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Luggage and Baggage Rules for Taking a Cruise (How Much Can I Bring?)

How much luggage can I bring on a cruise? Can I bring shampoo? Can I bring drinks or alcohol? What about food? Will my bags be searched?

If you’re a first-time cruiser, you might have a number of questions about what you can — and can’t — pack for a cruise. The good news? The rules surrounding cruise luggage are far simpler and more straightforward than what you’ll find on a flight .

Suitcase packed for a cruise

In fact, you can think of the rules surrounding your luggage as more similar to traveling to a hotel versus traveling on a flight.

Still, if you’re taking a cruise, chances are you’re going to pack a little more than a toothbrush. So you no doubt have a few questions about luggage and baggage on the ship.

We’ve rounded up answers to some of the most common questions…

In This Article...

How much luggage can I bring on a cruise?

The best news about packing is that there is no (reasonable) limit on how much you can bring on a cruise . Most cruise lines “encourage” or “suggest” each passenger to limit luggage to two suitcases, each one less than 50 pounds. In addition, you can also bring carry-on luggage (more on that in a moment).

While there are no strict restrictions on your checked baggage, you should keep a few common sense items in mind.

First, know that you have to get all your luggage to and from the cruise ship. If you are flying, that may mean extra fees for extra bags. And even if you are driving to the cruise terminal, you still have to carry (or arrange for someone else to carry) all that luggage.

We encourage people to pack reasonably. There is no harm in wearing the same thing twice during a cruise — many others will be doing just that. As well, every ship has laundry service if you need it.

If you are taking more than one piece of luggage and one carry-on to take a week-long cruise, then you are likely overpacking.

(Read:  12 Luggage Pieces Perfect For Your Next Cruise )

Are there baggage fees on cruises?

Unlike airlines, there are no baggage fees for the luggage you bring on a cruise. Bring what you want, as there is no extra charge.

That’s good news, but if you are flying to the port, remember that you could be charged by the airline for bags you bring on the plane. That’s another reason it’s smart to pack light if you can.

Are there restrictions on what I can bring?

Two bags taken on a cruise

Of course. You can’t bring weapons such as guns or long knives on board. If it’s even questionable (such as pepper spray), it’s best to just leave it at home. Scissors are also restricted.

More importantly, except for lighters, you can’t bring anything dealing with fire. Fire is the biggest risk on board a ship. For that reason, irons are restricted, as are candles and incense. Flammable liquids are also prohibited. If you think it could start a fire, it’s best to leave it at home.

Cruise lines also have restrictions on alcohol that you can bring on board. Most will let you bring some sort of wine or champagne, but only in small quantities. Beer or hard liquor are almost never allowed. Click here to read more about bringing alcohol on a cruise .

Prohibited items on cruise ships:

  • Drugs (including marijuana and CBD, even if legal in the state you are sailing from)
  • Explosives or fireworks
  • Flammable items
  • Beer/liquor
  • Heat-producing appliances (curling irons/hair dryers are ok)
  • Blades longer than 4″
  • Hoverboards

What happens if I bring something that I’m not supposed to?

Accidentally pack something that’s against the rules? Expect it to be removed from your bag when found — that includes alcohol, weapons, or other items.

Depending on the cruise line policy and what you item is, it may be held and returned to you at the end of the cruise or it may just be confiscated. For that reason, we suggest being very careful about what you pack to avoid running afoul of the luggage rules.

If it’s an illegal substance that’s found, you may be getting a visit from law enforcement.

Can I bring a curling iron, hair straightener or a hair dryer?

In the humidity of a cruise, some people’s hair goes wild. We understand.

The good news is that while clothes irons aren’t allowed, you can bring things like a straightener, hair dryer or curling iron. You should definitely be careful, and not forget to unplug them when not in use (in fact, room stewards may do so if they see it left unattended when servicing your room).

As for hair dryers, you can bring one from home, but cruise cabins have these built in, similar to a hotel. They are small, but can get the job done for a few days of vacation. There is no real reason to take up the luggage space, unless you just can’t live without your specific hair dryer.

Can I bring food on a cruise?

If you have special dietary restrictions and want to bring special foods, then it’s best to contact the cruise line to get all the ins and outs of how to bring your food. One nice thing is that cruise lines can meet almost any dietary restriction you might have.

If you’re simply wanting to brings some snacks, then you are welcome to do so . One thing to keep in mind, however, is that a cruise will go to several different countries. That means customs officials worry about things like foreign pests and disease.

For that reason, any food you bring on board needs to be pre-processed, packaged, and unopened . You can’t bring homemade items. You also want to avoid fresh fruit and vegetables.

Does the “3-1-1” liquids rule apply to cruises?

The “3-1-1” rule is ubiquitous in airports. It’s the rule that you can only bring liquids three ounces or less in a one quart plastic bag, with one bag per passenger. The rule is a thorn in the side of many travelers.

For everyone’s sanity, this rule does not apply to cruise ships.  Bring shampoo from home or a bottle of hairspray or a full-sized tube of toothpaste. Just keep in mind that if you have to fly to the port, then you’ll still have to meet the guidelines on liquids for air travel.

Can I bring alcohol in my bags when boarding?

If you want to bring beer or liquor on your cruise, then the bad news is that these aren’t allowed to be brought on ships. If they are found, they will be removed and discarded. (You can buy alcohol in ports of call and bring it home, but it’s held for you until the end of the cruise.)

The good news? Most cruise lines do allow you to bring a bottle or two of wine or champagne .

The amount varies among cruise lines, but it’s usually one bottle (750 mL) per adult in a cabin. When you bring this on, just keep it in your carry-on luggage. You don’t want to put it in checked luggage where it can possibly be broken.

Can I bring non-alcoholic drinks on a cruise?

Yes, but only on some cruise lines. Major lines Carnival and Royal Caribbean have more relaxed rules that allow you to bring small quantities (usually 12 or fewer) drinks on board with you. Norwegian does not allow you to bring aboard drinks.

So if you want to have a Coca-Cola or juice and don’t want to buy it on the ship, then you can bring it with you as you board.

Note that not every cruise line allows this, so you’ll want to see if the specific rules for your line. We have a list of cruise line policies around non-alcoholic drinks here .

What about rules for carry-on luggage for my cruise?

When you arrive at the port, you will check your large luggage (unless you want to carry it all on). This luggage will be carted off, X-rayed, put aboard the ship, and then delivered to your room later that day. That entire process will take several hours.

For that reason, passengers are encouraged to bring some sort of carry-on that has anything you might need for the first few hours on the cruise ship — travel documents, passports, medications, allowed alcohol, toothbrush, your swimsuit, and maybe even a change of clothes for dinner.

This carry-on bag will stay with you and be run through an X-ray machine in the terminal, similar to an airport. You will then keep it with you as you board the ship.

Do I have to check bags over a certain size?

Luggage for a cruise

No. There is no rule that you have to check luggage. However, keep in mind that you will have to lug your carry-on items around the ship until your room is ready. If you check in early, that could be a couple of hours. Even a small bag can be a nuisance after that long.

There are some “official” restrictions on carry-on sizes, but we’ve found them to be less strict than with an airline and rarely enforced. As long as you can safely and easily move your bag, it should be ok to board with.

Will my bags be searched on a cruise ship?

All baggage brought on board the ship will be X-rayed. When you go through security you will set your carry-on bags on the x-ray machine like you’d find at an airport. Checked luggage is also X-rayed behind the scenes. Usually further inspection isn’t required unless the security staff finds something dangerous or prohibited.

When will I get my bags after checking them?

When you check your bags at the cruise terminal, they are taken, X-rayed, and then loaded onto the ship.

From there, the cruise line staff delivers your luggage directly to your stateroom the evening of your first night. Usually this will take a few hours.

It’s important that you bring anything you might need for your first night in your carry-on, including what you plan to wear to dinner. While most people will have their bags within a few hours of boarding, it may be until later that you get yours.

Can I bring CBD or marijuana in my luggage?

CBD is now seemingly everywhere, and rules around marijuana have relaxed (including full legalization in a number of states).

That said, these items are not allowed on cruise ships . Cruise lines follow federal law instead of state laws. As well, the items are prohibited in a number of countries, so the cruise line restricts you from bringing CBD or marijuana to comply with rules in any port you might visit.

It’s not a good idea to try and sneak them on either as we’ve seen stories of local law enforcement in some countries detaining passengers for these items.

Where do I put my suitcase in the cabin after I unpack?

There’s no arguing that cruise cabins are small and you might be wondering where to put an empty suitcase so that you aren’t constantly tripping over it. Fortunately cruise cabins do a great job of maximizing space.

There are closets in every cabin that can hold a suitcase or two. You can also store them under the bed so that you don’t have to worry about it taking up valuable space.

Now that you know about the luggage and baggage rules, see our list of 39 useful things to pack for your cruise .

Have a question about packing or luggage for a cruise that we didn’t answer here? Let us know in the comments below…

Popular: 39 Useful Things to Pack (17 You Wouldn't Think Of)

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Luggage and Baggage Rules for Taking a Cruise (How Much Can I Bring?)


Answered: do you need a passport for an alaskan cruise, 39 useful things to pack for your cruise (including 17 you’d never think of), 25+ must-have cruise packing tips, 9 unexpected things you didn’t know you could bring on a cruise, 20 things to always pack when cruising with kids, the cruise packing checklist: 85 items to bring (printable), 104 comments.

Can you bring a miniature blender on board?

I don’t know where it would be against the rules, but it might get some funny looks.

Is locking your suitcase a bad idea?

I’d suggest not locking it just to keep things simple. If there is something valuable, just bring it as a carry on.

If I wanted to keep my luggage with me and not check it can I do that? I just want my items when I get to my room. Also can I roll it off at the end of the cruise so I do not have to wait for my luggage?

I will be on a Carnival cruise

Absolutely. In fact, that’s what a large portion of people do as they are the first to debark.

Can I bring a skateboard to use when on shore trips?

Do they have free water bottles on the cruise , Will I need to bring them or order them before I get on ship? I will be going on a carnival ship. Size of luggage to bring

Not free, but you can order them. It’s $10 for a 12 pack of water.

Can my carry on be a rolling bag? If my memory serves me right, Carnival didn’t allow rolling bags as carry ons. (It’s been a few years.)

Yes, I do it every cruise!

Hello: can I travel with 2 guitars, a suitcase and a carry on for a transatlantic cruise?

That shouldn’t be a problem.

Are cruise allowed to break security seals on my shampoo etc?

I’m still unsure about the allowed dimensions of the carry on bag. We would each like to carry the traditional size case allowed on flights as cabin luggage which fits in the overhead lockers. Is this ok

Absolutely. There is no real limit on carry-on. You can bring on a full-sized suitcase. Most people just check large bags because it’s much easier than having to carry them onto the ship.

can we check in 2 pieces of luggage and a garment bag? Also, can we bring a handheld steamer for clothes?

Yes, you can bring the luggage and garment bags. Steamers are typically prohibited. There is laundry service on the ship if needed.

I need to take two largish boxed items with me to Florida on Sky Princess from Southampton on 29 Oct 2022. As normal we also have two suitcases. The boxed items weigh 15pounds and 36 pounds respectively. I have phoned Princess and was reassured the bit of boxed extra luggage would be ok. Please reassure me it is!!

If the cruise line says Ok, then that should be plenty of assurance. I see no reason to worry.

What are the limitations on a one way cruise/relocating to a new home? Can you just bring whatever will fit in your room? Musical instruments? Snorkeling equipment? Martial arts gear?

Well there are some reasonable bag limits. If it looks like you’re packing up for a move, then expect the cruise to ask about all the bags.

Is rubbing alcohol allowed on carnival cruise ship

We’d think that if it were sealed and unopened (and a small amount) it should be fine.

Am I allowed t take paracetamol caskets in my cases along with voltrrol and rubbing creams ,I have Rhumatoid Athritis and need extra over the counter meds to add to my prescription meds

Not sure what those are, but OTC medications are fine.

My husband and I both use CPAP machines. We will be driving to embarkation port, doing a cruisetour (land portion after ship) and then flying home. Can we bring the gallon of distilled water on with us? I would not need to take it back on the plane. Thanks!

Yes, that should be fine. Cruise lines make exceptions for the distilled water for this and for baby formula.

Thank you. I will be sure to take it along then.

I have a large framed shirt that someone is taking on a cruise ship toAuckland for me is this allowed ? Thanks Cushla

Should be fine. After all, cruise ships have art sales on the ship.

Can and much water can we bring on the cruise ship???

Depends on the cruise line. Carnival and Royal Caribbean allow 12 bottles. See more here: https://cruzely.com/bringing-water-or-soda-on-the-ship-carnival-royal-caribbean-princess-and-norwegian/

Can we bring pop on a cruise? Sone say yes some say no…. some say carry on some say luggage. We’re travelling on holland cruises

Holland America is a little confusing because we found nowhere that it says you can or can’t bring on soda. Anecdotes on the Internet make it sound like bringing a reasonable amount on board with you is ok.

When it’s time to leave the ship at the end of the cruise what do you do with your larger checked bags? Do you just carry them out with your other belongings?

If you want, you can place them outside the cabin the night before you ship gets home. The crew will take them and they will be brought to the terminal for you. Many people, however, choose to carry them off themselves because passengers carrying all their belongings (and not waiting on luggage) are allowed to debark first.

Hi, any idea if we would be allowed to bring a gallon of soymilk (for our dairy allergic kid to eat with cereal as the ones they stock on ships are always sweetened already) on the boat? Thanks!

Typically you aren’t allowed to bring items that large. However, since it’s for dietary needs, then they will likely say it’s fine. I would call the cruise line and explain the situation. They will point you in the right direction.

where can you place your wine bottles

We suggest bringing those in your carry-on to avoid any breaking and leaking.

I read that on Princess you are allowed 1 750ml bottle of wine per person. What about those small, single-serve 187ml bottles? 750ml is about the volume of a regular bottle. Is the limit for “number” of bottles or the “amount” per person? 750ml is about 4 of those small ones. So, can I bring 4 small ones per person?? Thank you.

That’s a good question. It’s not something we’ve tried before. It will likely depend on the security staff at that particular port. We’ve found many are fairly relaxed on rules; they just want to make sure you aren’t bringing anything dangerous.

This is an odd question, but being an introverted crafter I would like to bring supplies to help me decompress during down times. I was wondering if pliers are acceptable – I make chains similar to rosary chains (no cutting, just bending and twisting; no waste). Is there a length limitation or just not allowed.

Pliers are fine. In fact, knives up to 4 inches are allowed (but we’d suggest leaving those at home).

Pliers that were in his carryon bag were taken away from my husband when we boarded Norwegian Breakaway February 2020 in New Orleans.

Hello I was wondering if it would be acceptable to use a water bottle as a container? My hair conditioner comes in a very large jug so I was thinking about pouring it into a water bottle. But, it seems there could be a few misunderstandings in doing this. Would it be alright?

There’s no rule against the type of container, but as you mention, it would likely be questioned. What about travel bottles? Those that hold a few ounces are perfect for a cruise.

I was wondering if carry on luggage is checked? Like do they just put it through the x-ray machine or just be like “oh it’s carry on, you’re good to go.” Do they x-ray it just like they do with the other checked luggage?

Yes, everything is x-rayed just like at the airport.

Can you take CBS oil tablets on ship

We assume you mean CBD oil? We’d leave it at home. There are a quite a few complications about the legality and it’s not worth the risk.

This will be my first cruise, and I was wondering if you can check a duffle bag as luggage, or am I going to have to treat it as a carry on?

You’re going to have a blast. On a cruise, you don’t have to “check” any luggage. You can if you want so that you don’t have to carry it, but you can also just carry it on yourself. It’s not like a plane where there is only a certain amount of room.

Will items be pulled out of carry on such as vapes and e liquid?

Vaping and e-cigarettes are allowed on ships, but like regular smoking, it’s limited only to certain areas. So there’s no real reason for the security team to pull out the items. That said, they do have the right to inspect anything you’re bringing on the ship.

Are contact solutions allowed

Yes, they are.

Where should I pack the water bottles I’m allowed to bring? They will be unopened and still sealed in their plastic. Also- should I put my cigarettes in my carry on or luggage? I am driving down so I won’t go through airport.

It’s usually best to carry these items on with you if you can. That way they don’t have the potential to bust and soak other people’s bags.

Is the carry-on allowed along with a purse? In other words, they don’t count a woman’s purse to be the carry on?

Carry-on is simply what you bring on with you. You can bring every bag with you if you want to carry it. There are no real limits like there are on airlines. For instance, we always “carry on” a full-size suitcase and backpack.

Can I have my splash, perfumes, lotion and accessories on my carry in bag??


Am I able to bring a hair dryer, straightener and curling iron

Yes, although hair dryers are already provided in cabins.

What if your luggage is over 50 pounds what will happen to it

On a cruise? Nothing. The baggage rules are pretty lax. However, keep in mind that you will still need to carry it around on your way to the ship, so the lighter, the better!

Are people allowed to bring their scale on a cruise?

Like a bathroom scale? Sure, but keep in mind it might make you sad. There will also likely be scales in the gym if you don’t want to bring one.

Thank you very much!

Hello, was wondering where the best place to store my vape pen when going through cruise security would be. Can I put it through my checked luggage? Travelling with older relative that would disapprove and would rather not have to pull out my vape pen in front of her when going through security. Can i leave it in my bag without taking it out? Flew with an epi-pen and had to take it out of my bag and put it on the tray seperatly. Will that occur? Side note- old enough to smoke, young enough to be publicly chastised by elder. Thank you for you’re help! -Grace

Yep, you can put it in your checked luggage. Smoking is allowed only on certain parts of the ship… but it is allowed. Surprised you had to take it out at all — even in a carry-on. Edit: I see you had to take it out when you flew. Cruise security is more accommodating. If you don’t want to risk it, however, just toss it in the checked baggage.

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Luggage and Baggage Rules for Taking a Cruise (How Much Can I Bring?)

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Cruise Carry-On Bag Packing List (And What You Don’t Need)

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Cruise Carry-On Bag Packing List

You will absolutely want to take a carry-on bag with you on your cruise vacation.  There are several cruise carry-on bag packing list essentials that you should never place in your checked baggage.  See our tips and what we always carry onto the ship!

cruise carry on bag packing list

Packing for a Cruise

Packing for a cruise can definitely be intimidating, even for veteran cruisers. Bob and I are closing in on our 12th cruise after many years of traveling , and our kids have joined us for 7 of those. Packing your bags for a cruise can take some real planning for a couple of reasons.

First of all, storage space in cruise cabins is usually extremely limited.  Unless you are sailing in a posh suite, cabins are smaller than even the most boutique-y hotels in NYC. Closet space often leaves you wishing for more, though some ships have under-the-bed storage for your luggage which is helpful.

