Caribbean Cruise Packing Essentials

Hat, sunglasses and bathing suits are a must on your Caribbean cruise packing list

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement when you’re about to embark on a Caribbean cruise. Days spent under the endless sun, delicious food, exploring new ports of call — how can you beat it? To help you make your trip the best it can be, let us suggest a few items you should make sure to pack before you set sail, in no particular order.

A Bathing Suit (or Two)

This one may seem obvious, but keep in mind you’ll be spending quite a lot of time lounging on the deck, splashing in the pool, or exploring dazzling beachscapes during your Caribbean, Mediterranean, or Mexico cruise. You want to be comfortable in your suit since it will be a major element of your vacation wardrobe. If you haven’t tried on your suit or trunks in a while, be sure to do so before you depart. If you don’t have a backup, now’s the time to invest in one. You won’t regret having a dry one to change into if the one you wore earlier is still cold and damp.


I’m sure you’ve been advised that you should always wear sun protection when you’ll be exposed to the sun’s rays for long periods. But the intense sunshine in areas close to the equator might be stronger than your skin is used to. You not only need sun protection, you need the best and strongest you can get.

Reef-friendly sunscreen is a must on a Caribbean cruise, as you don’t want to contribute to coral reef degradation in the places you’re visiting. Look for sunscreens made with zinc oxide and titanium oxide, and skip ones made with oxybenzone, octinoxate, or octocrylene.

Consider that you may be applying several times throughout the day, so make sure to bring enough to get you through your trip. There’s nothing like a bad sunburn to ruin a vacation!

A Hat and Sunglasses

Even once you’re slathered from head to toe in sunscreen, you still want to be comfortable under the intense rays while you’re soaking up the sun on your Caribbean cruise. Skip squinting and combat the bright sun with a good pair of sunglasses and a hat that provides shade for your face and neck. No room in your luggage? No worries – you can usually purchase a hat and sunglasses on board or in any port of call.

Dinner Attire

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can pack a swimsuit, shorts, sandals, and T-shirts and be done. Though Caribbean cruises tend to be largely informal affairs, many cruise lines feature formal nights, meaning you’ll want to be a little dressier for dinner. Usually, women are expected to wear dresses, while men can wear anything from a shirt and tie to a tuxedo. Even on informal nights, you’ll be forbidden from entering the dining room in a dripping swimsuit – pants are required for most main dining rooms. Women could also wear a dress or a skirt. But even if dressing a certain way isn’t required, isn’t it more fun to get dolled up for your evening meal?

Waterproof Camera

You’ll kick yourself if you embark on a Caribbean, Mediterranean, or Mexico cruise and come home with nothing to show for it. Make sure to pack a waterproof camera so you don’t miss your chance to capture the mesmerizing underwater world while you snorkel and scuba dive. Even better, get your hands on a GoPro so you have your memories on video to enjoy for years to come.

Ready to start packing? Download a packing list for the Caribbean, Mexico, or the Mediterranean to be sure you don’t miss a thing. If you still need to book your cruise, visit — we can help you cruise the smart way! We give you our exclusive bonus offers and all qualifying cruise line offers, plus all of the cruise line loyalty program benefits.

Book online at or call 800-288-6006 today.

Related: Best Caribbean Beaches to Visit on a Caribbean Cruise

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