What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise in 2023: The Ultimate Guide

Are you planning a Caribbean cruise? It’s an exciting adventure that offers beautiful beaches, tropical weather, and a chance to explore stunning islands. But before you set sail, it’s important to know what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, and when the best time of year is, to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. In this detailed guide, we will provide you with a detailed checklist of essential items, clothing, accessories, and more to make your cruise a breeze. Let’s dive in!

What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise: Essential Items

Before we get into the specific items, let’s start with the essentials that should be on every Caribbean cruise packing list:

  1. Passport and ID: Ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining. Additionally, carry a driver’s license or another form of identification.

  2. Travel Insurance: It’s always wise to have travel insurance to protect yourself against unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage.

  3. Credit Cards and Cash: Bring a mix of credit cards and cash to cover expenses onboard and during shore excursions. Check with your cruise line regarding currency accepted on the ship and at various ports.

  4. Travel Adapters: The Caribbean islands use different electrical outlets, so it’s essential to bring universal travel adapters to charge your devices.

  5. Luggage Tags: Attach luggage tags to your suitcases to ensure they are properly identified during embarkation and disembarkation.

  6. Day Bag: Carry a small day bag or backpack to hold your essentials when you go ashore for excursions or beach visits.

Cruise Clothing and Accessories

Swimwear: Dive into the Caribbean Waters in Style

woman, bikini, sunbathing

Choosing the Perfect Swimsuit for Your Body Type

When it comes to bathing suits, selecting a style that flatters your body type is key to feeling confident and comfortable. Whether you have an hourglass figure, a pear shape, or an athletic build, there are swimwear options to enhance your best features. For example, high-waisted bikinis are great for creating an hourglass illusion, while one-piece bathing suits with cut-outs can accentuate a toned midsection.

Cover-Ups: Stylish and Functional Beach Attire

A stylish cover-up is a must-have item for any Caribbean cruise. These versatile garments provide coverage and protection from the sun while adding an extra touch of elegance to your beach look.

Opt for lightweight materials like chiffon or linen, and choose vibrant colors or tropical prints to match the Caribbean ambiance. Cover-ups come in various styles, including sarongs, kaftans, and tunics, allowing you to express your personal style effortlessly.

Related: The 5 Best Luxury Cruises To The Caribbean in 2023

Casual Clothing

Lightweight Tops and T-Shirts for Breathable Comfort

In the Caribbean’s warm and humid climate, it’s essential to pack lightweight tops and t-shirts that allow your skin to breathe. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen to stay cool and comfortable throughout the hot weather of the day.

Pastel colors, floral prints, and nautical stripes are popular choices that capture the relaxed Caribbean vibe. Remember that you can also pack light as there is typically a laundry service available on most cruise ships, although some come at an additional fee to use.

Shorts and Skirts: Stay Cool and Fashionable

Pair your lightweight tops with comfortable shorts or skirts to complete your casual Caribbean look. Choose shorts made from breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen, and opt for styles like Bermuda shorts or high-waisted shorts for a fashionable touch.

Flowy skirts in lightweight materials like chiffon or cotton are perfect for both daytime excursions like a walking tour, and evening dinners in the main dining room.

Maxi Dresses: Effortlessly Chic for Evening Strolls

For a touch of elegance during your Caribbean cruise evenings, pack a few maxi dresses in your luggage. Maxi dresses are long, flowy garments that exude a sense of grace and femininity.

Opt for vibrant colors or tropical prints to match the vibrant atmosphere of the Caribbean. Pair your maxi dress with sandals or wedges for a complete and stylish outfit.

Formal Attire

people, man, woman dnacing in formal party

Cocktail Dresses and Evening Gowns: Glamorous Choices

Formal nights on a Caribbean cruise call for sophisticated and glamorous attire. Ladies can opt for cocktail dresses or elegant evening gowns, depending on the level of formality. Choose fabrics like silk or chiffon for an added touch of luxury.

Men should pack a suit or a tuxedo, paired with a crisp dress shirt and a bow tie. It’s important to check the dress code on your specific cruise line to ensure you are appropriately attired.

Suits and Dress Shirts for Men: Sophistication at its Best

For gentlemen, a well-fitted suit is a staple for formal evenings on a Caribbean cruise. Choose a suit in a classic color like black, navy, or charcoal gray, and pair it with a dress shirt and a coordinated tie. Ensure that your suit is tailored to your measurements for a polished and dapper look.