If you are flying to your departure port, you will be restricted by airline baggage limits.  As if all of that wasn’t enough, depending on your cruise itinerary, you may find yourself packing to accommodate more than one weather climate.  For example, when we cruised to Alaska in 2007, it was in early July. Our days before boarding the ship in Seattle were warm, but several cruise ports were chilly and damp. One of our excursions was to Mendenhall Glacier and we were bundled up in heavy fleece jackets with gloves and knit hats.

This post is NOT Disney Cruise Line specific.  The info is pretty standard for most cruise lines.

Do You Need a Carry-On Bag for a Cruise?

In one word, yes.

But let me explain…

When you arrive at the cruise terminal, you will need to check your luggage with the cruise line, much like airline travel.  The exception to this is a small day bag, backpack or carry-on rolling bag. Each passenger is typically permitted to bring some sort of carry-on bag with them when they board.  The rest of your (checked) luggage goes through a security screening similar to at the airport. Bags are then loaded onto the ship and they will be delivered to your stateroom at some point that day/evening.

You have no control over when that checked luggage will be delivered to your cabin.  The crew works incredibly hard to deliver everything quickly, but even at one bag per passenger, you are talking about THOUSANDS of pieces of luggage that need to be delivered! On our many cruises, we have had some luggage delivered within our first hour on the ship… while other trips our bags have not appeared until after dinner that first evening.

You need to bring a carry-on bag to hold your absolute essentials so that you can start enjoying your vacation from the second you set foot on that ship!

Let’s get to that list!  Here are the items that I always pack in my carry-on bag for cruise embarkation day:

  • Passport/Identification & Cruise Documents (Some cruises require passports, while others do not and a birth certificate will suffice.  See if your cruise requires a passport and if it does, make sure you plan to get one MONTHS before you actually leave for vacation.) Post-2020 cruise travel also means educating yourself on health and possible vaccine requirements, which vary by cruise line AND by country that the ship will be visiting. You might need to bring proof of vaccination and any required test results. Be sure you are very aware of all current rules before you arrive at the terminal.
  • Bathing Suit and Flip Flops (In case you decide to head right to the pool deck and jump into the pool and/or hot tub after you board the ship! Don’t worry about towels – they are typically provided by the ship.)
  • Spare Outfit (Helpful to pack a change of clothing for dinner in case you don’t want to wear the outfit you boarded the ship wearing, but your luggage hasn’t arrived yet. A shirt and skirt or sundress are great options.)
  • Tumbler (Great for filling with your fave hot or cold beverage at the lunch buffet and carrying along with you as you explore the ship.)
  • Medication (Pack pain meds like Tylenol and possibly Dramamine if you’re concerned about motion sickness.  In addition to those, pack any prescription medication that you might need to take before the rest of your luggage is delivered.)
  • Alcohol and/or Bottled Water (Many cruise lines will allow you to carry on a certain amount/type of alcohol and bottled water.  These beverages are usually required to go in your carry-on bag and cannot be inside your checked luggage. Check with your specific cruise line for their carry-on beverage policy.)
  • Reading Material
  • Lanyard (Many cruisers love using a lanyard to hold their cruise card for easy access when unlocking their cabin door, making purchases, etc.)
  • Basic Toiletries (I’m not talking about shampoo or body wash or anything… but you can always toss in a hair brush, deodorant or even a toothbrush and toothpaste if you prefer to brush your teeth after meals.)
  • Rapid Charger and Charging Cord for smartphones or other devices
  • Hand Sanitizer and Wet Wipes

Cruise Carry On Bag Essential Items

What NOT to Pack in Cruise Carry-on Luggage

Here’s a short list of things you should not pack in your carry-on luggage!

  • Weapons or sharp objects (this includes Swiss Army knives)
  • Anything flammable
  • Fruit or homemade food/snacks
  • Live plants
  • Pool floats
  • Power strip or extension cords
  • Any electronics prohibited by cruise line

Best Suitcase Bags for Cruise Carry-on

Another thing to think about: space is rather limited on cruise ships.  Hallways are big enough for people to walk and pass each other, but rolling a gigantic bag behind you can be cumbersome. When you settle in for lunch on embarkation day at the buffet, having a bag that can fit easily under the table and not block the path to other tables is going to be a big convenience.

My best advice is to keep carry-on bags small, light, and manageable. You might be stuck carrying or toting this bag around for several hours, so keep it to a minimum. Our favorite carry-on bags are backpacks (these lightweight backpacks are our FAVORITE for travel day bags!) or small rolling bags .

Who Needs a Carry On Bag?

While it might be tempting to bring a carry on bag for each person in your party, I recommend consolidating carry-ons to as few as possible. For example, besides my purse, we typically only take one bag (either a small rolling bag or a backpack) on board for our entire family (2 adults, 2 kids). We check the rest of our bags.

Embarkation day can be a little nutty with people EVERYWHERE and not a lot of wiggle room. The less you have to lug around and keep your eye on, the better.

Before you head to the cruise port, decide how many bags you will carry on with you and designate family members to be in charge of specific bags. Once you are allowed to enter your cruise cabin, you can drop the bags there!

How to Find Current Information about Your Sailing

For all of my annoyances about social media, this is the place I turn to for sailing-specific, up-to-date cruise info. There are plenty of cruise forums on the internet across thousands of websites, but I typically prefer to hop on Facebook for helpful cruise info. Almost every sailing on every major cruise line ends up getting its own group on Facebook (created by a passenger on that sailing). Simply head to Facebook and go to the groups. Search for your sailing by typing the cruise line/ship name/sail date (you might need to try a combination of these details to locate the group). If a group is available to join, request to join.

These groups can be an incredible resource of information for your trip! I use these groups to glean all sorts of helpful info – from dining tips to shore excursions to fun events.

Facebook is also full of groups that are not specific to cruise sail dates. You can join any number of groups for every cruise line company out there. Some of these groups are actually run by travel agents. Other groups are run by travelers who just love to cruise. Try some out and stay in the groups that suit you best!

Happy Cruising!!


Cruise Ship Carry- On Bag Essentials Packing List

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How much luggage can I bring onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?

Each guest is permitted to carry a reasonable amount of personal property (including luggage) aboard the vessel; however, for your comfort and convenience, it is recommended that you limit the number of pieces you take. Each guest has the option to carry their luggage on board or check-in luggage prior to boarding. Luggage may include suitcases, trunks, valises, satchels, bags, hangers containing clothing, toiletries and similar items. Here are some  recommendations for packing  only cruise essentials.

We recommend that guests personally carry any boarding documentation such as passports, visas, citizenship documents and family legal documents plus all medications. To minimize the potential for diversion or loss of medications, we advise that all medications remain in their original, labeled prescription containers.  It is also advisable to pack at least three days of extra medication in the event of an unexpected change in the itinerary of the voyage. It is also a good idea for guests to pack a small carry-on bag with a change of clothes, and bathing suit. That way they don't have to wait for their checked bags to arrive in their stateroom.

Luggage may be locked  only  with a TSA approved lock.

Any carry-on luggage must be able to fit through the x-ray screening machines. These machines vary in size from port to port, however generally they are similar to those found at airport security check points. Guests wishing to carry their luggage with them during boarding should note that their stateroom may not be immediately available to store their luggage.

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How Much Luggage Can You Take on a Cruise?

Carissa Rawson

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Table of Contents

Cruise luggage rules

What can you bring on a cruise, do cruises check your bags, what do you do with your luggage when leaving, cruise luggage rules recapped.

The cruise industry is enormous, bringing in billions of dollars annually. This can be seen in the wide variety of cruise lines operating worldwide, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and even Disney.

Unlike with other types of travel, cruise ships' luggage requirements are much more lenient.

Let’s look at cruise luggage policies, the items you can bring and how much luggage you can take on a cruise.

Are you an overpacker? Don’t worry; a lot of us are. While airlines may nickel and dime you for every pound or bag you pack, cruise lines are more relaxed. So, how many suitcases can you take on a cruise?

The policies for cruise luggage size and weight will vary depending on with whom you’re sailing.

For example, Royal Caribbean’s baggage policy is quite flexible: There is no restriction on the number of bags you can bring or the total weight allowance. However, its website recommends limiting your total quantity of luggage for comfort and convenience because you’ll have to haul it around.

The same can’t be said for Norwegian Cruise Line, which sets a limit on the weight and number of bags you can bring. On Norwegian, guests can bring two pieces of checked luggage weighing up to 48 pounds (22 kilograms) each. This limit is similar to the one often imposed by airlines for checked bags.

In short, how many bags you can take on a cruise will depend heavily on your cruise line. Some have no limits, while others restrict the number of bags and set weight limits.

Before packing, check with whichever cruise line you’re sailing to ensure you have the latest information.

» Learn more: Bookmark these tips to get better deals on your next cruise

Cruises are fairly liberal when it comes to items you’re allowed to bring . Almost everything you can think of — including personal-use aerosol items, hair dryers and snacks — is permitted.

There are restrictions on certain items, including weapons, perishable food and certain kinds of beverages. All bags usually go through an X-ray machine before you board to make sure there are no restricted items.

Can you bring alcohol on a cruise?

Cruise lines tend to be a bit tetchy when it comes to bringing your own alcohol on board.

Norwegian Cruise Line prohibits you from bringing any drinks on board. In contrast, Holland America allows passengers to bring wine and Champagne but charges a $20 corkage fee per bottle.

The Disney Cruise Line lets guests 21 and older bring two bottles of wine or six beers on board for no fee, with the ability to buy more at each port of call. This is a great way to avoid the upcharges of buying alcohol on the ship.

» Learn more: Norwegian vs. Royal Caribbean

Can you bring liquids on a cruise?

Packing luggage for cruises can be freeing, especially if you’re used to flying with limited liquids.

Happily for travelers, liquids are generally allowed on cruises if they’re to be used for grooming. This includes full-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, gel, sunscreen and more.

You may also be allowed to bring some nonalcoholic beverages, though this policy will depend on your cruise line.

» Learn more: The best ways to book a cruise

You have choices when it comes to checking your bags on a cruise.

Usually, you can check your large luggage during boarding, and it will be delivered to your stateroom. However, that can take a few hours, so you’ll want to keep carry-on luggage that includes items such as a swimsuit and sunscreen with you.

You’ll also want to keep any important paperwork, electronics and medication in your carry-on bag rather than sending that off to be checked.

Having your luggage sent to your room is not required. If you’d rather keep it with you, that is an option.

However, your stateroom is generally unavailable for several hours after boarding, so you’ll need to carry your luggage around on the ship — and that can be highly inconvenient.

» Learn more: Best credit cards for cruises

Like with the boarding process, you can check your luggage or carry it with you during disembarkation.

On the final night of your cruise, you’ll be given luggage tags. You can then leave your bags outside your stateroom and have them delivered to the port for pickup in the morning.

If you choose this route, keep whatever you’ll need for the next morning in your carry-on because you won’t have access to your checked bags after they’re picked up.

Keeping your luggage with you when getting off the ship can be faster because you won’t need to wait to collect your bags after you disembark.

» Learn more: How to earn and redeem points on cruises

By now, we’ve answered the question of how many bags you can bring on a cruise, but the short of it is this: Individual limits are set per cruise line, so you’ll want to do your research before you start packing.

This is true of the quantity and weight of your bags and the specific types of items you can bring on board.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to bring no more than two bags to check as well as luggage to keep on hand. Other than that, most items are allowed on board, though you should always double-check for items such as alcohol and nonalcoholic beverages.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

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1x-5x 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center. 4X points on travel, gas stations, and EV charging stations. 2X points on streaming services. 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, and dining. 1X point on all other eligible purchases. Points never expire.

50,000 Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. That's a $500 value redeemable towards travel, gift cards, cash back, merchandise and more.

cruise carry on bag size

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Cruise Packing List (2023): Carry On and Checked Bag Must Haves

Cruise packing essentials checklist

Cruise Essentials Packing List

Repeat this mantra, “Cabin space is small.” Repeat it 10 times. Take it in and accept the fact that you have limited room space on a cruise ship .

Proceed to our cruise packing list below but don’t forget our mantra!

We start with the most important bag during your first day on board: The Carry On Bag.

On average, it takes about six hours before you can have access to your checked-in bags, so make sure that you have these items in your carry on with you:

Cruise Carry On Bag Packing List

Cruise carry-on bag packing list

Travel Documentation

✓  Passport - Make sure that your passport is up to date.

✓ Visa - If you need a visa for your cruise, make sure that you apply for it 3 to 6 months before your cruise.

✓ Identification Card - Bring at least two official ID card with you at all times.

✓ Driver's License - In case you plan on driving in certain destinations, you may want to get yourself an international driver’s license.

✓ Auto Insurance Card - In case you want to rent a car on days when the ship is docked at the port.

✓  Cash - Always bring cash, especially for the little towns who don't exactly take credit card.

✓ Clear Packing Cubes - This travel hack will keep your luggage organized and categorized. Also, these cubes from EzPacking are clear!  

Clear packing cubes for cruise

Pro Tip: For safety, always keep a physical (print out) and virtual copy (screenshots on your phone) of your travel documents and identification. You can download any of these apps to scan your documents. You can also send them to yourself as an email attachment.

Important Documents

✓ Tickets - The night before your cruise, make sure that you have your tickets secured inside your carry-on bag.

✓ Travel Insurance - If you're unsure whether you should get travel insurance, check out why you absolutely should .

✓  Medical Insurance - It's important to note that your travel insurance and medical insurance are quite different. Before your cruise, check with your provider what your policy covers.

✓  Medical History - If you have any special or chronic conditions, make sure to let the cruise manager / director know about it prior to your trip. Also, prepare a detailed copy of your medical history, including instructions (e.g. where your medication is located, what medication you take, allergies, etc.) should an emergency occur.

✓  Emergency Contacts - Include phone numbers, emails, and mobile messenger profiles.

Pro Tip:  Store all your documents including your cards, itinerary and pocket money in an organizer. You can also make individual travel document kits - especially if you're traveling in a big group - using ziplock bags. Label each one before storing them inside your tote or backpack.

Tech Gadgets

✓  Mobile Phone - Put your mobile phone on airplane mode to avoid racking up international roaming charges. You can also check out this post on how to prep your smartphone for travel .

✓  Kindle - All those books you promised you would read? You can download them and finally finish them while traveling.  You don’t even need the latest version, this older generation Kindle works just as well for the fraction of a price. Load it up with some books you’ve been meaning to read before your cruise trip!

✓  Tablet - Before the cruise, download some movies / series from Netflix for offline viewing. Don’t forget to download while still on WiFi!

✓  Chargers - Use velcro cable ties or twist ties to keep your cables organized. You can also label each for quick access.

✓  Universal Adapter - More info for options on travel adapters here.

✓  Headphones - Bring a headphone splitter so you can share one device.

Pro Tip: Keep all your tech devices in one small packing cube for easy access. To avoid your devices from getting scratched, keep all your tech accessories and chargers in a separate extra small packing cube.

✓ Wallet - Keep some pocket money in your wallet for you to use in case of an emergency (meaning if you get hungry and need some snacks, or for a real emergency).

✓  Prescription Medication - Keep them in their original containers. Less questions will be asked when going through security.

✓  First Aid Kit - This is especially helpful when traveling with kids. Check out our post on what to pack.

✓  Toiletries - In an extra small packing cube , pack travel size (and TSA Approved) toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturizer, contact lens solution, etc. You might also need sunblock, aloe gel, lip balm and hand sanitizer.

✓  Change of Clothes - You don't have to bring an entire outfit. In a small packing cube , pack clothes made from lighter, wrinkle-free fabrics like jersey or linen. Maybe even throw in a bathing suit and flip flops, if you want to hit the pool before your luggage arrives (or arrives late).

✓   Outerwear - Depending on the season you're traveling, you might want to bring a light cardigan or jacket with you. You can tie bulkier items like outerwear around your waist (or wear on the plane when it gets cold), so it doesn't take up space in you carry-on.

✓  Kids Entertainment Kit - If you're going to be stuck at the airport for a period of time or have nothing on your schedule yet after boarding, pack a small packing cube with books, art materials, puzzles and their favorite toys to keep them entertained.

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Pro Tip: If your kids are big enough, give them each a packing cube and let them pack their own traveling kit. It's a win win situation because they can decide what to take with them on the cruise, with your guidance of course!

Now let’s move on to your checked bag . Remember, you won’t see this bag until later during embarkation day. Pack other items that you won’t need as much (during your first day) here.

Cruise Checked Bag Packing List

Checked bag packing list for cruise

✓  Underwear - Have at least 1 to 2 pairs of underwear for each day of your cruise.

✓  Socks - Pack 1 pair of socks for each day of your cruise and maybe one extra. Depending on the time of year, you may only be wearing sandals around the ship. But when it’s time to explore the little towns when docked, you’ll need walking shoes.

Underwear inside small cube for cruise essentials

✓  Shirts / Casual Tops - If you want to make it easy to coordinate your outfits, choose solid neutral colors like white, beige or gray. To add a bit of playfulness, mix in a few classic striped shirts or shirts with subtle prints. Pack at least 1 shirt per day.

✓  Dress Shirts / Blouses - For men, bring 1 to 2 short sleeves or long sleeves dress shirts. For the ladies, bring a few dressier tops like a wrap shirt or ruffled blouse which you can wear during dinners.

Different tops for cruise packing list

✓  Shorts / Leggings - Khaki or twill shorts are good options for the men - easy to dress up or down and takes up less space in your suitcase. For the ladies, opt for shorts in darker colors like navy blue, olive green or khaki to get more wear out of them. Pack 2 to 3 pairs of leggings, which can be worn casually during the day or used for workout gear.

✓  Jeans / Trousers - Pack 2 to 3 pairs of pants, jeans or trousers. One pair of blue jeans, one pair of black jeans, and one other. Switch off using these throughout the trip.

✓   Formal Attire - Most cruises hold a special formal night for adults. Men can bring their own blazer and slacks. Pair them with a dress shirt and you’re done. A stylish wrap dress in a wrinkle free fabric works great for the ladies!

✓  Workout / Activewear (Optional) - Pack a few outfits if you have planned active excursions or if you want to hit the gym while on the cruise. Don’t forget to bring sports bras and extra socks too!

✓  Swimwear - Bring 1 to 2 swimsuits, depending on how much you plan on swimming.

Swimsuit for cruise packing list

✓  Rash Guard - A must have if you plan on doing activities on the water like surfing or water skiing. Find one that blocks UV rays so you're protected.

✓  Sarong - A very versatile piece of clothing...use it as swimsuit cover up, beach blanket, shawl or to keep warm during a flight.

✓  Cardigan / Sweater - The nights can be chilly on deck, so always keep a light cardigan or sweater with you.

Pro Tip: Organize and categorize items into different size packing cubes.

Packing cubes set for cruise trip

Organize a week’s worth of underwear and socks in a small packing cube . Shirts, shorts and leggings can go in a medium packing cube . Keep dress shirts looking sharp and wrinkle free by using our folding boards before packing them in a large packing cube .

✓  Walking Shoes - Always bring a good pair of walking shoes that have ample arch support.

