Is the cruise industry going to be able to continue to regard checked luggage differently than the TSA does carry on luggage on air-transports?

It occurs to me that in short order, due to evolutionary changes in contemporary cruising, we might be subject to a completely different cruise experience, security wise, due to increasing global political unrest and subsequent dangers.

To be specific, how long is the cruise industry going to be able to regard checked luggage any differently than the TSA does carry on luggage on air-transports?

It's easy for the TSA to be more lenient with checked luggage on airline flights, for instance, relatively large volumes of liquids, firearms, other weapons and dangerous objects are allowed, since the passenger never comes in contact with their luggage while on the aircraft. Not so for cruise ships, every passenger is reunited with his/her luggage once in the cabin.

Would this development be a positive or a negative for you?

15 Answers

My understanding is that all luggage is screened after it is dropped off with porters at the curb. I am more concerned with those who carry-on large pieces of luggage.

Kennicott - is this what you are referring to?

Not exactly, for the most part all luggage, hand carry or checked is screened, both on airlines and cruise ships.

Even before TSA, there were/are quite a number of items that a passenger is not allowed to have possession of inside the passenger cabin or more accurately have possession of when entering the secure area of the airport, but many if not most of those items can be carried inside checked luggage. Without going into a litany of detail regarding the security history of why each item is prohibited from being hand carried into the secure areas, suffice to say that once on the aircraft they could be used to endanger the flight and other passengers. The reason those items are allowed within checked luggage is that the passenger has no way of gaining possession of them until safely away from the aircraft and outside of the airport's restricted area.

However, the big difference between checked luggage on ships and that on airplanes is that the ship guest gains possession of the luggage and all therein after boarding. If cruise lines are relegated to follow the security procedures of airlines, then here are the lists of items the cruise guest can not transport on board the ship or more accurately inside the secured perimeter surrounding the ship (in either hand carry or checked luggage).

As an example, take liquids for instance. A passenger may not bring more than a 3.4 ounce bottle of water into the airport secure area. But after in that area or on the aircraft the passenger may purchase a larger bottle of water or soda, etc. Same would hold true on the ships, any single item of liquid over 3.4 ounces, other than medications, passengers would have to purchase once on the ship, they could not have it in any luggage.

Liquids Rule

"You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag separate from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage."

So my question is, how are guests going to react once security on the ships is a tight as it is on aircraft nowadays?

Checked luggage is screened. If you have ever been invited to the naughty room, you'd know that. Voice of experience here.

Side note: BAK1061 in the naughty room??? I'm shocked!

Seriously, thank you for the clarification, Kennicott. I hope I understand. If not, the following comment won't make any sense...

This raises a point of whether a cruise ship is to be considered a mode of transportation, as an airplane is... or an accommodation, as a hotel is. It's a hybrid really. My perspective is that a cruise ship is a floating hotel, I am not sure that regulations regarding container size are reasonably transferrable in this instance.

What if the powers-that-be decide that cruise ships fall more into the category of an airplane? Then changes to container size rules (as well as other regulations) will cause quite a ruckus within the cruising public. I won't be very happy to have to use the crappy shampoo and body wash products offered by some of the lines. That's why I place full-sized products in my checked baggage.

Well, it was like this. I was smuggling bourbon, and our friend was bringing wine in his checked luggage. See, years ago, we all used to bring a bottle of something, and no one cared. But then the rules changed. So, we both get a letter stating they want us to come down and open our luggage due to a discrepancy on the X-Ray. He was already panicking. So, I head down and believe me, I wasn't the only one there. Someone from, NCL comes in and tells us about the cruise contract ( yadayadayada ). Look, I didn't read my mortgage, do ya think I read my cruise contract ? Anyway, my friend gave up his wine immediately. Glad I didn't use him for a bank robbery. Then they got around to me. I opened my luggage and they pointed to something metal on the X Ray. So, I pulled out my nail clippers, scissors, Swiss Army knife, whatever. They look at it, it's fine. Then they ask, " anything else ? ". Now, if they had said show us this, this, and this, I would have complied. But, they didn't. So, I answered " nope, nothing else ". Thank you sir, enjoy the cruise. Thanks for your cooperation. I walked out laughing. So yes. I did go to the naughty room. And in the end, I never opened the bourbon.

Love that story BAK 1061. Made my day. The only part I can't understand is why you never opened the bourbon, seems like it would have tasted better yet with all that spirit of adventure added.

I had almost the same thing happen at the end of October, except it wasn't as exciting and they didn't call me to the "naughty" room. We were on one of these "Cruise Tours" with Princess where the first week was on a coach, staying at various hotels, ect. On the morning of our last coach day, when we left the hotel, I got confused and thought that before we boarded our ship in Quebec City we would see our checked luggage again.

We had 2.5 bags checked and in one I had half a bottle of Jack. In the others I had our legal allotment of wine plus a couple more bottles of Wayne Gretzky (You know,"The Great One") red wine from his vineyards, which I had purchased in Toronto to bring home to our hockey nut son. I had planned to give the Jack to our excellent guide who had been with us for about a week.

When our luggage arrived at our cabin, the Jack was gone from the one bag. In its place was a pre-printed Princess "naughty note". The other bags, with the wine, had been opened too and notes left in them as well, they had found the wine. But they just explained why they had opened the bags and that all was okay. They didn't even charge us for the extra Gretzky wines, which I had planned to pay them the $15.00 per bottle for.

