If you've just purchased your first drone and are excited about using it, you're probably wondering if you can take it on your next cruise to capture some 4k photos and videos. So can you fly a drone from a cruise ship?
The reality is that as drones continue to increase in popularity, each country, port, and cruise line will basically have its own set of rules that you have no choice but to abide by. So, in a nutshell, if the cruise line permits it, yes, you can.
Can You Bring a Drone on a Cruise Ship?
Using a drone has many benefits. In fact, you can take incredible 4K photos and videos that would otherwise be impossible to get. So here are some tips for getting the best possible photos and videos with your drone while on a cruise ship.
Firstly, when flying a drone, it's important to remember to abide by all the local laws. The punishment for flying a drone in cities such as Rome is jail time and up to €100,000 fine. Consequently, your drone will be confiscated, which means you will never see it again.
So if you're not sure about the local laws, just ask a police officer, and they'll clear things up for you. They'll basically be able to help you out with the rules, regulations, and laws that you are not familiar with.
Another important tool is an app called AirMap, which is available for free download on your phone and will reveal the areas that are no-fly zones. It's quite a handy app to have if you love flying your drone.
Additionally, some important points to remember are that you should never fly a drone over crowds, at the cruise port itself, or directly from the cruise ship. In some cases, local laws may allow you to fly it, but in this case, you should walk down 15-20 minutes from the port and launch it from there.
Cruise Lines that Permit Drones
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Lines allows drones onboard; however, you are only permitted to use them off the ship. So basically, it's for port use only, and in addition to that, drones should be stored in the guests' stateroom.
Royal Caribbean does allow guests to bring their drones along on the cruise; however, they are only permitted to use them on the land and the outer port area. An important point to take note of is that drones are not allowed to be used on the ship itself at any point or time nor throughout any of the Caribbean's private destinations. While onboard, the drones should also be kept in the stateroom, safely.
If you decide to go against the rules and fly your drone on the ship, which we do not recommend, note that it will be impounded until the end of the cruise. Consequently, a guest conduct policy warning will be issued to you, and you may be subject to leave at your own expense as a result of using your drone onboard.
Furthermore, familiarize yourself with local authority rules relating to using a drone and laws relating to obtaining any needed permissions for drone operations as the cruise line will hold you fully responsible and accountable.
Guests will also be responsible for any liability, including environmental damage as a result of using a drone in that area. The cruise line itself will not assume liability for drones taken away by local authorities due to you violating local laws or any injury or accident resulting from the flight of a guest drone.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise line does not allow drones, remote-controlled helicopters, airplanes, or any similar device on the cruise line. Consequently, these aerial devices are also not permitted on the cruise line's private island in the Bahamas.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Due to the safety of the guests and the welfare of the vessel itself, drones are not allowed onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line.
Any type of unmanned aerial vehicle or remote-controlled aerial device is not permitted onboard Princess cruises, and, of course, this includes drones as well.
If you go onto the MSC cruises website, you are not going to find an official drone policy. However, we reached out to the cruise line about their drone policy, and this is basically what is permitted. Drones are not allowed to be used on the ship, and if you are bringing one on board, you'll need to check them in with the crew and can only pick it up when departing the ship.
In the event that you want to use your drone on one of the ports, you're going to need special permission in order to do so for various areas in and around the port. Furthermore, it up to the cruise line to obtain these permits.
Celebrity Cruises is owned by the parent company Royal Caribbean. As such, their drone policy mirrors that of the Royal Caribbean. So in light of that, guests may bring their drones on the cruise ship; however, the aerial devices can only be used on land and the outer area of the port. Under no circumstances are drones allowed to operate on the ship.
Additionally, different countries have different sets of rules. Therefore as a guest, you will take complete responsibility for comprehending rules laid down by the local authority related to drone usage, and the onus is on you to obtain the permissions required for all drone operations.
All liability, such as environmental damage from the use of your drone, is your responsibility. The cruise line assumes no liability as a result of guests using drones, drones being seized by local authorities, or any accidents or injuries resulting from you flying the drone when and where you shouldn't.
Drones should be kept safely in the stateroom as well, and in the event, you are caught flying it on the ship, it will be taken away until the end of the cruise. A guest conduct policy warning will also be issued, and you may be subject to embarkation at your own expense due to unauthorized drone usage.
Why are Drones Not Permitted on Most Cruise Lines?
One of the reasons why lots of cruise lines don't allow drones on board is because they considered it a safety and security hazard. There are also concerns that drones will interfere with the ship's operation. The possibility of drones crashing on deck and also violating the privacy of other guests is one more reason why cruise lines prefer to disallow them.
Another important point to take note of is that the cruise lines are constantly reevaluating their drone policies, so the best way to get the most accurate information is to contact the cruise line company directly. Cruise lines like Carnival are currently reviewing their no-drone policies in light of the advancements in drone technology.
Flying a Drone from a Boat
So as we've just discovered, the only two cruise lines that allow drones onboard are Royal Caribbean and Carnival. However, although drones are allowed on board, they can only be flown on land. So basically, when it comes to flying a drone from the ship, unless you have personally received special permission from the cruise line and local authorities, right now, it's simply not an option.
However, don't be dismayed because if you own a sailboat, kayak, or yacht, you can still fly your drone from your boat. You need to know that this is quite challenging and can be dangerous for both beginners and experienced pilots.
Some of the most common issues in flying a drone from your boat include drifting, flying sideways after takeoff, and the drone being unable to return home. So we suggest that if you are a beginner drone pilot, practice on land first. Get yourself accustomed to flying your drone in circles around trees or your house, and once you've mastered that, you can start thinking about flying from the boat.
So the only logical step to practice flying a drone from your boat is to do it while your boat is anchored. This will allow you to get a feel for the space you will be working with; however, soon, it'll be time to put your skills to the test and actually fly a drone from the boat while it's underway.
Takeoff is probably one of the most difficult parts of flying your drone from the boat. So take note of the following precautions:
- Avoid metal surfaces
- Sit down and keep a safe distance from the drone
- Get the drone up in the air asap
When it comes time to land the drone, you should only land at the stern of the boat and coming from behind. Neverland the drone from the side or overhead, or you may be disorientated and hit the boat.
So while drones cannot be flown on cruise ships at the moment, it should come as a relief that cruise lines are constantly evaluating their no-drone policies, and perhaps shortly, drones will be fully permissible. In the meantime, there are plenty of other places on land that you may still take full advantage of the capabilities of your drone.
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.