✓  Flip Flops / Sandals / Water Shoes - For walking around the deck or for the pool, bring 1 pair of sandals.

✓  Formal Shoes - To pair with your dressy outfit for formal night! Men can’t go wrong with a classic oxford shoe. Two good options for the ladies: nude heels or brown wedges.

Pro Tip: Always pack your shoes in separate shoe bags to avoid marks and scratches.

Shoe Bag


✓  Belt - Pack 1 belt you can wear with most outfits.

✓  Floppy Hat - A wide-brimmed, floppy, straw hat (like Samantha wears in Sex and the City) is the perfect cruise statement piece. Also, it gives you an extra layer of protection from the sun.

Straw hat by cruise poolside

✓  Sunglasses - Choose sunglasses that block UVB ( can cause damage to the eyes from prolonged exposure).

✓  Day Bag - Depending on your style, your day bag can be cute, sporty or eco-friendly. Or how about a Kate Spade  fanny pack ? Yes. Fanny packs are back. Choose one that works best for you! Items to pack in your day bag can include: water, sunscreen, wipes, a change of clothes, phone charger, wallet, tissues, chapstick and other valuables.

Pro Tip: Use an extra small cube to keep items inside your day bag organized. Color code similar items by cube so you can easily find what you need during days off the boat.

TSA Approved Quart Size Bag

Pro Tip: Use our extra small cube to keep your travel size toiletries organized. This toiletry bag is clear on three sides and is quart size. It’s TSA compliant so you can store all your carry on liquids here and just dump it in the security bin during inspection.

✓  Shampoo / Conditioner - Cruise ships usually provide this but you can bring travel size versions of your fave brands if you can’t leave home without them.

✓  Soap / Body Wash - These are also provided for but you can always bring your own if you have sensitive skin!

✓  Toothbrush / Toothpaste - Some cruise ships don’t provide these items. Bring travel size toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash.

✓  Deodorant - Try this natural deodorant - works well to keep your armpits dry and smelling fresh!

✓  Facial Wash / Wipes - Bring your fave facial wash & facial wipes for removing makeup after a long day.

✓  Moisturizer / Cream - Pack a moisturizing cream can be used for the face or the body.

✓  Sunscreen - These travel size ones are perfect for short cruise trips. Bring larger ones if you’re going to a tropical destination.

Large sunscreens in small cube for tropical cruise

✓  Razor - Disposable razors are allowed in your carry on bag, electric ones should be packed in your checked bag.

✓  Cotton Swabs - Ever heard of swimmer’s ear? Pack some cotton swabs to keep your ears dry after swimming!

✓  Aloe Vera - An all around remedy for dry skin, itchy scalp and even sunburned skin. 

✓  UV Lip Balm - Your lips also need some TLC when it comes sun protection. 

✓  Feminine Hygiene - Pack some pads and tampons in case your monthly visitor arrives unexpectedly. You can buy some onboard too but they’re twice or three times the price!

✓   Clear Makeup Essentials Bag - Keep all your cosmetics in a clear makeup bag . Pack the essentials like foundation, powder, eyebrow pencil, mascara, blush and your lipsticks.

Clear bag with cruise makeup essentials

✓  Hair Comb / Brush - Opt for a small detangler brush.

✓   Hair Tools - When you want to look extra glam for special nights (we get you). Cruise cabins usually have hair dryers on board. But you can bring mini versions of a  hair straightener or curling iron . Go for ceramic ones if you don’t want the humidity messing up your hair do!

✓  Hair Ties - It’s windy on deck so to avoid hair getting on your face, bring some hair ties. 

✓   Nail Clippers - Bring 1 pair in your toiletry bag (you are allowed to bring this on the plane).

✓   Wipes - These are great for your day bag (for sanitizing dirty hands or refreshing after a long day of sightseeing).

✓  Contact Lens + Solution - Bring a few extra pairs if you have disposable or daily lenses.

✓  Baby Powder - Bring a small travel size one, good for freshening up or removing sand from the feet or body.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit for Cruise Packing List

✓  Motion Sickness Meds - Must have even if you’re not prone to motion sickness. This travel size non-drowsy dramamine is recommended! Remember to drink a capsule an hour before your cruise trip. You can also bring some ginger chews to resolve motion sickness.

✓   Ibuprofen - Great for headaches, backaches, muscle pain or cramps.

✓   Imodium - For resolving stomach upsets that can ruin a good cruise vacation.

✓   Benadryl - Keep allergies at bay with some benadryl on hand!

✓  Prescription Meds - Don’t forget to pack prescription meds as well and keep them in their original packaging.

✓  Fiber Supplement - Can help ease stomach problems (especially when you’ve eaten or drank too much).

✓   Antibiotic Ointment - To prevent wounds from being contaminated by germs.

✓  Bandaids - Bring different size ones so you can cover all sorts of wounds (hopefully there’s no need).

✓  Bug Repellent - Must have if you’re going to forests or insect-laden areas. These insect repellent wipes are convenient and works as well as aerosol based ones.

Pro Tip: Pack all your first aid essentials in an extra small cube . Keep it in your carry on bag or day bag in case an emergency happens!


✓  Camera + Charger - A waterproof camera if you can budget for it is recommended! Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and memory cards.

Camera for cruise essentials packing list

✓  Smartphone / Tablet - Load your smartphone or tablet with offline maps of your excursions so you don’t have any excuse for not exploring!

✓   Portable Charger - So you can keep charging your devices offboard!

✓  Power Strip - Make sure you bring a power strip without a surge protector, this one fits the bill and even has USB outlets for electronics. Some cruise lines don’t allow power strips though. An alternative is a USB charger (also lessens the adaptors you need to bring on your trip).

✓  Waterproof Watch - Opt for a cheap, waterproof watch and remember to set it on your ship’s time.

Safety / Survival

Safety boats in cruise ship

✓   Small Flashlight - Handy when going in the bathroom during the dark or during evening shore excursions.

✓  Whistle - This brightly colored whistle is a must have, it’s loud and comes with its own lanyard so you can easily hang it on your neck.

Cabin Comfort

Cruise cabin balcony and packing essentials

✓  Night Light - S o you don’t have to worry about stumbling in the dark cabin!

✓  Magnetic Hooks - Extra hanging spaces for clothes, towels and hats. You can easily attach them on your cabin’s metal walls or doors.

✓  Disinfecting Spray - Keep your cabin extra clean with the help of a disinfectant spray. As soon as you reach your cabin, spray  on surfaces and items like remote control or AC control.

✓  Door Decor - Cabin doors look alike and decorating yours is an easy way to find your room. Instead of adhesive decors, use magnetic ones to avoid damaging the door. 

Cruise cabin doors look the same

✓  Clip Magnets - Use them for attaching your itinerary, daily activity letter and other notes so you can keep track of them easily.

✓  Air Freshener - Cabins can sometimes smell musty and feel stuffy after a few days. A solid air freshener can help mask any odors and help keep your room fresh!

✓   Clips / Clothespins - Useful for when you’re hanging towels on the windy pool deck or for when you’re drying clothes on your balcony!

Cruise cabin balcony for drying clothes

✓  Clear Packing Cubes - Staying organized in your cabin can sometimes be a struggle. Use clear packing cubes to separate and organize your items. Color coding is also a great option to organize a family! The Starter Set includes one of each size and is perfect for a carry on suitcase.  When arriving to your cabin, use the cubes as traveling drawers. There’s no need to unpack your clothes during your cruise because of our cubes’ see-through design!

Starter Set

✓  Lanyard - You’ll need your ship card for all onboard amenities. Use a lanyard to keep your ship card close to you all the time.

✓  Waterproof Smartphone Case - If you have planned water activities, keep your smartphone protected with a waterproof case.

✓   Mini Binoculars - Must have for stunning cruise destinations like Alaska or Hawaii.

Binoculars for cruise checklist

✓  Float Strap - Just attach this strap to any of your gadgets and it will magically float on water.  

✓  Laundry Bag - Keep your clean clothes separated from the dirty! This turquoise drawstring one is perfect for small cruise ship cabins.

Laundry bag for cruise packing list

✓  Water Bottle - This collapsible water bottle is perfect because it folds into a compact size when not in use. Note: Fill a disposable cup with water or juice before transferring it to your water bottle.

✓   Highlighter Pens - Bring 2 different color highlighters so you can mark those activities that you like and those that you don’t in the cruise daily newsletter.  

✓   Wrinkle Releaser Spray - This works wonders for reducing wrinkles in clothes!

✓  Stain Remover Wipes - For removing food, drink or makeup stains on the go, these Shout Wipe and Go Wipes are valuable!

✓  Extra Eyeglasses + Strap - Bring an extra pair of eyeglasses in case your current one gets broken! An eyeglass strap is also nice to secure your eyeglasses around your neck when swimming or sightseeing.

Extra eyeglasses for cruise packing list

✓  Snacks - Bring some fruit, trail mix and granola bars. Very handy during midnight hunger pangs or when you don’t want to eat out during excursions!

✓   Jewelry Roll - Keep your jewelry items and accessories safe with this   travel jewelry roll . Also helps keep necklaces from getting tangled!

Travel jewelry roll for cruise packing list

✓   Wet Bag / Plastic Bag - Something to keep your wet clothes like swimsuits or towels in.

Now you know what to pack for your cruise! Let’s move on to what type of bags are best for your cruise vacation.

The Best Bags for Cruise Trips

Discount code for EzPacking cubes

You’ll need 3 bags for your cruising adventure: a carry on bag, checked bag and day bag. Optional bags you can bring are a fanny pack and an evening purse (for the ladies). Here’s what we recommend:

Ideal Carry On Bags for a Cruise

✓   Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack - We recommend a backpack as a carry on bag for a cruise trip. Why? Because you’ll be exploring the ship during your first day / embarkation. And lots of other guests will be doing the same as you! You can bypass the long elevator lines with a backpack. The Osprey Farpoint 55 is a good one, it’s within carry on standards and even has a detachable day pack you can use for shore excursions.

✓   Samsonite Hardside Spinner 21 - If you want to avoid carrying bags on your back,  a spinner suitcase is a good alternative. The Samsonite Hardside Spinner 21 fits within airline carry on luggage restrictions. It is lightweight and compact but has lots of room inside for your cruise essentials!

Ideal Checked Bags for a Cruise

✓   Samsonite Advena Checked Luggage - If you have the tendency to overpack, pick this softside 29 inch luggage by Samsonite. Since the material is soft, it expands when you fill it with excess stuff! If you’re cruising with your husband, this suitcase fits the EzPacking Packing Cubes Complete Bundle  set perfectly when stacked vertically.

✓   Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Luggage (28 Inch) - Pick a hardside luggage that’s roomy but durable. The Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner is a good deal for the price! Choose the premium version so you can lock your luggage for safely.

Ideal Day Bags for a Cruise

✓  Backpacks - We love backpacks because they keep you hands free! Here’s an affordable and waterproof but sturdy unisex backpack that’s great for hiking, beach or even sightseeing shore excursions. The Kipling City Pack is perfect for short city excursions.

✓  Tote Bags - Bring a lightweight tote bag you can pack with your essentials for a day off the boat.

You probably got EVERYTHING covered for your cruise trip by now. But keep reading for more important information about cruising.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQs about cruising

Do you need a passport to go on a cruise? The State Department recommends bringing your passport or passport book regardless of the type of cruise you’re going on. Although if you’re taking a closed loop cruise , you’re not required to bring your passport. Any government issued proof of citizenship like driver’s license and birth certificate will do. However, in case of an emergency (like an illness or accident), you will be required to present your passport when you need to fly back home.

Do you need a visa for a cruise? Specific port of entries might require guests to present a visa. Some visas can be obtained online or onboard. Check out this website and input the necessary information to find out whether you’ll need a visa for your cruise.

Is it better to book a cruise early or late? There are pros and cons to either. Booking early means you can plan your itinerary well and choose your preferred cabin. However, if you have any last minute changes, you might be charged. Booking late means you can find bargains for cabins for lower rates. The downside is you can’t be choosy with the cabin you get and if you live far from the port of entry, booking a last minute flight can be expensive!

Do travel agents help you save money on a cruise? The rates offered by a travel agent are typically the same with booking a cruise directly from the cruise line / website. Agents sometimes have access to group pricing though (bulk buying for cabins). Plus, agents can offer extras or perks like prepaid gratuities, free onboard spending money and complimentary wine or dinner.

When is the best time to go on a cruise? The answer depends on the type of cruise you want to go on. For example, if you’re cruising to Alaska, the best months are June and July especially for wildlife spotting. This is also the peak tourist season (considering the short sailing period from May to September only). Cruising to the Caribbean? It’s a year round destination but it’s best to avoid sailing during hurricane season. Also take into consideration your goals for cruising! If you want to avoid tourists and high rates, go for the off season.

Do cruise ships avoid storms? Cruise ships are equipped with advanced weather monitoring systems. Cruise captains monitor weather changes intensely and can predict the path or intensity of a hurricane. Additionally, cruise ships move faster than hurricanes, staying out of its way and avoiding trouble. If ever a certain port of call is considered a danger area (because of a storm), the cruise ship can reroute and find an alternative port to dock.

What is the average cost of a cruise? A typical 7-day cruise costs around $700 to $1,400 (including taxes and gratuities). This rate doesn’t include extra tips, special meals, shore excursions and airfare.

Is food free on a cruise? Your cruise fare includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. These meals are available on the main dining room and buffet deck area. Other casual dining areas like pizzeria, burger and barbecue areas are also included in the cruise rate. However, you have to pay to eat at specialty dining areas (themed restaurants) as they’re not included in the cruise rate.

What drinks are free on a cruise? Water, flavored water, juices, regular tea or coffee are free on cruises. Sodas aren’t usually free (except on a Disney cruise). The same goes for specialty drinks, beer, wine and cocktails.  

Do you have to tip on cruises? Most cruise lines have prepaid gratuities. If you opt not to pay for it before your cruise trip, you may  be charged on a per day basis. If you don’t withdraw or reimburse gratuities, then tipping extra isn’t required (though appreciated).

Is alcohol allowed on a cruise? Most cruise lines (except Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises) allow 1 to 2 bottles of champagne or wine onboard. Only a few cruise lines aren’t as strict with alcoholic beverages (including Seabourn Cruises and Silversea Cruises). Note that only those who are of legal drinking age are allowed to bring these beverages onboard.

Alcohol on cruise ships

What items are not allowed on a cruise? Different cruise lines have varying rules on which items are allowed and not allowed on the ship. It’s best to check your cruise line’s website to learn more about their restrictions. Below is a general list of items typically not allowed on a cruise ship:

✘ Firearms, ammunitions and weapons (including realistic replicas)

✘ Sharp objects like knives and scissors with blades more than 4 inches

✘ Any illegal drugs and substances

✘ All explosives and flammable liquids including fireworks and torch lighter

✘ Potentially dangerous sporting equipments (baseball bats, hockey sticks, etc.)

✘ Items that generate heat or produce flame (like coffee maker, clothes iron, electric kettle, etc.), hair straighteners and curling irons are allowed in most cruise lines

✘ Hoverboards, scooters, roller skates, etc.

✘ Extension cords with surge protector

✘ Self defense items including pepper spray

✘ Remote controlled helicopters or drones (some cruise lines allow these but you can only use them off board)

✘ HAM radios, walkie talkies (some cruise lines allow this), satellite phones, etc.

Different cruise lines and their types

Luxury cruise ship

There are many different cruise lines around the world with various ships. The most common type is the mainstream cruise ship. This cruise type appeals to the masses because of the numerous activities and amenities onboard. A luxury cruise is more spacious and has upscale cabins or suites. It also has more sophisticated amenities and dining options.

River cruise ships sail on smaller waterways and canals. These types of cruise appeal to couples, not so much families. And finally, there’s the expedition cruise ships which sail to more remote regions of the world. These ships are smaller than the mainstream or luxury cruise ships. This last type of cruise is perfect for explorers and nature lovers.

Here’s a list of the most popular cruise lines around the world:

We hope this guide answered all your questions about cruising!

Stay tuned because we have a lot more cruise blog posts in store for you!

Happy Cruising!

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How to cruise with just a carry-on

Kristy Tolley

One of my favorite aspects of cruising is the idea that you only have to unpack once. However, I don't let that lure me away from my minimalist packing tendencies. Whether it's an ocean voyage in the sunny Caribbean or a European river cruise during the month of November, I always stick to a one carry-on only rule.

Why just one carry-on ? There are a few reasons lightening your load is a great way to go. If you're flying to the cruise port, you don't have to worry about your luggage getting lost on the way or waste time at baggage claim waiting for it. It's also super convenient to have instant access to all your belongings should something unforeseen interrupt your travel plans.

For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG's new cruise newsletter .

From planning and organizing to packing and accessorizing, let this guide be your way to carry-on freedom for your next cruise vacation.

Planning and preparation

The key to avoid overpacking is in the planning stages. Whether you're prepping for your first cruise or 20th one, you can always streamline your items and pack less. Here are a few tips to help you achieve your carry-on-only dream on your next cruise.

Organize your clothing

Depending on the line, suggested attire runs the gamut from super casual to elegant. Formal nights have largely been tossed out the porthole, but some luxury lines still offer them — and often host more than one during longer sailings.

cruise carry on bag size

While brands like Carnival Cruise Line , Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line don't have a designated formal evening dress code, dressier attire is generally encouraged (collared shirts, jackets and nice slacks for men; dresses, skirts and pantsuits for the ladies).

Don't let dress codes derail your commitment to carry-on-only travel. Instead of packing individual pieces, organize your clothes by outfits. Aim to have a few basic pieces you can stretch into two or more different outfits.

My travel packing mantra is: These people will probably never see me again, so do I really care if they see me wearing the same outfit twice? Honestly, I don't remember what I had for breakfast last week, much less what my fellow cruisers wear from day to day.

That little black dress can go a long way. Add a jacket, cardigan or scarf and change up your jewelry for a completely different look. For men, a basic collared or button-up shirt could work with a nice suit or paired with khaki pants or shorts.

Don't forget to plan and organize accessories, too. A large scarf can serve many purposes. It can keep you warm on the plane or in the dining room, serve as a casual bathing suit cover-up or add a touch of flair to your LBD.

Related: Cruise packing list: The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise

Plan your excursions and activities and pack accordingly

What part of the world you'll sail and the diversions you take part in will largely dictate your wardrobe. The more you pack for your actual cruise activities, the less extra clothing you'll be tempted to pack "just in case."

Planning to do mostly water-based excursions in a warm climate? You can likely get by with T-shirts and shorts. Resist the urge to pack more than one cover-up for beach days.

In Europe, many sacred sites like mosques, temples or cathedrals won't let you enter with bare shoulders and legs. You'll want to pack something modest to accommodate those types of excursions. Handle this situation with a scarf or long-sleeved layer that you can re-wear on board rather than an entirely separate outfit.

