What To Pack For Carnival Cruise

So you’ve booked your Carnival Cruise getaway and now it’s time to figure out what to pack to make the most of your adventure at sea. Packing for a cruise can be overwhelming, but fear not! We’ve got you covered with this essential guide on what to pack for a Carnival Cruise. From swimwear to formal wear, sunscreen to comfortable shoes, we’ll help ensure you have everything you need for a memorable and carefree cruise vacation. Let’s dive right in and get you ready to set sail!


Formal Attire

When it comes to formal attire on a Carnival cruise, think elegant and sophisticated. You may have the opportunity to attend formal evening events such as captain’s dinners or formal dances, so it’s important to dress appropriately. Pack a few formal outfits such as a cocktail dress or a suit and tie for men. Don’t forget to pair your outfit with dress shoes to complete the look. Remember, this is your chance to dress to impress!

Casual Attire

During the daytime and most evenings on a Carnival cruise, the dress code is generally casual. Comfortable and relaxed clothing is key. Think shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and sandals. It’s always a good idea to pack a variety of outfits to suit different weather conditions, activities, and events. Opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics that will keep you cool and comfortable throughout your cruise.


No cruise experience is complete without packing swimwear. Whether you plan on lounging by the pool, exploring beautiful beaches, or making a splash in the onboard water park, having the right swimwear is essential. Pack a few swimsuits for different occasions and activities. Consider bringing a cover-up or sarong for added versatility and sun protection. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen to keep your skin safe from harmful UV rays.

Active Wear

If you’re someone who loves to stay active even while on vacation, be sure to pack some activewear. From the onboard fitness center to outdoor sports activities, there are plenty of opportunities to stay fit and active on a Carnival cruise. Pack your favorite workout clothes, including athletic shoes, comfortable shorts or leggings, and moisture-wicking tops. Don’t forget to bring your swimwear for a refreshing dip in the pool after exercising.


While undergarments may not be the most glamorous part of packing for a cruise, they are certainly an essential one. Make sure to pack enough underwear and bras to last you throughout your trip. Comfort is key, so choose undergarments made from breathable fabrics that will keep you comfortable throughout the day. If you prefer, you may also want to pack some shapewear for those special formal occasions.


Even though you’ll likely be spending most of your time in warm and tropical climates on a Carnival cruise, it’s a good idea to pack some versatile outerwear. A lightweight jacket or cardigan can come in handy during cooler evenings or if you’re visiting destinations with unpredictable weather. Additionally, a waterproof jacket or poncho is essential for those unexpected rain showers. Be prepared for any weather conditions that may arise during your trip.


When it comes to footwear on a Carnival cruise, versatility is key. Pack a variety of shoes to accommodate different activities and occasions. Comfortable walking shoes or sneakers are a must for exploring ports of call and participating in onboard activities. Flip-flops or sandals are perfect for lounging by the pool or heading to the beach. Don’t forget to pack a pair of dress shoes for formal events or upscale dining experiences onboard.


Accessories can add the perfect finishing touch to your cruise outfits. Consider packing a selection of accessories such as sunglasses, hats, and scarves to protect yourself from the sun. Bring versatile pieces of jewelry that can easily be mixed and matched with different outfits. Don’t forget to pack a stylish handbag or clutch for carrying your essentials during formal events. Remember to keep your accessories to a reasonable amount to avoid overpacking.

Toiletries and Personal Care

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

It goes without saying that oral hygiene is important, even when you’re on a cruise. Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste so you can maintain your dental health throughout your vacation. Consider bringing travel-sized versions to save space in your luggage. If you have any specific dental needs, such as orthodontic retainers or mouth guards, be sure to pack those as well.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Keep your hair looking and feeling its best with your favorite shampoo and conditioner. While many Carnival cruise ships offer complimentary toiletries, it’s always comforting to have your preferred products on hand. Pack travel-sized bottles or decant your favorite products into smaller containers to save space in your luggage. If you have specific hair care needs, such as curly hair or colored hair, remember to bring suitable products to cater to your needs.

Body Wash or Soap

Maintaining personal hygiene is a top priority, even when you’re on vacation. Don’t forget to pack body wash or soap to keep yourself clean and fresh. Choose a fragrance that you enjoy and opt for travel-sized containers to save space. If you prefer using a specific brand or have sensitive skin, make sure to pack your preferred choice of body wash or soap.


Stay fresh and odor-free throughout your Carnival cruise by packing your favorite deodorant. Opt for a travel-sized version to save space. Choose a deodorant that offers long-lasting protection, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors or participating in physical activities. Remember, no one wants to be the person who forgets their deodorant on a sunny day in the Caribbean!

Hair Products

Different hair types require different types of products to keep them looking and feeling their best. Whether you have straight, curly, or textured hair, don’t forget to pack your essential hair products. This includes items such as styling gel, hair spray, and leave-in conditioner. Consider packing travel-sized versions or decanting your favorite products into smaller containers to save space in your luggage.

Skincare Products

Taking care of your skin is crucial, especially when you’re spending time in the sun and in different climates. Make sure to pack your preferred skincare products such as cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreen. Opt for travel-sized containers or decant your favorite products into smaller containers to save space. Don’t forget to pack lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from the sun.


