When is a baggage limit not a baggage limit? That was the conundrum facing Cruise Passenger reader Christine Curtis when Cunard issued her ticket for a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth, leaving tomorrow.

Cruisers know that cruise terminals do not have baggage weighing machines and guards ready to single out overweight baggage.

That’s why it came as a surprise to seasoned traveller Christine when she found ‘Maximum weight: 20kg per bag’ printed front and centre on her Cunard e-ticket.

Christine is booked on a 20-day sailing from Melbourne to Japan tomorrow and packed according to her Qantas flight baggage allowance of 30kg.

So imagine her surprise when she read the notice, which appeared to suggest the mighty Cunarder has a lower baggage allowance than her plane.

“I’ve rung Cunard and have been told I will be told by staff to remove 10kg out of my case on embarkation. I’ve been cruising for many many years and have never struck this before,” Ms Curtis wrote in her post on the Cruise Passenger forum.

“I have sailed with Cunard before and did not have such issues with baggage previously. But when I called, they said that this has always been the case,” says Ms Curtis.

Many fellow passengers replied to say they, too, were surprised.

Cruise Passenger spoke to Cunard UK about the problem. Their advice to guests is: “Baggage allowances vary by airline and destination but generally is between 20kg and 23kg per person…

“While some airlines have an allowance that is greater than 23kg, we request that no individual bag weighs more than 23kg to ensure safe handling by our crew.

“If guests are booked on coach transfers with Cunard, the limit is 20kg.

“If an individual piece of luggage exceeds 23kg at embarkation you will be recalled to the terminal and asked to remove items or repack your bags. Your baggage may also be delayed at disembarkation if you exceed this limit.”

All of which led Christine to believe things would be pretty harsh. But hard to believe this limit would apply to a round-the-world cruiser – unless they had unlimited access to the laundry!

But there was light at the end of the tunnel in Cunard’s statement.

“There are no restrictions as to how many pieces of baggage guests can bring on board, as long as it can be stored safely in your stateroom.

“There is no combined weight for all baggage meaning guests have unlimited kilograms provided each piece of luggage weighs no more than 23kg. For example, a guest can bring on board 4 pieces of luggage at 23kg each if they choose.”

So Christine could have had 92 kg – more than enough frocks for her 20 days on board – if she could persuade her airline to carry it.

In the end, Christine is taking no chances. She’s carrying two bags and hoping she won’t be pulled out of the luggage line.

What other lines do…

It looks like Cunard is on its own with regards to single bag weight restrictions – though it’s a little difficult to tell, as exact details cannot easily be located on its website.

Most lines have such information listed either in the baggage policy or FAQ section on their websites.

It would appear there are some restrictions. It depends on what lines mean by “recommended”.

Fellow Carnival Corporation lines Carnival Australia, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises “recommend” that cruisers bring not more than two bags per person, with the maximum weight of 32 kilos per bag.

So 64 kg in total? Not quite. Princess Cruises, for instance, doesn’t have a limit on the number of bags you can bring on board.

Lines like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises even allow up to 90kg of baggage per guest.

Luxury lines like Regent Seven Seas, Ponant and Crystal Cruises have no restrictions at all.

But of course, all of your baggage has to be able to fit into your cabin safely and comfortably.

Most lines recommend that each bag be no bigger than 140x60x40(cm). For reference, the average large suitcase measures 76x48x29(cm).

The cruise lines also remind fly cruisers to check with their airline for specific baggage allowances, as the cruise baggage allowances do not apply to their flights.

So the answer would appear to be: check with your cruise line and airline. You don’t want to have to take your favourite clothes out for either of them.