When it comes time to pack, group outfits according to day and activity. You want to get granular here and include socks and undergarments with each outfit. Anything that doesn't go with a specific wardrobe need can be left at home.

Related: Shore excursions: What new cruisers need to know

Let's talk about shoes

Maybe it's just me, but shoes are my biggest nemesis when I aim to be a minimalist packer. They're a bulky necessity. Case in point: I own these glorious red chunky platform sandals I like to wear on warm destination cruises, but they take up precious real estate in my bag. If it's a short or direct flight and I don't have to sprint to another gate, I will wear them on the plane to avoid packing them.

My Chacos sandals serve me well in my minimalist vacation wardrobe. They're my hiking, kayaking, beach day, walking tour, multi-purpose shoes. Any high-quality waterproof sports shoes are a good investment if you want to pare down the number of shoes you require. I usually pack my tennis shoes for workouts or morning ship walks, too. A pair of flat, strappy sandals doesn't take up much space and works well with skirts or can level up a pair of shorts for a dressier look.

cruise carry on bag size

For cooler or colder climates, I replace my Chacos with sturdy tennis shoes and swap my platform sandals for ballet flats.

A tried-and-true hack for maximizing the space in your suitcase is to fill your shoes with smaller items like belts and socks, among other things. Hygiene tip: Place your shoes in a plastic bag to keep the rest of the contents in your luggage dirt- and germ-free.

Related: The 14 best travel shoes for your next trip

Wear it, don't pack it

The more you wear, the less you have to pack. If you're flying to the cruise port, strategize your on-the-plane outfit. Wear some of your bulkier items on the plane or dress in layers, like a pair of jeans worn with a versatile cardigan or comfortable blazer.

Flying to a cold climate cruise? Wear or carry your coat onto the plane. Brands like Patagonia and Arc'teryx offer a good selection of lightweight, but well insulated jackets perfect for cold weather excursions. Wear your hiking boots or heavier shoes on the plane, too.

Related: 7 cruise ship packing mistakes you want to avoid at all costs

Wash it and wear it again

Throw in some travel-sized laundry detergent for hand washing items you can rewear. SinkSuds Travel Laundry Detergent Liquid Soap (available on Amazon ) or Sea to Summit Trek & Travel Pocket Laundry Wash (available at REI ) are two worth considering. Also, many cruise lines offer some type of laundry service — self-serve or paid laundry, pressing and dry cleaning.

Time to pack

How you pack is just as important as what you pack when it comes to saving space and traveling light.

Gather the outfits you've organized. Lay down the largest piece of clothing first, then stack the rest so the smallest item is on the top. You'll fold those pieces inward to create a fold and then roll up the outfit. All your rolled outfits should fit nice and snug in your suitcase.

You can also place each outfit into a packing cube . No cubes? Gallon-sized Ziploc bags work well, too.

cruise carry on bag size


Smaller items like toiletries, make-up, brushes and medicine also can be corralled in a packing cube or Ziploc bag. To save even more room, I use small, stackable containers and fill them with my liquid foundation, moisturizer and other items that come in larger bottles.

cruise carry on bag size

Compile your own first aid kit in a packing cube or zip bag. Things to include: activated charcoal (great for stomach bugs), pain reliever, Band-Aids and itch relief cream.

Pack an empty water bottle, too, so you can stay hydrated during your cruise without burning through all those single-use plastic bottles. Many cruise lines have completely done away with plastic water bottles, so you should be able to find water stations throughout the ship or use the "water" option at the juice machine. Make the most of your space with a collapsible water bottle. It stores flat in your bag or can easily fit in the outer pocket of your backpack or personal item.

Related: 10 unexpected items I won't cruise without

When I cruise, I typically replace the purse I usually carry with my backpack. It's easier to manage than a traditional purse. The weight is evenly distributed on your back and stays in place, as opposed to that one purse strap that tends to slide off your shoulder.

If I'm flying, I make sure to pack my backpack light enough to still fit under the seat in front of me. It holds all my electronic devices and accessories, travel essentials like my passport, ID, credit cards, insurance card, face mask and hand sanitizer. I also include my sleeping mask, earphones, a book (or my Kindle). If I'm traveling with my laptop, it goes in there, too.

My backpack accompanies me on hiking, snorkeling and beach day excursions, so I don't need to bring separate bags for those activities. I do pack a smaller, empty travel purse or wrist wallet for walking tours or other activities that don't require a backpack.

Related: TPG readers recommended their favorite travel backpacks — here's what I chose

Bottom line

There is such freedom in having everything with you when you travel. It's nice to only have to unpack once. It's even nicer to unpack in under five minutes, so you can jump right into cruise mode and enjoy your favorite onboard activities.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways cruisers waste money
  • 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up

How to Pack Carry-on Only for a Cruise: 13 Tips, Hacks & How-tos

how to pack carry on only for cruise

Sharing is caring!

If you’re going on a cruise want to pack carry-on only, you’re not alone. After all, cruising with just a carry-on size luggage has it’s benefits.

If you’re flying to the cruise embarkation port, you may want to avoid airline luggage fees or the worry that the airline will lose your luggage! Plus, simplifying your packing process does reduce the stress of unpacking on boarding day and packing up at the end of your cruise.

I’m not usually a minimalist packer. In fact, I usually overpack! However, I decided to challenge myself to packing carry-on only on a recent 5 day cruise.

I admit, there were some advantages to packing light on a cruise. I may even try packing carry-on only for a 7 day cruise next time.

In this post I share 10 cruise packing tips , tricks & hacks will help you to pack for a cruise with only a carry on bag!

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and buy that I may make a commission, at no cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tips for Packing Carry-On Only for a Cruise

carry on only for cruise

1. Choose the right carry-on luggage

Pack carry on luggage that is easy to manoeuvre on flights , through the airport and cruise terminal and even public transportation. Be sure it’s durable, the wheels function well and the interior space of the carry on luggage is optimized.

Hard Side Luggage Recommended

I’m a big proponent of hard side luggage for one big reason. A few years ago we cruised with soft sided luggage, and unfortunately it was a rainy embarkation day.

Our luggage must have been left in the rain outside the cruise terminal building. Therefore, when our luggage was delivered to out cabin, it was visibly wet. Not just the outside – some of our clothing was wet and I ruined a pair of my favorite leather sandals.

Since then, we travel with hard side luggage and I’ve never looked back.

Ilana with hard side luggage

Recommended: Level 8 Carry-on Luggage (check price & 1800+ Amazon reviews here)

2. Pack Only Must-Have Items

Packing light for a cruise requires packing only must-have items, and not “just in case” items.

If you’re going on a cruise with checked luggage, you might have the luxury of some just in case items. However. when cruising carry-on only, be intentional about every outfit and travel essential you bring.

3. Plan Your Outfits

Most people pack too much clothes and shoes for a cruise. So, planning your cruise outfits is key to packing carry-on only.

Cruise Line Dress Codes

Consider the duration of the cruise, how many sea days and port days, and evening wear expectations. Most 7 day cruises will have 5 casual or smart casual nights and 2 formal or “dress-up” nights.

Check the Weather

Adapt your clothing packing list to your itinerary and the weather in your destination visits. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you go, in case the temperature is unseasonably warmer or cooler than you might expect.

Bring Versatile Pieces

It’s a good idea to bring versatile clothing pieces that can serve multiple purposes, such as sundresses that transition seamlessly from day to night.

Multi-Purpose Items

Opt for items that serve multiple functions. A sarong can double as a beach cover-up or a scarf, while a lightweight jacket can be worn casually during the day and dressed up for the evening.

This way, you get more utility out of each item and still look fabulous on your cruise.

4. Limit Your Shoes

Minimizing the number of shoes you bring is a space-saving strategy. While it can be tempting to pack shoes to match every outfit, it’s best to pare down to three to four pairs that can work with your. Some people may even get away with less.

Your shoe must-haves include comfortable walking or running shoes, a nice casual or dress shoe for evenings, and flip-flops or sandals for the pool, beach or spa.

When it comes to planning which shoes to pack for your vacation , opt for neutral colors that can match multiple outfits.

5. Use Packing Cubes

Using packing cubes when you’re packing carry-on only for a cruise will hep you pack efficiently! Packing or compression cubes allow you to categorize clothing and essentials for easy access during your trip.

In the limited space of carry-on luggage, packing cubes maximize efficiency by compressing items, ensuring you can fit everything you need for the cruise. Additionally, the packing cubes’ compression feature minimizes wrinkles in your tops and dresses.

Plus, when unpacking in your cruise cabin, your packing cubes can be transferred from your suitcase to the drawers. This makes unpacking quick and easy!

Tip: If you’re traveling with your partner or children, consider getting a different color set of packing cubes for all.

cruise carry on bag size

Recommended: Packing cubes set (check price & different colors on Amazon here)

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cruise carry on bag size

6. Packing Liquids and Toiletries

Toiletries can take up a lot of room in your luggage, but there are a few tips that can help.

Firstly, if you’re flying, you’ll need to follow the 3-1-1 rule.

The 3-1-1 Rule for Air Travel

The 3-1-1 rule refers to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) guidelines for carrying liquids, gels, and aerosols in your carry-on luggage when flying. According to this rule, each passenger is allowed to bring:

  • 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less: Each liquid, gel, or aerosol must be in a container of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or smaller.
  • 1 quart-sized, clear, resealable plastic bag: All your liquids must fit into a single quart-sized plastic bag, and the bag should be transparent and resealable.
  • 1 bag per passenger: Each traveler is limited to one quart-sized bag of liquids.

However, if you’re driving to the port, taking the train or any other means of transportation, you’ll have more flexibility as this rule only applies to flying.

Related: 17 Cruise Embarkation Day Carry-on and Luggage Guidelines

Travel Sized Toiletries

Avoid packing full sized toiletries, if you’re cruising with just a carry on bag. Instead, bring your favorite shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotions and other items decanted into leak-proof travel sized containers (sold on amazon) .

cruise carry on bag size

Alternatively, a good travel hack is buying travel-sized items at the dollar store . You can even pick up travel sized sunscreen and lip balm.

Solid Toiletries

Solid shampoo bars, toothpaste tablets, and multi-use skincare products are convenient alternatives to traditional toiletries that take up more space.

7. Carry-on Luggage Packing Tips

Packing in a carry-on bag, whether using packing cubes or not, requires a strategic approach to maximize space and keep your belongings organized.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for packing your carry on luggage both with and without packing cubes.

Without Packing Cubes:

  • Roll or Fold Clothes: Choose a method that works best for you—rolling clothes saves space and can minimizes wrinkles in clothing, while folding is good for items that need to maintain a flatter look (ie. pants and nice shorts).
  • Layering Technique: Place heavier and bulkier items at the bottom of the suitcase. This provides a stable base and prevents wrinkles in more delicate clothing.
  • Use Empty Spaces: Fill any gaps or hollow areas in your luggage with smaller items like socks, underwear, or accessories. I like to put socks and other small items in shoes and inside evening bags. Utilize the corners and edges efficiently.
  • Toiletries Bag: Pack your toiletries in a clear, resealable bag. Make sure to comply with airport regulations (3-1-1 rule). Ensure that any liquids are stored in leak-proof containers.
  • Shoes at the Bottom: Place bulkier shoes at the bottom of the bag, near the wheels. Stuff them with socks or small items to optimize space and keep their shape.
  • Foldable Items on Top: If you have foldable items like jackets or sweaters, place them on top to prevent creases in more delicate clothing.
  • Essentials in a Separate Bag: Keep essential items like medications, travel documents, and electronics in a small, easily accessible bag. These items are best kept in your personal bag.

With Packing Cubes

  • Categorize Items: Sort your clothes by category. This could be tops, bottoms, swimsuits underwear and socks, etc. Alternatively, you could pack daywear in one packing cube, and evening wear in another.
  • Roll or Fold in Cubes: Use packing cubes for each category. Roll or fold your clothes within the cubes to keep them organized.
  • Compression Cubes for Bulky Items: If you have bulkier items, consider using compression packing cubes or vacuum bags to save space.
  • Toiletries in a Cube: Place your toiletries in a separate cube or a clear toiletries bag to contain any spills.
  • Utilize Different Cube Sizes: Choose cubes of different sizes for various items. Smaller cubes work well for socks and swimsuits, while medium and larger ones are best for clothing.
  • Easy Access: Keep frequently used items in cubes that are easily accessible. If you are staying in a hotel overnight before your cruise, consider packing a cube with your clothing and essentials for your pre-cruise stay.
  • Utilize Empty Spaces: Fill any gaps in the suitcase with smaller cubes or loose items. This includes placing small items in shoes and handbags.

Tip: Make sure to pack a carry-on bag for embarkation day .

8. Packing Cruise Essentials

Just because you’re packing light, doesn’t mean that you should leave your cruise cabin essentials and travel accessories at home. However, it is important to evaluate what you really need.

Here are a few recommendations (all from Amazon):

  • Over the counter seasickness medication (ie. Bonine )
  • Non-surge protected power cube (with USB-C & USB-A)
  • Magnet hooks
  • Magnet clips
  • Hanging toiletry bag
  • Towel bands (less bulky than towel clips)
  • Reef friendly sunscreen – travel size
  • First aid kit with basics like Band-Aids, pain relievers, and any personal medications
  • Passport wallet
  • Pop-up Hamper
  • Mesh beach bag
  • Refillable water bottle

How to Pack carry on only for cruise

9. Wear Your Bulkiest Items on the Plane

Wear your bulkiest items, such as jackets or heavy shoes, on the flight. This tip really helps if you’re packing for an Alaskan cruise , where you’ll probably be packing bulky outerwear.

This frees up space in your carry-on. Plus, you can roll up your jacket or sweater and use it as a pillow on your flight.

Related: 37 Long Flight Essentials to Pack in Your Carry-on

10. Personal Bag Essentials

In addition to your carry on luggage, pack a personal bag with important items including your passport, wallet, sunglasses, medication , and earbuds, electronics, gum and snacks.

It’s a good idea to bring a crossbody or belt bag, that you can also use while on your cruise.

11. Plan for Laundry

If you’re trying to pack light for a longer cruise , plan to use the cruise ship laundry services or facilities. This way, you can do a small load midway through your trip. Many cruise lines also have laundry bag specials that you can take advantage of.

This allows you to pack fewer cruise outfits and ensures you have clean clothes throughout your cruise vacation.

12. Space Saving Packing Hacks

These items are space-saving travel essentials !

Magnetic Hat Clip

This magnetic hat clip is genius! Rather than packing your sunhat in your suitcase and risk squishing it, use a hat clip to hang it on your personal bag or carry on!

cruise carry on bag size

Hanging Toiletry Bag

Make the most of limited bathroom space on a cruise by using a hanging toiletry bag . It not only keeps your essentials organized but also saves counter space. The convenience of having your toiletries easily accessible makes your daily routine smoother.

Ziploc Bags

Resealable bags serve multiple purposes and can be a valuable addition to your travel essentials. Plus, they are so cheap and versatile, and you can bring them from home .

During a cruise, you may end up with wet swimwear or dirty clothes. Having Ziploc bags allows you to separate these items from the rest of your luggage, which prevents any unpleasant odors from affecting your clean clothes.

Ziploc bags are also handy for storing snacks you might pick up at the lido buffet. In a pinch, Ziploc bags can be even be used for compressing clothes.

Related & Popular Posts

  • 50+ Must-have Cruise Essentials from Amazon
  • What to Pack for Your First Cruise (Packing List & Tips)
  • Cruise Wear over 50: Flattering Cruise Outfits for Women (plus packing list)
  • Plus Size Cruise Wear: 35+ Beautiful Cruise Outfits
  • 25 Best Cruise Dresses from Amazon (Ilana’s favorites)
  • What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise
  • Do These 13 Things Before Your Leave Your Cruise Cabin Each Day
  • 30 Cruise Cabin Hacks Every Cruiser Needs to Know
  • 17 Genius Ways to Pack Light for a Longer Cruise
  • 40 Interesting Cruise Ship Facts that Will Surprise You

Final Thoughts on Packing Carry-on Only for a Cruise

It can be hard to pack light for a cruise. As cruise passengers, we’re planning our cruise outfits and more! However, with a few packing organization hacks and tips and strategies, packing carry on only can be done!

Have you cruised with only carry-on luggage or do you want to? Please share your tips and questions in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!

If you found this article helpful, please pass it along. Please feel free to share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

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Carnival Cruise Luggage Size and Limits 2024 (Plus Packing Tips)

Carnival Cruise Luggage Lmits and Sizes

If you’re preparing for a Carnival cruise, it’s essential to be informed about the luggage guidelines set by the cruise line. 

Carnival has specific weight, size, and restriction policies for luggage that passengers need to adhere to. 

In this post we provide a clear and concise overview of these policies, ensuring that you have all the necessary information for a smooth boarding experience.

cruise carry on bag size

Carnival Cruise Luggage Sizes and Restrictions

For those seeking a quick overview of the luggage guidelines for Carnival Cruise, the table below offers concise answers to the most common questions.

 It’s designed to provide travelers with immediate clarity on essential packing considerations for your Carnival cruise. 

Additionally, for a deeper understanding and further insights, each of the categories presented in the table is elaborated upon in detail in the following sections and providing extra tips along the way.

Remember , if you are travelling by plane for any part of your vacation you will also have to adhere to the airline guidelines too.

You can double-check the current Carnival luggage policy guidelines here and look under “How Much Luggage Can I Bring”.

Carnival Cruise Luggage Size Limit

The key Carnival cruise luggage limits are outlined below:

Weight Limit for Checked Bags

Carnival Cruise Line stipulates that checked luggage should not exceed a weight of 50 pounds .

Size Restrictions for Checked Bags

The dimensions for checked bags should be up to 16 inches in height and 24 inches in width . The length of the bag is not specified and is therefore flexible.

Security Measures

For the safety and security of all passengers, it’s essential that all luggage remains unlocked during the voyage.  This also helps speed up the screening princess if any luggage needs to be manually checked.

Boarding Experience

From personal observations, Carnival typically doesn’t weigh either carry-on bags or checked luggage during the boarding process, however, that doesn’t mean you should exceed guidelines.

How Strict Is Carnival With Luggage Weight Limit?

Carnival Cruise Line has set a weight limit of 50 pounds for checked luggage. 

However, based on personal experiences and observations, Carnival typically does not weigh carry-on bags or checked luggage during the boarding process. 

While it’s essential to adhere to the guidelines and ensure your bags aren’t excessively heavy for the porters, Carnival’s approach to luggage weight tends to be more lenient compared to most airlines.

How Many Bags Can You Take On A Carnival Cruise?

While there is no strict limit on the number of bags you can bring on a Carnival Cruise, it’s suggested that passengers limit their luggage to one bag per person for cruises of 3-5 days duration and no more than two bags per person for cruises lasting 6 days or more.

