What to Pack for a Cruise | Carnival Cruise Line (2023)

In my recent12 Things to Know Before Your First Cruisearticle, I mentioned that one of the most frequently asked questions I hear about preparing for a cruise is: “What do I wear?” While my answer was simplified in the interest of brevityforthat article, I want to delve a little deeper in today’s vacation planning post,which is sponsored by Carnival. I’ll not only tell you everything you need to wear, butwhat to pack for a cruisein general. I’m a big time planner and I have found that a well-packed suitcase makes for a much more enjoyable cruise vacation!

1. Bring activity-appropriate clothing and shoes.

Before you begin packing for your cruise, take a look at the itinerary on the cruise line’s website. Where are you going? What shore excursions have you booked? Do you plan on dining in the formal dining room, or only hitting the casual buffet each night?

Formal Attire

For most cruises, you’ll want to bring at least one formal outfit for “formal night.” For women, this can mean anything from a nice dress to a ball gown. Men will want to wear a collared, button up shirt and tie with trousers and dress shoes. On Carnival cruises, ties aren’t required, but many men choose to wear them, as well as sport coats, on Cruise Elegant Dining nights. While men can wear a suit or tuxedo, it is not a requirement on most cruise lines. Think “Sunday Best” at the very least.

Bathing Suits and Cover Ups

Most people take a cruise vacations in the Caribbean because they want to spend time at the pool and on the beach during their shore excursions. Make sure to bring at least two bathingsuits, as it can take a while for them to dry out! While you are allowed to wander around in your bathing suit, clothes and shoes are required when entering the restaurants and casinos, so bring along at least a few bathing suit cover-ups, sundresses, or shorts and tee shirts.

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I recommend that women wear a bathing suit cover up that looks like a sundress, or actually IS a sundress, when goingon shore excursions. You may be going to the beach, but there may be other stops along the way and you’ll want to look like your dressed.

What to Pack for a Cruise | Carnival Cruise Line (1)

Don’t Forget to Bring a Sweater

While you’re cruising to a Caribbean island, you might not think you will get chilly, but it can get downright cold on the open water at night. Restaurants and the casino can also be a bit chilly, and you’ll want a lightweight sweater or pashmina to keep you warm.

2. Bring a Back Pack or Beach Tote

When you leave the ship for a beach-day shore excursion, you’ll want something to carry your beach items in. Bring a tote bag or back pack from home so that you aren’t stuck juggling towels, sunscreen and your book!

A tote bag also comes in handy if you want to do a little shopping at the cruise port. It’s much easier to throw everything you purchase into a tote bag than struggle to carry around several shopping bags.

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What to Pack for a Cruise | Carnival Cruise Line (2)

3.BringSunscreen and After-Sun Lotion

I recommend bringing at least one bottle of sunscreen/sunblock per person in your party. Whether you’re spending the day at the pool or laying on the beach during a shore excursion, you’ll go through more sunscreen than you can imagine! Remember to apply sunscreen liberally and often – especially if you are cruising somewheresun-soakedlikethe Caribbean, where the heat and humidity cause you to sweat more often that you would elsewhere.

I always bring a bottle of after-sun soothing aloe gel, just in case we get sunburned. If you burn easily, this is a must to help you heal quickly. You don’t want to waste your vacation stuck indoors because you’re in too much pain to go have fun!

You might also want to bring along a sun hat or a visor, especially for children who will spend all day in the sun! It’s much easier to prevent a sunburn than it is to deal with one.

4.Bring Your Own Toiletries

While many cruise lines offer complimentary shampoo and conditioner in stateroom bathrooms, they aren’t likelytobe the products you use at home. I always bring my own shampoo, conditioner and of course, my hair care products.

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I also recommend bringing a travel-sized air freshener for the bathroom – there isn’t a lot of ventilation and you can’t simply open the window like you would at home.

Don’t forget to bring a razor and shaving cream if you’re going on a longer cruise!

5. Bring Medications for Upset Stomach and Motion Sickness

I recommend packing a small first aid-style kit full of your common medications like pain relievers, upset stomach medication, anti-diarrhea, Benedryl (if you suffer from any allergies), and a motion sickness medication. You can also buy Sea Bands, which you wear on your wrists to help combat motion sickness. Most of these things are sold in the cruise shops, but they’re quite expensive compared to what you’d pay at home. Plus, who wants to trudge down to the cruise shops when feeling under the weather?

