What Laws Apply on a Cruise Ship?

By Robert Palmer

When you step on board a cruise ship, it is important to remember that the laws that govern the cruise are not necessarily the same as those you encounter on land. Cruise ships have their own set of rules and regulations that must be followed by passengers and crew alike.

First and foremost, the laws of the country in which the cruise ship is registered apply. This is important to keep in mind when traveling to different countries or regions as regulations may vary. In addition, each cruise line may have its own set of policies and rules that must be followed.

When it comes to legal matters, there are two primary jurisdictions at play: the law of the nation where the cruise ship is registered, and international law. The first jurisdiction governs issues such as labor contracts; employment contracts; taxes; environmental protection; maritime safety; and customs regulations. The second jurisdiction applies to international matters such as piracy, terrorism, human trafficking, and drug smuggling.

When it comes to onboard conduct, it is important to remember that cruise ships are considered sovereign nations. This means that laws regarding behavior apply to passengers onboard just like in any other country or state. Passengers should be aware of any specific regulations or policies imposed by their specific cruise line or government regulations.

Cruise lines also have rules regarding alcohol consumption. All passengers must abide by these rules; failure to do so can result in disciplinary action including being asked to leave the ship at their own expense. Additionally, some countries have laws prohibiting certain activities such as gambling while onboard a cruise ship.

It is also important for passengers to be aware of their rights when travelling on a cruise vessel. These rights include access to medical care if needed; notification of cancellations or delays; emergency services if necessary; access to legal aid services if needed; and protection from harassment from crew members or other passengers onboard.

Cruise ships are subject to both local and international laws while at sea. It is important for all passengers travelling on a cruise liner to be aware of their rights as well as any rules and regulations imposed by their respective governments or cruise lines so they can enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip.


What Laws Apply on a Cruise Ship? Cruise ships are subject to both local and international laws while at sea. Passengers should familiarize themselves with their respective governments’ laws as well as any additional regulations imposed by their chosen cruise line before they embark on their voyage so they can enjoy an enjoyable experience without running afoul of any rules or regulations.