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How to Pack Like a Pro for a Caribbean Cruise (Free Packing List Printable)

Are you going on a Caribbean Cruise vacation? Below, I will share cruise packing tips as well as what to pack for a Caribbean cruise based on my personal experience. I have gone on over 20 cruises, so trust me, when it comes to packing for cruises, I’m an expert!

Below, I’m sharing my Caribbean Cruise packing list that you can download and print to help you plan your cruise vacation.

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Free Caribbean Cruise Packing List

What to Wear: Caribbean Cruise

When packing for a Caribbean cruise, you should be prepared for different activities from dinner on the cruise to a day at the beach. Here are some suggestions on what to wear in a Caribbean cruise.

Shorts and shirts

These are the staples of your casual wardrobe for a Caribbean cruise. You can wear them for daytime activities, such as relaxing on the deck or a day at the beach. Choose light and breathable fabrics, such as cotton and linen. I always pack a few skorts with pockets for phones.

Sweatshirt or light jacket

Even though the Caribbean is known for its warm and sunny climate, it can get chilly at night or in air-conditioned areas. Therefore, it is a good idea to pack a sweatshirt or a light jacket that you can layer over your shorts and shirts. I also often get cold on the plane so I always pack a light sweatshirt for the plane ride.

Underwear

This is an obvious item to pack, but you might want to bring more than you think you need since you will be spending a lot of time swimming and at the beach. If you are packing for a 7 day cruise, I’d bring 10 pairs of underwear just in case. You should also pack special underwear for the evening, such as shapewear and strapless bra.

Swim Cover Up

A swim cover up is a must-have for a Caribbean cruise. You can wear it over your bathing suit when you go to the beach, the pool, or the buffet. I like this swim cover up, it provides enough coverage and comes in many fun prints. 

Hats or Baseball Caps

Hats or baseball caps are essential for a Caribbean cruise.

Water shoes

Water shoes are a great item to pack for a Caribbean cruise. You can wear them for water activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, or jet skiing. You can also wear them for walking on the beach in case you are on rocky surfaces.

Flip flops

Flip flops are a must-have for a Caribbean cruise.

Bathing suits (bring 2-3 extra)

Bathing suits are the most essential item to pack for a Caribbean cruise. You will be spending a lot of time in the water, whether it is the ocean, the pool, or the hot tub. Bringing only 1 bathing suit is never enough because sometimes it takes too long to dry. If you are going on a 7 day cruise, you need at least 2 bathing suits. I recommend bringing 3 bathing suits especially if you are going on the cruise with kids. You will be glad to have packed extra bathing suits. Also do bring rash guards because the sun can be intense in the Caribbean.

Cruise Pool

Swim goggles

If you don’t like to get water in your eyes, swim goggles are a must. Don’t forget to pack swim goggles since you will need it at the pool and you will most likely be going ashore to the Caribbean beaches and will need swim goggles for salt water swimming. I suggest bringing an extra swim goggle in case you lose one! Otherwise, you will get stuck having to buy expensive swim goggles at the cruise gift shop.

Eveningwear

You might want to dress up for some nights during your Caribbean cruise. Although the dress code is often optional, it’s always nice to dress up for the different evening dinners such as captain’s dinner, the gala night, or the farewell party. There are also a lot of photographers at the cruise so it’s always nice to be dressed up when you get your picture taken. I always try to get our family photo during cruises because it’s a lot less expensive to buy them on the cruise than having to go to a studio back home.

Shawl or Pashmina

A shawl or a pashmina is a handy item to pack for a Caribbean cruise. You can use it as a wrap for your dress. The cruise ship air conditioning can get cold you it’s nice to have a nice shawl or pashmina to keep you warm.

Dressy shoes

Don’t forget to pack dressy shoes. You will need it for evening dinners during your Caribbean cruise. Do pack comfortable heels because you will do a lot of walking after dinner. I usually like to go to the gift shops, watch a show and even do a little dancing after dinner. Pack comfortable dressy shoes!

Evening bag or clutch bag

Don’t forget to pack an evening bag or a clutch bag to go with your eveningwear. I like clutch bags with wrist straps so it’s easy to carry around with you even if you are at the buffet!

Gym clothes (with sneakers)

When I first started cruising, I always forget to pack gym clothes and always regret not packing them. During sea days, you may want to go to the gym. Pack comfortable and stylish gym clothes with sneakers.

