The best packaging for a cruise list
There are so many fun things to do on a cruise, the sun, the beach, and great day trips. How to pack for each of them? This list breaks down the packaging into 4 steps, to make sure everything goes on board.
For luggage, Royal Caribbean has no specific limit on the number of suitcases. This will be guided by the transportation options, especially the airplane, which have restrictions on the size and weight of the bags.
Use easily transportable hand luggage to store all required documents, cash and valuables. Once on the ship, luggage will be delivered within a few hours, so make sure you have everything on hand, such as flip flops and swimwear.
There are a few prohibited items to leave at home. In particular, irons, baby monitors, electrical cords, beer and hard liquor.
Clothes and accessories
How many outfits to take? It depends on the length and type of cruise. There is no self-service laundry on board. Washing, ironing and dry cleaning services are offered (prices vary by item). It is best to plan on clothing for the number of days plus a return home outfit. Two outfits a day is a good rule of thumb (day and night).
For the general daywear pack:
- Clothing for lounging and for the pool – t-shirts and tank tops, shorts, sundresses, swimsuits and coveralls.
- Sun hat, flip flops, sandals, running / walking shoes
- Jeans and pants
- Packing cubes and magnetic hooks can be useful for organizing clothes
- Be sure to bring the correct footwear for onboard activities, such as the full access ship tour, zipline, and rock climbing that require closed-toe shoes. Don’t forget the socks!
For evenings, the dress code varies, but cruisers are less formal than before. Many guests wear “Smart Casual” for formal evenings, the Royal Caribbean website explains the dress code to help prepare evening wear.
- Smart Casual: Think of this as a step up from your typical dinner outfit. Dress to impress with collared shirts, dresses, skirts and blouses or pantsuits. Jackets, coats sportswear and blazers are stylish and welcome.
- Formal: Spend an evening in your best black tie look – suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening dresses.
- Take your bags for fun themed parties as well, such as the White Party, ’70s or’ 80s parties. It may differ depending on the ship, but a previous cruise compass will indicate what you can expect.
Ports & excursions
For those who enjoy camouflage clothing, it is important to note that they are illegal in some Caribbean countries, such as Jamaica, Barbados, and Saint Lucia (they are for military use only). Some non-camouflage options must be included when packing.
For general water / beach trips, consider:
- Water shoes, mask, goggles, snorkel
- Life jackets / flotation device (especially for children)
- Waterproof phone holder
- Towel clips (the ship provides towels)
The cruise planner will list the important details for the excursions. For example, in Rome there is no access to St. Peter’s Basilica with shoulders or knees exposed (common for churches in the region). It is good to keep your valuables safe when venturing into ports. Shoulder bags with secure locks or a wallet belt are good options.
Toiletries / General
Seasickness is annoying for some. Gravol, bands and patches are all popular remedies. A local pharmacist can help you explain the differences between these options.
For sunny days, sunscreen is a must. Take note when traveling to St Thomas Aruba or Hawaii that they need reef safe sunscreen to help protect the health of their coral reefs. It is readily available in popular drugstores. Also add after-burn care (aloe), lip balm (SPF) and insect repellant.
The cruise line provides soap and shampoo. Beyond that, bring daily use products for hair, showering, shaving, dental and eye care. Many travelers find an over-the-door shoe rack useful for organizing toiletries. Other considerations:
- First aid kit
- If you are traveling with young children, be sure to pack items such as diapers (bath and regular), wipes, rash cream, a battery-operated nightlight, bottles, and formula.
- Layers can be bulky. For some cruises, it is possible to have diapers delivered, which can help decide how much to pack. Check if available for a particular navigation.
- Ziploc bags are perfect for anything that may leak
- Fan, but must be wireless (can plug into USB)
Valuables / Hand luggage
The last bag to take is hand luggage. Once the baggage is dropped off at the terminal, it should contain everything needed until the cabin is ready.
Bring everything you need to travel – ID (passports, driver’s license, proof of vaccines, Covid tests, SetSail papers, insurance. Also:
- Cash (small denominations for tips / foreign currency), credit cards
- Electronics – phone, tablet, headphones, charger, camera
- Medication required (with 3 additional days)
- Glasses – glasses, sunglasses, contacts
- Comfort items such as reusable water bottle, gum / mints / snacks, wipes.
Taking drinks on board can save you a lot of money. Each cabin can carry two 750ml bottles of wine or champagne, provided one of the passengers is of legal drinking age. Passengers can also bring non-alcoholic beverages up to 12 standard cans, bottles or cartons (17 oz) per cabin. Milk and distilled water brought for infant, medical or dietetic use are authorized.