If you recently got your very own professional-grade camera drones. You probably have wondered if you are allowed to bring your drone with you on a cruise ship for flying and taking beautiful aerial shots. In this case, we researched each cruise line’s policies on drones to determine what you can do and can’t do with a drone onboard. First, we will cover the basics of drones and we will dive into the policies regarding bringing your drone with you.
Definition of a Drone:
By the general definition, a drone means an unmanned aerial vehicle that can be remotely controlled without a human pilot onboard. According to these cruise lines, they distinguish between two types of drones: drones that can carry cameras or video recording devices, and recreational or hobby drones that are similar to radio-controlled airplanes.
Am I Allowed to Take My Drone on My Cruise?
This largely depends on your cruise line’s policy and the type of drone you desire to bring with you.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean are the only two cruise lines that allow the drones to be brought onboard. On Carnival, only camera drones are permitted. Furthermore, drones only can be used on land. Royal Caribbean specified that the drones can be used outside of the port area and not at their private destinations like CocoCay, Bahamas or Labadee, Haiti.
At all the time, your drones must be stored inside the passenger’s cabin on both cruise lines. Carnival encourages you to pack your drones in carry-on luggage. This is because once the cruise ship passes the security. They will perform a secondary check to verify the contents of the bag if something raises a red flag.
What Happens If I Bring My Drone on Neither Cruise Lines & Get Caught?
If you decide to bring your drone with you on neither Carnival or Royal Caribbean and the security finds that you have a drone during embarkation or on the cruise. It will be confiscated and returned to you at the end of the trip. This rule of law also applies to recreational drones that are smuggled onto a Carnival ship.
Can I Fly My Camera Drone Anywhere In Any Port?
No, not. According to a Carnival spokesperson, “It is the responsibility of the guest to ensure that the port allows drone cameras and obtain the necessary license to operate if required.” The drone laws wildly vary by port, so not all of them have the same rules. Be sure to visit our drone laws by country to learn more about the regulations before taking your drone into the air.
For instance, the port of Galveston has strict regulations that ban drones from being flown within 400 feet of critical buildings such as cruise terminal and within 100 yards of cruise ships. However, drone-friendly ports such as Roatan and Aruba in Honduras requires that you keep your drone within line of sight at all the time. It also includes not flying over large crowds, or flying during night time and especially near airports.
Why Does the Majority of Cruise Lines Don’t Allow Drones Onboard?
The majority of the cruise lines consider drones a safety and security risk. Some cruise lines are concerned that a drone potentially interferes with a ship’s operation. Not just only that, several cruise lines are concerned that a drone might crash on a deck or violate the guests’ expectations of privacy.
What Happens If I Fly My Drone Inadvertently?
Most of the time, your drone will be taken away and return at the end of the trip. If your drone is involved in an accident or incident, it will be confiscated and turned over to the law enforcement agency. Not to mention that if you fly in unauthorized areas onshore, you potentially will face a fine or legal penalty. The local authorities might confiscate your drone and refuse to return. Therefore, it is essential that you fully understand and respect the cruise lines’ policies.
I Am Hearing Other Things From Fellow Cruisers. What Do I Do?
Keep it in your mind that the cruise lines are reevaluating their policies constantly. So, the best way to get the correct information is to contact these cruise lines directly.
For instance, Carnival said that they added a drone-related question to their website’s FAQ page because there are so many questions about it. Furthermore, a spokesperson for Cunard said they are reviewing their no-drone policy to address advancement in drone technology.
Do These Policies Apply If I am a Licensed Drone Pilot?
Yes. It doesn’t matter whether you are a licensed drone pilot with a plethora of flying experience or not. No drones mean no drones.
Can I Get Special Exception If I am a Professional Drone Photographer?
The only way you can do to find out if you can obtain special exceptions is to contact these cruise lines directly.
Hello, welcome to UAV Adviser! My name is Keith Ericksen. I am a commercial licensed drone operator. Flying and talking about the drones is my passion. Whether it is toy-grade to professional-grade quadcopters. On my leisure, I enjoy socializing with friends, play video games, hiking, traveling and reading. If you have a project that needs our drone services, please contact us via Hire-A-Pilot page.