When preparing for a Carnival Cruise, understanding the luggage guidelines ensures a smooth boarding process. The recommendations are based on the duration of the cruise:

  • 3-5 Day Cruises: It’s suggested that passengers bring only one bag. This helps in managing space and ensures that everyone has enough room for their belongings.
  • 6+ Day Cruises: Passengers can bring up to two bags. Given the longer duration, this allows for more clothing and essentials without overburdening the storage capacities.

It’s worth noting that these are recommendations, aiming to optimize the comfort and convenience of all passengers on board.

Most travelers find that two bags per person are sufficient and can easily hold casual attire and other essentials for the entire trip.

While there’s no strict limit on the number of bags, cabin storage can be a challenge. The design of cruise cabins, though efficient, offers limited space. 

Not all bags may fit under the bed, potentially causing the cabin to feel cluttered.

Carnival Carry-on Bag Rules

There are a few hard set rules when it comes to taking a carry-on bag on a Carnival cruise ship.

However, there are various aspects to bear in mind.

How Many Carry-On Bags Allowed On Carnival Cruise

Carnival Cruise does not impose a strict limit on the number of carry-on bags a passenger can bring aboard. 

However, it’s generally advised for passengers to limit themselves to one main carry-on bag and a personal item, such as a purse or backpack.

What Can You Pack in a Carry on

It’s essential to have necessary items in a carry-on since it might take time for checked luggage to be delivered to the cabin.

Every passenger is advised to have a carry-on bag containing:

  • Boarding documentation
  • Medications
  • Personal items such as toiletries and electronics
  • Other immediate necessities

Unlike airports, there are no TSA guidelines to follow when boarding a Carnival cruise ship.

There are no restrictions on the amount of liquids that can be brought on a cruise ship. 

However, if you are flying to the cruise port, it’s essential to follow all rules for flights regarding liquids.

While there’s no rule against bringing medications without their original container, it’s recommended to have them, t’s also advised to keep a printed list of medications or have it accessible in your email.

Carnival Carry-on Bag Size and Types

There are no strict rules about the size of the carry-on bag, but it should be able to fit through a security scanner or x-ray machine.

Examples of carry-on bags include:

  • Duffel Bags
  • Small rolling Suitcases
  • Messenger Bags
  • Laptop Bags
  • Travel Satchels
  • Underseat Bags
  • Camera Bags
  • Weekender Bags

How To Measure Luggage For Carnival Cruise

The way you measure your luggage for a Carnival Cruise and any other cruise line for that matter might be different to what you expect if you are new to cruising. 

Typically some people might think of the height of a suitcase when it’s standing upright, however, this is not the case, it’s actually measured lying flat, as it would be as it passes lying flat through any cruise scanners .

Measuring your luggage accurately for a Carnival Cruise ensures that you adhere to their guidelines and have a hassle-free boarding experience. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you measure your luggage:

Gather Tools

You’ll need a tape measure, preferably one that has both inches and centimeters for precision.  Plus a luggage scale or home scale to weigh it.

Measure Height

Lay your luggage on a flat surface. Start measuring from the floor to the top of the suitcase, as if you are measuring its thickness.  The height should not exceed 16 inches or 40 cm.

(16 inches is the max height of the suitcase as it lies flat on the convey belt of the scanner, any higher would fit through).

Measure Width

With the luggage flat on the floor (or other surface)  measure its widest point from one side to the other.  The width should not exceed 24 inches or 60 cm.

Note on Length

Carnival Cruise Line specifies limits for height and width, but the length (or depth) of the bag is not explicitly mentioned. 

However, it’s still a good idea to ensure your bag isn’t excessively long to ensure easy storage in your stateroom.

Check Weight

Use a luggage scale for an accurate reading, or alternatively, you could use a regular home scale. 

If using a home scale, first weigh yourself, then weigh yourself while holding the luggage. Subtract your weight from the combined weight to determine the weight of the luggage. 

Remember, Carnival’s weight limit for checked bags is 50 pounds or 22.6kg.

Security Considerations

Ensure that all luggage remains unlocked for security checks. This is a requirement by Carnival for the safety and security of all passengers.

Final Check

Once you’ve measured and packed, give your luggage a once-over. Ensure zippers are closed, tags are attached, and it’s not overstuffed, which could distort the measurements.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared for your Carnival Cruise journey, ensuring that your luggage meets the cruise line’s requirements and contributes to a smooth boarding process.

Carnival Packing Rules

There are certainly other packing rules you need to follow when going on a Carnival cruise.

Starting with what you are not allowed to bring.

What Can You Not Bring On A Carnival Cruise

To ensure the safety and comfort of all guests and crew, there are specific items that you should leave at home. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide to what you cannot bring on a Carnival Cruise.

At a glance table:

Carnival Prohibited Items:

Prohibited Items

Weapons & Dangerous Items

  • All forms of weapons, including firearms (even replicas), crossbows, spears, and blunt weapons.
  • Sharp-pointed weapons, BB guns, tasers, and any projectile weapons.
  • Items containing incapacitating substances like tear gas, mace, or other harmful chemicals.
  • All ammunition and explosives, including imitation devices.

Drugs & Substances

  • Illegal narcotics/drugs, including synthetic drugs, CBD, and medical marijuana.
  • Alcohol (hard liquor) and beer beyond the allowable limit.
  • Wine or champagne beyond the allowable limit; fortified wines are not allowed.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages in excessive quantities or in non-standard containers.

Flammable & Hazardous Materials

  • Explosives, fireworks, flares, and pyrotechnics.
  • Flammable substances like petrol, paint thinners, and methylated spirits.
  • Compressed gas tanks, except for certain exemptions.

Electrical & Household Appliances

  • Devices with heating elements, e.g., irons, toasters, coffee machines.
  • Satellite equipment, routers, and other internet-related gear.
  • Self-balancing hoverboards, air wheels, and.


  • Curtains, drapes, or hanging room dividers.
  • Heely’s type shoes
  • Helium-filled balloons, inflatable kiddie pools, and hookahs.
  • Fish; if caught during an excursion, they must be shipped home.
  • Knives, scissors, and open razors (with specific conditions for dive knives and large scissors).
  • Handcuffs or other restraining devices.
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), communication scanners, wideband receivers, and other specific electronic devices.
  • Boom boxes/large radios, candles, incense, surfboards, boats, canoes, and other items.

You can find full details of what not to being in the Carnival help section here under “What items am I not allowed to bring?”

Carnival Cruise Liquid Restrictions

You’ll be glad to know that the “3-1-1” liquids rule, which is specific to air travel and enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), does not apply to cruises. 

Each cruise line, including Carnival Cruise Line, has its own policies regarding the bringing of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on board. 

Below I answer the most common liquid-related Carnival questions.

Can I Bring Bottled Water on Carnival Cruise?

No, Carnival Cruise’s Liquor and Beverage Policy prohibits guests from bringing bottled water on board. 

However, for convenience, you can pre-purchase bottled water to be delivered to your stateroom on embarkation day via www.carnival.com/funshops or buy it on board.

If you need distilled water for medical reasons, like for a CPAP machine, you can bring it, but it must be hand-carried.

Can You Bring Alcohol On A Carnival Cruise?

On embarkation day, guests aged 21 and older may bring one 750-ml bottle of sealed/unopened wine or champagne per person in their carry-on luggage.

 All other alcoholic beverages, including those purchased at ports of call or from The Fun Shops, will be stored and returned at the end of the voyage.

  •   Which Cruise Lines Allow You To Bring Alcohol Onboard
  • Can cruise Scanners Detect Alcohol (and how)
  • How to sneak alcohol on a cruise (how some people try)

Can You Bring Wine On A Carnival Cruise?

Yes, on embarkation day, guests aged 21 and older can bring one 750-ml bottle of sealed/unopened wine or champagne per person in their carry-on luggage. Note that fortified wines like Port and Sherry are not allowed. A $15.00 USD corkage fee applies if consumed in dining areas.

  • See also Can You Bring Wine on a Cruise + Corkage Fees

Can You Bring Drinks On A Carnival Cruise?

On embarkation day, guests can bring a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages like sparkling water, sodas, and juice in cans or cartons in their carry-on luggage. 

The limit is 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12-ounces/354-ml each or less per person.

Can You Bring Soda On A Carnival Cruise?

Yes, guests can bring soda on embarkation day. It must be packaged in cans or cartons and be part of the guest’s carry-on luggage. The limit is 12 sealed, unopened cans of 12-ounces/354-ml each or less per person.

Can You Bring Energy Drinks On A Carnival Cruise?

Yes, energy drinks like Red Bull can be brought on board on embarkation day if they are packaged in cans or cartons. 

They should be in the guest’s carry-on luggage, and the limit is 12 sealed, unopened cans of 12-ounces/354-ml each or less per person.

What Can You Bring On A Carnival Cruise

To ensure you’re well-prepared for every moment on your cruise, here’s a suggested packing guide of what to consider.

For your Carnival cruise, it’s essential to pack a variety of clothing suitable for both on-board activities and shore excursions.

During the day, think casual: swimwear, cover-ups, shorts, t-shirts, and comfortable walking shoes are ideal. 

As the sun sets and the evening activities begin, you’ll might want to change into something a bit more formal. Casual dresses for women and slacks paired with collared shirts for men are perfect for most nights. 

Additionally, if you want to join in the Carnival Cruise Elegant Nights, consider packing a formal dress, suit, or even a tuxedo for those special occasions.

Travel Essentials

Never forget your crucial travel documents. 

This includes your passport, cruise tickets, and any visas you might need for the destinations on your itinerary. 

For extra peace of mind some people choose to have a copy of these documents stored separately.

Day Trip Necessities

When you’re exploring ports or participating in excursions, a collapsible daypack or bag can be incredibly handy. 

For those sunny destinations, don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen. If you’re visiting non-English speaking locations, translation and guide books can be invaluable (or use your phones).

Fill it with essentials like a rain jacket or poncho, especially if you’re traveling to destinations with unpredictable weather. An umbrella might also be a good addition. 

Entertainment and Exploration

While there’s plenty to do on all the Carnival ships, you might want some downtime. 

Bring along books, magazines, or e-readers for those quiet moments. 

If your cruise is taking you to scenic destinations, like the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska, a pair of binoculars is a must-have. You’ll appreciate them when you’re trying to spot distant wildlife or natural wonders.

Gadgets and Electronics:

In today’s digital age, your phone, camera, and other electronic devices are likely to accompany you. 

Ensure you pack all necessary chargers. If you’re an avid photographer or just want to capture memories, your camera is essential. 

Remember to bring extra memory cards and batteries.

Health and Comfort

Pack your toiletries, prescription medications, and consider adding a small first-aid kit. Depending on your destination, insect repellent might also be a good idea.

Does Carnival Cruise Check Your Bags? (Don’t Lock it)

Yes, Carnival Cruise Line conducts security scanning of all luggage as part of their safety and security procedures. 

This is to ensure that prohibited items, which could interfere with the safe operation of its ships or compromise the safety of its guests and crew, are not brought on board.

All bags should be unlocked so security staff can manually search and check a bag if deemed necessary to do so.   

Avoid luggage return delay: There may be a delay in receiving your luggage back if it is locked.

What Happens to Prohibited Items?

If any item is deemed dangerous or poses a risk to the vessel or its guests, Carnival reserves the right to confiscate it.

 Items that are confiscated will be removed and disposed of, and no compensation will be provided to the guest.

Luggage Tags: Before embarking on your Carnival Cruise, you’ll receive luggage tags. Ensure these are printed, filled out, and securely attached to each piece of your luggage. These tags are crucial as they indicate your ship and cabin number, guiding your bags to the correct stateroom.

Arrival at the Port: Upon reaching the cruise terminal, porters will be readily available to assist. Simply hand over your tagged luggage to them, and they’ll manage the transportation of your bags onto the ship.

Security Screening: All luggage undergoes a security screening process, much like at an airport. This ensures the safety of every passenger and crew member by checking for any prohibited items.

Delivery to Your Stateroom: After boarding, the cruise staff will handle the delivery of your luggage to your designated stateroom. This might take a few hours, so packing essential items in a carry-on bag is advisable.

Departure: As your cruise concludes, you have the convenience of placing your luggage outside your stateroom the evening before disembarkation. Carnival will then collect it, and you can retrieve it from the terminal the following morning.

Always refer to Carnival’s luggage guidelines before packing to guarantee a seamless check-in experience.

How to Check Your Luggage in for Carnival Cruise

Checking in your luggage on a Carnival cruise is a fairly simple and straightforward process.

Just follow these guidelines.

Luggage Tags

Before embarking on your Carnival Cruise, you’ll receive luggage tags. Ensure these are printed, filled out, and securely attached to each piece of your luggage.

These tags are crucial as they indicate your ship and cabin number, guiding your bags to the correct stateroom.

Arrival at the Port

Upon reaching the cruise terminal, curbside porters will be readily available to assist. Simply hand over your tagged luggage to them, and they’ll manage the transportation of your bags onto the ship. A small tip of a $1 per bag is customary.

Security Screening

All luggage undergoes a security screening process, much like at an airport. This ensures the safety of every passenger and crew member by checking for any prohibited items.

Delivery to Your Stateroom

After boarding, the cruise staff will handle the delivery of your luggage to your designated stateroom. This might take a few hours, so packing essential items in a carry-on bag is advisable.

Departure As your cruise concludes, you have the convenience of placing your luggage outside your stateroom the evening before disembarkation. Carnival will then collect it, and you can retrieve it from the terminal the following morning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if your bag is over 50 pounds on carnival cruise.

While Carnival Cruise Line generally doesn’t weigh luggage during boarding, it’s recommended to adhere to the 50-pound limit out of consideration for the porters handling the bags.

 If your luggage exceeds this weight, it’s a good practice to distribute the items and split them into another bag. This ensures a smoother boarding process and shows courtesy to the staff.

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  • Travel Essentials & Accessories

What Suitcase Size To Take On A Cruise

Published: October 22, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Lacy Hermes

  • Travel Tips



Embarking on a cruise is an exciting adventure that allows travelers to explore different destinations while enjoying the comforts and luxuries of a floating resort. When preparing for a cruise, choosing the right suitcase size is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your travel experience. Whether you’re packing for a short weekend getaway or an extended voyage, selecting the appropriate suitcase size ensures that you have enough space for all your travel essentials without compromising convenience or mobility.

Factors such as the duration of your cruise, the cruise line’s baggage policies, and the type of activities you plan to engage in during your trip will all influence your decision when it comes to picking the perfect suitcase size. In this article, we will discuss the various factors to consider when choosing a suitcase size for a cruise and provide insights into both carry-on and checked suitcase options.

By understanding the different suitcase sizes and optimizing your packing techniques, you can make the most of your cruise vacation and ensure a stress-free travel experience. So let’s dive in and discover the best strategies for selecting the right suitcase size for your upcoming cruise adventure.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Suitcase Size for a Cruise

When it comes to selecting the perfect suitcase size for your cruise, there are several factors to keep in mind. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  • Duration of the Cruise: The length of your cruise plays a significant role in determining the size of your suitcase. For shorter cruises, a smaller suitcase or even a carry-on bag may be sufficient, while longer voyages may require a larger checked suitcase to accommodate all your belongings.
  • Cruise Line’s Baggage Policies: Each cruise line has its own baggage restrictions and weight limits. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these guidelines to avoid any additional fees or complications. Some cruise lines may allow larger suitcases for check-in, while others may have stricter size limits.
  • Activities and Destinations: Consider the types of activities and destinations you’ll be encountering during your cruise. If you plan on participating in water sports or outdoor adventures, you may need extra space for equipment such as snorkels, hiking boots, or beach gear. Likewise, if you’re visiting colder regions, bulkier winter clothing may require a larger suitcase.
  • Personal Packing Style: Everyone has their own unique packing style. Some people prefer to travel light and only bring the essentials, while others like to have more options and outfit choices. Understanding your personal packing preferences will help determine the ideal size of your suitcase.
  • Shared Luggage: If you’re traveling with a companion or family members, you may choose to share a larger suitcase rather than each having individual ones. This can help save space and reduce the number of bags to manage during the trip.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the right suitcase size for your cruise. Remember, it’s essential to strike a balance between having enough space for your belongings and ensuring that your suitcase remains manageable and within the cruise line’s regulations.

Carry-On Suitcases for Cruises

Carry-on suitcases are a popular choice for cruise travelers who want to have their essentials within reach and avoid the hassle of checking in luggage. These compact and versatile bags offer convenience and mobility throughout your journey. Here are some considerations when choosing a carry-on suitcase for your cruise:

  • Size Restrictions: Different cruise lines have varying size limitations for carry-on luggage. Typically, the maximum dimensions range between 22-24 inches in length, 14-16 inches in width, and 9-10 inches in depth. Check with your specific cruise line for their requirements.
  • Wheeled or Non-Wheeled: Consider whether you prefer a carry-on suitcase with wheels or a non-wheeled option. Wheeled suitcases provide ease of movement, especially in crowded areas or on uneven surfaces, while non-wheeled options are generally lighter and offer more flexibility for overhead compartment storage.
  • Compartmentalization: Look for carry-on suitcases that offer ample compartments and pockets to organize your belongings. This will make it easier to access and find your items during the cruise and help keep everything neatly packed and secure.
  • Durable and Lightweight: Opt for a carry-on suitcase that is sturdy and lightweight. This will make it easier to lift and maneuver while navigating ports or carrying it on and off the ship. Look for materials such as polycarbonate or ballistic nylon for durability.
  • Security Features: Consider carry-on suitcases that come with built-in locks or TSA-approved locks to secure your belongings. Some models also have anti-theft features, such as hidden zippers or slash-proof materials, for added peace of mind.
  • Personal Preference: Ultimately, choose a carry-on suitcase that aligns with your personal style and preferences. Look for a design that appeals to you and reflects your taste, whether it’s a sleek modern look or a more classic and timeless design.

Carry-on suitcases for cruises offer the convenience of having your essentials with you at all times and can help expedite the check-in and disembarkation processes. They are perfect for storing important documents, medications, electronics, and a change of clothes, ensuring that you have everything you need on hand to start your cruise adventure.

Checked Suitcase Sizes for Cruises

Checked suitcases provide ample space for those who like to pack more or are embarking on longer cruise journeys. These larger suitcases are stowed in the ship’s baggage hold and are retrieved upon arrival at your destination. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a checked suitcase for your cruise:

  • Size Restrictions: Each cruise line has specific size limitations for checked luggage. The maximum allowed dimensions typically range from 27-30 inches in length, 18-20 inches in width, and 10-12 inches in depth. Be sure to check your cruise line’s guidelines to avoid any surprises or additional fees.
  • Weight Limits: In addition to size restrictions, cruise lines often impose weight limits for checked luggage. The weight threshold may range from 40-50 pounds per bag, although this can vary. Pack efficiently and consider using a lightweight suitcase to maximize your weight allowance.
  • Durability and Construction: Since checked luggage will be handled by port staff and transported in the ship’s cargo area, it’s crucial to choose a suitcase that is sturdy and able to withstand the rigors of travel. Opt for suitcases made from durable materials like polycarbonate or ballistic nylon to protect your belongings.
  • Expandability: Select a checked suitcase that offers expandable compartments. This feature allows you to increase the storage capacity of your suitcase if needed, especially if you plan on doing some shopping during your cruise or want to bring back souvenirs.
  • Multiple Compartments: Look for checked suitcases with multiple compartments and organization features. This will help keep your belongings organized and easily accessible, reducing the need to rummage through your suitcase during your trip.
  • Wheels and Handles: Opt for checked suitcases with sturdy wheels and telescopic handles for easy maneuverability through airports and cruise terminals. Spinner wheels provide superior mobility, allowing you to navigate through crowds and tight spaces effortlessly.

