursion.
  • Enjoy the views and experiences without needing technology.

Remember, safety and respect for others are the top priorities on cruise ships. By following the regulations and understanding the limitations, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience for everyone.

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The Legality of Flying Drones on Cruise Ships

When it comes to flying drones on cruise ships, rules and regulations can vary from one cruise line to another. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific policies of the cruise line you plan to travel with before bringing your drone on board. Here are the rules and regulations set by cruise ship companies and the restrictions imposed by cruise ship staff.

Rules and Regulations by Cruise Ship Companies

Let’s take a closer look at the drone policies of some popular cruise lines:

  • Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line does not permit drones on their ships. If you’re planning to travel with Norwegian Cruise Line, it’s important to leave your drone at home to avoid any issues.
  • Princess Cruises: Like Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises also does not allow drones onboard their ships. Before setting sail with Princess Cruises, ensure that you comply with their drone policy.
  • Holland America Line: While not explicitly mentioned in their policies, it is advised to check with Holland America Line directly regarding their drone policy. To avoid any mishaps, it’s always best to obtain clear guidance from the cruise line itself.
  • Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line allows drones on board their ships, but with certain regulations. In order to fly your drone on a Carnival cruise, you’ll need to check in and out with the Chief Security Officer.

Restrictions Imposed by Cruise Ship Staff

Even if a cruise line permits drones on board, it’s essential to be aware of the restrictions and guidelines set by the cruise ship staff. Here are some common restrictions that you may encounter:

  • Prohibited Flight Areas: Cruise ship staff may designate specific areas of the ship where drone flight is not permitted. It’s important to respect these restrictions to ensure the safety and privacy of fellow passengers.
  • Safety Considerations: Cruise ships are constantly moving, and windy conditions can make drone flights challenging and potentially dangerous. Cruise ship staff may restrict drone flights due to safety concerns. Always follow the instructions and guidelines provided by the cruise ship staff regarding drone usage.
  • Storage and Accessibility: Cruise ships may have specific requirements for storing and accessing drones while on board. It’s important to adhere to these rules to ensure the security of your drone and the safety of others on the ship.
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What Happens if You’re Caught with a Drone on a Cruise Ship?

If you’re caught with a drone on a cruise ship, there can be serious consequences. Cruise lines have strict policies in place regarding the use of drones onboard, primarily due to safety concerns. Violating these policies can result in confiscation of your drone and may even lead to legal action.

What Happens if You’re Caught with a Drone on a Cruise Ship?

Confiscation of Your Drone: Cruise ship security takes the use of drones very seriously. If you’re found flying a drone or attempting to bring one on board without authorization, it is likely that your drone will be confiscated. This is done to ensure the safety and privacy of passengers and crew members.

Legal Consequences: In some cases, unauthorized drone use on a cruise ship may also have legal implications. Cruise lines have the right to enforce their policies and take action against violators. This can result in legal consequences, fines, or even banning you from future cruises.

Safety Concerns: Flying drones on a cruise ship can pose significant safety risks. Drones can interfere with the ship’s operations, potentially disrupting navigation systems or even causing accidents. There’s also the risk of injury to passengers or crew members if a drone were to crash or collide with someone.

Privacy Issues: Cruise ships are unique environments where privacy is highly valued. Unauthorized drone flights can invade the privacy of other passengers, compromising their comfort and enjoyment. Cruise lines are committed to protecting the privacy of their guests, which is why they implement strict drone policies.


While the idea of flying a drone on a cruise ship may seem appealing for capturing breathtaking views and memories, it’s generally prohibited by most major cruise lines due to safety and privacy concerns. Drones can pose risks to passengers, crew, and the ship itself, and they may infringe on the privacy of fellow travelers. While a few cruise lines, such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean, allow drones under strict regulations and specific circumstances, it’s crucial to adhere to all rules and guidelines set forth by the cruise line and respect the safety and privacy of others on board. Ultimately, considering alternative methods for capturing memories or enjoying the scenic views without relying on technology may lead to a smoother and more enjoyable cruise experience for everyone involved.

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Read more: Can You Fly a Drone on a Cruise Ship?

Frequently Asked Questions

How risky is it to fly a drone over water?

Flying a drone over water poses a higher risk of a critical drone crash compared to flying over land. However, using a suitable buoy for the drone can help minimize potential damage.

What is a no-fly zone for drones?

A no-fly zone indicates that taking off or landing your drone in the designated area is prohibited according to local restrictions.

Can you fly a drone at sea?

While flying a drone at sea, it is important to remember that airspace restrictions still apply. Before flying, check for any restrictions on surrounding airspace and inform the boat’s captain about your plans to fly a drone.

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