What to Pack on a Cruise

One of our favorite ways to vacation is by cruise. We thought that life would slow down once our boys grew up, but it seems quite the opposite. We are a non-stop household. Going on a cruise literally forces you to do nothing but relax. There is no worrying about what you are going to cook or where you’re going to go out to eat for dinner. You don’t need to figure out where to go for entertainment and you can be disconnected from the online world for the extent of your cruise. Although you have options to purchase an internet connection, the majority of our family opts out. I am the one that usually purchases the social media package, so that I can still be in contact with family and the dog boarder in case of an emergency. I know I can’t do anything while I am out at sea, but it just keeps my mind at ease.

Packing for a cruise can be confusing if you have never been on one. You may have questions on what is acceptable to wear to dinner or what the temperature is like inside of the ship. Even though I have been on about 7 cruises (all with Carnival Cruise lines), I recently found myself Googling what to wear on our last cruise to Alaska. We have always cruised to warm destinations, so I was at a complete loss. Our trip was in May so there was a lot of searching on weather averages, as well as checking the weather a few days before our trip. I have created this list to help you to be stress-free while getting ready for a relaxing time on your cruise.

Posted below is a helpful list to use for both warm and cold destination cruises.

The following dress codes are from Carnival Cruise Lines:

Notes: Dress casually during the day to include sneakers and flip flops.

 For dining room attire, the cruise casual dining dress code is as follows:

Gentlemen – Sports slacks, khakis, jeans (no cut-offs), dress shorts (long), collared sports shirts.

Ladies – Casual dresses, casual skirts or pants and blouses, summer dresses; Capri pants, dress shorts, jeans (no cut-offs).

There will always be a cruise elegant night on your cruise. If you are on a 6-day cruise or longer, there will be two cruise elegant nights in the dining room. The buffet is open for those that do not want to partake in elegant night.

For dining room attire, the cruise elegant dress code is as follows:

Gentlemen – Dress slacks, dress shirts. We also suggest a sport coat. If you wish to wear suits and ties or tuxedos, by all means we invite you to do so.

Ladies – Cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses; if you’d like to show off your evening gowns, that’s great too!

Note: Not permitted in the dining room during cruise elegant dinner for ladies and gentlemen: shorts, gym shorts, t-shirts, beach flip flops, bathing suit attire, jeans, cut-off jeans, sleeveless shirts for men, sportswear, and baseball hats.

Warm Weather Cruise

Clothing

  • Shorts/capris
  • Shirts
  • 1-2 pair jeans for dining room and/or evening shows (it can be a bit chilly at night in the lounge while watching shows)
  • Undergarments (underwear, undershirts, bra, socks)
  • Bathing suits (no towels, they are provided on the ship)
  • Sleep wear
  • Workout wear if you want to exercise. They have an excellent gym, as well as a jogging/walking track on the top of the ship
  • Elegant night attire if interested
  • Shoes (sneakers, sandals, flip flops, dress shoes for elegant night)
  • Sweater/light jacket for inside the ship

Additional Items

Many of these items are available on the ship, but the cost is much higher.

  • PASSPORT
  • Backpack for walking around port/excursions https://amzn.to/34svtRZ
  • Surge protector power strip. There aren’t enough outlets in the room for everyone’s electronics. https://amzn.to/2MVMVZv
  • Card games/small board games for sea days (They do have a few scheduled activities during sea days, but nothing beats a good table game.
  • Clips to attach towels to beach chair https://amzn.to/2ZL0twS
  • Sun screen https://amzn.to/2PRhKAK
  • Aloe https://amzn.to/2HLoV7h
  • Lanyard for your room card (Carnival themed lanyards are available on the ship) https://amzn.to/2PPSJpK
  • If you don’t think you will get enough value out of the bottomless bubbles card (soda card), you are allowed to bring a maximum of 12 sealed cans or cartons of other non-alcoholic beverages such as soda, juice or milk (per person). Bottled water is not allowed. Juice, water & tea are available for free on the ships.
  • On the day the cruise embarks, you are allowed to bring on board one standard 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne per person.
  • If you enjoy flavored water drop-ins such as Crystal light, you can bring those on board.
  • This past cruise we learned that we can bring sealed snacks on board as well. We brought our protein bars and beef jerky that we purchased while in the Seattle, Washington Port.
  • Small pop up hamper. We always travel with one. It makes it so much easier to keep dirty clothes out of the way. https://amzn.to/34nXFFD
  • Door decorations if you are celebrating an event. Most doors are metal. Carnival Cruise Lines requires fire retardant decorations.

Cold Weather Cruise

My family cruised to Alaska in May 2019. The temps were in the 50’s the entire time. We recommend dressing in layers, as you will frequently be going in and out of the ship. It’s easier to remove layers instead of sweating in heavy winter clothes. We didn’t bring a heavy coat, just a medium weight and a light weight jacket.

Clothing

  • Shirts (short sleeves and long sleeves)
  • Jeans
  • Thermal pants to wear under jeans
  • Undergarments (underwear, undershirts, bra, socks)
  • Bathing suits (no towels, they are provided on the ship) The pool on the Carnival legend was heated, but very few people were in it. They do however have a hot tub inside the gym and on the decks.
  • Sleep wear
  • Workout wear if you want to exercise. They have an excellent gym, as well as a jogging/walking track on the top of the ship (weather permitting, it may be cold).
  • Elegant night attire if interested
  • Shoes (sneakers, casual dress shoes for dinner, dress shoes for elegant night, some people wore boots)
  • Sweater for inside the ship
  • Gloves & hat (We didn’t bring these, but some travelers may prefer to bring them)

Additional Items

  • PASSPORT
  • Backpack for walking around port/excursions https://amzn.to/34svtRZ
  • Surge protector power strip. There aren’t enough outlets in the room for everyone’s electronics. https://amzn.to/2MVMVZv
  • Binoculars if you are going to Alaska (Great for whale watching, spotting seals, eagles, and bears on land) https://amzn.to/31biWQZ
  • Card games/small board games for sea days (They do have a few scheduled activities during sea days, but nothing beats a good table game.
  • Sun screen (You can still get sun burn in the cold climate) https://amzn.to/2PRhKAK
  • Lanyard for your room card (Carnival themed lanyards are available on the ship) https://amzn.to/2PPSJpK
  • If you don’t think you will get enough value out of the bottomless bubbles card (soda card), you are allowed to bring a maximum of 12 sealed cans or cartons of other non-alcoholic beverages such as soda, juice or milk (per person). Bottled water is not allowed. Juice, water & tea are available for free on the ships.
  • On the day the cruise embarks, you are allowed to bring on board one standard 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne per person.
  • If you enjoy flavored water drop-ins such as Crystal light, you can bring those on board.
  • This past cruise we learned that we can bring sealed snacks on board as well. We brought our protein bars and beef jerky that we purchased while in the Seattle, Washington Port.
  • Small pop up hamper. We always travel with one. It makes it so much easier to keep dirty clothes out of the way. https://amzn.to/34nXFFD
  • Door decorations if you are celebrating an event. Most doors are metal. Carnival Cruise Lines requires fire retardant decorations.

I hope that my list helps you pack for your upcoming cruise. Remember that this is my experience with Carnival Cruise Lines, as I haven’t cruised yet with other lines (but plan to try them out in the future). I will soon create an article on the ins and outs of cruising. What kind of questions do you have about vacationing on a cruise ship?

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