What to Pack for a Cruise | Carnival Cruise Line (3)

6. Bring an Underwater Camera

If you are going on a cruiseandplanto go snorkeling, scuba diving, or to a water park, I suggest bringing a waterproof camera (or, if you’re cruising with Carnival, you can rent one onboard the cruise ship from the shore excursions desk). Angeline and I went snorkeling in Grand Cayman once and I was so disappointed when I realized that I had forgotten our waterproof camera at home! It’s so much fun to be able to take photos not only under water, but just while you’re on the beach or splashing in the waves! You can also purchase a waterproof phone case or a waterproof camera bag, which will cost you less than a camera.

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7. Bring Cash for Tipping

If you plan on doing shore excursions, it is customary to tip your tour guides,bus drivers, etc. Bring cash so that you aren’t left feeling awkward when it’s time to go back to the port and the tour guide makes a speech about how much they appreciate tips!

8. Bring a Portable Back Up Battery Charger

While you are out at sea, I recommend turning your cell phone on airplane mode to avoid incurring roaming charges. I usually use my phone to take a lot of photos while cruising, and my battery tends to die fairly quickly. Most staterooms only have one US electrical outlet and one European outlet, and taking turns charging your electronic devices means that you won’t always have a full charge. Bring along a portable back up battery charger so that you have a back-up plan when that low battery light starts flashing!

You can also bring along an outlet adapter to make using the European outlet easier.

These are the essentials that go into my suitcase whenever I begin to prepare for a cruise vacation. Do you have any additionalsuggestions?

This post was created as part of my collaboration withCarnival. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own.

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What to Pack for a Cruise | Carnival Cruise Line (4)


How many outfits should I pack for a 7 day cruise? ›

Bottom Line: As a rough guide, for a 7-night cruise you will need to bring enough clothing for at least 4 formal or semi-formal nights, a couple of casual evenings, pool and loungewear, and practical clothing for excursions on dry land.

How do you pack a cruise efficiently? ›

Top 12 Cruise Packing Tips
  1. Remember Your Pre- and Post-Cruise Travel Plans While Packing. ...
  2. Pack Your Cruise Carry-On Bags Wisely. ...
  3. Pack Your Checked Luggage Wisely, Too. ...
  4. Know Your Cruise Dress Code Before Packing. ...
  5. Packing Aids Are Your Friends. ...
  6. Consider Doing Laundry Onboard.

What kind of clothes should I pack for a cruise? ›

Women can wear casual dresses, skirts and blouses, nice slacks and tops; men wear polo or button-down shirts with slacks. Some cruise lines do allow jeans in the evening; pair them with cute tops and nice shoes. Elegant or formal nights bring out the cocktail dresses, suits, ties and jackets.

How many outfits do you need for a 5 day cruise? ›

Women: One or two dressy outfits – dressy pants and blouse, cocktail dress. Some women still wear long formal dresses but not as often. Men: One sport coat or dark jacket, 2 ties, 1 or 2 collared shirts.

How many pairs of shoes should you take on a cruise? ›

With few exceptions, you need to pack only 4-5 pairs of shoes for your cruise.

How many suitcases do you take on a cruise? ›

Most cruise lines “encourage” each passenger to limit luggage to two suitcases, each one less than 50 pounds. In addition, you can also bring carry-on luggage (more on that in a moment).

Can I use my cell phone on a cruise? ›

Yes, you can make calls, text, and even video chat from a cruise ship. In port, you can connect to local roaming networks. At sea, you can either make calls via a satellite connection or pay for the ship's Wi-Fi (also via satellite) and make Wi-Fi calls, text or video chat via the internet.

How many bathing suits should I bring on a cruise? ›

We recommend bringing at least two swimsuits on your cruise as. When picking your pieces, keep in mind the purpose for each one. You'll need a swimsuit for excursions like snorkeling or scuba diving and also swimsuits for lounging all day by the pool or beach and gazing out at the blue horizon. A one-piece does it all.

How do you not overeat on a cruise? ›

Here are some tips to avoid overeating.
  1. Minimize courses. Don't order an appetizer, soup, salad, entree _and _dessert every night. ...
  2. Order "spa" dishes. Select the spa dinner menu -- especially if you ate a pancake breakfast and lunchtime burger. ...
  3. Go easy on the bread. Tell the server no bread basket.

