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

Can you fish off a cruise ship? The answer can be a little bit confusing. Here is our straightforward guide to cruise fishing!

Cruise vacations offer a unique blend of excitement, adventure, and relaxation, which is why they appeal to so many types of people. Not only do they allow voyagers to take in astonishing views, but modern-day cruise ships also offer countless amenities that provide passengers with options for both fun and relaxation. 

Given that cruise ships travel through some of the world’s most fruitful fishing regions, it only makes sense that many people ask if they can fish while on a cruise ship. After all, a trip that combines the luxury and adventure of a cruise trip with the thrill of deep-sea fishing would be a fishing enthusiast’s dream vacation. 

Today, we are going to explain whether or not you can fish off a cruise ship. We will answer this surprisingly complex question and explore some of the options fishing enthusiasts have if they want to indulge in their favorite pastime during their voyage.

Can You Fish off a Cruise Ship?

No, unfortunately, you cannot fish directly off a full-sized cruise ship. While some of the smaller river cruises allow passengers to cast a line, it is not possible or allowed from a large-scale cruise ship

Even though cruise ships are teeming with exciting amenities for passengers to enjoy, so you would think fishing would be relatively simple, there are many practical and regulatory reasons why it is prohibited. The following are just some of the reasons why cruise lines cannot allow passengers to fish directly from the ship: 

Safety Concerns and Cruise Line Guidelines

For cruise lines, the safety of passengers and crew members is their most important concern. Unfortunately, fishing off the side of a cruise ship would pose various safety risks. Sharp hooks, tangled lines, and dropped fishing equipment could all endanger unsuspecting passengers and crew members.

Cruise Ships
Docked Cruise Ships (Photo Credit: Alvalenti / Shutterstock)

While some passengers would certainly know how to operate fishing equipment safely, more experienced individuals could easily hurt themselves or others. Even relatively small injuries, like cuts from hooks and fishing knives, are made more dangerous when you are at sea.

While modern cruise ships have sophisticated infirmaries, cruise lines take as many precautions as possible to keep passengers out of them to avoid overcrowding.

Environmental Risks and Local Regulations

One of the main appeals of taking a cruise is observing and enjoying the natural world uniquely. This is why all major cruise lines are committed to minimizing their impact on marine ecosystems and the environment in general. 

Despite a recent viral TikTok of a man catching what appears to be a buffalo trunkfish or cowfish from the stateroom balcony of a Carnival ship in The Bahamas, fishing from a cruise ship is not permitted. Carnival does allow passengers to bring fishing rods on board, but only to use at appropriate ports of call.

Carnival Cruise Passengers Banned After Fishing

If cruise lines allowed passengers to fish directly from the cruise ship, it could result in significant damage to marine life and delicate ecosystems. Not only would pulling fish from the water indiscriminately hurt marine life directly but dropped fishing equipment, like cut fishing lines, could cause significant damage.

This could be particularly damaging in sanctuary areas where all forms of fishing are banned to allow the entire marine ecosystem to recover from overfishing.

There is also a risk of hooking an endangered or protected species if you do not know what you are doing. Depending on your cruise ship’s itinerary, you could be traveling through areas home to sea turtles, stingrays, and various at-risk fish species. Rather than risk the threat to marine animals that cannot be caught.

Read Also: What Is a Poop Deck? It’s Not What You Think

Finally, all passenger vessels must abide by strict environmental rules and guidelines, particularly cruise ships. While these regulations may seem like they are only ruining the fun passengers could have, they are designed to protect the seas and oceans that cruise enthusiasts enjoy traveling over. 

Protecting Local Economies and Fishing Industries

Most cruise lines cooperate with the locals in the various regions and port towns they visit. By allowing passengers to ship from the ship, cruise lines would pose a risk to the local fishing industries in areas they are so dependent on. Not only is this destructive to the environment itself, but it could also threaten the livelihoods of those who depend on fishing for food, income, and their way of life.

