What to Pack for a Cruise

What to Pack for a Cruise

A few weeks back, P and I went on a 4 night cruise to The Bahamas {day 1, day 2, day 3} and I over-packed. I was pretty disappointed, since I pride myself on efficient packing. I have been traveling for work for 3 plus years and think I have my carry on technique down to a T. So I wanted to share with you a few tips and tricks I will be using for our next cruise.


We drove from Atlanta to Port Canaveral, so we each brought a large checked-piece-of-luggage {you drop this at baggage when boarding the cruise, much like at the airport, but this luggage will be delivered to your room during the first day on board the ship} and a carry-on {this luggage remains with you while boarding the ship}.

When you board the ship, your room may not be available yet, so any luggage you carry-on will need to be carried around with you. Luckily for us, our room was available and we could drop off our carry-ons.


We cruised with Carnival, so each individual was allowed to bring on the ship 1 bottle of wine and 12-12 oz cans of liquid (other than water). All other forms of alcohol are prohibited from being brought on the ship.

However, I am sure you personally or know someone that has a crazy shampoo bottle / mouth wash liquor smuggling story. To save time and flavor {who wants to take a soapy shot of tequila?!?} check out these.

Recap – each of our Carry-Ons had a bottle of wine and 12-12oz cans {these items cannot be checked onto the ship}.

What to Pack for a Cruise



If you like to wear a new suit each day {like me} pack the exact number of suits you will need. Packing too many ends up causing unnecessary clutter. I also like to pack swimsuits that will create similar tan lines. This helps with sunscreen application. Also, pack a few beach cover-ups.


Pack Neutral and versatile items like this nautical striped dress. This dress can be worn as a cover-up or day dress or evening dress. Simply change out your shoes, add a belt, and jewelry to dress up the look. If you are comfortable wearing a dress as a cover up on Day 1 and then to dinner on Day 3, do it! The more space you have for souvenirs and ‘beverages’ the better!

Your cruise will most likely have at least one elegant night. The cruise line will promote this as an evening where shorts, jeans, flip flops and tee shirts are not permitted in the dining room, however, I didn’t see them turn anyone away. I packed a tropical form fitting dress and P a Brooks Brothers button down and khaki shorts. We were average on the scale of dressiness in the dining room.

Lastly, pack a jean jacket. The rooms on the ship tend to get chilly at night. If you get hot, go ahead and tie it around your waste.


I suggest packing a minimal amount of shoes. I found that 1 pair of sandals and 1 pair or dressy flats were all I needed. I did pack a pair of dressed up wedges, but never wore them (partly out of fear of falling if we experienced big waves).

What to Pack for a Cruise

Under Garments

Finally, to make your life easier and less cluttered, pack an under garments laundry bag.