Do you have to dress up every night on a cruise? ›

Absolutely not. Your cruise is your own. If you don't want to dress up for the evening, then you certainly don't have to do so. Many people choose to keep it casual.

Are jeans allowed on cruise ships? ›

In the dining rooms, items such as shorts, pool wear and baseball caps are not permitted; shoes must be worn at all times. Jeans are permitted as long as they aren't fraying and don't have holes.

How much money should you bring on a cruise? ›

What Is The Average Amount of Cash to Bring on a Cruise? On a cruise, most guests bring between $100-$120 in cash per day to be spent on transportation, tips, gifts, food, and shopping. In a survey of 850 cruisers, 71% stated that they took over $100 per person per day when cruising.

Do you need cash in a cruise? ›

We highly recommend paying for anything OFF of the ship in cash. Ports in tourist areas are typically safe from violent crime, but petty crime like theft — or credit card fraud — can happen. So if you plan to pay for meals and entertainment with a card, there is always the risk of being overcharged, charged twice, etc.

Do I need a plug adapter on a cruise ship? ›

If you're cruising in a cabin that has 3 plug sockets, 1 of which uses the plugs that you have and two that don't you might as well bring a couple of the other adapters. Travel adapters are one of the most important things that you'll bring on a cruise.

What do you wear on cruises during the day? ›

What do you wear on cruises during the day? During the day, you can wear casual attire such as t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, sundresses, and skirts. If you're spending the day at the pool, you can also have lunch or dine in casual pool clothes at the snack bar located next to the pool deck.

What is smart casual attire for a cruise? ›

Smart casual: Jeans or slacks with a collared shirt and closed-toed shoes. Tank tops for men, flip flops, baseball caps, visors and jeans that are overly faded with holes or tears and worn below the hips are not permitted in main dining rooms or specialty restaurants.

Is it cold on a cruise at night? ›

And while you might be cruising the Caribbean or some other tropical locale, ship decks can get pretty cold at night when the sun goes down and the wind picks up, so it may be smart to bring a shawl or light jacket.

What items can you not take on a cruise ship? ›

Prohibited items:
  • Firearms & Ammunition, including realistic replicas.
  • Sharp Objects, including all knives and scissors. ...
  • Illegal Drugs & Substances.
  • CBD Oil / CBD Products.
  • Candles, Incense, Coffee Makers, Clothes Irons, Travel Steamers & Hot Plates. ...
  • Hoverboards.

Can I bring 2 bags on a cruise? ›

How much luggage can I bring? To help you plan, we suggest you limit your luggage to a maximum of one bag per person, if traveling on cruises of 3-5 days duration, and no more than two bags per person, for cruises of 6 days or longer.

Can you bring cash on a cruise ship? ›

You are certainly welcome to bring cash to enjoy your vacation experience. There are ATM services onboard and limited currency conversion services. There is a withdrawal fee to use the ATMs onboard.

How can I text for free on a cruise? ›

Can You Still Text for Free in the Cruise Line's App if you Bring Your own HotSpot? Yes, of course! As long as you have the app downloaded on your phone and you're on their free wifi, you can use the app to text on a cruise ship for free.

What is the first thing you do when you go on a cruise? ›

What Should You Do Immediately when You Get on a Cruise?
  • Drop your bags in your cabin. Depending on your cruise line, you may be able to access your cabin as soon as you board, at least to drop off your bags. ...
  • Put away your valuables. ...
  • Freshen up and change your clothes.

Can you bring full size shampoo bottles on a cruise? ›

There are no size limits for liquid toiletries on cruise ships, but if you're flying to your embarkation port, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only allows bottles of 3 ounces or less. They must all fit into one clear quart-sized zip-top bag per person if you're taking a carry-on.

Can you keep the robes on a cruise? ›

Yes, robes and slippers will be provided in your stateroom. You might even find a toddler-sized robe hanging in your closet, too, for smaller cruisers! These are not yours to keep, but yours to enjoy during your voyage. The robes and slippers are made of cotton terry cloth and are so plush and comfy!

