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Florida Cruise Baggage Rules

Sailing from Miami? Taking a cruise from Port Everglades? We’d bet you’ll be packing more than a backpack and an extra swimsuit. To help you pack for your adventure, we’ve tracked down the answers to the most frequent questions regarding baggage policies…

Are there limits to how much baggage I can bring on the ship?

The simple answer is no, there aren’t limits on how much luggage you can bring — no matter what cruise line you sail. That said, you want to keep it reasonable. Most cruise lines encourage guests to bring only two suitcases per person, with each weighing less than 50 pounds.

We encourage people to use common sense when figuring out how much to pack. For instance, if you are flying into Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Orlando for your cruise, you’re likely to have to pay for each bag you take. Overpacking can hit your pocketbook. Or even if you are driving to the port, you still have to handle and carry all that luggage from home to the car to the terminal.

Packing light has never hit anyone. With thousands of people on a cruise, no one is going to pay much attention to what you wear day-to-day. Wearing the same outfit twice during the trip is no big deal, saving you that much more room in your suitcase. Also, if you shudder at the thought of wearing clothes again, cruise ships have full laundry services available.

Are there any prohibited items that I can’t bring?

While cruise lines are easy-going on how much luggage you can bring, there are some hard rules about what you can’t bring on the ship.

Obviously, you can’t bring weapons on board. Guns, knives, batons, and other weapons are restricted. We suggest that if there’s even a question about if you can bring something (such as pepper spray), just don’t pack it. For example, most scissors are also restricted. We use the rule of thumb that if you can’t bring it on an airplane, you shouldn’t bring it on the ship.

Except for simple lighters and matches, you can’t bring anything dealing with fire. Without a doubt, fire is the single biggest risk on a cruise. Candles, incense, and even clothes irons are restricted. Flammable liquids are also prohibited. If you think it could start a fire, don’t bring it. The only exception is that “personal grooming devices” like straighteners and curling irons are ok.

Of course, cruise lines also restrict the alcohol you can bring on the ship. Most will let you have a bottle or two of wine or champagne, but that’s usually it. Visit our page on alcohol policies to see the rules for every cruise line that sails from Florida.

Does the “3-1-1” liquids rule that airplanes use also apply to cruises?

No. The “3-1-1” rule that’s known across airports doesn’t apply to cruises. For those who are unfamiliar, the rule says that you can only bring liquids in quantities of three ounces or less in a one quart plastic bag, with one bag per passenger.

Thankfully, this rule does not apply to cruise ships departing Florida or elsewhere.

Are there rules or restrictions for carry-on luggage?

After arriving in Miami or any other port, you will hand your luggage off to a porter to be loaded aboard the ship. The porters will take your luggage, run it through a security screen, and load it on the ship, where it will then be delivered to your cabin. As you can imagine, this process takes a few hours.

That’s why cruise lines tell guests to bring a carry-on with them that contains everything you may need for the first few hours on the ship. Among things to pack in this luggage are your passport and tickets, any medicines, a toothbrush, a swimsuit, any alcohol you are bringing on board, and a change of clothes.

If you’re a light traveler like us, you can even pack all your luggage in a carry-on and not have any checked baggage. Do keep in mind that if you decide to carry on your bags, you will have to carry them around until your room is ready — a process that can take several hours depending on how early you arrive.

While many cruise lines do have stated restrictions on carry-on sizes, we’ve found them to be very lenient. We’ve seen passengers carry on regular suitcases because they didn’t want to check them. The rule of thumb is that if you can easily handle your bag, then you’re likely to be able to just carry aboard.

Is security going to search my bags?

Every piece of baggage brought on board the ship will go through an X-ray. Most ports have a conveyor belt machine that you’re used to seeing at airports. Bags aren’t usually searched by hand unless something suspicious comes up on the screen.