Don't Get Too Comfortable on Your Next Cruise — This Personal Item Could Get You Booted in a Foreign Country and Banned for Life Here's one way to make sure your next vacation is smooth sailing.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Cruise lines are intensifying efforts to ban cannabis products, citing federal laws and the desire to provide a pleasant environment for non-users.
  • Passengers face inconsistent consequences, with some being banned for life and others disembarked in foreign countries.
  • Critics claim the bans have financial motives as alcohol sales remain a significant revenue source for cruise lines.
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Passengers who plan to consume cannabis products on their next cruise vacation might hit some turbulent waters.

Amid the growing legalization of marijuana in 24 states and Washington D.C., cruise lines remain steadfast in prohibiting cannabis in all its forms — from flower to edibles — on board their ships, aligning with federal law and the cannabis regulations of popular cruise line destinations, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Related: Carnival Cruise Line Bans Woman for Life Who Tried to Bring CBD Gummies on Board

Companies such as Carnival Cruise Line are deploying drug-sniffing dogs and issuing repeated pre-voyage warnings to enforce these restrictions, but inconsistent administration has created a climate of fear and confusion among passengers, per the outlet.

In August, a Texas woman received a lifetime sailing ban from Carnival for CBD gummies found in her luggage, and in September, a 25-year-old TikTok influencer was asked to disembark in Jamaica after getting caught smoking marijuana. Despite this, online cruise forums buzz with covert strategies for sneaking substances on board.

Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian, Virgin and Disney Cruise Lines all prohibit CBD products and recreational and medical marijuana, The Miami Herald reported.

The stringent policies aren't just about complying with the law; they may also have a financial undertone. Given that alcohol sales are a key profit stream for cruises — which similarly impose restrictions on how much alcohol passengers can carry on — defense lawyers for those charged with possession contend that the cannabis ban conveniently eliminates competition for on-board beverage consumption, per the WSJ.

Roughly 62,000 drinks are consumed during a 7-day cruise, which averages 33 drinks per week, or 4.7 alcoholic drinks per day, per passenger — adding up to more than $20 million in revenue annually per ship, according to cruise review site Cruiseline.

Related: Carnival Cruise Is Phasing Out a Ship Amenity That's Beloved By Some — and Completely Unknown to Others

However, the cannabis issue resonates beyond legal liabilities to customer experience. Carnival's Chief Communications Officer, Chris Chiames, told the WSJ that state-level legalization has confused passengers, but insists that the main concern is about the safety and satisfaction of all guests.

"When a guest cannot enjoy their balcony because neighbors are smoking marijuana, this becomes a customer-service issue," he said.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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