7 Day Caribbean Cruise Wardrobe

Here is an example of what to pack on a 7 day Caribbean Cruise for women

  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • 4-7 pairs of socks
  • 4 pairs of shorts (skorts)
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 2 polo shirts
  • 2 button-down shirts
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1-2 pairs of leggings (for the gym or sea days)
  • 1 sweater or cardigan or sweatshirt
  • 3 sleepwear/pjs
  • 1 blazer or jacket
  • 1 dress or suit
  • 1 pair of dress shoes
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of water shoes
  • 4 bathing suits
  • 2 swim cover ups
  • 1 sun hat or baseball cap
  • 1 shawl or pashmina
  • 1 evening bag or clutch bag

7 Day Caribbean Cruise Wardrobe for Men

Here is an example of what to pack for a 7 days Caribbean Cruise for men

  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • 4-7 pairs of socks
  • 4 pairs of shorts
  • 8 t-shirts/polo shirts/button down shirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans/khaki pants
  • 1 pair of shorts or sweatpants (for the gym or sea days)
  • 1 sweaters or sweatshirts
  • 3 sleepwear/pjs
  • 1 suits or blazers
  • 1 dress pants (match with blazers)
  • 2 dress shirts
  • 1 tie, belt and cufflinks
  • 1 pair of dress shoes
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 pair of very comfortable walking shoes 
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of water shoes
  • 4 bathing suits 
  • 1 hat or baseball cap

Caribbean Cruise Packing List: Accessories

Below are accessories that you will need on your Caribbean cruise.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a must when you visit the Caribbean since the sun is more intense there. Everyone needs sunglasses even kids.

Mesh laundry bag

I always pack a mesh laundry bag for my dirty clothes. Having a laundry bag for dirty clothes will help keep your cruise cabin organized.

Electronics, Chargers and External Batteries

If you are going on a cruise with a lot of sea days and you are traveling with kids, you will want to keep everyone entertained with iPads, Switch, Kindle (to read by the pool). You should also bring charger and external batteries.

Pro tip: I suggest downloading movies in advance before you get onboard, so you don’t need to subscribe to the cruise internet service.

Snorkeling gear

If you think you will snorkel, then you should bring your own snorkeling gear. I personally don’t like renting it, but I know it’s bulky so depending on how much room you have in your luggage, you may or may not want to bring your own snorkeling gear.

Do keep in mind some cruise lines will not allow you to use your snorkeling gear in the ship’s pool. Definitely check your cruise line’s regulations before bringing your snorkeling gear.

Waterproof Camera

If you like to take cool underwater videos and pictures, I suggest bringing a waterproof camera. I like to use my GoPro to capture underwater videos while I’m snorkeling. Don’t forget to bring extra memory cards, batteries, and waterproof covers/accessories for your camera.

Bug spray

I always bring bug spray so I don’t get insect bites. I’m a mosquito magnet so I always use the bug sprays with DEET. I like these mosquito bite ointments that come in a roller so you can easily apply it on your bug bite!

Sunblock

You need to bring sunblock on your Caribbean cruise. Get the sunblock with high SPF (at least 50). If you are spending the day by the pool or at the beach, you need to reapply every 2 hours so bring a lot. I bring sunblock stick for the face and sprays for the body. Don’t forget the chapstick with SPF for your lips!

Tote Bag or Beach Bag

You will need a good size tote bag or beach bag to take with you when you go to the pool or when you go ashore. When you go ashore, you will need to carry everything you need for a day at the beach such as towels, sunscreen, water, extra clothes, snacks and accessories. It’s also a good idea to have waterproof beach bags.  I like this beach bag because it is waterproof and has zipper closure.

Refillable water bottles

Refillable water bottles will come in handy during your Caribbean cruise. Most cruise ships don’t provide free water in your cabin, unless you purchase the bottled water from the cruise line or get water from the buffet. I like to fill up my water bottles with water and ice and take it to my cabin. I also do the same when I go ashore.

Pro tip: Don’t bring water bottles with straws since it’s a hassle to wash. I like these insulated water bottles without straws.

Resealable plastic bags

I always bring a few resealable plastic bags or Ziploc and keep it in my beach bag. It comes in handy when you are at the beach to store snacks and to keep things dry.