Excellent observations and questions Cruising CM.

If when boarding the ship one is relegated to bringing on board (In both hand carry and checked luggage) only the equivalent of what is now allowed on the airlines in hand carry (Once again, disregard what the airlines allow in checked luggage as the passenger is not reunited with their checked luggage until outside of the secured areas of the terminals), in my opinion this is really going to impact the cruise experience.

The cruise lines won't have to worry about disembarkation though, as it will be legal to take as much off the ship in checked luggage as one desires, as it will be stuff purchased on the ship or brought on the ship legally. In other words, you can fill your suitcase with their expensive duty free booze as much as you want to.

The reason I bring this scenario up at all, is not to panic everybody but because there is rapidly increasing evidence that this is afoot. For instance:

". . . This isn't about the ports and the safety of them. A terrorist could be among you at the buffet, laying by the pool, playing slots, drinking at the bar … they lay in wait. They're completely legitimate looking like one of us. 50 of them could board a ship as a passenger with a clean record. They've been trained in other countries. They've lived in the countries they're in for years and they lay in wait anticipating their marching orders. Then three days into the cruise, they take over the ship and start killing passengers . . . And that's how it'll go down."

"The cruise industry needs to wake up. Tunis was preventable. (Islamic terrorists killed 32 cruise passengers in Tunisia earlier this year when Costa and MSC cruised blindly into the Goulette port in Tunis.) Despite the foreseeable risk of danger presented by Islamic terrorists active in the country and in nearby Libya, the cruise lines provided absolutely no security or warnings to their guests. Greater attention to Al Qaeda and ISIS is necessary to avoid a similar if not worse attack on innocent passengers. Dangerous ports need to be avoided. In the past, Princess Cruises used security teams / police to accompany tour bus excursions in Egypt. Maritime security teams are also required in foreign ports of call to address the risk of waterborne attacks. Cruise lines are overflowing with cash. The cruise industry collects around $40 billion a year, pay their crew members peanuts and doesn't pay U.S. taxes. The industry needs to start investing some of those tens of millions of dollars into substantial security to keep their guests safe."

"Cruise ship security screening currently pales in comparison to that of air travel, but that gap in strictness could be shrinking soon, according to IHS market analyst Jared Bickenbach.

That's because the U.S. Coast Guard recently announced plans to create the Terminal Screening Program (TSP) in an effort to systematize security screening procedures at cruise ship terminals across the country.

The creation of the TSP is expected to bolster security at cruise ship terminals by... developing "a standardized list of prohibited items and training standards to consolidate requirements for screeners." The program is also expected to require the screening of all passenger, crew, and visitors' baggage and personal items in order to achieve the goal of improved security.

Currently, many cruise ship terminals rely on a combination of procedures, including X-ray, canine teams and manual inspections to screen for dangerous items like explosives, weapons and contraband.However, a recently published report by IHS on the explosives, weapons and contraband detection equipment market, the seaports market is forecast to experience a compound annual growth rate of "6.7 percent to $241.6 million in 2018."

While TSP requirements are certain to change the way future cruise ship passengers are screened by security personnel, the long-term outlook on the cruise market appears promising as it will ensure better safety for travelers.

Plus, added regulations in the U.S. are likely to lead to similar ones in other parts of the world."

In general I wonder about the security in areas of the globe that have been hit by terrorist acts. In Europe, the recent trouble will surely affect the River Cruise industry, as the trouble last year at the Turkish Museum where cruise ship guest were at the scene, affected a few cruise lines who cancelled stops there. I look to areas that are relatively safe to cruise compared to middle east areas. I am going to be a little too trusting when I assume that the cruise lines will not want to endanger their vessels or passengers for the sake of a wider profit margin.

Has this ever been a concern for other posters here?

We just never got around to opening it. When we travelled in a large group, 12+, everyone brought a bottle of something. We would actually discuss this months in advance. Then the rules changed. I should say, they were now enforcing the rules. I just didn't know it. I found out in the room. When I went in, they just didn't ask me the right questions. And I wasn't going to volunteer any info. That's a NYC construction worker mindset . When I went up on deck, our friend looked at me and said, " lost your booze huh ?" I looked at him, and said no. I still have it. And then told everyone what had transpired. His girlfriend looked at him with disdain and just shook her head. My wife laughed.

Years ago we went to Antigua and my wife packed some ankle weights as she was doing some rehab. The lead bar type that go into slots. Well, I knew what they were going to look like on X Ray, so I put them right on top. That bag didn't get halfway through the scanner and I swear I could see the eyes of the security people fly out of their heads. I just laughed ( they didn't ) and I quickly opened up my bag and showed them the weights.

I got pulled aside one time and was asked to identify something they saw. I looked at it and I had no idea what it was. Note: don't ever say you have no idea what something in your bag is. Things deteriorate quickly. Anyway, we opened the bag, and it was the cord to a hair dryer that had tangled around a few things. My wife pipes in, oh I put that in last night.........the security guy and I just looked at each other and shook our heads.

I would be very upset if I could not bring my own hair spray bottle, cough medicine and other over the counter health aids. Why would they be exempt? Passengers could pour something into them, too. I am taking longer cruises now, my next one is 115 days. I would be up a creek with any more stringent restrictions. Everything costs more on ships and stores really don't carry enough supplies if everyone had to purchase such Items on board. Last year the ship on my Grand Voyage ran out of essentials like cough medicine.

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