If you’re planning a tropical sailing, you might wonder what to pack for a Caribbean cruise.
At first glance, you’d think a Caribbean cruise packing list writes itself – t-shirts, swimsuits, sandals, and you’re ready to go.
Well, not quite.
You’ll need to prepare for formal nights and rainy days. And don’t forget about toiletries and shoes for shore excursions.
We’ll cover everything you need to pack for a cruise to the Caribbean. Read to the end to get our printable packing list.
What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise
For the most part, you’ll want to stick to casual wear for most of the cruise. Caribbean cruises are popular for their year-round warm climate and minimal rain.
You’ll want to bring comfortable walking shoes to wear in port. And you don’t want to forget sunscreen, insect repellant, and sunglasses.
Clothing is one of the most important considerations when you pack for a cruise vacation.
If you don’t pack enough, you’ll need to re-wear some clothes or use the expensive laundry service on the ship. Bring too much, and you’ll have to carry around a bag that’s heavier than it needs to be – not to mention overweight fees on airlines.
It’s best to pack clothes for each day of the cruise, plus an outfit for the return home and if you stay the night before. You’ll also want
Daytime clothing consists of shorts, t-shirts, sun dresses, and comfortable shoes. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics with light colors to keep cool under the Caribbean heat.
Athletic clothing might be preferable if you’re taking part in shore excursions like hiking, biking, or snorkeling.
If you’re spending a lot of time swimming or snorkeling, I highly recommend wearing a t-shirt or a lightweight, long sleeve shirt. The Caribbean sun is very strong, and sunscreen alone isn’t always enough to prevent sunburn.
You’ll also want to bring a light sweater or jacket to wear during the evenings or inside the ship. Nights can get pretty cool, and it’s great to keep a sweater on hand if you want to spend time out on the deck during the evening. Not to mention the air conditioning can get pretty cold on the cruise ship.
Evening wear varies among cruise ships, but a smart casual dress code is generally acceptable on most cruise ships.
Some cruise lines have one or two formal nights during the cruise. You don’t need to participate in the formal night, but you should bring formal wear if you decide to dress up for the evening.
If you don’t have formal wear on the designated formal night, you won’t be allowed to eat in the main dining room. You’ll have to stick to the buffet and some specialty restaurants on those nights.
Here’s a list of clothing you should pack for a Caribbean cruise:
- Bathing suits
- T-shirts or tank tops
- Casual evening dresses
- Formal Dresses
- Dress shirts
- Light tops or blouses
- Collared shirts
- Jeans or khakis
- Light sweatshirt, sweater, or cardigan
- Light rain jacket
You’ll want to bring at least a couple of pairs of shoes when you travel to the Caribbean. Most importantly, you’ll want to bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes as you will spend a lot of time on your feet walking around the cruise ship and visiting the ports.
It’s a good idea to bring a pair of dress shoes or heels for the evenings and flip-flops or sandals to wear to the pool or the beach.
Here’s a list of shoes to bring on a cruise to the Caribbean:
- Water shoes
- Comfortable shoes
- Dress shoes
- Flip flops or sandals
- Causal Shoes
You can’t leave home without packing some accessories. Here are some important accessories to add to your packing list:
- Carry on bag
- Waterproof phone case
- Polarized sunglasses
- Sun hat
- Sea bands (to prevent motion sickness)
- Bathing suit cover-ups
You definitely can’t forget to bring your important documents. Otherwise, your cruise vacation will be much shorter than you anticipated.
Any important documents and money should be kept in your carry-on bag or purse.
Once you drop off your bag at the terminal, your carry-on bag should contain everything you need to get onto the cruise ship. And it’s better to keep all your valuables on you until you can put them inside your stateroom safe.
We recommend bringing your important travel documents and photocopies of your passport and government ID.
When you visit ports of call, you can leave your essential travel documents in your cabin safe and take a photocopy of your ID and passport. If needed, the photocopy is your proof of identification, while your essential documents stay safe back in your cabin.
Here are some documents you should pack for a Caribbean cruise:
- Passport or government ID
- Cruise documents
- Luggage tag holders
- Travel insurance details
- Hotel reservations
- Emergency contacts list
- Wallet, cash, and credit cards
Travel gear is essential for a fun shore excursion and navigating ports.
