You’ve booked your tickets and reserved the excursions. Now all that’s left to figure out is what to pack for a Caribbean cruise.
While you might think all you need to throw into your suitcase is a couple of swimsuits and a pair of sandals, there are a few other essentials you’ll want to bring on board as well.
A Caribbean cruise vacation offers more than pristine beaches—though there are plenty of those, too. Different islands offer different types of excursions, ranging from relaxing beach days to zip-lining over treetops and adventurous hikes up mountains.
If you’re planning on participating in any of these types of activities during your cruise, you’ll want to cover your bases and make sure you bring along the appropriate activewear and shoes.
No matter how long your vacation, there are also plenty of accessories and items you might not consider important, but that actually go a long way in making your cruise as comfortable as possible.
If you’re planning what to bring on a Caribbean cruise, here are some of the must-packs, the nice-to-haves, and all the fun accessories you should bring along.
What clothes do I need to bring on a Caribbean cruise?
Packing at least one swimsuit probably goes without saying if you’re heading on a Caribbean cruise, but it’s important to also consider bringing along different types of swimsuits.
Ladies, you can certainly pack as many bikinis as your heart desires, but make sure to bring at least one active swimsuit, which will allow you to comfortably participate in water activities and sports like snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking.
You can never be too safe about the sun, and one of the best ways to prevent sunburns is to wear a rash guard while you’re out having fun in the ocean. Wear it when your sunscreen might wear off, such as during snorkeling, jet skiing, and surfing adventures. After all, a painful sunburn is one quick way to ruin a beach vacation.
Beach and pool attire
If you don’t plan on doing anything other than lounging by the cruise ship’s pool or lying on the beach in port, you’ll need to pack a few swim cover-ups and beach attire.
Cover-ups are required when you’re walking between your stateroom and the pool. Plus, you’ll want to throw on something over your swimsuit if you decide to have lunch at our poolside Mast Grill.
Make sure to pack a few comfortable clothing items, including t-shirts, tanks, shorts, sundresses, skirts, and casual pants to wear on days in port or during lunch in the ship’s Oceanview Cafe or any of our other onboard restaurants.
Once the sun goes down, the temperature can get a little chilly while on a cruise ship. Avoid getting a case of the shivers and bring along a lightweight jacket or sweater to keep you warm on those cooler nights.
Scarf or pashmina
A scarf or pashmina can work wonders on a cruise ship. Not only is it easy to throw one on (or off) your shoulders to keep you comfortable depending on the temperature, but it’s also a great way of dressing up an outfit for dinner.
If you’re planning on hiking through tropical rainforests and waterfalls, bring a pair of breathable pants and a long-sleeve, water-resistant shirt. Both will keep you covered, dry, and safe from the mosquitoes and scratchy vegetation.
Raincoat or poncho
As a tropical destination, the Caribbean can see its fair amount of rain, especially during hurricane season, which lasts from June to November.
During most of the year, however, rain in the Caribbean is sporadic and doesn’t tend to last long. Still, it’s best to be prepared with a rain jacket or poncho to carry along in your daypack, so you can enjoy whatever activity you’re doing without having to worry about getting wet.
For dinner in the main dining rooms or in any of the specialty restaurants, you’ll want to stick to a smart casual dress code. Women can wear skirts, pants, or jeans with a casual top, while men can wear pants or jeans with a short-sleeve sport shirt.
Depending on the length of your cruise, you’ll also have one or more Evening Chic nights. On Evening Chic nights, guests dress up more than usual and stick to the following dress code:
Women wear cocktail dresses, skirts, pants, or designer jeans with an elegant top.
Men wear pants or designer jeans with a dress shirt, button-down shirts, or sweaters, with an optional sport coat or blazer.
Read: What To Wear On A Cruise
What shoes do I need to pack for a Caribbean cruise?
Shoes can take up a lot of space in your suitcase, so try and pack concisely and strategically. It’s a good idea to bring the following pairs of shoes:
Sandals, flip flops, or pool slides
You’ll spend the majority of your vacation in the Caribbean wearing sandals, flip flops, or pool slides on the beach or by the ship’s pool. You can also wear them to lunch in the poolside cafe or to the spa.
