Cruises are an exciting way to see new destinations for honeymooners, families, and solo travelers. But can a felon go on a cruise?
The truth is, if you have a criminal record with a past felony conviction, you may or may not be able to board the ship.
So, before you get too far in planning your trip, it’s vital to know what the regulations are for felons on cruise ships.
How Can a Felon Go on a Cruise?
The short answer is yes; a felon can go on a cruise, but not every type of cruise. The type of cruise, destination, and ports are all factors that come into play when determining if a felon can board the ship.
In other words, not all cruise ships will allow felons to board their ships. Other ships may allow it depending on the crime in question. In addition, some ports may not allow felons from the U.S. to step foot on their country’s soil or sail their waterways.
It’s well known that felons have restricted rights after serving their time. This includes employment options, housing, and travel.
However, many people with a felony record are still people who want to take a vacation and see the world. One of the best ways to do that is by taking a cruise.
Taking a cruise when you’re a felon can be complicated, as they sail through various waterways stopping in multiple ports. The complicated part is that each waterway and port has its own regulations for U.S. travelers with a criminal record.
Fortunately, felons do not have to miss out on the cruise experience completely. They can still enjoy a cruise if they take the necessary steps and learn about their options beforehand.
One of the easier ways to board a cruise as a felon is on a closed-loop cruise. A closed-loop cruise is where the ship leaves from one port, travels around, makes a loop, and returns to the same port. If the cruise never leaves U.S. waters, then you may not have any issues.
Can a Felon Go on a Cruise? Open-Loop
The other type of cruise is called an open-loop. An open-loop cruise is when a cruise ship leaves from one port, such as Miami, and stops at ports in other countries. In this case, travelers need to have a passport because they will be entering a foreign country.
The issue with an open-loop cruise is that some countries may not allow a felon to enter their waterways or land. Some of the most well-known countries to ban felons are Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
In this case, it’s vital you do extensive research before booking a cruise.
What If You Stay on the Ship?
Even if you truly have no intention of leaving the ship at a foreign port, the cruise line will stick to its policies. The reason is the concern that you could attempt to leave the ship.
Even if you do not leave the ship, you will need the proper documentation to enter the port. It’s not worth the risk for these companies and their passengers.
Can a Felon Go on a Cruise? Type of Crime
Depending on the type of crime committed, being a felon may or may not cause issues when trying to board a cruise. Many major cruise companies, such as Carnival, make it clear that they have the right to deny boarding to anyone with certain felony convictions.
These types of convictions are typically related to violent crimes, including but not limited to physical abuse, armed robbery, sexual abuse, and other related offenses.
In addition, cruise ships will also state in their policies that they have the right to access public records pertaining to felony convictions. If the conviction does not pass the cruise line’s screening process, they can cancel a booking or deny boarding.
So, what should you do if you have a felony and want to take a cruise? Keep reading as we discuss ways to ensure that you are allowed on a cruise.
Talk to a Cruise Travel Agency
Some, but not all, cruise travel agents have the experience to navigate you through finding a cruise that allows felons. They may ask you a series of questions to narrow down cruise options.
Keep in mind that while travel agents may be able to help, they shouldn’t be your only source of information.
Contact Your Parole Officer
It’s a good idea to also reach out to your parole officer if you have one. Let them know your plans and if they have any advice on what to do. They may be able to shed light on your particular situation and give you some direction.
Reach Out to the Cruise Line
Calling a cruise line directly is a good way to get a quick yes or no answer. If your situation passes their regulations, they will then need to do a background check.
If you pass the screening process, then you are one step closer to going on a cruise. It’s best to start with closed-loop cruises first, as they are easier to get approved for.
The cruise line can also tell you about open-loop cruises that you qualify for. They will have more knowledge about the various ports of call and what their regulations are.
Should Felons Be Able to Go on a Cruise?
Felons should be able to go on a cruise vacation with their loved ones, as it’s a great way to see new destinations and relax. However, it’s important to be diligent in your research before booking a cruise.
Talk to a travel agent, parole officer, and cruise line directly to get more information. You also need to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation in order to enter any ports.
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