We generally like packing light, but when we started packing for a cruise, we knew our priority was to be comfortable. Because we had our room as a home base for 7 days, we could bring some extra items we normally wouldn’t bring on other trips where we have to be mobile.
For clothes, you have to keep in mind that most ships have elegant nights. The guidelines are typically no flip flops, jeans, or shorts. A lot of people dress up like they are going to prom. I’m talking about guys in suits and women in long gowns. We took the more casual route for elegant night and even snuck in with flip flops one night. We certainly didn’t feel underdressed, but if you want to have your adult prom, you can pack a nice dress (or two since we had 2 elegant nights on our 7 day cruise).
WHAT TO PACK FOR A CRUISE (7 DAYS IN A CARRY-ON)
Tops / Outerwear
- Striped Sleeveless Blouse (similar)
- Red Striped Top (similar)
- Navy Cardigan (similar)
- Gray Zip Neck Layer
- Light Jacket from Patagonia
Dresses / Rompers
- Colorful Strapless Romper
- Black & White Strapless Romper
- Gray Maxi Dress (similar)
- Red Striped Dress (similar)
- Navy Confetti Dress (similar & this was added to the packing guide after realizing I could have used one more nicer dress).
Shoes and Accessories
- Watermelon Cooler Bag
- 2 Swimsuit Tops & 2 Bottoms (the spare is nice to use when the other one is drying)
- Rainbow Striped Cover Up (similar)
- Sanuk Yoga Spree Thong Sandals (comfortable for walking all day, but not good in water)
- Cheap Waterproof Flip Flops from Old Navy
- Wedges Sandals (similar)
- Sunnies (similar)
- Sun Hat – Lately, I love accessorizing with hats, so I couldn’t resist bringing a few. This black one was easily packable and great for the beach and poolside. This one I just wore on my head, since it wasn’t easily packable.
Undergarments (not pictured)
- 7 underwear (great quick dry and moisture wicking)
- 4 bras (some days I was only wearing a swimsuit)
Toiletries (not all pictured)
- Makeup bag with minimal makeup (full post coming soon)
- Conditioner – They had soap and shampoo but no conditioner in our rooms. We use these GoToob Bottles to hold all our liquids.
- Dramamine (Less Drowsy) – If you’re worried about getting seasick like me, don’t forget to pick up some Dramamine! I started taking it the day before and once every night and had no issues.
- Sunblock (what we currently use) – You’ll be getting a lot of sun, so don’t forget to pick up some sunblock. Here’s our guide to the best natural sunblocks.
- Aloe – We all still got burnt a bit because we didn’t stop to reapply often enough.
Miscellaneous (not all pictured)
- Day Pack – ultralight pack for daytime excursions and exploring a city.
- Hoboroll – to pack and organize our clothes (see full review here).
- Alezan Mobile Selfie Stick – We’ve been resisting using one for a while, but we can’t deny that it comes in handy, especially for group shots where we want everyone in.
- Power Strip – Our room only had one outlet. A power strip will help for charging multiple devices.
- Water Bottle – The best water bottles for travel we tested on the road. They’re perfect for excursions and bringing drinks back to your room.
- Water Filter – If you want to fill up water during your shore days, the Grayl Water Filter is handy and is easy to use like a french press.
- 2 Kindles – We got some reading done on our days at sea! We ended up reading a couple of hours every day and didn’t end up needing our charger.
- Water / Soft Drinks – Each person was allowed a 12-pack of water or soft drinks. We brought Diet Coke, of course. If you only drink bottled water, I suggest you bring your own. If you don’t mind, you can always use the filter above.
- Wine – Our ship allowed one bottle of wine per person. Since we didn’t purchase the alcohol package, we brought the two that came in our wine club subscription!
- Phones – Don’t forget your phone charger!
- Cameras – We brought our Canon 5D Mark III, 35 mm / 1.4 L lens, and 70-200 / 2.8L lens. We also brought our Canon G7X, which use primarily for vlogs.
- Underwater Housing – We used the Ewa-Marine housing for 3 different excursions already. It was especially great for snorkeling and diving (see photos here).
- Walkie Talkies – Since you most likely won’t have cell service and wifi is limited, walkie-talkies are helpful when you’re with a group. We realized only in hindsight that we should have brought these!
Optional (not pictured)
- Laptop – This is a necessity for us to get some work done, but you’ll have a much more relaxing vacation without it.
- Snorkel Gear – We didn’t bring any, but this is what our friends brought: Mask, Snorkel, Fins, Boots, Gloves. If you don’t book any excursions through the cruise, there are a few beaches that you can snorkel from on your own. We might have to buy some for next time!
- Seal n’ Save Pitcher – If you want to bring back a bunch of tea or lemonade to your room.
- Sriracha – I like to have sriracha in all my food. If the food tastes bad, this comes in especially handy, so this mini Sriracha 2 Go bottle is perfect!
Here are a few of the outfits
WHAT TO PACK FOR A CRUISE: MEN’S EDITION
Tops and Outerwear (not pictured)
- 7 Tees – Jacob loves the Target Mossimo V-Necks and only wears these.
- Chambray Button Down
- Casual Button Up
- Dressy Button Down
- Light Jacket from Patagonia
- Base Layer
Bottoms (not pictured)
- Cotton Chinos (similar)
- Multi Use Shorts – Jacob got a pair of these Myles Apparel shorts just before the cruise. They’re comfortable enough to wear while you work out or lounge by the pool, and if you throw on a button down shirt on top, it looks nice enough to walk around town in.
- Athletic Shorts
Shoes and Accessories (not pictured)
- Flip Flops (comfortable for walking all day, but not waterproof)
- Cheap Flip Flops from Old Navy
- Water Shoes
- Vans Skate Shoes
Undergarments (not pictured)
- 7 Boxer Briefs from Exoficcio
- 7 Pairs of Socks (we almost always use smartwool, especially if we’re walking a lot)
Don’t forget to check out our 11 Reasons You Should Go on a Cruise.
Have you ever been on a cruise?
What are your cruise essentials? Or must-haves on any trip?
Does anyone else have to have sriracha on everything?
A huge thank you to Carnival for hosting our trip.
With some of these products, we reached out to the companies and received them for free.
All opinions, photos, and text are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.