Cruise Lines Warn Guests: Your Clothing Could Land You in Jail

by SharonKurheg

Cruise ships have to follow a whole lot of rules. When docked in the United States, they have to follow federal laws, since the U.S. government runs the docks. That means their passengers aren’t allowed to use marijuana or any other kind of delta-8, cannabinoid hemp products or CBD oil, because although many states have cleared pot for medicinal or recreational use, it’s still against federal law.

Just about every cruise line that starts/stops in the U.S. has to remind their passengers not to bring marijuana-based items onto the ship (frankly, if they’re flying to the port, they shouldn’t have those items anyway – it’s against the law to carry them on a plane because again, federal laws). It’s banned across the entire fleets of just about every cruise line and river cruise company. In fact, Carnival took it upon themselves to make a video to help make themselves perfectly clear on the subject:

Of course, it’s lost on no one that Carnival is generally known as the “party cruise,” and they’ve undoubtedly had more problems with passengers using marijuana-based products than, say, Disney Cruise Line, LOL.

However there’s another issue that cruise lines have had problems with: passengers leaving the ship and wearing camouflage clothing.

In the U.S. wearing clothes with a camouflage pattern isn’t an issue. But in several countries, wearing camouflage is against the law and could lead a person to have to pay fines, go through interrogation, or even go to jail. In those countries, qearing such clothing could make you appear associated with rebels or terrorist organizations, or the pattern is only to be worn by officials in that country.

To that end, Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald recently shared a note he received from a passenger who had just disembarked from a cruise that had stops in St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten. Here’s the letter, via Cruise Hive:

“On November 3rd while on Venezia I was marched back to the ship like a common criminal by the Barbados police! Why!!? Because I was wearing camo shorts and a camo backpack. Where was Carnival’s notice on this. Nobody told us at all. No compensation given. We were not rebels or terrorists to the government but were made to feel like we were,” said the unidentified guest.

Heald’s response was polite:

Thank you and I am sorry that this happened and I will speak with the beards to see if we can add some kind of notice. Camo or camouflage military style clothing is not allowed in:
The Bahamas
Cleveland, Ohio
There may be other places as well so I will check on this. Anyway, I wanted to share this and perhaps it is better to leave this kind of clothing at home. In fact I am going to return the camouflage jacket I bought last week. I just can’t see myself wearing it.

Several other passengers say there was indeed a dress guide – they said it was printed in the ship’s onboard newsletter, included in several announcements by the ship’s cruise director, and mentioned in the onboard shore excursion and shopping presentations.

However telling someone about a country’s dress code once they’re already on a ship is like closing the barn door after the horse has already gotten loose. What if a passenger likes to wear camouflage and has several outfits with it? Or a camouflage baseball cap he always wears? Or her bag she takes on shore is camouflage?

It would make more sense to tell them before they arrive for their cruise, no?

Of course, don’t get me wrong – if someone like this unidentified letter writer didn’t see all the signs and letters on the ship, and didn’t hear the announcements, I suspect there’s a decent chance they’re not going to notice it in their pre-travel documentation, either. But assuming that cruise lines aren’t informing their passengers of the dress codes of specific destinations well before they sail (I know that Virgin Voyages, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America and Royal Caribbean don’t), it would probably be a good thing to include, if for no other reason than to save their butts.

Regardless though, it’s up to individuals to know the ins and outs of visiting a foreign country before they arrive.

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Christian November 14, 2023 - 3:47 pm

Interesting that the islands that forbid camo are all English colonies. Given the relative history of dictatorships and rebellions I would have thought some Spanish islands would have had a seat at the table.

MM November 14, 2023 - 5:29 pm

Cleveland, OH? How? I can’t find the specific statute.

SharonKurheg November 14, 2023 - 6:16 pm

No idea. I just cut and pasted what he said.

David November 15, 2023 - 1:07 pm

Why would someone wear camo when traveling?


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