Related: What to Pack for a Luxury Cruise


Sandals or Flip Flops: Versatile and Breathable Footwear

Sandals or flip flops are a must-have for any Caribbean cruise packing list. They provide comfort and breathability, making them ideal for walks on the beach, excursions, and casual evenings. These are a critical part of your Caribbean cruise packing list.

Look for sandals with cushioned soles and adjustable straps for a comfortable fit as these may be your most used walking shoes. Opt for neutral colors like tan or black that can be easily paired with different outfits.

Sneakers: A Blend of Comfort and Style

While sandals are great for casual outings, sneakers are a practical choice for more active pursuits during your Caribbean cruise such as zip lining. Whether you’re exploring the ports of call, taking a walking tour, or even engaging in water sports, a pair of comfortable shoes will ensure your feet are protected.

Choose sneakers or gym shoes with good arch support and breathable materials to keep your feet happy throughout the day. You might be surprised just how much walking you end up doing on some of Caribbean islands!

Dress Shoes: Elevate Your Look for Formal Occasions

Formal evenings on a Caribbean cruise call for dress shoes to complete your elegant attire. Men should pack a pair of classic black or brown leather dress shoes that match their formal suits.

Ladies can opt for dressy heels or embellished flats that complement their cocktail dresses or evening gowns. Pro tip: ensure that your shoes are broken in before your trip to avoid discomfort during a formal night.

Water Shoes: Adaptable Footwear

Water shoes are an excellent choice for your Caribbean cruise packing list as they provide protection and traction on wet surfaces, allowing you to comfortably explore beaches, rocky shorelines, and participate in water activities like jet skiing without worrying about slips or cuts.

Additionally, their quick-drying and breathable materials make them ideal for transitioning between land and water, ensuring your feet stay comfortable and free from irritation throughout your tropical adventures.


Sun Hats: Protection with a Touch of Elegance

Protecting yourself from the Caribbean sun is crucial, and a stylish sun hat can do just that. Choose a wide-brimmed hat made from natural materials like straw or cotton to shield your face and neck from the sun’s rays. Not only will a sun hat provide protection, but it will also add a touch of elegance to your beach or poolside outfits.

Sunglasses: Shield Your Eyes in Style

A pair of sunglasses is essential when cruise packing, so toss a pair of polarized sunglasses in your carry-on bag which will be ideal for a beach day, active excursions, and happy cruising. Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection as well to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

Choose a style that suits your face shape and matches your personal style. From oversized frames to aviators, there are countless options available to keep you both fashionable and protected.

Beach Bags: Carry Your Essentials with Convenience

A spacious and stylish beach bag is essential for carrying, well, your essentials! Look for a bag made from durable materials like canvas or straw, with enough room to hold your sunscreen, towels, books, and other beach essentials. Opt for a bag with multiple compartments or pockets to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible.

These are extremely handy for island adventures as well to hold other items like bug spray, water bottles, your own gear or your own snorkel, waterproof phone case, or even a change of clothes into or out of your bathing suit/swim trunks.

Jewelry: Add a Touch of Sparkle to Your Outfits

To elevate your Caribbean cruise packing and your outfits, consider packing a few statement jewelry pieces. Choose colorful beaded necklaces or bracelets that reflect the vibrant Caribbean culture. Opt for lightweight and versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched with different outfits. Remember to pack your jewelry in a secure pouch to prevent tangling or damage during travel.

Related: The 9 Best Luxury Cruise Lines in 2023

Toiletries and Medications

What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise, soap, cleanliness, hygiene image

Personal Care Items

When it comes to personal care, there are a few toiletry bag essentials you should pack. These include:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: Maintain your oral hygiene routine by bringing your toothbrush and toothpaste.

  • Deodorant: Keep fresh throughout the day with your preferred deodorant.

  • Shampoo and conditioner: Pack travel-sized bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner.

  • Body wash or soap: Bring a soap or body wash that suits your skin type.

  • Razor and shaving cream: For those who prefer a clean shave, don’t forget your razor and shaving cream.

  • Feminine hygiene products: Ladies should pack an adequate supply of sanitary pads or tampons.

Skincare Products

During Caribbean cruise packing, it’s essential to protect your skin from the sun and keep it moisturized. Here are some skincare products you should consider:

  • Sunscreen: Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. To contribute to keeping our oceans healthy, consider using reef safe sunscreen!

  • Moisturizer: Keep your skin hydrated during the warm weather with a moisturizer suitable for your skin type.

  • Lip balm with SPF: Protect your lips from sunburn by using a lip balm that contains SPF.

Haircare Products

Maintaining healthy hair during your cruise is also crucial. I mean, you want to look good, right? Consider packing the following haircare items:

  • Shampoo and conditioner: Bring travel-sized bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner that is suitable for your hair type.