We always bring our own snorkel gear when we sail on a Caribbean cruise. We know our masks fit, are good quality, and haven’t been used by strangers.
When considering what travel gear to bring, consider the shore excursions you’ve booked and what you plan to do when you’re in the Caribbean.
Below are some of our recommendations for travel gear:
- Snorkel gear
- Beach bag
- Waterproof phone case
- Waterproof dry bag
- Insect repellent
- Portable fan
- Reusable water bottle
- First aid kit
Cruise ships provide basic toiletries like shampoo, body wash, and hand soap. But there’s great comfort in using your own toiletries.
Here’s what to pack in your toiletry bag:
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Hair spray or styling gel
- Nail clipper
- Wrinkle release spray
- Contact lens solution
- Makeup remover
- Lip balm with SPF
- After sun lotion (with aloe)
- Brushes and combs
- Flat or curling iron
Tip: Don’t be fooled by the low price of travel-sized toiletries. When you consider the size of the items, travel-sized toiletries are pricy.
A better option is to purchase reusable
You might not think you must bring electronics on a cruise ship. Who wants to spend vacation tied to a smartphone?
But what about capturing the moment with a good camera? Watching a video on the flight to the cruise port? Or keeping in touch with family back home?
There are some electronics that you should add to your Caribbean cruise packing list:
- Laptops, tablets, smartphones
- Phone chargers
- Portable battery pack
- Non-surge power strip
- Camera, lenses, and filters
- Underwater camera
- Tripod or selfie stick
- Bluetooth speaker
- Extra memory cards
If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll need to consider adding more items to your packing list. In addition to the other items on the list, you should include the following:
- Baby wipes
- Silicone beach toys (for beach days)
- Blow up bathtub
- Extra bags and Zip Lock bags
- Extra clothes
- Light blanket
- Baby food and formula
- Bottles and sippy cups
- Games and activities
- Car seat
Other Essentials to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise
Below are some other cruise ship essentials that you should consider packing in your cruise ship luggage or carry-on bag:
- Motion sensor nightlight
- Travel alarm clock
- Magnet hooks
- Dirty clothes bag
- Bubble wrap (to package souvenirs)
- Pre-packaged snacks (protein bars, dry cereal, or granola bars)
- Night light
Tip: Download any podcasts, movies, music, audiobooks, or TV shows before you leave home. Cruise ship internet isn’t always reliable for streaming.
What to Pack for a 7-Day Caribbean Cruise
By far, the most popular cruises in the world are 7-Day Caribbean itineraries. If you wondering how much clothing you need to bring on a seven-night cruise, here are a few guidelines:
- Swimwear: 2-3 swimsuits and swim cover-ups
- Casual wear: 4-7 shorts, 5-7 t-shirts, 2 casual pants, 2-3 skirts, and 1-2 day dresses
- Evening wear: 3-4 collared shirts or polos, 3-4 khakis or dress pants, 3-4 casual evening dresses or cocktail dresses, 3-4 blouses, 3-4 skirts
- Formal night attire: 1-2 buttoned-up shirts with a suit and optional tie, 1-2 formal dresses
Printable Packing List for Caribbean Cruises
Now that you know what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, it’s time to download our Caribbean cruise packing list.
Fill out the form below to receive the download link and start packing!
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What About Alcohol?
Many cruise lines allow guests to bring a bottle or two of alcohol on the cruise ship during embarkation. If you want to know if you’re allowed to bring alcohol on your cruise line, check out our article on bringing alcohol on a cruise ship.
How Much Money Should I Bring on a Caribbean Cruise?
We recommend bringing $100-$125 in cash daily on a Caribbean cruise. When deciding how much money to bring, it’s important to consider your spending habits and remember that you only need cash to make purchases off the cruise ship. All purchases made on the ship are charged to your onboard spending account.
What Outlets are on a Cruise Ship?
Most cruise lines have both North American-style 110-volt outlets in the room and European-style 220-volt outlets. Newer cruise ships also have USB chargers for smartphones and tablets.