Is There a Jail on a Cruise Ship?

By Michael Ferguson

Cruise ships are renowned for their luxurious vacations and amenities, but you might be surprised to learn that they can also have a jail on board. It’s true, some cruise ships feature a jail, usually referred to as a brig. The brig is typically used to detain passengers who cause trouble or commit crimes while on the ship.

In most cases, the brig is simply used as a place for passengers to cool off if they become unruly or disruptive. It’s not uncommon for passengers who have had too much to drink or are causing trouble in public areas of the ship to be placed in the brig until they sober up and calm down. Most of the time, this is done for the safety of both other passengers and the crew.

In more serious cases where laws have been broken, cruise ships may detain passengers in their brigs until authorities from their home countries arrive at the ship’s next port. The type of crime committed can also determine whether police officers from the ship’s home country arrive at the port, or if local law enforcement is called in to handle any potential criminal proceedings.

Cruise ships may also use their brigs as a means of transporting detainees between ports and back to their home countries. This allows cruise lines to avoid having to transport them by air or another means which could be more expensive. Additionally, it ensures that they remain in custody while they are being transported.


So while it may come as a surprise that cruise ships have jails on board, these are generally only used as a means of keeping order and detaining those who break laws. In most cases, it is simply used for short-term detentions until authorities arrive at the next port and handle any criminal proceedings that need to take place.