  • Hairbrush or comb: Keep your hair tangle-free with a brush or comb. You can’t travel anywhere without one of these.

  • Hair ties or clips: If you have long hair, be sure pack extra hair ties or clips to keep your hair off your face on those windy days on Caribbean cruises.

Oral Hygiene Essentials

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial, even when you’re on a cruise. Remember to pack these oral hygiene essentials:

  • Dental floss: Keep your teeth clean by packing dental floss.

  • Mouthwash: Freshen your breath and maintain oral health with mouthwash.

  • Travel-sized mouthwash cups: Bring small disposable cups for mouthwash use.

Medications and First Aid

Carrying a well-stocked first aid kit and essential medications can help you handle any unexpected health issues. Here are some items to include:

  • Band-Aids: Pack a variety of bandages for minor cuts and blisters.

  • Antiseptic ointment: Carry a small tube of antiseptic ointment for wound care.

  • Pain relievers: Include over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

  • Allergy medication: If you have allergies, bring your prescribed allergy medication.

  • Antihistamines: Consider packing antihistamines for allergies or insect bites.

  • Prescription medications: Ensure you have an adequate supply of your prescribed medications.

Motion Sickness Remedies

If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s wise to be prepared. Pack the following motion sickness remedies:

  • Over-the-counter medications: Bring over-the-counter motion sickness medications like dimenhydrinate or meclizine. If you forget, many cruise lines will give you these one at a time if you ask at the customer service desk.

  • Wristbands: Consider using acupressure wristbands, which can help alleviate motion sickness symptoms.

Prescription Medications

If you take prescription medications, it’s crucial to pack enough for the duration of your cruise. Here’s what you should do:

  • Contact your healthcare provider: Inform your healthcare provider about your upcoming trip and ensure you have enough medication.

  • Carry prescriptions: Keep your medications in their original packaging and carry a copy of your prescriptions.

Over-the-Counter Medications

In addition to prescription medications, it’s helpful to have some over-the-counter medications on hand. Consider including:

  • Antacids: Bring antacids to relieve heartburn or indigestion.

  • Anti-diarrheal medication: Keep a small supply of anti-diarrheal medication in case of stomach issues.

  • Cold and flu remedies: Pack remedies for common cold and flu symptoms like cough suppressants and nasal decongestants.

Sun Protection

The Caribbean sun can be intense, so protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is essential. Here’s what you should do:

  • Sun hat: Bring a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from the sun.

  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.

  • Cover-ups: Consider bringing lightweight cover-ups to protect your skin when you’re not in the water.

Related: The 11 Best Cruise Lines for Young Adults in 2023

Electronics and Entertainment

hand, go pro, camera on top of mountain near ocean

While a Caribbean cruise offers plenty of opportunities to unplug and enjoy the surroundings, it’s still helpful to consider what to pack for a Caribbean cruise in terms of electronics and devices. Here’s what to consider packing:

  1. Smartphone and Charger: Your smartphone is a versatile device that can serve as a camera, communication tool, and travel guide. Don’t forget to pack the charger as well.

  2. Camera or GoPro: Capture beautiful moments during your cruise by bringing a camera or GoPro. Make sure to pack extra memory cards and batteries.

  3. E-Reader or Books: If you enjoy reading, consider bringing an e-reader or a few books to enjoy by the pool or during downtime.

  4. Portable Speaker: Enhance your onboard experience with a portable Bluetooth speaker to enjoy music in your cabin or on the balcony.

  5. Power Bank: Keep your electronic devices charged throughout the day by carrying a portable power bank.

Documents and Money

passport, ticket, travel

When preparing for a Caribbean cruise, it’s essential to have all the necessary documents and sufficient money. Storing these in a travel document holder can ensure everything is neat and organized. Here’s what you should include in your cruise vacation packing list:

  1. Cruise Documents: Print or save electronic copies of your cruise booking confirmation, boarding passes, and any pre-booked excursion vouchers.

  2. Health Insurance Card: Carry your health insurance card along with emergency contact information.

  3. Cash for Tips: While most cruise ships operate on a cashless system, it’s customary to tip certain crew members. Carry some small bills for tipping.

  4. Local Currency: If you plan to do some shopping or explore the local ports of call, it’s useful to have some local currency.

  5. Vaccine Card: Be sure to verify if your cruise mandates COVID-19 vaccination as different cruise lines have varying requirements that can change at any time.

