Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • The General Rules of the Melachot
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Jews on Cruise: Can One Sail on Shabbat?


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Adar II 20 5782
As life IY"H starts getting back to (semi) normal, the chance to again cruise the world is on the horizon. Some things to know: It is permissible nowadays to board a ship anytime before Shabbat, as modern ships rarely cause sea-sickness, which would disrupt one’s Oneg Shabbat. However, it is strictly prohibited by all poskim to join a cruise that sails over Shabbat IF the majority of passengers are Jewish, which is almost always the case regarding ships that embark from Israel. Only if the ship docks for the 25 hours of Shabbat would it be permissible to go. We don’t do an erev chatzerot on-board because passengers have no ownership of the vessel (in fact, it would be a bracha l’vatala). It is permissible to carry while on board; but leaving the ship over Shabbat, while technically allowed, is complex due to issues of carrying & t’chum & is not recommended. Some poskim allow using a key-card to enter cabins on Shabbat; others suggest taping the door so it locks only from the inside.
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