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Cruise lines are forced to remind passengers they are not allowed to smoke marijuana on ships

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As states across the U.S. continue to ease penalties for the use of marijuana, cruise lines are reaffirming their stance on the drug as the number of guests rises to pre-pandemic levels.

In August, the Cruise Lines International Association predicted that passenger volume would surpass pre-pandemic levels, with 31.5 million passengers this year.

But with more guests comes a higher likelihood that at least a few will break the rules.

Travelers may want to think twice about bringing marijuana onboard, as discovery of the drug may lead to fines, arrest and a ban on future trips.

At Royal Caribbean International - home to the world's largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas - marijuana use is strictly prohibited.

'In no event shall any Passenger bring on board the Vessel any illegal controlled substances (including medical marijuana),' the cruise line's policy reads.

It adds that marijuana possession and use is prohibited in 'many jurisdictions visited.' However, there are designated smoking areas onboard for cigars, cigarettes and vapes.

Disney Cruise Line has adopted a similar stance.

'In accordance with United States federal regulations and local laws in the destinations we visit, illegal narcotics—including synthetic designer drugs—and marijuana (even if legal where you reside or medically prescribed)—are prohibited on board the ships and on Disney Castaway Cay,' the policy reads.

There are areas throughout the ship where guests are free to use cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

Carnival Cruise Line has made its position very clear, as evidenced by a February 2023 video message from president Christine Duffy.

'In case there's any confusion, let me remind guests that while marijuana and cannabis products may be legal in some states, we are required to follow federal law, irrespective of the law in the state where you may be boarding your ship,' Duffy said.

The cruise line encourages guests to 'consult with their physician for other suitable alternatives.'

Furthermore, all suites and outside balconies are non-smoking. Those who violate the policy will be charged $500 per violation.

'Guests who are disembarked for violating our policy will be responsible for all financial charges and expenses to return home, and no refund of their unused cruise fare will be provided,' the policy reads.

On Norwegian Cruise Lines, all drugs, 'including marijuana prescribed for medical purposes,' are prohibited.

'This includes all products containing CBD, oils, candies, and gummies or any product containing THC,' the policy reads.

Violators are subject to arrest and prosecution, and may be prevented from re-boarding the ship.

At Viking Cruises, marijuana possession and use - including medical marijuana and CBD oil - is strictly prohibited.

'Passengers who violate the laws of any jurisdiction are subject to being reported to law enforcement or customs authorities, arrest and prosecution,' the policy reads.

Those who bring 'dangerous items' like weapons and marijuana are also subject to immediate disembarkation or denial of boarding.

Passengers will have no claim for loss or damage under such circumstances.

Cruises may rely on enforcement tactics like scanning all bags passengers bring on board, requiring guests to reenter security after each stop, and dispatching staff to sniff out illegal substances.

Twenty-four states have fully legalized marijuana. The drug is fully illegal in North Carolina and Nebraska, but decriminalized.

It remains criminalized in Idaho, Wyoming, South Carolina and Kansas.

The majority of the country's most popular ports are in Florida, where the drug has mixed legal status, a case that is still developing.

Just last Wednesday, justices on Florida's Supreme Court heart arguments debating whether a proposed recreational marijuana amendment can appear on the ballot in 2024.

But for now, it is best to err on the side of caution.

It is also important to consider that locations along the cruise route may not have decriminalized the drug.

In 2018, an American woman was arrested by customs officers in Bermuda as she prepared to board a Royal Caribbean ship.

Authorities found three marijuana pipes, a grinder and an e-cigarette cartridge with cannabis oil in her cabin.

The woman, Pennsylvania native Meghan George, was fined $4,000 for possession.


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