Related: 51 Best Places to Travel Without a Passport

Miscellaneous Items

When considering what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, it’s always good to consider some extras. In this section, we will cover some additional items that can come in handy during the beach days of your Caribbean cruise:

  1. Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by bringing a refillable water bottle that you can refill onboard and bring ashore in the Caribbean weather.

  2. Snorkel Gear: If you enjoy snorkeling, consider bringing your own mask, snorkel, and fins for a more comfortable and personalized experience.

  3. Sand Toys: If you have children, these will help keep them busy on the beach while you kick back and relax! Consider bring a few small toys to save money from buying them on-location,

  4. First Aid Kit: Pack a basic first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and any specific medications or medical supplies you may need.

  5. Dry Bag: Keep your valuables and electronics safe and dry during beach visits or water activities by using a waterproof dry bag.

  6. Laundry Bag: Separate your dirty clothes from clean ones by packing a lightweight laundry bag.

  7. Money Pouch: Help protect your cards, cash, or IDs from getting lost or stolen.

  8. Cruise Luggage Tag Holders: They are important part of your checked baggage as they help identify your luggage (especially if there is loss or delays).

  9. Towel Clips: Your pool and beach towels won’t stay where you want them without these!

  10. Hiking Shoes: Hiking shoes can be helpful for exploring the diverse landscapes and trails, ensuring comfortable and protected footing during outdoor activities.

  11. Night Light: A night light can be helpful as it gives you a cozy and familiar light in your cabin, making it easier to find your way around and creating a calm sleep environment especially for kids.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of luggage should I bring?

It’s best to bring a suitcase or travel bag with wheels for easy transport. Make sure it’s durable, lightweight, and has enough storage space for your belongings. Save space by packing your large items first into the bags followed by smaller items.

Can I bring my own alcohol onboard?

Most cruise lines have specific policies regarding bringing alcohol such as wine onboard and typically don’t allow this. Check with your cruise company to know the rules and limitations of bringing alcohol on your cruise ship.

Should I pack formal attire even if I don’t plan on attending formal nights?

While formal attire is not mandatory, it’s still a good idea to pack at least one elegant outfit if you decide to dine at specialty restaurants or attend other upscale events onboard.

Are beach towels provided on the cruise ship?

Most cruise lines provide towels for use onboard and during shore excursions. However, it’s always wise to check with your specific cruise line to confirm their policy.

Can I do laundry onboard?

Yes, many cruise ships offer laundry facilities or laundry services for an additional fee. Check with your cruise company for details on laundry options.

What should I pack in my beach bag and my day bag for shore excursions?

In your day bag, pack essentials like sunscreen, a sun hat, sunglasses, a reusable water bottle, a beach towel, a camera, and any personal items you may need during your time ashore.

What type of clothing should I pack for a Caribbean cruise?

When packing for a Caribbean cruise, it’s important to include a mix of swimwear, casual clothing, formal attire, and comfortable footwear. Choose lightweight fabrics, vibrant colors, and tropical prints to match the Caribbean ambiance.

Is it necessary to pack formal attire for a Caribbean cruise?

Formal attire is usually required for special nights on a Caribbean cruise. It’s important to check the dress guidelines specified by your cruise line to ensure you pack appropriate outfits for those occasions.

Can I wear flip-flops on a Caribbean cruise?

Flip-flops are suitable for casual outings and beach days during a Caribbean cruise. However, it’s recommended to have a variety of footwear options, including sandals and sneakers, to cater to different activities and occasions.

Are there any specific dress codes on a Caribbean cruise?

Each cruise company may have its own dress policies. Some cruises have formal nights where elegant attire is expected, while others maintain a more relaxed dress code throughout the journey. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the guidelines of your specific cruise line.

How many swimsuits should I bring on a Caribbean cruise?

It’s a good idea to pack at least two swimsuits for a Caribbean cruise. This allows you to have a spare while one is drying, ensuring you always have a dry swimsuit ready for your next beach or poolside adventure.

Should I bring a raincoat or umbrella for a Caribbean cruise?

While the Caribbean generally experiences warm and sunny weather, it’s always wise to be prepared for unexpected showers. Packing a lightweight raincoat or rain jacket and a compact travel umbrella can come in handy during occasional rain showers.


Packing for a Caribbean cruise can seem overwhelming, but with the right planning and this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-prepared for a fantastic vacation.

When you’re wondering what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, just remember to pack the essentials first, including travel documents, clothing suitable for the tropical climate, flip flops, toiletries and electronics. After that, you can begin to consider any additional items that will enhance your cruise experience.

By following this Caribbean cruise packing list and tailoring it to your specific needs, you can ensure a stress-free and enjoyable Caribbean cruise. Bon voyage!

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