Can You Fish off a Cruise Ship? (Or Take Your Fishing Gear)

Can you fish off a cruise ship? This is the question that many keen fishermen have when they find themselves on the water on a huge cruise ship.

Unfortunately, cruise ships do not allow passengers to fish from the vessel.

(Even though some people give it a go – see videos below)

Can You Fish on a Cruise Ship

There are several reasons for this, including safety concerns

However, there are some cruise lines that offer fishing excursions in ports of call. So if you’re interested in fishing while on vacation, check out the options available through your cruise line.

7 Reasons Why you Can’t Fish off a Cruise Ship

  • 1. It’s forbidden to toss anything overboard. Dangling a fishing line would clearly fit into this prohibition.
  • 2. You’d be creating potential dangers for the crew and other passengers.  The fishing line could get caught in the ship’s propellers, for example, or you could hook or entangle someone by accident.
  • 3. You would not be able to catch fish from a large ship on the move at the speed it’s traveling, it’s simply too fast.
  • 4. Even if you did catch something it would be impossible to clean it in any way and you can’t cook it or store it safely.
  • 5. Throwing a catch back wouldn’t be easy because if someone is spotted throwing things off a boat, they’ll want to know what was thrown.  Plus the wind could land it anywhere on board.
  • 6. The first deck accessible to passengers is frequently at least three decks or more above sea level.  This makes it fairly impractical to fish 30 to  100 or so feet off your balcony into the water. (see video below)
  • 7. Even when docked in a port you would also be prohibited from throwing anything over the side of the cruise ship.

So, as you can see, there are many reasons why you cannot fish off a cruise ship. If you are interested in fishing while on vacation, your best bet is to check out the options available through your cruise line for fishing excursions in port.

Can You Bring a Fishing Rod and Gear on a Cruise?

Fishing Gear and Rod
Fishing Rod and Gear

Now that we have established that you cannot fish off the side of a cruise ship, you might be wondering if you can at least bring your fishing rod and gear on board.

The answer is yes,  most cruise ships will allow you to bring your own fishing gear on board. However, it is important to note that this gear is strictly limited to port use only. This means that you will not be able to fish while the ship is at sea.

You wouldn’t be allowed to fish from the cruise while it is docked either. The reason for this is that it is against the cruise lines’ rules to throw anything overboard from a cruise ship. So even if you were just dangling your line over the side, you would still be breaking the rules.

Can you fish from the Cruise port?

In some cases, it is possible to fish from the pier when the ship is docked.  You would need to check with the local port authority to see if this is allowed and what the regulations are.

Sometimes even fishing from the pier is not allowed. This is because it can be a safety hazard for other ships that are docking.

However, there are many great ports for fishing, some of the best are listed here.


  • Alaska
  • Key West, Florida
  • Cozumel, Mexico

Tips for Fishing in Foreign Ports

Whichever port you travel to you can work out the best fishing spots in advance via online groups and forums or ask locals when you get there. 

Make sure you find out and follow the local fishing regulations, these will vary from place to place.

You might need to get your fishing license before you travel, in most cases, you can buy these online.

Can I Bring Fish I Catch Back onto the Cruise?

If you do manage to get some fishing done in a port or an offshore fishing excursion, you might be wondering if you can bring the fish back on board the cruise.

Fishing Catch
Fish Catch

The answer is no, in most cases you will be able to bring fish that you catch back on the cruise ship.

Fish is considered a perishable item, so it would not be allowed. You would have nowhere to store it and the cruise line will not store it for you.

If you wanted you could pay to have the fish frozen or smoked and shipped back home, but most people find this to be too expensive and not worth the hassle.

Your best bet is to record your catches and release them back.

People Trying To Fishing From a Cruise Ship

Even though it is not allowed, there are always at least some people willing who try to fish from cruise ships.

There have been many cases of people being caught and fined for fishing from cruise ships. So, if you are thinking about trying it, just be warned that you could be caught and penalized (potentially thrown off or at least given a stern warning)

Attempted Fishing off Carnival Fantasy Cruise

This passenger was determined to have a go at fishing from the cruise ship and snuck a micro rod and reel on board.

However, on spotting security cameras on the crew decks he found the next deck up a little too high.

Bear in mind, Carnival Fantasy was one of the smallest Carnival cruise ships, of which only two are left at the time of writing. So although a large ship, its relatively small by cruise ship standards.

Attempted Fishing Off Norwegian Jewel

In this video, a young lad makes an attempt to fish from the balcony of his cruise.

Again as stated previously, it is not allowed to fish from cruise ships so don’t be tempted to try itself and risk getting caught or worse creating a health hazard for other passengers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fish off a Carnival Cruise?

Carnival does not allow any fishing off the sides of any of their cruise ships.  With some of the largest ships in the world, it’s not hard to see why.

Can You Bring a Fishing Rod on a Cruise?

Yes, most cruise lines will allow you to bring your own fishing gear on board.  However, it is important to note that this gear is strictly limited to port use and offshore excursions only.

Can You Fish From the Balcony of a Cruise Ship?

As tempting as it may be, fishing from the balcony of your cruise ship is not allowed. If caught, you would be in violation of the cruise lines rules against throwing anything overboard.

Can You Bring a Fishing Pole on a Carnival Cruise?

Carnival does not allow any fishing off the sides of their cruise ships.  However, you are allowed to bring your own fishing gear on board and use it during port stops and excursions.

The same goes for other main cruise lines such as Royal Caribean, Disney, and Princess.

Can You Fish From Shore if on a Cruise?

Some cruises itineraries are specifically geared toward fishing on shore.  These are called “fishing cruises”.

Alaskan cruises are an example of a popular fishing cruise, but there are many others.

Can you Fish off the Back of a Cruise Ship?

No, you cannot fish off the back of a cruise ship.  Dangling a fishing line from the back, sides, or anywhere from the ship would be in violation of the cruise line rules against throwing anything overboard

Do Fish Follow Ships?

The idea that fish follow ships is a popular one, but it is not true.  The ship’s wake does not create the right conditions for fish to follow.

Cruise Ship Wake
Cruise ship wake at rear of the ship

You might however see Orca, dolphins, and possibly some species of whales.

Can You Fish on a River Cruise?

For the same reasons you can’t fish from a sea cruise, you also can’t fish from a river cruise.  The simple act alone of dangling a fishing line from the side of the boat would be considered a health and safety hazard.


Fishing from a cruise ship is not allowed for a variety of reasons.

You can’t toss anything overboard, it’s a safety hazard to the crew and passengers, and you’re not likely to catch any fish from the large ship anyway.

If you’re lucky enough to find an excursion that offers fishing, you may be able to fish from the pier or shore.

But in most cases, you won’t be able to bring the fish back on board the ship.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *