A Florida couple's Carnival cruise vacation was almost ruined last weekend as they attempted to board the ship because one of them was carrying a 2-inch house key shaped like a gun.
Henry Echevarria, a deputy sheriff in Pasco County, Fla., was boarding a cruise ship in Port Canaveral with his wife Lisa Jan. 15 when a ship security agent halted them at the entrance.
"He pulls out my key and says 'Oh, here's the problem," Echevarria told WTSP.
As a law enforcement official, Echevarria says he understands routine security procedures but was shocked that such a small item would cause an issue. The deputy sheriff says he tried to explain that there was no way the key could be used as a weapon.
"First of all, you can't even get your finger in the hole if it was a gun and you can barely get a finger around the grip," he said. "They say I can't have it. I can't get on the boat. I either need to get rid of it take it back or not cruise."
But ship security stood firm and, left with no choice, Echevarria elected to have the key placed in the ship’s safe until returning back to port. But the law enforcement official says the cruise line's unusually strict policy could have harmful security implications for customers.
"They [Carnival] have my address, they have my key, all they need to do is make a replica and next thing you know they could be at my house," he said.
After his vacation, Echevarria says his key was returned but told FoxNews.com that he has tried reaching out to the cruise line for an explanation.
"So far the one time I called to speak with customer service, "John" kept trying to blame the security company and would not get that the supervisor from Carnival was the one who ultimately took my house key and placed it in a safe at Port Canaveral," Echevarria said.
He also says he's sailed with Carnival before and never had an issue with his house key.
Carnival may not have contacted Echevarria to resolve the issue but in an emailed statement to FoxNews.com, Carnival's vice president of corporate communications Jennifer De La Cruz, reiterated the cruise line's prohibited items policy which bans “all firearms including replicas, imitations and their components.”
"While our Prohibited Items Policy does prohibit "all firearms including replicas, imitations and their components,” a house key shaped like a firearm is not what is meant by the term 'replica' and the key should not have been retained," De La Cruz said.
"We contacted the third-party company that provides security services at the port in question to discuss the matter and initiate corrective training so this doesn’t occur in the future."
Echevarria says he still awaiting a reply from Carnival.