How much do you tip baggage handlers on a cruise? ›

Give the luggage handler a $2- $5 tip per bag, depending upon size, weight and amount of luggage. What is this? If you're a solo traveler and only have one large bag to check, a $5 tip is appropriate. Consider the tip as baggage delivery insurance.

How do you stay skinny on a cruise? ›

9 Helpful Tips To Avoid Weight Gain on a Cruise
  1. Balance is key. ...
  2. Eat off the spa menu. ...
  3. Eat fresh local seafood. ...
  4. Avoid the all-you-can-drink package and skip the sugary drinks. ...
  5. Pack your sneakers and your gym clothes. ...
  6. Use the track. ...
  7. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. ...
  8. Track your steps and set a goal.
May 31, 2016

Do cruise lines put laxatives in food? ›

Apparently, there is a trend on cruise ships to put extra fat in the food which can have a laxative effect on a person. This is to make sure all of the ship's plumbing works properly and that there is little to no chance of the plumbing getting clogged or backed up.

How much weight do you gain on a 7 day cruise? ›

From what I can gather, the average weight gain on a weeklong cruise ranges from 5-10 pounds. That's quite a bit depending on your size. 10 pounds on a 150-pound person is 6.7% of total body weight which can have a significant effect on blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipids.

How early should you arrive to board a cruise? ›

Most cruise ships require all passengers to be on board no fewer than one to two hours before the scheduled departure time, which is almost always in the late afternoon or evening.

Do you dress up for dinner on cruise? ›

If you want to attend a “cruise elegant” evening, bring a fancier, more formal outfit. Men can wear suits or dress slacks with a sport coat and dress shirt. For women, cocktail dresses, pantsuits or elegant skirts and blouses are appropriate. Some guests like to go all out with a tuxedo or ball gown.

Should I bring my Social Security card on a cruise? ›

Social security card is NOT proof of citizenship. You must have either a birth certificate and a government issued photo ID or a passport.

Do they give you shampoo and conditioner on cruises? ›

Your cruise ship will provide basic toiletries for the shower, so there is no reason to waste precious luggage space on shampoo and conditioner. Check the bathroom before you leave to make sure you haven't left behind contact lenses, contact solution, glasses, medications, deodorant, mouthwash and hair gel.

Do you wear wristbands on a cruise? ›

All vaccinated guests must wear a wristband, but it does not necessarily mean you must wear it on your wrist. You can put it around your ankle, tie it to a lanyard, or even loop it on your belt.

Do you still have to wear a mask on a cruise ship? ›

Starting in late February 2022, Celebrity relaxed masking rules on its ships. If you are vaccinated, then you don't have to wear a mask. Unvaccinated passengers must mask at all times while indoors except when dining.

Do any cruise ships not require masks? ›

Crew No Long Required to Wear Masks

Crew members aboard ships within Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises are no longer required to wear masks, according to a statement the cruise lines released on October 3, 2022, to their team members.

What to wear on a cruise for seniors? ›

A cruise ship is your home away from home, so for cruising seniors, you'll want to pack accordingly to make sure you have everything you need.
  • Walking shoes (for shore)
  • Non-slip boat shoes that provide good traction (for on board)
  • Flat or low-heel dress shoes.
  • Running shoes/sneakers (and socks)

How many suitcases can you take on a 7 day cruise? ›

For a general rule of thumb, bring one checked bag and one carry on per person for a 3-5 day cruise. For cruises 6 days or longer, guests can bring 2 checked bags and one carry on per person.

Can you bring food in your suitcase on a cruise? ›

One of the best things about cruising is the food! And there will be many dining options available to suit most tastes and preferences. However you are free to bring non-perishable prepackaged food in limited quantities. While we have many drink offerings onboard, you are welcomed to bring select beverages onboard.

Can I use my debit card on a cruise ship? ›

You can either link your card to a debit or credit account, or provide cash up front to fund your onboard spending. Be aware: If you link to a credit or debit account, the line might put a hold on your account until after you disembark the ship.

Do you have to pay for bottled water on a cruise? ›

Does the cruise ship charge for bottled water? Bottled water is generally an extra-fee item on mainstream cruise lines. Upscale, luxury cruise lines and river cruise lines include bottled water in your stateroom, in eating facilities, at the gangway in port and often on excursions at no additional charge.

