10 Reasons Why You Can Be Denied Boarding on a Cruise - Cruise with Leo

10 Reasons Why You Can Be Denied Boarding on a Cruise

Photo of author


boarding a cruise

Can a passenger be denied boarding on a cruise ship?

It has never happened to me personally, but I recently spoke with someone to whom this has happened.

She told me it was a very bad experience, so I decided to talk about this topic to prevent it from happening to other passengers.

I did some research and gathered the 10 most common reasons for being denied boarding. Let’s see what they are!

1. Forgetting documents


The first reason that may lead the cruise line to deny you boarding is if you have forgotten your documents at home.

Generally, if you forget your boarding documents, it’s fine, because they can still trace back to your reservation.

However, personal documents such as the passport and the ID card are essential. That’s why they are the first thing you should put in the cruise carry-on bag.

Also, remember to check their expiration date long enough before your departure. Some countries require 6 months of validity to travel abroad.

2. Carrying prohibited items

Confiscated items at cruise port
Confiscated items at cruise port

As you probably know, you must go through security checks before boarding the ship.

Just as with airplanes, there are items that are forbidden on board for safety reasons.

If they find out that you were trying to board one of these items, they may deny you boarding the ship.

3. Being sick

If you have any specific illness or special needs, you must notify the company before departure.

You should know that the cruise line will be responsible for ensuring your well-being when you are on the ship, so they want to make sure that you can actually travel.

Keep in mind that the ship will often be out at sea, so it is important to prepare in advance for emergencies.

4. The ship is overbooked

I know it’s strange, but even cruise ships can be overbooked.

How does this work? Simply, the company lets more people book, knowing that most likely someone will cancel their vacation last minute or will not show up for boarding.

The problem is that, in very rare cases, all of the passengers may show up and therefore there are not enough cabins to accommodate everyone.

In this case, some passengers will be denied boarding and alternative arrangements will be offered.

It’s a pretty bad situation and I would be very angry if it happened to me. Below here you can see a letter that was given to a couple as soon as they arrived at port.

Overbooked cruise form
Overbooked cruise form

5. You are pregnant and the due date is too close

If you are pregnant you can travel on a cruise but you must be in the early part of pregnancy.

Usually, cruise lines do not allow boarding to women who have reached the 23rd week of pregnancy.

It’s not a discriminatory measure; it is simply that the ship does not have the necessary equipment to assist the woman in case of labor, so they prefer to prevent potentially difficult situations.

6. Security concerns

Security checks before boarding
Security checks before boarding

As I said before, the cruise line has the right to check the passengers who will board, and in case of security concerns, they can deny boarding.

This circumstance can be related to background checks, immigration issues, outstanding warrants, pending legal actions, or if your name is on some kind of travel ban list.

How can that happen? Well, look at things that can get you permanently banned from a cruise ship.

7. Unsettled debts

Before departure, make sure you have paid for the cruise in full, including any port taxes and extra services.

If you have not done so, the company may ask you to settle all debts at check-in, so make sure you have enough cash or payment cards with you.

If you do not settle all debts you will probably be denied embarkation.

8. Lack of parental consent

Another reason for denied boarding could be the lack of parental authorization.

The requirements for this can vary by country, so it is advisable to check with the cruise line or consult a legal expert.

Usually, if a passenger is a minor traveling with an adult who is not the parent, legal authorization from both parents must be provided.

9. Arriving too late

cruise ship at the port
Cruise ship at the port

One very common thing for which you can be denied boarding is if you show up at the terminal too late.

This is exactly what happened to my friend, which I mentioned at the beginning of the article.

Unfortunately, her flight was delayed, so she arrived at the port about 1 hour later than the designated time.

The ship was still in port, but the boarding procedures had already been completed. In this case, they won’t put everything back in operation just for you.

So remember to plan your trip to account for potential delays. I usually arrange my transportation to arrive at the port at least three hours in advance.

10. Unruly behavior

The last reason why the cruise line may leave you on land is if you do not behave properly.

Obviously, on board a cruise ship you must maintain a respectful attitude toward all guests, and disrespectful, rude, or dangerous behaviors are not tolerated.

For other behaviors that are considered rude, check the 10 things cruise ship workers hate to see from passengers.


Leave a Comment