Local Fishing Near Cruise Ship
Local fishing Near Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Aleksandr Puludi / Shutterstock)

Rather than reduce fish populations and threaten the livelihoods of locals, most cruise lines partner with experienced local fishermen to offer exciting fishing excursions for passengers. While we will explain this in greater detail below, this helps passengers enjoy a much better fishing experience and helps local fishing communities earn a good living. 

Maintaining Regular Operations

Cruise ships also have very specific itineraries and tight schedules. Rather than tying crew members up with fishing-related issues that could disrupt their ability to ensure all passengers have a safe and enjoyable experience, cruise lines simply prohibit fishing from all decks. 

Instead of worrying about passengers fishing off of balconies and observation decks, the activity is banned. With that said, passengers can enjoy countless other entertainment options. 

Can You Book Fishing Excursions While You Are on a Cruise?

Even though fishing directly off a cruise ship is not allowed or even a realistic activity, most cruise lines recognize that many passengers have a passion for fishing. Most cruise lines offer a wide range of fishing excursions to help passengers enjoy fishing during their voyage.

Cruise Fishing Excursion Boat
Cruise Fishing Excursion Boat (Photo Credit: Stephen D. Gard / Shutterstock)

These fishing excursions are catered to different fishing styles and skill levels so that they can be enjoyed by just about any passenger on the ship. Whether you would like to try fishing for the first time or are an experienced angler looking to try serious deep-sea fishing for the first time, you can book a fishing excursion that meets your needs. 

While each cruise ship and cruise line will have its own selection of fishing excursions on offer, some of the most common options include the following: 

Shore Fishing Lessons

Depending on the port of call, some destinations offer shore fishing opportunities. These can replace lessons with a local fishing instructor or simply be equipment rentals and access to a private dock or fishing pier.

Fishing Boat and Cruise Ship in Seward, Alaska
Fishing Boat and Cruise Ship in Seward, Alaska (Photo Credit: Vineyard Perspective / Shutterstock)

These tend to be more relaxed than other fishing excursions, but they can still be incredibly memorable for first-timers and experienced fishing enthusiasts alike. They are particularly enjoyable for families who are traveling with kids. Best of all, these more leisurely fishing opportunities tend to be very affordable.

Fly Fishing and Freshwater Angling

While these excursions are limited to Alaskan cruises, they offer passengers a truly exhilarating experience. Fishing is a major attraction for any Alaskan cruise, so it is a fantastic trip for fishing enthusiasts wanting to try something different.

While many different cruise lines operate in Alaska, you may choose Alaska Dream Cruises, as they focus more on fishing and nature than other cruise lines running in the area. 

Deep Sea Fishing Excursions

Deep sea fishing is amongst the most popular cruise excursions you can book, so most cruise lines offer it in some form or another. Typically, you will book the excursion through your cruise line, ensuring the guides know when you need to be back to re-board the cruise ship.

Deep Sea Fishing
Deep Sea Fishing (Photo Credit: Przemyslaw Wasilewski / Shutterstock)

While the exact experience will depend on which cruise line you are traveling with and where the excursion has been booked, most offer a thrilling experience unlike any other type of fishing you have ever experienced. The local guides often know where the richest fishing grounds are and will usually try to show you stunning coastlines and other sights. 

While these excursions offer the opportunity to reel in massive deep-water fish, they can be incredibly exciting and unforgettable experiences even if you do not catch anything.

Snorkel and Spear Fishing Experiences

It is possible to book snorkel and reef fishing experiences in some of the more tropical ports of call. This can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as it is one of the most unique types of fishing on the planet. Not only does it allow you to try a whole new form of fishing, but you can also view the vibrancy of tropical marine environments firsthand.

Snorkel Fishing
Snorkel Fishing (Photo Credit: acro_phuket / Shutterstock)

Most of these excursions will include lessons from an experienced local, so do not worry if you have never tried snorkel fishing. Not only will they show you how to snorkel fish successfully, but you will also have the opportunity to witness your guide in action and view a completely different way of life from your own. Sometimes, your guides will even show you how to prepare and cook your catch when you return to the beach! 