Checked suitcases are ideal for travelers who require more space for longer trips or for those who prefer to have a larger selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories. They provide the flexibility to pack more without worrying about size restrictions, ensuring that you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise experience.

Tips for Packing Efficiently for a Cruise

Packing efficiently for a cruise is essential to ensure that you have all the necessary items while maximizing available space. Here are some tips to help you pack smartly and efficiently:

  • Create a Packing List: Before you start packing, make a checklist of all the essential items you’ll need for your cruise. This helps you stay organized and ensures that you don’t forget anything important.
  • Plan Outfits in Advance: Consider the activities and events you’ll be participating in during the cruise and plan your outfits accordingly. Mix and match clothing items that can be paired differently to create multiple outfits, reducing the number of items you need to bring.
  • Roll Your Clothes: Rolling clothes instead of folding them helps save space and minimizes wrinkles. This packing technique also allows for more efficient use of the available suitcase space.
  • Use Packing Cubes or Compression Bags: Packing cubes or compression bags can help compress your clothing and make more efficient use of space in your suitcase. They also help keep your belongings organized and make it easier to find what you need.
  • Maximize Empty Spaces: Utilize every inch of space in your suitcase effectively. Utilize the insides of shoes for small items or roll up socks and place them inside your shoes to save space.
  • Pack Versatile Clothing: Opt for clothing items that can be dressed up or down and can be worn in different settings. This allows you to pack lighter and have more flexibility in your outfit choices.
  • Limit Shoe Selection: Shoes can take up a significant amount of space in your suitcase. Try to limit your shoe selection to a maximum of three pairs, including one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of formal shoes for special occasions.
  • Consider Laundry Options: If your cruise offers laundry services or self-service laundry facilities, consider packing a small amount of detergent and plan to do a load of laundry during the trip. This allows you to pack fewer clothes and frees up space in your suitcase.
  • Minimize Toiletries: Instead of carrying full-sized toiletries, transfer them into travel-sized containers to save space. Also, check the cruise line’s regulations on toiletries to ensure compliance with their policies.
  • Leave Room for Souvenirs: If you plan on shopping during your cruise, leave some extra space in your suitcase to accommodate any souvenirs or new items you may acquire along the way.

By following these packing tips, you can make the most of your suitcase space and ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise vacation. Remember to pack smart, pack light, and pack with versatility in mind.

Choosing the right suitcase size for your cruise is crucial in ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience. By considering factors such as the duration of your cruise, the cruise line’s baggage policies, and the activities you plan to engage in, you can make an informed decision on whether to opt for a carry-on suitcase or a checked suitcase for your trip.

Carry-on suitcases provide convenience and mobility, allowing you to have your essentials within reach and avoid the hassle of checking in luggage. They are perfect for shorter cruises or for those who prefer to travel light. On the other hand, checked suitcases offer more space and are suitable for longer cruises or for travelers who need to pack more clothing and accessories.

Regardless of the suitcase size you choose, there are tips and techniques you can employ to pack efficiently. Creating a packing list, planning outfits in advance, rolling clothes, and maximizing empty spaces in your suitcase are just a few strategies to utilize. Additionally, using packing cubes or compression bags, limiting your shoe selection, and packing versatile clothing can help you optimize your suitcase space.

Remember to familiarize yourself with the specific size restrictions and weight limits imposed by your cruise line to avoid any additional fees or complications. It’s also important to consider any specific requirements for activities or destinations on your cruise.

By taking these factors into account and implementing efficient packing techniques, you can ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise vacation. So, pack smart, pack light, and embark on your cruise adventure with ease and confidence!


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Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean's Luggage Policy: What You Need to Know

Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Luggage Policy: What You Need to Know

Planning a cruise vacation with Royal Caribbean? One essential aspect to consider is their luggage policy. Understanding the guidelines and restrictions can help ensure a smooth and stress-free experience before and during your trip. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the essential information you need to know about Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy, including weight limits, prohibited items, and tips for packing efficiently. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, this guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy with ease.

To get started, let’s take a quick look at the key points you need to know:

Now that we have an overview of the key points, let’s dive deeper into each aspect of Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy. By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-equipped with the knowledge and tips to ensure a seamless and enjoyable cruise vacation. So, let’s get started!

Sources: – Royal Caribbean Official Website: [https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/what-is-the-luggage-policy](https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/what-is-the-luggage-policy) – Cruise Critic: [https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=159](https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?

Where do you put your suitcases on a cruise?

When embarking on a Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s essential to know where to place your suitcases. The majority of cruisers will drop off their bags at the pier upon arrival, where they will be collected and delivered to the stateroom later on. It’s important to follow the specific guidelines provided by Royal Caribbean regarding luggage size and weight restrictions to ensure a smooth drop-off process. For more detailed information on Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy, please refer to their official website.

How many pieces of luggage does Royal Caribbean allow?

Royal Caribbean allows each guest to bring up to two pieces of luggage on board their cruise ship. This includes one carry-on bag and one checked bag per person. It is important to note that the checked bag should not exceed 62 inches in total dimensions and should weigh no more than 50 pounds. Additionally, the carry-on bag should fit in the overhead compartment or under the bed in your stateroom. By following these guidelines, guests can ensure a smooth and hassle-free embarkation process. For more detailed information, please refer to the Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Luggage Policy: What You Need to Know.

Does Royal Caribbean check your luggage?

Royal Caribbean does check your luggage before you board the cruise ship to ensure the safety and security of all passengers. It is important to pack your belongings in compliance with the cruise line’s luggage policy, which includes restrictions on prohibited items and weight limitations. To expedite the check-in process, it is recommended to attach the provided luggage tags to your bags, indicating your stateroom number. Additionally, it is advisable to keep essential items such as medications, travel documents, and valuables in your carry-on luggage. For more detailed information on Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy, you can refer to their official website: www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/luggage-policy.

Can you bring full size bottles of shampoo on Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy allows guests to bring full-size bottles of shampoo on board. The policy states that liquids, including toiletries, can be brought in containers of up to 16 ounces each. However, it is important to note that these containers must be properly sealed and stored in a clear plastic bag for security screening. This ensures that the bottles are easily identifiable and comply with transportation regulations. For more information on Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy, you can visit their official website at [insert link to Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy page].

Royal caribbean carry-on rules

Royal Caribbean has specific carry-on rules that passengers should be aware of before embarking on their cruise. It is important to note that each guest is allowed to bring two pieces of carry-on luggage, with a combined weight of 50 pounds or less. However, there are certain items that are prohibited in carry-on bags, such as firearms, flammable liquids, and illegal drugs. Passengers should also keep in mind that there are size restrictions for carry-on bags, with the maximum dimensions being 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. To ensure a smooth embarkation process, it is recommended to pack essential items in your carry-on, such as travel documents, medications, and valuables. For more detailed information on Royal Caribbean’s carry-on rules, please refer to their official website: https://www.royalcaribbean.

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the various aspects of Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy, providing you with all the essential information you need to know before embarking on your cruise vacation. By understanding the guidelines set forth by the cruise line, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience from the moment you arrive at the port to the time you disembark.

To begin, it is crucial to understand the baggage allowance provided by Royal Caribbean. The cruise line permits each guest to bring a certain number of bags, typically two per person, with specific weight and size restrictions. It is essential to adhere to these guidelines to avoid any additional fees or complications during the boarding process. To learn more about the specific baggage allowance for your cruise, refer to Royal Caribbean’s official website [1].

Packing efficiently is key when it comes to complying with the luggage policy. By making smart choices and planning ahead, you can maximize your packing space and avoid any unnecessary items. Royal Caribbean recommends using soft-sided luggage as it is easier to store in your cabin and allows for better flexibility when it comes to fitting into storage areas [2].

One important aspect of Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy is the restriction on prohibited items. It is vital to be aware of items that are not allowed on board to ensure the safety and well-being of all guests. The cruise line strictly prohibits items such as firearms, explosives, and illegal drugs. Additionally, certain items like irons, candles, and heating pads are also not permitted due to fire hazards. For a comprehensive list of prohibited items, visit Royal Caribbean’s website [3].

Another essential aspect to consider is the process of checking in your luggage at the port. Royal Caribbean provides clear instructions on how to tag and drop off your bags, ensuring they reach your stateroom safely and promptly. It is crucial to follow these instructions closely to avoid any confusion or delays. Typically, you will receive luggage tags in advance, which should be securely attached to your bags before dropping them off at the designated area. More information on the check-in process can be found on Royal Caribbean’s official website [4].

In the unlikely event that your luggage is lost or delayed during the embarkation process, Royal Caribbean has procedures in place to assist you. The cruise line offers a Guest Relations desk where you can report any missing bags and receive updates on their status. It is recommended to pack essential items such as medications, travel documents, and a change of clothes in your carry-on to ensure you have everything you need while waiting for your luggage to be located. For further information on handling lost or delayed luggage, refer to Royal Caribbean’s website [5].

Lastly, it is crucial to be familiar with the baggage policy for disembarkation day. Royal Caribbean provides specific instructions on when and how to pack your bags for disembarkation. Typically, guests are required to place their bags outside their staterooms the night before disembarkation, allowing the crew to collect and organize them for an efficient disembarkation process. It is important to follow these instructions to ensure a smooth and timely departure from the ship.

In conclusion, understanding and complying with Royal Caribbean’s luggage policy is vital for a stress-free and enjoyable cruise vacation. By familiarizing yourself with the baggage allowance, packing efficiently, and following the guidelines for checking in and disembarkation, you can ensure a seamless experience from start to finish. Remember to review Royal Caribbean’s official website for the most up-to-date and accurate information on their luggage policy [6]. Happy cruising!

[1] Royal Caribbean’s baggage policy: https://www.royalcaribbean. faq/questions/baggage-policy [2] Royal Caribbean’s recommended luggage: https://www.royalcaribbean. faq/questions/recommended-luggage [3] Royal Caribbean’s prohibited items: https://www.royalcaribbean. faq/questions/prohibited-items [4] Royal Caribbean’s check-in process: https://www.royalcaribbean. faq/questions/check-in-process [5] Royal Caribbean’s lost or delayed luggage assistance: https://www.royalcaribbean. faq/questions/lost-delayed-luggage [6] Royal Caribbean’s official website: https://www.royalcaribbean.

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US News & World Report - Travel

Cruise Packing List: 56 Essentials Chosen by Experts

P acking for any trip takes some planning, but cruise vacations present a unique challenge – particularly due to limited stateroom storage space and sparse (or overpriced) options for purchasing accidentally forgotten items.

To help you decide what to pack for a cruise, we've curated a list of essentials recommended by cruise experts who regularly sail the high seas. Download the U.S. News Cruise Packing List pictured above to reference while you pack, and read on to learn more about the recommended items and where you can purchase them if needed.

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Carry-on bag

Regardless of whether you bring checked luggage, you'll need some type of carry-on bag . Since checked bags need to go through security as they do at airports – and because you may need to wait for your stateroom to be ready, just like at a hotel – you'll want to be able to access any necessities pre-cruise. These might include a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat for the pools; medications; a bottle of water; and your smartphone, of course. You'll also want to keep your credit card, passport, and any other important documentation or valuables close by. A carry-on backpack works especially well since it can double as a day bag for shore excursions.

Checked bag

While you'll likely want to bring a checked bag, consider sharing one with your ship mate(s) to maximize stateroom storage space. Or, consider bringing medium-sized luggage, such as the The Medium by Away , for checking in.

Read: The Best Checked Luggage Options

Garment bag

While many cruises are less formal these days, a garment bag can still be handy for keeping select garments wrinkle-free (since clothing irons are prohibited on cruise ships). Top-rated options include the The Garment Duffel by Halfday and the Briggs and Riley Baseline 22" Carry-On 2-Wheel Garment Bag , both of which double as traditional luggage. If you pack your luggage right, you can make this your only suitcase, in addition to a carry-on bag.

Packing cubes or vacuum-sealed bags

Packing cubes are one of the best ways to organize your belongings for travel – especially in a tight cruise ship cabin. Top-rated options include the Veken packing cubes on Amazon (usually priced around $20) and all of the Pack-It Sets by Eagle Creek. The Pack-It Starter Set is especially ideal for cruising since it includes a garment folder designed to minimize wrinkles in clothing. Some cruisers also swear by vacuum-sealed bags , even though they can be a bit more tedious to pack.

Carry-on caddy

Ashley Kosciolek, senior cruise writer at The Points Guy, recommends a carry-on caddy , particularly if you're flying to your embarkation point. "I have a fabric sleeve that slides down over the telescoping handle on my carry-on to provide pockets for my passport, phone, coffee – all the things I used to have to juggle during check-in."

Digital luggage scale

The compact Etekcity scale – approximately $10 on Amazon – can weigh bags up to 110 pounds and help you avoid overweight baggage fees.

Read: Carry-on Luggage Size and Weight Limits by Airline

Bungee cord

"Especially for travelling with the family, I use a bright-green bungee cord to strap multiple pieces of luggage together," says Aaron Saunders, senior editor at Cruise Critic. "It's a lifesaver when boarding trains or disembarking ships, particularly when you ' re maneuvering a stroller and a little one around, too."

Luggage tracker

A luggage tracker isn't just useful for air travel. Attach one to your checked cruise luggage to see when it has arrived in your stateroom (or if it's stalled at security). Chris Gray Faust, executive editor at Cruise Critic, doesn't go anywhere without her Apple AirTag after her luggage got stuck in Vancouver for over a week last June. "My AirTag use has expanded beyond my checked luggage, too. I also have AirTags in my handbag, my carry-on, my keychain and my wallet."

Cruise insurance

Due to the unpredictable nature of travel, cruise insurance can be a wise purchase ahead of your voyage. Travel policies can cover unforeseen expenses such as trip interruptions and medical emergencies.

While a passport is often required for cruising, rules can vary depending where you're traveling. Determine whether you need a passport for your upcoming cruise ; if you do, triple-check that you have it packed the day of departure.

Credit cards and local currency

When cruising internationally, consider getting small amounts of each country's currency to have on hand in port. Depending where you go, some local markets may only accept their own country's currency, not U.S. dollars or credit cards. It's also nice to leave cash gratuities for cab drivers, tour guides or servers; in the European Union, 1- and 2-euro coins are convenient and appropriate tips. In ports with vendors that do accept credit cards, be sure to carry a Visa or Mastercard , as some shops and restaurants do not take American Express .

RFID wallet

It's important to protect your travel documents with an RFID wallet like the TIGARI Passport Holder or the ZOPPEN RFID Travel Passport Wallet , the latter of which can hold multiple passports for a family. "Thieves and hackers can steal your credit card information just by using skimming devices," explains Jill Schildhouse, a cruise expert and U.S. News contributor who always travels with her RFID wallet. "And because your wallet wasn't even touched, you won't know it happened until you see your credit card statement."

Read: The Top Passport Holders and Wallets


Pack more than enough of your prescription medications as well as any over-the-counter medicines you'll need, just in case you encounter an itinerary change or travel delay. While some travelers find it easiest to bring personal medicines in their prescription bottles, others find travel pill boxes to be especially helpful for organization. The Sukuos Weekly Pill Organizer is a well-rated option, with detachable boxes for each day as well as compartments for morning and evening medications.

Sheet masks

Since flying can be so drying for the skin, Faust likes to use sheet masks. "My first step the night before I board (because you should always fly in a day early) is to hydrate with a sheet mask (usually from a Korean brand like Ballon Blanc or FaceTory )," she says. "If I'm meeting up with a friend, I bring an extra sheet mask so our trip starts out feeling a bit like a spa day!"

Magnetic hooks

A surprising fact: Cruise ship cabin walls are made of metal, which means you can optimize your storage space by hanging some of your belongings on magnetic wall hooks. The hooks are perfect for holding bulky coats or boots if you're traveling to a colder climate. You can also use them for wet gear on expedition ships and adventure cruises, or for drying out bathing suits after days at the beach or pool. Purchase a set of magnetic hooks for less than $10 on Amazon .

Like hotels, cruise ships can only provide so many hangers. Bring a few extras from home or pick up a pack from your local dollar store. You might also try packable hangers .

Wrinkle release spray

Whether or not you bring a garment bag, a travel-size bottle of wrinkle release spray, such as Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray , is useful to have on board. If you combine a spritz or two with the steam from your shower, you should be able to smooth out some of the wrinkles in your clothing.

Laundry detergent

"If you don't want to pay for laundry service or spend precious time in the self-service laundry room, bring a small bottle of laundry detergent like Woolite to wash key items in the sink: underwear, bras, quick-dry hiking shorts, bathing suits, etc.," recommends Schildhouse. "Every cruise ship shower has a retractable clothesline you can extend to drape the clothes over while they dry. This can also help cut down on the number of items you need to pack."

Over-the-door organizers

Over-the-door organizers with clear or mesh pockets allow you to find your feminine hygiene products, makeup, jewelry and other small items quickly – without having to hunt through multiple drawers or a tight stateroom closet. It's a good idea to purchase a two-pack like this option by Simple Houseware Store (available on Amazon), since you can also use one to store shoes and maximize floor space.

It goes without saying, but to say it anyway: A toilet spray like Poo-Pourri is a must for your cruise packing list. Any smell – pleasant or not – will travel quickly in small staterooms with small bathrooms. Buy a small bottle to keep in your cabin.

Shampoo and conditioner

Cruise experts agree it's best to bring your own shampoo and conditioner in travel-size bottles, as most cruise ships don't provide separate shampoo and conditioner anymore; instead, they offer all-in-one dispensers. Colleen McDaniel, editor-in-chief at Cruise Critic, likes to pack her shampoo and conditioner in the popular Cadence Capsules , noting she also uses them for another essential: sunscreen. "These capsules are easy to fill, never leak and have clear labels, which you can customize," she says.

Wine or Champagne

Most major cruise lines allow each guest to bring one to two bottles of wine or Champagne on board, while some luxury cruise lines allow even more than that. Disney Cruise Line also gives guests the option to bring a six-pack of beer instead of wine or Champagne. Be sure to consult your cruise line's policies when packing for your trip.

Read: Cruise Line Drink Packages

If you plan to bring wine or Champagne, you'll likely need a corkscrew . While some cruise lines may prohibit corkscrews, others allow them onboard; check your cruise line's policy before sailing. Bringing wine with a twistable cap may be a good alternative.

