But more important you will likely find that there is a lot you just do not need to take. Each successive cruise we have taken less, we just do not need all that stuff. You will hear a lot of people who have gone on cruises joke about how they had over-packed. Be wary and take a look as some cruise packing tips and advice and you will get along fine even if it is your first cruise.
What should you pack?
It all depends on the destination. I’ll provide some insight for southern cruise destinations like Bermuda, Bahamas, the Caribbean and Mexico in this article For cruise packing tips for Alaska, check out the tips in this article .
There’s a lot of packing advice online for cruises and we have tried a few things. I recently read one which I am planning to use for our cruise this summer- Packing Tactics: Wear and Recycle The article gives samples for a male but a woman can do it the same, coordinating outfits and accessories can help dress them up or down with. You could wear the same basic dress for different dinners using different accessories. Note that wearing the dress for just 3-4 hours, it will still be fine to wear again.
Some useful hints to make your packing easier:
- Pack in a uniform color scheme.
- Use accessories that can work with different outfits.
- Limit the shoes, pick a color that works for all like white or black
- Remind yourself how heavy that luggage gets and the cost to transport it on a plane!
- if travelling with someone else, divide your checked items into two suitcases with outfits for both in each. That way if something happens to one suitcase you still have outfits in the second one for each of you.
What not to pack
All airlines and cruise lines have prohibited items. Things like weapons, illegal drugs, flammable liquids, irons, candles, and most small electrical appliances. Cruise lines generally ban large coolers, though a small, personal cooler may be allowed on some ships. Cruise policies change and each cruise line has different regulations so be sure to check what’s allowed before you go it will save packing it and embarrassment.
Attached is a link to the some of major cruise lines’ lists of prohibited items:
- Carnival Cruise Lines
- Disney Cruise Lines
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Royal Carribbean Cruise
- Princess Cruise Lines
- Holland American
Packing your carry on bag
Cabins are not generally ready until later in the day so you want to pack items in a carry on that you may need on the day of arrival. Planning what to pack will make your life easier and more enjoyable. You want a nice blend of what is necessary but not too much for weight.
Here is a sample list of what you should include:
- All cruise boarding documents which will include boarding passes, photo ID, passport and any other paperwork required by the cruise line.
- All prescription medication. Note that this should always be in carry on luggage for any trip in case luggage is lost.
- Sunscreen: I buy a small one for the carry on and have a larger one in my luggage
- Sunglasses for everyone
- Hats or visors
- Swimsuits…..note the boys could wear their swim trunks as shorts while girls could wear theirs under their clothing as well making for less weight in the carryon
- Electronics, things like computers, ereaders, tablets and phones. You may want them but also they are valuable and luggage may be left unattended during the boarding process.
- Camera…..if comfortable, you can pack the charger etc but ensure you have the battery charged so you can get the photos during the day.
- Wine or other beverages if the line allows….be sure to check the policy. If it is in checked luggage they may hold the luggage and require you to go to the security area.
- Valuable jewellery………I try to travel with very little jewellery or costume jewellery so you do not have to worry about it
- Diaper bags with supplies for the younger set, don’t forget toys it could be a long time till you get to the cabins
Things you do not need to carry in the carry on
- a change of clothes, you will get access to the cabin before dinner time and the first night is usually casual so even if luggage were late it will not matter.
- towels. they are provided
- chargers for all the electronics, leave them in checked bags, less to carry.
Additional hints and tips
Whenever you travel take a photo of your checked luggage that day. This way if it is lost or held by cruise security you can show them exactly what it looks like which will make things go quicker. You also will not have to rely on memory for name brand etc.
There are a lot of black bags the same out there, we usually try to put something unique on our luggage. The last couple of trips to the US we bought luggage tags with Canada flags which worked good. Got them at the Dollarama so not a huge expense. We have also bought luggage straps to go around the outside of the large checked suitcases that are brightly colored. Have you ever seen the mess when a suitcase breaks open, this may also help hold it closed so at least some of the stuff it not all sticking out.
One final thing to remember
Your cruise is meant to be a fun and carefree time. You will not end up needing a ton of different outfits and if you can plan it ahead of time you will save yourself the hassle of carting along a lot of unnecessary things. Go relax and have a wonderful trip.