Beach Towels

Even though the cruise ship provides beach towels, I always bring my own for when I go ashore for a day at the beach. They charge a fee if you lose their beach towels so I’d rather bring my own!

Beach Chair Towel Clips

I always bring my own beach chair towel clips to secure my towel to the beach chair so it doesn’t fall off or gets blown away. It’s a pet peeve of mine to lie down on a beach chair where the towel has slipped off. I like these fun beach chair towel clips.

Lanyard

You will need your cruise card for everything- to get into your cabin to pay for purchases and to get in and out of the ship. It’s a hassle to have to look for it, so I suggest bringing a lanyard to keep your cruise card. If not, you will probably end up buying wristbands that serves as your cruise cards onboard (similar to Disney MagicBands)

Waterproof phone case

To protect your phone from water and sand, use a waterproof phone case that has a touch screen. It will come in handy when you spend the day at the beach.

Walkie talkie

If you are traveling with family or a big group, it’s nice to have a way to communicate to each other onboard. Cellphone service is poor and internet service is expensive. Bringing a long range walkie talkie is an easy way to stay in touch and it can be a lot of fun for kids to use.

Binoculars

I always pack binoculars when I go on cruises. It’s fun to use when your balcony. Definitely get one that is compact, lightweight and with a strap.

Cash (Small Bills)

You will need cash, in particular, small bills. It will come in handy for tipping and to buy things. Most places take US dollars. Of course, if you forget, no worries you can always get small bills from Guest Services. But if you bring your own, you will avoid the long lines at Guest Services.

One Bottle of Wine

Most cruise lines will allow you to bring one bottle of wine on the ship when they board. You are allowed to bring one 750 ml unopened bottle of wine or champagne per person. Any alcohol that you buy ashore will be taken and kept until the end of the cruise. Double check with your cruise line before you bring wine. 

Corkscrew/ Bottle Opener

If you are planning to bring wine, don’t forget your corkscrew so you can enjoy it in your cabin. If you bring your wine to the dining rooms, you will be charged a corkage fee. 

What to Pack in Your Caribbean Cruise Overnight Bag

You will need an overnight bag for your Caribbean Cruise, a bag that you will carry on board with you (don’t check it in). I recommend using a small roller luggage (the fits the overhead compartment on airplanes). The reason why you need a bag that you carry in with you is because on the first day when you board the ship, your luggage will not arrive in your stateroom immediately. It can take them a few hours before they actually deliver your luggage to your room. That’s why I recommend packing first day essentials in your overnight bag. This is what I recommend you pack in your overnight bag.

Bathing Suit

Pack your bathing suit in your overnight bag, in case you want to swim the first day. I know my kids usually want to jump in the pool on the first day so I always pack their bathing suit.

Swim Goggles

Don’t forget the swim goggles!

Sunblock

You will need sunblock if you are planning to swim the first day.

Change of Clothes

Bring a change of clothes in case you get in the pool that first day. Sometimes they don’t deliver your luggage to your cabin until almost dinner time. You will want a change of clothes after swimming at the pool.

Flip Flops

You should pack flip flops in your carry-on bag if you plan to swim on the first day. Otherwise, I suggest you wear them so you are ready for the pool. 

Medication

Definitely bring your medication in your overnight bag. My son is allergic to peanuts and I always pack his epipen and allergy medication in the overnight bag.

Book, Electronics and Toys

There will be some downtime on the first day. If you are cruising with kids, you will need electronics and toys to keep them entertained. I like to bring my book with me so I have it when I’m lounging by the pool.

If you need to book Caribbean tours, a great platform to book tours is with viator.

Caribbean Cruise Packing List Free Printable

Here is my free Caribbean cruise packing list printable.

Check out: 15 Caribbean Cruise Mistakes to Avoid

Check out our other cruise packing lists with free printables:

Alaska Cruise Packing List

Caribbean Cruise Packing List

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Mexico cruise packing list

Bermuda Cruise Packing List

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25 Things People forget to Pack for a Cruise

Check out: 30 Unusual Things to Pack for a Cruise: Things You Didn’t Know You Need

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Help spread the word and share my free Caribbean cruise packing list printable by pinning it on Pinterest

Free Caribbean Cruise Packing List

Check out my Alaska Cruise Packing List (free printable)

Check out: 15 Caribbean Cruise Mistakes to Avoid

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