Portable humidifier

Cruise ship cabins can feel dry – especially in the colder months. A portable humidifier like the GENIANI Erie (less than $25 on Amazon) can provide some relief. At about half a pound, this USB-powered device will fit neatly into your checked bag or carry-on luggage. The travel humidifier features two mist settings and has an automatic shut-off option, plus a night light to help you see around your cabin in the dark.

International travel adapter or converter

You'll likely need a travel adapter, since cruise lines homeported in international locales may have different electrical sockets and voltage strengths than you're used to in the U.S.

McDaniel recommends the OneWorld65 Travel Adapter . "I've used a lot of different travel adapters over the years, but this is my favorite. It charges up to six devices at once, has USB and mini-USB options, and works in over 200 countries," she says. "While many cruise ships have U.S. outlets, most usually also have European outlets. This adapter lets me take advantage of that outlet I'd otherwise ignore." She also notes that while cruise lines are getting better about having more outlets on their ships, it never feels like enough to keep your phone, camera battery, tablet, watch, headphones/earbuds and laptop charged (times two or more if you're traveling with others).

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Sound machine

Cruise experts agree a sound machine can be helpful for blocking out the sound of late-night partiers returning to their staterooms (or your snoring spouse). Schildhouse likes the LectroFan Micro 2 for cruising. "It plays non-looping white noise and doubles as a speaker to play tunes while you get ready for dinner."

Tech organizer

A tech organizer like the BAGSMART electronics organizer case – available on Amazon for about $20 – can store all your cables, plugs, SD cards and earphones in one zippered, compact bag that will fit easily in your carry-on luggage. Despite its small size, it can also hold bulkier items like a small laptop charging cord.

First-aid kit

A first-aid kit is a good thing to have on hand no matter where you go. You can make your own using supplies you already have at home, or buy a premade first-aid kit on Amazon for about $20. While all cruise ships have medical facilities, it's useful to have these items with you on shore excursions, especially those involving active adventures.

Hand sanitizer

Regularly washing your hands and/or using hand sanitizer is essential to staying healthy while traveling, especially on a cruise ship. Stock up on a few travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer (less than $2 each at Walmart) ahead of your trip. If you're looking for something with less alcohol that's also less drying, check out Babyganics Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer .

If you're a parent, you know that your infant or toddler needs a very specific size – and in some cases brand – of diapers, which may very well be unavailable to you on your cruise ship or in the ports of call. Bring more than enough diapers to play it safe at sea.

Most cruise lines also require that non-toilet-trained infants and toddlers wear swim diapers in the children's water play areas. For the sake of sanitation, kids must be toilet-trained to use the pools on cruise ships.

Read:  The Best Cruises for Babies and Toddlers

Many cruisers like to personalize their cabin with stateroom door decor. Not only is it a fun tradition, but decorating the door can make it easier to locate your room, too. You can find lots of fun decor ideas on Pinterest as well as Amazon .

" Duct tape is a life-saver in many situations," says Kosciolek. "I primarily use it to attach my printed luggage tags, but it's also great for mending clothing issues on the fly and fixing broken luggage until you can get it back home."

"As a parent, I like to bring lanyards with sleeves so my kids can wear their keycards and not lose them," says Erica Silverstein, senior cruise editor at The Points Guy. "We hang them on the magnetic hooks I put on the wall, so they don't get lost in the cabin either."

If you're prone to (or think you may be prone to) motion sickness on cruise ships, put a pair of Sea-Bands on your cruise packing list. These soft wristbands use acupressure to prevent and minimize nausea and vomiting on board, and they are a reusable, drug-free alternative to traditional anti-nausea medications. You can purchase Sea-Bands on Amazon or at most drugstores.

If you need something a bit stronger than Sea-Bands (or to use in conjunction with them), Dramamine remains a tried-and-true solution for both preventing and treating sea sickness. Choose the Less Drowsy formula to avoid getting sleepy, and consider the chewable tablets (dye-free) if traveling with kids who are prone to queasiness. Many travelers like Bonine as a remedy for sea sickness as well.

Mix-and-match clothing

Pack a variety of mix-and-match items, also known as a capsule wardrobe, for your cruise. To do this, choose a base color – black or navy blue – for your wardrobe. Next, pack plain, neutral-colored items, then add a few patterned items to the mix. Remember to include a variety of styles (T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, rompers and jumpsuits) and also consider reversible clothing and outfits that can easily transition from day to night.

Read: What to Wear on a Cruise: Daytime, Formal Nights & More

Sports jacket or blazer

Adam Coulter, executive editor of Cruise Critic UK & Australia, recommends packing a sports jacket or blazer. "While cruise lines are getting more casual, what happens if you get that last-minute invite to meet the captain, or there's a meet and mingle where you want to look put together? A jacket will always elevate your elegance (even if you're wearing a T-shirt underneath)," he says. If you're in need of a travel blazer, Bluffworks has some well-rated options; the Gramercy , in particular, gets great reviews.

Themed party attire

Some cruise lines host themed voyages or parties on select nights where passengers can dress up to participate in the fun. You'll want to review your cruise itinerary before you go so you're prepared for the festivities. Bring your buccaneer gear if you're sailing aboard Disney Cruise Line; ships host fun events like Pirate Nights, pirate-themed dinners and a "Pirates in the Caribbean" show. On "The Love Boat"-themed cruises offered by Princess Cruises , pack your platform boots, glittery dresses, bell-bottom pants and halter tops for the line's 1970s-inspired disco party on the deck. No matter the theme, you can't go wrong with a couple of captain hats .

Read:  The Top Party Cruises

Travel wrap

A travel wrap is a versatile accessory that's useful for any trip – even more so on a cruise ship where it can get chilly when the sea breeze picks up. Available in nearly 10 different colors, J.Crew's Oversized Cashmere Wrap is a timeless staple, albeit a bit of an investment; for something less expensive but well rated, try this off-brand pashmina shawl on Amazon .

Packable jacket

If you're cruising to a cold weather destination such as Alaska , you'll need something heavier than a travel wrap, but not so bulky that it requires additional luggage. Consider a packable jacket that folds easily and compactly; travel experts highly recommend the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket .

Read: Alaska Cruise Packing List: Must-Have Items

Packable hat

If you're headed to the Caribbean or another warm weather destination, you'll want a beach hat to protect your scalp and face from the sun. This packable straw hat by FURTALK (available on Amazon for about $25) is a stylish women's option that features a broader brim and offers UPF 50 sun protection. For more recommendations, browse the best beach hats in a variety of styles.

Comfortable walking shoes

Even if you never step foot off the ship, there is still plenty of walking to do between bow and stern. Closed-toe shoes or sandals with straps are safer than flimsy flip flops when boarding a slippery tender into port (if your ship can't dock directly). Check out our recommendations for the most comfortable walking shoes , which include the popular Allbirds Wool Runners and the Birkenstock Mayari , a modern twist on the classic sandal.

Water shoes

Depending on your scheduled shore excursions, you might also need a pair of water shoes. For something that's both functional and fashionable, we like the Crocs LiteRide 360 Pacer . While not totally waterproof, the Native Jefferson is a water-friendly, versatile option.

Versatile heels

"Over the years, I've learned that the key to avoiding overpacking is to bring one neutral pair of low heels that match every single eveningwear outfit I've packed – from flowy pants to dresses," says Schildhouse, who loves her Rockport Tabitha 2-Strap Heeled Sandals . "They have a cushioned footbed and shock-absorbing heel so you can dance the night away in the club, and a 3-inch block heel with traction to keep you steady on your feet even if the ship's rocking a bit."

Reusable water bottle

A reusable water bottle is useful for filling up at water and beverage stations on your cruise ship; it's also a necessity for shore excursions.

Bathing suit

Pack a couple of swimsuits for the pools, hot tubs and any shore excursions.

Swim cover-up

Another must-have for your cruise packing list is a swimsuit cover-up or two. These are great for wearing over your bathing suit during days at sea, as well as on excursions – especially if you're going on a Caribbean cruise . Amazon sells a variety of stylish, affordable cover-ups, and you can never go wrong with a classic white button-down shirt .

Dry bags are useful for shore excursions where you're likely to get wet but don't want the same to be true for your phone, camera and other precious items. "I use the Outdoor Research Unisex Dry Isolation Pack  and have never had so much as a drop of moisture enter it, which is important for me – it keeps my cameras, documents and important items from getting wet," says Saunders, adding that it functions as a great everyday backpack when it's not raining.

If you need more than one dry bag, cruise expert Brittany Chrusciel recommends the Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag Set . "Having these dry bags, in a variety of sizes, means I can bring all my gear along during a Zodiac cruise or snorkeling excursion without having to worry about it getting wet."

Waterproof phone case

A waterproof phone case is also essential, especially if you plan to take photos. The Hiearcool Waterproof Phone Pouches (available in a two-pack) come with a lanyard so you can both protect your phone and wear it around your neck. They are compatible with most smartphones.

"I like to bring collapsible pails, small shovels , inflatable beach toys, a floppy Frisbee or other things to entertain the kids on the beach if we're going to a private island or beach destination," says Silverstein. "If you can inflate your own inner tube, you don't need to rent a floating mat."

Beach towel

"Although cruise lines provide guests with towels to take off the ship on excursions, they are often bulky and sometimes small," explains Chrusciel. "The Surfer Towel folds up to nearly nothing, so it takes up almost no room in your suitcase and is super convenient to pack in a day bag. What's more, its quick-drying technology means that the lightweight fabric won't be soaking wet when you need to pack up for the day and head back to the ship."

Towel clips

"Even though giant plastic towel clips shaped like a flamingo are a bit cringey, they make it easy to find your spot in a sea of sun loungers," says Chrusciel. "They also solve a common cruise problem: keeping your towel securely fixed to your chair while reading or sunbathing."

Reef-safe sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen, look for something that's reef-safe; not only are these sunscreens safer for the environment, but they're also better for you . The active ingredients in reef-safe sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of both. Top-rated mineral sunscreen brands include Think , Badger and Raw Elements , all of which also sell lip balm with sunscreen (another essential at sea).

After-sun lotion

You'll want an extra dose of moisturizer if you've been basking in the sun. COOLA makes an after-sun body lotion that cools and hydrates the skin with aloe vera, agave and lavender oil. Previous buyers rave about this lotion, noting they appreciate that the scent isn't overpowering. If you prefer a spray, try this option by Pacifica .

A good book

Sea days are the perfect time to kick back and relax with a book you've been meaning to read. Find an oceanfront lounge chair in a shaded area on the pool deck, or grab a cup of tea and settle into a quiet nook indoors. There's no need to pack more than one book, however, as many cruise ships have libraries.

What not to pack for a cruise

Power strip.

Many cruise lines do not permit power strips as they present a fire hazard, while others allow them as long as they are non-surge-protected. Instead of a power strip, purchase a portable charger such as this highly rated one by Anker , which can power up multiple devices at once. This can be especially useful for shore excursions. When packing for your cruise, also think about your luggage: If it has an included charging port, you may not even need to purchase an additional charging block.

Weapons and restraints

Firearms, handcuffs and the like are not permitted on cruise ships. This rule also includes toy guns on most cruise lines.

While most major cruise lines allow guests to pack a limited amount of wine or Champagne per person, they do not permit hard liquor. Of course, those of age can purchase cocktails at any of the bars on board.

Household appliances

Irons and steamers are not permitted on cruise ships, which is why the aforementioned garment bags, wrinkle release spray and packing cubes are recommended for keeping clothing tidy and neat. Coffee makers and mug warmers are also prohibited.

While you can technically bring you own, it's not necessary as hairdryers are available in every bathroom on most ships.

CBD and marijuana

CBD that's derived from hemp and contains 0.3% THC or less is legal at a federal level. However, each state interprets and enforces this law differently; for example, many states require a prescription for it. Due to the ambiguity of the laws, most cruise lines continue to ban CBD in any form.

Marijuana remains illegal under U.S. federal law, which means you cannot bring it on a cruise ship – even if you're legally able to purchase it in your home state for recreational or medical use.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

For the U.S. News Cruise Packing List, travel writers Gwen Pratesi and Amanda Norcross tapped leading industry experts for their cruise essentials. They regularly update this checklist with new and useful items to pack.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Best Cruise Lines
  • The Best Adults-Only Cruises
  • The Best All-Inclusive Cruises

Copyright 2024 U.S. News & World Report

Downloadable Cruise Packing List

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Luggage Limit Per Person

Each guest is limited to checking in:

  • two suitcases per person* (not exceeding 90x75x43 cm in size and 23 kg in weight per bag)
  • two pieces of hand luggage per person* (not exceeding 56x45x25 cm in size and 23 kg in weight per bag).

If you are travelling to your departure port by air, please check the luggage size and weight limitations with your airline as this may differ from the MSC Cruises policy.

The maximum amount of luggage in each cabin must not exceed 100 kg and/or 8 pieces total for all passengers in the same cabin. Any piece of luggage exceeding the allowance will not be accepted at Check-In. Guests exceeding these limits are invited to contact MSC Cruises directly or via their travel agents at the time of booking for information on how to ship luggage in excess separately via freight or cargo, at an additional charge. On embarkation day luggage will be delivered directly to the cabin. The expected delivery timeframe is from late afternoon through early evening. We recommend keeping any items needed for embarkation day and evening in your carry-on bag including clothes for the evening, medications, travel documents and personal identification.

*Please check your cruise ticket for more details.

Items to Keep In Hand Luggage

Travel documents and passport, money, jewellery and other precious items, electronic devices, medicines, nappies, and any other items you may need at short notice. 

On embarkation day luggage will be delivered directly to the cabin. The expected delivery timeframe is from late afternoon through early evening. We recommend keeping any items needed for embarkation day and evening in your carry-on bag including clothes for the evening, medications, travel documents and personal identification NB: Objects that are considered to be fragile, personal and/or valuable must be carried as hand luggage only since MSC Cruises cannot accept liability for their damage or loss. Make sure to keep your ID/Passport and all check-in documents handy. Valuable luggage and insurance: please note that luggage travels at your own risk. Insurance can be taken out through MSC Cruises, terms and conditions apply. 

Items Forbidden Onboard

Cruises will be forced to deny access to any guests not complying with these mandated regulations. In the interest of health and safety, beverages and food (including partially eaten or home cooked items) may not be brought on board either. Exception: dry, packaged and commercially produced foods.

Items You Can Leave at Home

Pool towels or hairdryers (you’ll find these in your cabin); sun cream or beauty products (all available from the onboard shops).

On embarkation day luggage will be delivered directly to the cabin. The expected delivery timeframe is from late afternoon through early evening. We recommend keeping any items needed for embarkation day and evening in your carry-on bag including clothes for the evening, medications, travel documents and personal identification.

Strollers and Wheelchairs

Air transport and lost luggage.

If traveling to your departure port by air, please check the size and weight limitations on your luggage at the time of booking. Airlines reserve the right to charge a supplement for excess luggage. MSC Cruises accepts no responsibility for issues arising during airport departure or arrival. In the unfortunate event of a luggage handling error by the airline, we offer a luggage recovery service. Working with the Lost & Found offices of each airport, we will make every effort to track your luggage and, where possible, have it sent directly to the ship at one of the subsequent ports of call..

In order to help you trace any lost luggage in the most efficient way, we ask you to present a copy of the P.I.R. (Property Irregularity Report) prepared at the Lost Property Office of the airport where you reported the luggage missing.

Managing Luggage During Boarding and Disembarking

Prior to reaching the cruise terminal, guests are advised to label their luggage using the tags received with the cruise ticket, and hand it to MSC staff at the terminal.  

Two days before the end of each cruise, guests receive directly in their cabins the disembarkation procedures and luggage tags. Please leave labelled luggage outside the cabin door the night before disembarking. The luggage will be collected and delivered directly in the terminal building during disembarkation. Please note that the luggage embarkation and disembarkation process can vary between ports.

Lost Luggage or Personal Effects

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Can you bring full size perfume on a cruise?


1. How much perfume can I bring on a cruise?

2. can i carry perfume in my carry-on luggage, 3. do i need to declare my perfume at the customs when returning from a cruise, 4. can i bring perfumes as gifts for other passengers on the cruise, 5. is there any risk of perfumes breaking during transport on a cruise, 6. can i buy perfumes on the cruise ship, 7. are there any restrictions on the types of perfumes allowed on a cruise, 8. can i bring my own perfume onboard the cruise ship for personal use, 9. are there any special storage requirements for perfumes on a cruise, 10. can i bring vintage or rare perfumes on a cruise, 11. are there any additional fees or taxes for bringing perfumes on a cruise, 12. can i bring solid perfumes on a cruise, can you bring full-size perfume on a cruise.

Yes, you can bring full-size perfume on a cruise. However, there are certain guidelines and restrictions that you need to be aware of. Most cruise lines allow guests to bring a reasonable amount of personal items, including perfume, as long as they comply with the cruise line’s policies. It’s important to note that the specific rules may vary from one cruise line to another, so it’s always advisable to check with your cruise line in advance to familiarize yourself with their policies regarding perfume.

The amount of perfume you can bring on a cruise will typically depend on the cruise line’s policies. Some cruise lines may have restrictions on the quantity of liquids you can bring on board, so it’s important to check the specific guidelines before you pack your perfume. In general, it is recommended to bring travel-sized bottles or decant your perfume into smaller containers to ensure compliance with the restrictions.

Yes, you can carry perfume in your carry-on luggage. However, it is important to follow the guidelines imposed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding liquids in carry-on bags. According to TSA regulations, liquids, including perfume, must be placed in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and then placed in a clear, plastic, quart-sized bag. Each passenger is typically allowed one quart-sized bag of liquids.

In most cases, you do not need to declare perfumes that you bought for personal use on a cruise when returning from your trip. However, if you have purchased a significant quantity of perfumes or any other items that may be subject to customs duties, it is advisable to check the customs regulations of your home country to determine if any declarations are necessary.

Yes, you can bring perfumes as gifts for other passengers on the cruise. However, it’s important to keep in mind the restrictions on liquids and the specific policies of the cruise line. If you plan to give perfumes as gifts, consider purchasing travel-sized bottles or decanting the perfumes into smaller containers to ensure compliance with the regulations.

While the risk of perfumes breaking during transport on a cruise is relatively low, it is still possible for bottles to break or leak due to rough handling or changes in pressure. To minimize the risk, it is recommended to pack the perfume bottles in your checked luggage rather than your carry-on bags. Additionally, you can consider using protective packaging such as bubble wrap or placing the bottles in a ziplock bag to prevent any leakage or damage.

Yes, most cruise ships have onboard boutiques or duty-free shops where you can purchase a variety of items, including perfumes. These shops often offer a selection of popular perfume brands at competitive prices. If you are interested in buying perfumes on the cruise ship, it’s a good idea to check the shops’ operating hours and availability in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on any deals.