Do you pay for soda on a cruise? ›

Sodas are generally only included in the cruise fare on upper-end and luxury cruise lines. On most mainstream cruises, sodas are available for purchase (using your onboard account) in the ship's dining rooms and bars, and in stateroom mini-bars.

Do you have to turn your phone off on a cruise? ›

But, please be aware that cellular data used on the ship or in certain ports of call will result in charges from your cell phone provider. As you sail into international waters, these expenses can add up, so we recommend that guests turn off their cellular data and connect to the ship's Wi-Fi instead.

What do you do with your Iphone on a cruise? ›

To use your cell phone on your cruise, you have two options — either connect to the ship's cellular service or connect to the ship's wi-fi. Both will cost you extra. For traditional cell service, today's modern cruise ships use providers such as “Cellular at Sea” or “Wireless Maritime Services”.

Can you flush toilet paper on a cruise ship? ›

The following items cannot be put in cruise ship toilets: Wipes. Paper towels (kitchen towels for example), toilet paper is fine! Condoms (no idea why anybody would do this, but DON'T)

How many outfits do I need for a 7 day beach vacation? ›

“As a general rule of thumb, if I'm going away for a seven-night beach holiday, I'd pack two to three pieces of swimwear (so that they have time to dry in between), a pair of shorts and a couple of skirts, four tops that match all my shorts and skirts, and a dress in case I go somewhere special,” Mak told AFAR in 2017.

What should I pack for a cruise for a week? ›

What to Pack for a Cruise
  • Bring activity-appropriate clothing and shoes. ...
  • Bring a Back Pack or Beach Tote. ...
  • Bring Sunscreen and After-Sun Lotion. ...
  • Bring Your Own Toiletries. ...
  • Bring Medications for Upset Stomach and Motion Sickness. ...
  • Bring an Underwater Camera. ...
  • Bring Cash for Tipping. ...
  • Bring a Portable Back Up Battery Charger.

How many bags can I take on a 7 day Carnival cruise? ›

To help you plan, on cruises of 3-5 days, please limit your luggage to a maximum of one bag, per person. On cruises of 6 days or longer, no more than two bags, per person.

Is it better to roll or fold clothes in a suitcase? ›

Rolling your clothes in your suitcase will generally save space. This is because it squeezes air from between folds and means the most of available space is used. If done correctly, rolling can also ensure less wrinkles in your clothes.

What should you not forget to pack for the beach? ›

  • Bathing Suite AND Beach Towel. ...
  • Beach Chair and Blanket. ...
  • Jacket or Sweatshirt. ...
  • Sunscreen. ...
  • Portable Phone Charger. ...
  • Snacks and Basic Food Staples. ...
  • First Aid Kit/Medicine.

Do packing cubes save space in luggage? ›

Yes, packing cubes really do save space, they compress your clothes and more efficiently fit in a bucket style compartment of a suitcase or backpack. Packing cubes compress your clothes so they take up less space. This is true with any type of packing cubes, not just ones that are specifically called compression.

How many swimsuits should I bring on a cruise? ›

Swimwear: Bring at least 5 swimsuits and 4 swim cover-ups. Dinner Attire: Bring enough smart-casual looks for 10 dinners. For men, that means bringing at least 7 button-down shirts, while women should consider packing at least 7 fashion tops.

Can you wear jeans on a cruise ship? ›

Acceptable attire includes sportswear, collared shirts, pants and jackets (if desired, but not required) for men and sportswear, casual dresses, or skirts and pants with blouses or knit tops for women. Regular, but not torn or distressed jeans, are fine.

Can I bring full size shampoo on a cruise? ›

There are no size limits for liquid toiletries on cruise ships, but if you're flying to your embarkation port, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only allows bottles of 3 ounces or less. They must all fit into one clear quart-sized zip-top bag per person if you're taking a carry-on.

Can you take a 12 pack of soda on a Carnival cruise? ›

Carnival Cruise Lines Drink Policy

A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less, per person.” Given that most people sail with two people to a room, that means you can bring 24 bottles of anything you want. Just be sure that it is not in a bottle.

How much cash can you bring on a cruise? ›

What Is The Average Amount of Cash to Bring on a Cruise? On a cruise, most guests bring between $100-$120 in cash per day to be spent on transportation, tips, gifts, food, and shopping. In a survey of 850 cruisers, 71% stated that they took over $100 per person per day when cruising.


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