Sneakers or walking shoes
You’d be surprised how much walking you end up doing while on a cruise ship. Bring a pair of comfortable shoes or sneakers to wear on the ship or for when you’re off on a port excursion that might include a walking tour or hike. They will also be necessary if you visit the gym during your vacation.
Bring at least one pair of formal shoes or sandals to wear to dinner.
If you’re worried about stepping on animals or coral at the beach, packing a pair of water shoes will ease your mind. Waterproof footwear can also be an asset during water activities such as kayaking and tubing.
If you’ve booked an outdoor or rainforest excursion that includes a more strenuous hike, pack a pair of low-top hiking shoes. These can also double as workout shoes on board or as walking shoes to wear around a Caribbean port town while shopping and exploring.
What accessories and technology items should I pack on a Caribbean cruise?
Don’t forget to bring along all relevant travel documents including passports, visas, and other necessary identification you’ll need to have on board and in the port you’ll visit.
Avoid spending your entire vacation squinting and bring at least one pair of sunglasses in your bag. Polarized sunglasses are best when you’re near water to help reduce glare.
Bringing along a sunglass cord to keep them safe around your neck is a good idea too, especially if you plan on participating in water sports and activities.
Sun hat or cap
Keep your face and shoulders shielded from harmful UVA and UVB rays by packing a sun hat in your bag. While a straw sun hat does the job, a waterproof one will go the extra mile if you’ll spend a lot of time in the ocean or pool.
The Caribbean sunshine can get quite intense. Since you’ll be spending much of your time outdoors, protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays with a broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen.
Tropical weather attracts mosquitoes, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them. Bring a bottle of insect repellant in your bag and avoid getting bitten during your vacation.
Travel document holder
Keep your passport and travel documents safely stowed in a passport holder. These small cases are great for cruises, especially if you’ll be stopping at different ports and want to keep your passport within reach at all times.
Day bag or backpack
For port visits and excursions, a zipper bag or backpack is essential. Not only will it allow you to store your money and travel documents, but other items, such as repellent and sunscreen, that you might need during shore excursions.
Your SeaPass card is your key to getting around the ship and enjoying all of its amenities. Don’t take any chances and keep it safely nestled within a lanyard throughout your vacation.
The last thing you want to do is run out of phone battery during your trip. Pack your phone charger in your suitcase so you can take photos and videos of your vacation and stay in touch with loved ones back home.
A waterproof watch is one of the essential accessories that should make it into your Caribbean cruise suitcase. A waterproof watch will allow you to enjoy beach and water activities while keeping an eye on the time.
A watch becomes particularly important during port visits when you’ll need to be punctual and return to the ship on time before it departs to its next location.
Motion sickness medicine
During a cruise, some people get seasick, while others don’t even notice the boat is moving. Be smart and avoid getting seasick on your cruise by packing a box of motion sickness medicine or a pair of anti-nausea bracelets just in case.
Medication and First Aid Kit
Remember to pack any important medication or prescriptions in your suitcase. Bring along some basic first aid kit essentials including band-aids, antibiotic cream, calamine lotion, gauze, bandages, antihistamines, and pain medication.
Aside from sunscreen and bug spray, don’t forget to pack your favorite shampoo and conditioner, face and body wash, lotion, makeup, toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, and more. Also, in case you get a sunburn, some after-sun lotion can be quite useful in providing a bit of relief.
What else should I bring on a Caribbean Cruise?
Carry-on suitcase with the basics
Travel with a carry-on bag packed with at least one swimsuit, one swim coverup, travel documents, toiletries, and one casual pair of clothes.
Why? By having a carry-on at hand, you won’t have to wait around for your luggage to be taken to your stateroom and instead can go straight to the pool on embarkation day.
Avoid single-use plastic water bottles and pack a refillable water bottle instead. It’ll go the extra mile in making sure you stay cool and hydrated during long days at the beach or by the pool.