In general, there are no specific restrictions on the types of perfumes allowed on a cruise. However, it is always prudent to consider the sensitivities of other passengers and the overall ambiance of the cruise ship. Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to strong fragrances, so it’s always a good practice to use perfumes in moderation and be considerate of others’ comfort.

Yes, you can bring your own perfume onboard the cruise ship for personal use. As long as you comply with the cruise line’s policies regarding liquids and follow the TSA regulations for carry-on bags, you can enjoy wearing your own favorite perfume during your cruise vacation.

There are typically no specific storage requirements for perfumes on a cruise. You can store your perfumes in your cabin or stateroom as you would in any other environment. It’s always advisable to keep the perfumes away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures to maintain their quality.

Yes, you can bring vintage or rare perfumes on a cruise. However, it’s important to take extra precautions to protect these valuable items. Ensure that the perfume bottles are securely packaged and consider placing them in your carry-on luggage rather than in checked bags to minimize the risk of damage or loss.

In most cases, there are no additional fees or taxes for bringing perfumes on a cruise for personal use. However, if you exceed the duty-free limits or if the perfumes are intended for commercial purposes, there may be import duties or taxes levied by the customs authorities of your home country. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and thresholds to ensure compliance.

Yes, you can bring solid perfumes on a cruise. Solid perfumes are often considered a suitable alternative to liquid perfumes as they are typically packaged in small, portable containers. However, it is still important to check the specific guidelines of your cruise line and the TSA regulations regarding carry-on baggage to ensure compliance.

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The 7 Best Travel Trunks of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Add a touch of vintage style to your long-haul journeys with these chic and functional travel trunks.

cruise carry on bag size

In This Article

Jump to a Section

  • Our top picks

Our Testing Process

  • Tips For Buying
  • Why Trust T+L

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

Travel + Leisure / Joy Kim

Before modern suitcases were invented, travel trunks (also called steamer trunks) were the luggage of choice for long-haul trips. Their sturdy construction and excellent storage capacity made them the go-to for transporting clothing, footwear, and even household items. These features have kept them relevant today, and brands have added plenty of upgrades like lightweight construction, wider size ranges, spinner wheels, multiple handles, and built-in organization. Travelers now also have many more options when it comes to the design and size of these pieces. 

We carefully tested more than 250 carry-on and checked bags in our lab and on an airplane set we built for testing, looking for the best in style, comfort, value, design, and functionality. For this article, we handpicked the best trunks out of our testing insights to feature ones that stood out for their high-quality construction, excellent maneuverability, strong durability and expectation-exceeding storage capacity. Whether you're headed for a quick weekend getaway or a bucket-list trip of a lifetime, these travel trunks are best in class.

Best Overall

Away the trunk.

  • Capacity 5 /5
  • Organization 5 /5
  • Design 5 /5
  • Maneuverability 5 /5
  • Durability 5 /5

This sleek trunk rolls so smoothly and is easy to maneuver around tight corners, crowds, and over rough surfaces.

Make sure to pack your items evenly to distribute the weight, otherwise it may feel heavier on one side.

This trunk from Away truly stood out among all the trunks we’ve tested with a perfect score, and we especially noticed its durability and how easy it is to maneuver on either two or four wheels. We put it to the test, racing it around sharp turns, obstacle courses full of bystanders, and over rough surfaces, and we loved how it glided through all scenarios without ever getting stuck or feeling heavy. Even though it's a large trunk with a 107-liter capacity, it still managed to feel lightweight and didn’t put any strain on us while pulling or pushing it. The trunk also has compression straps and zippered mesh pockets inside to help you make the most of your space. We recommend making sure you distribute your belongings as evenly as you can in the 70/30 design to best distribute the weight so that it doesn’t feel uneven or lopsided. 

Out of all the Away luggage we’ve tested, this was one of the most durable pieces, standing up well to our table drops with barely any scratches. The outer shell has a lot of give, and when we hit it with a metal baseball bat, the bat actually bounced right back up without leaving any dents. It also has an easy-grip top handle, side handle, and underside grab handle that makes it easy to pull out of a car trunk or off a baggage carousel. 

The Details: 12.1 pounds | 31.3 x 17 x 13.7 inches | 107-liter capacity | 4 spinner wheels

Travel + Leisure / Jhett Thompson

Travel + Leisure / Jessica Juliao

July Trunk Set

This set is sleek and stylish with twin latch locks and an extremely durable shell.

These trunks are some of the heavier options on this list for their size.

What’s even better than one trunk? A set of trunks. The July Trunk Set will give you two stylish pieces of luggage in both carry-on and checked sizes, both with 80/20 lid-opening designs. These matching trunks close with TSA latch locks instead of zippers for added security, and the locks proved to be durable even when we gave them some direct hits during our baseball bat test. We tested the glossy version of the trunks — which are also available in matte styles — and they impressed us with how strong they were, surviving our drop tests with only a few small scuff marks. We imagine these trunks could last a very long time even with heavy usage since the materials seemed to hold up well to rough handling. One of our favorite features of both trunks is that the handles can adjust to 20 different heights, which is helpful to wheel and navigate them both no matter how tall or short you are.

The Details: 8.4 pounds for carry-on; 13.2 pounds for checked | 21.7 x 15 x 8.7 inches for carry-on; 28.25 x 16.5 x 14.5 inches for checked | 42-liter capacity for carry-on; 95-liter capacity for checked | 4 spinner wheels

Travel + Leisure / Joy Kim

Delsey Paris Cruise 3.0 26-inch Trunk

  • Organization 4.5 /5
  • Maneuverability 4.5 /5

It’s very spacious and offers excellent value for the price.

Taller travelers might find the telescopic handle too short.

Delsey's Cruise 3.0 trunk truly stood out as one of the best checked trunk options on the market. It passed our durability tests with flying colors, with the polycarbonate shell and spinner wheels not showing any signs of wear and tear, which is exactly what you'd want from your checked suitcase (after all, airport handlers are not exactly known for their gentle handling of luggage). We were also impressed with how easy it was to maneuver it — even when fully packed — along various surfaces and quickly change directions with no drag so, whether you're heading to the airport or rolling it along a historic street in Europe, this is a solid choice.  Speaking of its capacity, this Delsey trunk should definitely be at the top of your list for winter or cold-weather trips . We packed a long list of items, plus a very bulky puffer jacket with the help of its compression straps, and had no issues closing it. And, while it has a rather simple internal organization, you can invest in a good set of packing cubes if you'd like to have more control over how your belongings are organized. 

Another feature that we found extremely helpful is the built-in weight indicator, which turns red as soon as the trunk becomes too heavy (goodbye, overweight luggage fees!). Naturally, as expected from this reliable, stylish brand , you can also expect beautiful design and sturdy construction that will last for years to come.

The Details: 9.5 pounds | 29.5 x 16.5 x 14 inches | 90-liter capacity | 4 spinner wheels

Best Carry-on

Bric's bellagio v2.0 carry-on spinner trunk.

Saks Fifth Avenue

  • Capacity 4 /5

It has a lot of internal compartments and pockets to keep your belongings organized.

It’s on the smaller side, especially if you carry a lot of toiletries along with clothing.

Beautiful design, quality materials, and lightweight construction, what else could you want from the perfect carry-on? This Bric spinner trunk checks all the boxes. We found it exceptionally easy to push and pull, with the spinner wheels turning smoothly. While this carry-on trunk doesn't have a side handle, we found it easy to lift and place in overhead compartments during testing. 

It also scored a perfect rating in the design category for its innovative internal organization that features two main compartments, both of which have zippered pockets that will come in handy for storing laundry or shoes. The only thing we couldn't fit was our toiletries after packing for a four-day trip, but you can easily place those in your personal item . Finally, yes, we know this suitcase is an investment, but our tests showed that it is worth its price tag.

The Details: 7 pounds | 21.7 x 15 x 7.9 inches | 40-liter capacity | 4 spinner wheels

Travel + Leisure / Tamara Staples

Best Checked

Delsey paris chatelet air 2.0 26-inch trunk.

  • Design 4 /5

Its shape and design make it the perfect option to transport bulky items.

We wish the telescopic handle went higher.

One of the reasons we'd check in a suitcase is if we are carrying bulky or oddly shaped items. And this is exactly why we love this Delsey trunk. After using this trunk for over three months, we love its size and shape, which is big enough to fit a ton of items for even a two-week long trip, but it isn't as bulky as a traditional checked bag. The trunk is designed with one side much deeper than the other, making it perfect for transporting ski equipment (like ski boots or a helmet, for example). Additionally, we packed a long list of items and still had plenty of room left over. We also appreciated the zippered pockets on the two divider flaps that could be used for smaller items. This is a very packing-cube-friendly trunk as you could easily stack them on top of each other in the deeper compartment.

Once you check it in at the airport, you can rest assured that your items will arrive at your destination safe and sound, thanks to the durable and tough polycarbonate construction that, together with the four double spinner wheels, held up remarkably well after several hits and drops, even in the creamy color. 

The Details: 10.87 pounds | 28.75 x 16.5 x 14 inches | 91 liters | 4 spinner wheels

Travel + Leisure / Leticia Almeida

Steamline Luggage The Sweetheart Carry-on

Steamline Luggage

  • Durability 4.5 /5
  • Value 4.5 /5
  • Capacity 4.5 /5

The vintage-inspired design is stunning.

It has two wheels and two legs, so it’s not possible to roll this suitcase upright.

If you’re looking for a suitcase that will garner attention no matter where you are, this posh, vintage-inspired suitcase tops our list. Gold-hued latches open up to reveal a silky, watercolor floral lining and the exterior features gorgeous leather accents. Don't waste your time — and this bag's Instagram potential — by checking it in; style it as part of your travel outfit, especially since the light-colored exterior may not stay pristine on the tarmac.

While this carry-on only has two wheels, we found it easy to maneuver; it does stand upright thanks to the two small legs opposite the wheels, but you need to pull it behind you as you go. Another thing to keep in mind is that while it measures 20 inches, it is pretty small on the inside, so you might find it hard to pack more than a few days’ worth of clothing. However, the classic rectangular trunk shape means you can maximize the internal storage space (as opposed to carry-ons with rounded corners). 

The Details: 8.8 pounds | 20 x 14.5 x 6.5 inches | 2 wheels

Most Durable

Peugeot voyages 26-inch large trunk.

This well-made trunk will protect your belongings like a tank.

This trunk has an aluminum frame which adds durability but also weight.

French automobile maker Peugeot helped Delsey create this sleek travel trunk, and you could definitely tell it was designed with the security of its contents in mind as we’d even go so far as to call this bag a tank. Each of its two main compartments has compression straps and is deep enough that you can stack packing cubes or transport bulkier gear. The mesh flaps on top also have zippered pockets, so we gave this bag a perfect score for capacity.

The four wheels are extremely well-made, and the bag is easy to turn and maneuver. However, because of the sheer weight of the trunk, travelers might find it heavy to lift when fully packed (it's almost 12 pounds when empty, due to its aluminum frame). Another factor to consider is that you'll hit an airline's weight limit quicker if you are not careful with how much you pack inside. Still, the sleek exterior withstood being checked during multiple trips over our three-month long-term testing period and protected all of our items well.

The Details: 11.7 pounds | 28 x 16 x 14 inches | 89-liter capacity | 4 spinner wheels

Our team has tested more than 250 suitcases, assessing and gathering insights on a wide range of products. We first verify all bags’ dimensions and weight and then proceed with rigorous tests in our New York City lab and in our real-life travels to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each option, including maneuverability over a wide range of terrain like carpet and gravel. We also carefully inspect all exterior and interior elements, such as wheels, pockets, handles, and zippers, and simulate real travel situations like drops and whacks.

We verify the storage capacity of each trunk by packing it with a set list of clothing, shoes, and toiletries; carry-on bags were assessed for a four-day trip while larger trunks were packed for journeys of a week (or more). In order to make our list, each trunk's features must work properly, including zippers that run without snags and handles that extend and retract smoothly. We built an airplane set to lift carry-on bags into overhead bins and roll them down aisles. We threw bags of all sizes off tables and hit them with baseball bats to test durability. Finally, we evaluate each bag's overall design and functionality and, only after coming to a conclusion about the strengths and weaknesses do we consider the value based on price. Our tests continue in the real-world for up to six months to make sure the bags can stand up to airports, trains, cars, and everything in between.

Tips for Buying a Travel Trunk

Choose the size and features that fit your needs.

Gone are the days when trunks were a fairly standard, rectangular box. Travelers have plenty of choices nowadays in terms of size, design, and shape. Both carry-on and checked options have features that render them functional for many occasions. The 70/30 or 80/20 design (where one side is bigger than the other) is perfect for transporting large, oddly shaped items. Clamshell trunks have a zipper down the middle, while some have classic latches for extra security. You can also opt for a trunk with a flap top to stack and secure your packing cubes inside. We love the style of vintage-inspired travel trunks, but before purchasing one, make sure they feature modern additions such as wheels, telescopic handles, and carrying handles for easy transportation.

Look for lightweight construction

While most domestic airlines don't have a weight limit on carry-on luggage, you must be mindful of the trunk's weight if you are traveling in Europe. For example, low-cost carriers such as RyanAir or WizzAir will allow for a 10-kilogram or 22-pound bag (versus a more standard 12-kilogram or 26-pound allowance). For checked bags, almost all airlines impose a 50-pound limit for travelers in economy class (business and first-class passengers are often allowed a greater weight allowance on checked bags).

Other than airline weight restrictions, the other reason to choose a lightweight piece is that you will have to haul it around and lift it, whether that’s into an overhead compartment or into a car. Heavier trunks are also much more difficult to wheel, especially on unpaved terrain.

Travel trunks come in carry-on and checked sizes, so you should pick one based on your needs and preferences. Carry-on trunks often come in 20- and 21-inch lengths (that includes the shell and the wheels), which fully adheres to most airlines' requirements. They typically range in weight from about seven to nine pounds. 

Larger trunks vary in dimensions, but the most common is 26 inches long. However, before you purchase a trunk to check in, consider its weight. Travel trunks tend to be heavier than regular suitcases because of their design and construction, so there’s a higher risk of being charged an overweight fee.

Travel trunks have been popular throughout history because of their design — one side is usually deeper than the other, making them ideal for transporting bulky or oddly shaped items. Trunks are often sturdier and more durable than regular checked luggage, which is also good news for those traveling with fragile and delicate items (like pottery, artwork, and camera or sports equipment).

Keeping your travel trunk clean will significantly extend its life. Vacuum the interior with a handheld vacuum, and then wipe it down with a wet cloth or treat any lining stains with a soapy solution. Some trunks have removable pockets or lining, so you can simply throw those in the washing machine. 

Many travel trunks have hard shells made from polycarbonate, so you can use the same cleaning products for standard luggage. Don't forget to disinfect it, too. (Clorox or Lysol wipes work best.) And finally, before storing it, let it dry completely, zip it up, cover it in a dust bag (or trash bag), and place it in a cool, dry spot. Avoid humid areas like attics or basements with no airflow.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Dobrina Zhekova is a lifestyle journalist with over a decade of editorial experience in print and digital media in the U.S. and Europe. For this story, she worked with T+L's editors to determine the best travel trunks after a series of months-long real-world and lab tests, where every option was evaluated based on rigorous assessments. 

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    From carry-ons to checked bags, we will explore different types of luggage suitable for cruising and provide essential tips for efficient cruise packing. In the following sections, we will discuss various aspects of "cruise-approved luggage", taking into consideration factors such as size, weight, ease of transport, and additional features.

  17. 25 Essential Things to Pack in Your Cruise Carry-On Bag (2024)

    What to pack in your carry-on for a cruise. Wallet with photo ID, credit cards, etc. Essential travel documents - passport, cruise documents, itinerary, vaccinations cards, and proof of travel insurance. (If you think you'll be heading to the pool area with this bag, consider having these documents in a waterproof envelope) Cell phone and ...

  18. How to cruise with just a carry-on

    Guide How to cruise with just a carry-on Kristy Tolley April 24, 2022 • 9 min read Jump to section This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

  19. How to Pack Carry-on Only for a Cruise: 13 Tips, Hacks & How-tos

    Tips for Packing Carry-On Only for a Cruise. 1. Choose the right carry-on luggage. Pack carry on luggage that is easy to manoeuvre on flights, through the airport and cruise terminal and even public transportation. Be sure it's durable, the wheels function well and the interior space of the carry on luggage is optimized.

  20. Carnival Cruise Luggage Size and Limits 2024 (Plus Packing Tips)

    While there is no strict limit on the number of bags you can bring on a Carnival Cruise, it's suggested that passengers limit their luggage to one bag per person for cruises of 3-5 days duration and no more than two bags per person for cruises lasting 6 days or more.

  21. What Suitcase Size To Take On A Cruise

    Size Restrictions: Different cruise lines have varying size limitations for carry-on luggage. Typically, the maximum dimensions range between 22-24 inches in length, 14-16 inches in width, and 9-10 inches in depth. Check with your specific cruise line for their requirements. Wheeled or Non-Wheeled: Consider whether you prefer a carry-on ...

  22. Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean's Luggage Policy: What You Need to

    How many pieces of luggage does Royal Caribbean allow? Royal Caribbean allows each guest to bring up to two pieces of luggage on board their cruise ship. This includes one carry-on bag and one checked bag per person. It is important to note that the checked bag should not exceed 62 inches in total dimensions and should weigh no more than 50 pounds.

  23. Cruise Packing List: 56 Essentials Chosen by Experts

    Digital luggage scale. The compact Etekcity scale - approximately $10 on Amazon - can weigh bags up to 110 pounds and help you avoid overweight baggage fees.. Read: Carry-on Luggage Size and ...

  24. Cruise Luggage Information |MSC Cruises

    Luggage Limit Per Person Items to Keep In Hand Luggage Items Forbidden Onboard Items You Can Leave at Home Strollers and Wheelchairs Air Transport and Lost Luggage Managing Luggage During Boarding and Disembarking Lost Luggage or Personal Effects All the information about luggages: maximum amount of luggages and prohibited items.

  25. What size bag can I bring on my Disney cruise

    Welcome to planDisney Lisa! I am glad that found us to help with your Disney Cruise Line questions. If you want to use a carry-on bag, your carry-on bag must fit within the security scanner. My pal Tracie shared that it must be no larger than 22 inches high, 14 inches wide, and 9 inches deep to fit through the security scanner.

  26. Can you bring full size perfume on a cruise?

    Yes, you can bring solid perfumes on a cruise. Solid perfumes are often considered a suitable alternative to liquid perfumes as they are typically packaged in small, portable containers. However, it is still important to check the specific guidelines of your cruise line and the TSA regulations regarding carry-on baggage to ensure compliance.

  27. The 7 Best Travel Trunks of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

    Delsey Paris Cruise 3.0 26-inch Trunk. It's very spacious and offers excellent value for the price. Taller travelers might find the telescopic handle too short. Delsey's Cruise 3.0 trunk truly ...