Are You Allowed to Bring Your Own Fishing Gear on a Cruise Ship?

Even though fishing directly from the ship is prohibited, you might wonder if you can bring your fishing equipment on board the ship for excursions.

Some cruise lines allow you to bring certain fishing items on board the ship, but you can only use them in port. Sometimes, your fishing gear will have to be stowed in a separate area.

Other ships allow you to keep your fishing gear in your cabin, but they will advise you about steep fines if you break any of the rules regarding the use of fishing equipment. 

To play it safe, contact the cruise line you are traveling with ahead of time and ask about their policies on bringing fishing equipment. 

Do You Need to Book an Excursion to Fish Outside of the Cruise Ship?

Sometimes, you can fish in the same location where the ship is docked, but this will vary from region to region, as some areas have strict rules regarding unlicensed fishing.

If you fish where you are not allowed to do so, you could face fines and other punishments from local port authorities, so it is always a better option to check with the crew of your cruise ship ahead of time.

Cruise Ships at Grand Cayman
Photo Credit: Angela N Perryman /

If fishing is allowed in the port of call you are visiting, ensure you do so in a designated area. Not only will this help you avoid trouble from local authorities, it will be a much safer and more peaceful place to fish from.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Will Happen if You Get Caught Fishing from a Cruise Ship? 

While the exact punishment will depend on which cruise line you are traveling with, most have strict policies regarding this rule violation. Not only can you face steep charges from the cruise line, they can and will ban guests caught fishing from the cruise ship. 

Typically, these bans are for life, and the cruise lines are unforgiving when charging passengers. When you book a cruise, you must agree to a ticket contract, which is a legally binding contract issued by the cruise line.

Beyond the cruise line’s internal punishments, if the incident occurs within the waters of a particular nation, you may even be in violation of their local laws, which means you could face additional charges.

Do Fish Follow a Cruise Ship’s Wake?

 The idea that fish intentionally follow any large ship’s wake is a myth. Typically, fish avoid the churning waters, which can be incredibly dangerous. With that said, it is sometimes possible to see dolphins trailing behind cruise ships, as they like to play in the fast-moving water and even pick off fish that have been killed or injured by the ship’s propulsion system.

Final Words

While you cannot fish directly off a cruise ship and can even face severe consequences for doing so, there are numerous ways that you can still enjoy the thrill of fishing during your vacation.

Most offer a variety of fishing excursions that cater to all experience levels and fishing preferences, so you should not face any difficulty finding a way to fish while enjoying your cruise voyage.

Worth Reading: Underwater Cruise Ship Rooms – What Are They?

To ensure that you can make some time to fish while you are away, take a look at cruise line itineraries and choose a cruise vacation that involves visiting numerous ports of call in areas known for fishing.

If you want to ensure you can fish during your cruise vacation, consider contacting the cruise line ahead of time and asking about the types of fishing excursions they offer.

Just make sure that you follow the rules carefully and make sure you enjoy yourself. Stay safe and create fishing memories that will last a lifetime!

Emrys Thakkar
Emrys Thakkar
The founder of Cruise Hive which was established in 2008 as one of the earliest cruise blogs in the industry. Emrys has been reporting on the latest cruise industry news since the site first launched. Expert insights and tips featured on a number of publications including The Express, Business Insider, and more. Worked for Carnival Cruise Line for 8 years and is well and truly dedicated to cruising! Has also been on a number of cruises so can offer an insight into the industry that many will not be able to do. What's even more impressive is that Emrys has traveled the world by visiting more than 34 countries, lived in China for 8 years, and cruised the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean, Asia, and Europe. Find out more about us here.


Free expert cruise tips and news from Cruise Hive! We'll send you the latest cruise updates daily to your inbox.

Copy link