Most cruise walls and doors are made of metal. Bring a pack of magnetic hooks to spread throughout and create ample storage space in your stateroom without having to sacrifice any precious closet space.
You’ll be taking a lot of photos and videos during your trip, both of which can drain your phone’s battery quickly. Avoid having to run back to your room or hunt for an outlet in order to charge your phone’s dying battery by packing a portable travel charger instead. These small tech accessories are travel heavy lifters.
Outlet adapter with USB ports
All of our staterooms have at least one electric outlet, but if you’re traveling with someone else and brought a lot of devices, you might need more charging areas. Consider bringing along an outlet adapter in your suitcase, so that everyone can charge their phones, tablets, and any other tech accessories at the same time.
These small bags are a traveler’s best friend. Use them to store wet swimsuits in your backpack during an outdoor excursion, or to stow toiletries in your suitcase, or even as a waterproof pouch for important travel documents or cash. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll be reaching out for them.
These utilitarian bags are perfect for the ones who like to be extra prepared. These durable, waterproof bags keep all your valuables and clothes dry, and will even float to the surface if you happen to fall into the water while kayaking or jet-skiing.
Book or magazine
What better way to stay entertained for hours by the pool or during a day at the beach than by reading a page-turner? Or if you’re into something lighter, bring along a stack of your favorite magazines to last throughout your vacation.
Stay cool wherever you are by making sure to bring a portable fan in your suitcase. This will come in handy during the summer months when it can get quite hot throughout the Caribbean.
What should I pack for a 7-day Caribbean cruise?
With options to sail around the Eastern, Western, or Southern Caribbean, our 7-day Caribbean cruises are popular with all kinds of travelers, including honeymooners, families, and adventure-seekers.
If you are wondering what to pack for a Caribbean cruise that lasts 7 days, here are a few guidelines:
- Swimwear: 3 swimsuits and at least 3 swim cover-ups
- Casual Looks: Pack at least 4 pairs of shorts, 5 – 7 t-shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 3 skirts, and a couple of day dresses.
- Dinner Attire: Bring enough smart-casual looks for 7 nights. While you can repeat some items, such as shoes and jackets, throughout the week, men should remember to pack at least 5 button-down shirts, while women should pack at least 5 tops and/or smart casual dresses.
- Evening Chic Attire: Keep in mind that cruises that last 7 nights or longer will have two Evening Chic dinners, so make sure to bring two formal looks for those nights.
What should I pack for a 10-night Caribbean cruise?
On 10-day Caribbean cruises, you’ll experience a little bit of everything, including tranquil beach days, lush tropical destinations, and a few days at sea to enjoy the many amenities onboard.
Here are a few things you should bring on longer Caribbean cruises:
- 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.
- Evening Chic Attire: 10-night cruises will have at least 2 Evening Chic nights, so remember to pack at least two formal looks for those evenings.
If you don’t want to bring as many clothes, consider doing laundry on board. You can hand wash clothes and hang them to dry in your stateroom or have your clothes sent to our laundry service on board.
Also consider packing reusable clothes such as dress shoes, blazers, pants, and skirts that you can wear on several days and mix with other items in your suitcase.
The Ultimate Caribbean Cruise Checklist
Now that you know exactly what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, here’s an itemized list you can use while packing:
- Beach and pool attire
- Casual clothing
- Sweater or light jacket
- Scarf or pashmina
- Raincoat or poncho
- Dinner clothing
- Formal wear
- Sandals, flip flops, or pool slides
- Sneakers, walking shoes, or hiking shoes
- Evening shoes
- Water shoes
- Travel documents
- Sun hat or cap
- Insect repellent
- Travel document holder
- Backpack or day bag
- Motion sickness medicine
- Medication and first aid kit
- Refillable water bottle
- Metallic hooks
- Portable charger
- Outlet adapter
- Ziplock bags
- Dry pouch
- Book or magazines
- Portable fans
Book Your Caribbean Cruise Today
To book your Caribbean cruise, browse our Caribbean cruise itineraries or speak with your travel agent.