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Zero tolerance on cruise ships

Cruise ships offer a world of adventure and relaxation for passengers, but behind the scenes, crew members work tirelessly to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. To maintain order and safety on board, most cruise lines implement strict “zero tolerance” policies for crew members.

As a crew member in the exciting world of cruise ships, you’re about to embark on an amazing adventure. But remember, safety is paramount for everyone onboard. These policies outline a set of unacceptable behaviors that can result in disciplinary action, including dismissal. Let’s delve into some of the most common zero tolerance cases for crew on cruise ships:

Alcohol and Drugs:

Most of cruise lines have a zero tolerance policy for crew members being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on duty or possessing them onboard. This is crucial for ensuring the safety of passengers and the smooth operation of the ship.

Recent Case:

In August 2023, a crew member on a Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was arrested in St. Maarten after a positive drug test during a routine check. The crew member, who was not identified, was reportedly found with cocaine in their possession and faces potential legal charges

Pro Tip: Leave alcohol and drugs off the ship entirely. Stick to refreshing beverages and prioritize a good night’s sleep to stay sharp for your duties.

Smuggling Says No Way:

Smuggling anything illegal onboard a cruise ship, including drugs, weapons, or unauthorized goods, is strictly prohibited. Crew members caught smuggling face serious consequences, including dismissal from the cruise line and potential legal action depending on the severity of the offense.

Recent Case:

In February 2024, two crew members on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship were arrested in Miami after attempting to smuggle nearly 70 pounds of cocaine off the vessel. The crew members, who were from the Dominican Republic, reportedly hid the cocaine in their cabins and planned to retrieve it after disembarking.

Pro Tip: Pack only what you need and adhere to the cruise line’s guidelines for crew luggage. Don’t risk ruining your career and facing legal trouble.

Confidential Information:

Crew members are entrusted with maintaining the confidentiality of guest information, company secrets, and internal procedures. Breaches of confidentiality can result in disciplinary action, ranging from a warning to dismissal depending on the sensitivity of the information leaked.

Example: While not a criminal case, a breach of confidential information can be illustrated by the incident of a Royal Caribbean crew member arrested in 2024 for installing hidden cameras in passenger bathrooms. This case highlights the potential consequences of violating passenger privacy, which would likely fall under a cruise line’s confidential information policy.

Pro Tip: Treat all information you encounter onboard with discretion. Remember, passenger privacy is paramount.

Sexual Harassment:

Cruise lines have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment of any kind. This includes unwelcome advances, sexual assault, and creating a hostile work environment. Crew members who violate this policy can be fired and potentially face legal repercussions.

Recent Case: In December 2022, a lawsuit was filed against Carnival Cruise Line in Miami alleging a cruise ship photographer sexually harassed multiple female passengers during photo shoots. The lawsuit is ongoing.

Pro Tip: Treat everyone onboard with respect and professionalism. Foster a positive and inclusive work environment for all crew members.


Theft of any kind, from passengers cruise line or crew mates, is grounds for immediate dismissal.

Pro Tip: Leave valuables in secure locations and report any suspicious activity to your supervisor.

Captain’s Hearing:

If you’re suspected of violating a zero-tolerance policy, you’ll have a chance to explain yourself at a hearing with the ship’s captain. Present your side of the story calmly and honestly.

Remember: Zero tolerance policies are not meant to be punitive, but to ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone. By understanding and following these guidelines, you’ll contribute to a positive and successful cruise for all.

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