Woman talking(l), Carnival Cruise ship(c), Drug sniffing dog(r)

Jouni Niskakoski/Shutterstock @professormelissa/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘She had cookies in the bottom of her bag’: Carnival Cruise dogs are now everywhere, expert warns. They’re even better than you think

‘Carnival is still not playing.’


Grace Rampaul


Posted on Apr 10, 2024   Updated on Apr 10, 2024, 12:40 am CDT

As marijuana consumption has increased once again to its peaking usage rates of the ’70s, Carnival Cruise line is cracking down on regulating both medical and recreational drugs to ensure that all cruise-goers can satisfy their desire of “All for Fun. Fun for All.”

In a TikTok posted on Monday, cruise enthusiast and influencer Melissa (@professormelissa) warns voyagers of Carnival Cruise’s newest apparent tactic to combat on-ship drug usage, more prevalent drug dogs. Receiving 1,716 likes and more than 130,600 views, Melissa briefly walks viewers through the embarkment process, which includes a K-9 narcotic detection team. 

“Y’all Carnival is still not playing when it comes to the drug-sniffing dogs,” Melissa forewarns. “Here’s what you can expect.” 

Dressed to the nines, Melissa stands in the doorway of her Carnival stateroom after making it safely on-board and continues her caveat via voice-over. 

At this point, the TikTok flashes to a security notice posted by Carnival, directly outside the maritime passenger terminal doors, presumably giving voyagers a chance to prepare prior to entering the way station. 

“Canine dogs on duty, drug free zone,” the sign reads in large lettering, accompanied by finer print directly below. 

“As per federal law, marijuana including maijuana for medical purposes and any other illegal drugs, are not allowed on board. Anyone in possession of illegal drugs will be disembarked at the guest’s expense and is subject to prosecution by the authorities,” the sign explains. 

Once again Melissa emphasizes just how strongly Carnival has been cracking down in recent years. 

With Tory Lanez’s song “Hurts me (Alone At Prom),” echoing in the background, Melissa pans to her series of seemingly infinite bags on the floor, each being individually sniffed by a drug dog. 

“UH OH!” titles the short clip, but based on the introduction to the TikTok, it’s apparent Melissa had nothing to worry about.

Now a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than humans, and it’s proven that virtually no machine can compare to a dog’s nose. For example, when sniffing dogs search for explosives, they are accurate 90% of the time in comparison to their mechanical counterparts who only reach rates of 14% success. 

Similar accuracy rates for narcotic detection canines have been found as well. 

So, it’s clear why some Carnival passengers may be a little extra nervous when boarding their vacation at sea. 

“Bags down for the dogs,” another sign reads, showing how clear Carnival is with its expectations. 

And according to the website, Carnival reserves the right to do this as well, and states this explicitly:

Under U.S. federal law, all cruise terminals in the U.S. are federal facilities and, along with our ships, are drug-free zones. Customs and law enforcement authorities in U.S. homeports and foreign destinations are present and have the right to conduct routine and random inspections with the assistance of narcotics-sniffing dogs. There is zero tolerance for possession of narcotics (which includes marijuana, even in those states where marijuana has been decriminalized). All guests and their personal items may be subject to screening by law enforcement and any guest found in possession of illegal drugs and other prohibited items may be subject to fines, arrest, and denial of boarding without refund or compensation. This is beyond Carnival’s control. Furthermore, Carnival reserves the right to deploy narcotics-sniffing dogs in terminals and on board our ships in order to enforce our obligations to uphold federal law.”

Owned by Carnival Corporation, the cruise line is a part of the world’s largest cruise ship operator, accompanied by sister lines Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Cunard Lard.

The Daily Dot has talked with other experts on the subject as well. In an exclusive with the Daily Dot, cruise-planner Mandy (@mandythecruiseplanner) warned of similar scenarios on the cruise line. And though she wants her followers to have as pleasurable of an experience as possible, Mandy warns that nothing can ruin a cruise more than having to disembark for a small marijuana charge. 

Even commenters on Melissa’s TikTok acknowledged how persistent the drug dogs can be, detecting almost everything that was out of the ordinary. 

“My sister has a medical card in Florida, but had nothing in her bag and they still pulled her aside we think because her canvas bag smelled like it,” one commenter said. 

“Back in November the dog pulled my sister’s bags for a search because she had cookies in the bottom of her bag (regular cookies),” another warned.

@professormelissa This now seems to be standard practice. #Cruise #cruiseship #cruisetok #cruiselife #cruiser #travel #traveltiktok #cruisewithme #cruisetips #cruisetipsandtricks #cruisehacks #vacation #cruiseships #cruisecontent #cruisingcontent #cruisevacation #cruiselover #cruiseblogger #firsttimecruiser #cruisequestions #cruisefacts #goingonacruise #crusingtok #cruiseessentials #traveler #royalcaribbean #carnivalcruiseline #choosefun #virginvoyages #norwegiancruise #hollandcruise #hollandamericaline #disneycruiseline #msccruise #princesscruises #carnivalcruise ♬ Hurts Me (Alone At Prom) – Tory Lanez

Though of course there were some commenters debunking Melissa’s advice. Saying that they had gotten one or two small things across the terminal, at the end of the day it comes down to risk mitigation. It is up to the passenger to decide what they are willing to test, and if they decide to bring drugs on board, it is their own vacation at risk.

The Daily Dot reached out to Melissa (@professormelissa) for comment via TikTok DM and Carnival Cruise Line via their media email. 

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*First Published: Apr 10, 2024, 1:00 am CDT