Can I Fly Drone on a Cruise Ship? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone on a cruise ship?

Before you take off, it’s important to know whether or not it’s legal to do so. The rules and regulations regarding drone flight can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

In this article, I’ll answer the question: can you fly a drone on a cruise ship?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones on a cruise ship due to safety and security concerns.

The laws around drone flight can be complex. So, I’ll also let you know about FAA regulations, security concerns, permissions needed, and penalties (if any) so that you’re fully informed.

Can I Fly Drone on a Cruise Ship

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones on a Cruise Ship

Due to the following FAA regulations, you are not allowed to fly drones on a cruise ship:

  1. Even if the cruise line allows drones on board, flying them on the ship is strictly prohibited for the safety of passengers and to protect their privacy.
  2. Your drone must remain in your bag while on the ship and can only be flown once you have disembarked and moved away from the port.
  3. When visiting different countries during your cruise, make sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding drone use before flying.
  4. Keep in mind that drone usage on cruises is strictly regulated due to the security risks they pose, and satisfying individual drone pilots is not the priority for cruise companies.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone on a cruise ship comes with its own set of unique security concerns, which are worth considering before launching your drone. Here are some potential security concerns to keep in mind.

Security Concerns for Flying Drones on a Cruise Ship

  1. Privacy Invasion: Drones equipped with cameras can capture footage of passengers in private areas, leading to potential privacy issues and discomfort.
  2. Collision Risks: Flying a drone in close proximity to a cruise ship increases the risk of collisions with the ship, causing damage to the vessel or injuring passengers.
  3. Interference: Drones operating near a cruise ship may interfere with the ship’s navigation equipment, communication systems, or other onboard technology.
  4. Unauthorized Access: Drones can be used to gain unauthorized access to restricted areas of the cruise ship, posing a security threat to both passengers and crew members.
  5. Regulatory Violations: Flying a drone on or near a cruise ship may violate local, national, or international maritime laws and regulations, resulting in potential fines or legal trouble.

Permissions and Permits

Permissions and permits for flying drones on a cruise ship vary depending on the specific cruise line. For instance, Carnival Cruise Line prohibits the use of drones onboard, while Royal Caribbean allows them but requires permission from the captain before flying.

Norwegian Cruise Line currently does not allow drones onboard, but this policy may change in the future. Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises allow drones with permission from the captain, whereas Celebrity Cruises may allow them in certain areas with prior approval.

It is crucial to check with the specific cruise line for their drone policy and follow their guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all guests.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Flying drones without authorization on a cruise ship can result in various penalties, depending on the specific situation and the regulations enforced by the cruise line, port authority, or local jurisdiction. Penalties may include fines, confiscation of the drone, or even legal actions. Additionally, drone operators may face disciplinary actions from the cruise line, such as being banned from future cruises. It is essential to be aware of and adhere to the rules and regulations governing drone usage to avoid any potential consequences.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones on a Cruise Ship if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

No, you cannot fly a drone on a cruise ship if you are not a licensed drone pilot. Most cruise lines have strict policies regarding the use of drones on board due to safety and privacy concerns for passengers and crew members. Operating a drone on a cruise ship without proper certification can lead to confiscation of your drone and even fines or expulsion from the ship. Always check the specific drone policies of the cruise line you are traveling with and ensure you adhere to their guidelines.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones on a Cruise Ship?

The authorization for the use of drones on a cruise ship typically falls under the jurisdiction of the cruise line’s policies and the ship’s captain. Passengers must consult with the cruise line and adhere to their specific rules and guidelines regarding drone usage onboard. Additionally, obtaining permission from the ship’s captain is essential, as they have the authority to enforce safety measures and ensure that drone operations do not interfere with the ship’s navigation or compromise the privacy and well-being of other passengers.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones on a Cruise Ship?

Yes, the police can fly a drone on a cruise ship, provided they have proper authorization and permissions from the cruise line and follow all regulatory guidelines. Drones can be utilized by law enforcement for various purposes, such as surveillance, monitoring, or evidence gathering. However, they must adhere to privacy laws, maritime regulations, and ensure the safety of passengers and crew on board.


In conclusion, before flying a drone on a cruise ship, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate resources and tools. Download the B4UFLY mobile app to easily find safe and legal flying locations.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

And if you have a related query, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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