If you take any prescription medications, it’s important to pack an ample supply to last you throughout your cruise. Make a list of all the medications you need and ensure you have enough to cover the duration of your trip, plus a few extra days in case of any unforeseen delays. It’s also a good idea to bring along any over-the-counter medications you may need, such as pain relievers or antihistamines.


Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is essential, especially during a cruise where you’ll likely be spending a lot of time outdoors. Pack sunscreen with a high SPF to provide maximum protection. Choose a sunscreen that is water-resistant, as you may be swimming or participating in water-based activities. Remember to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially after swimming or sweating.


If makeup is part of your daily routine, don’t forget to pack your essential cosmetic items. Choose versatile products that can create different looks for both formal and casual events. Opt for travel-sized versions or decant your favorite products into smaller containers to save space. Consider packing items such as foundation, concealer, mascara, and a versatile eyeshadow palette. Don’t forget to bring along your makeup brushes and tools as well.


In addition to the basic toiletries, there may be a few miscellaneous items you’ll want to include in your packing list. This can include items such as a hairbrush or comb, hair accessories, nail clippers or files, and any other personal care items that you use regularly. Think about your own personal needs and preferences to ensure you have everything you need to feel comfortable and well-groomed throughout your cruise.


Mobile Phone

Your mobile phone is a must-have item when it comes to cruising. It serves as your primary communication device, allowing you to stay connected with loved ones back home and capture memorable moments throughout your journey. Don’t forget to pack your phone, along with its charger and any necessary adapters. Keep in mind that international roaming charges may apply, so it’s a good idea to check with your cellular provider beforehand.

Chargers and Adapters

To keep all your electronic devices powered up, it’s essential to pack their respective chargers and any necessary adapters. Cruise cabins typically have outlets and USB ports available, but it’s always a good idea to bring extra chargers in case you need to charge multiple devices simultaneously. If you’re traveling to a destination with different plug types, make sure to pack the appropriate adapters to ensure compatibility.


Preserve your Carnival cruise memories by bringing along a camera to capture all the incredible moments. Whether you prefer a DSLR, a point-and-shoot camera, or simply rely on your smartphone’s camera, having a way to capture high-quality photos is a must. Don’t forget to pack extra memory cards or film, as well as any necessary camera accessories such as lenses or a tripod.

Portable Speaker

If you enjoy listening to music during your vacation, consider packing a portable speaker. Whether you want to create a party atmosphere in your cabin or enjoy some tunes by the pool, a portable speaker can enhance your onboard experience. Choose a speaker with good battery life and sound quality. Don’t forget to include any necessary charging cables or adaptors.

E-Book Reader or Tablet

If you’re an avid reader, packing an e-book reader or tablet can be a great way to bring your favorite books without taking up too much space in your luggage. An e-book reader is lightweight and allows you to carry an entire library with you. If you prefer a tablet, you can also use it for other purposes such as watching movies or browsing the internet during your downtime.


Whether you want to listen to music, enjoy an audiobook, or watch movies without disturbing others, a good pair of headphones is essential. Noise-canceling headphones can be particularly useful in a cruise ship environment, as they will help block out any unwanted ambient noise. Choose a comfortable pair with good sound quality, and don’t forget to pack any necessary charging cables or adaptors.

Power Bank

Cruise ships typically have limited electrical outlets in cabins, so having a power bank can be a lifesaver to keep your electronic devices charged on the go. A power bank is a portable charger that can be used to recharge your phone, tablet, or other USB-powered devices. Make sure to choose a power bank with sufficient capacity to meet your needs.

Documents and Money

Passport or ID

Before embarking on your Carnival cruise, it’s essential to have proper identification with you. If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll need a valid passport. If you’re traveling domestically or within your country of residence, a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license may be sufficient. Make sure to double-check the expiration date on your passport or ID and ensure it is valid for the duration of your trip.

Cruise Documents

Cruise documents are necessary for boarding the ship and are typically provided to you by the cruise line prior to your departure. These documents may include your boarding pass, baggage tags, and any other important information specific to your cruise. Keep these documents easily accessible in your carry-on bag so you can present them when needed during the embarkation process.

Travel Insurance

While travel insurance is not required for a Carnival cruise, it’s highly recommended. Travel insurance can provide coverage for things like trip cancellation or interruption, lost or delayed baggage, medical emergencies, and more. It’s crucial to carefully review the terms and coverage of your travel insurance policy to ensure it meets your needs. Make sure to bring a copy of your insurance policy and any necessary contact information in case of emergencies.

Credit/Debit Cards

Having a reliable payment method is essential when you’re on a cruise. Make sure to bring at least one credit or debit card that can be used internationally. Check with your bank or credit card provider to inform them about your travel plans to avoid any issues with transactions being blocked. It’s also a good idea to bring multiple cards from different issuers in case one gets lost or compromised.


While credit cards are widely accepted onboard cruise ships and at most ports of call, having some cash on hand is always a good idea. You may need cash for small purchases, tips, or in locations where card payments are not accepted. It’s advisable to bring a mix of small and large denomination bills, as well as some coins for tipping or using vending machines.

Currency Converter

If you’re traveling to destinations with different currencies, it can be helpful to have a currency converter. This can be a physical converter or an app on your smartphone that allows you to quickly and easily calculate exchange rates. A currency converter can help you avoid confusion and ensure you’re getting the most accurate conversion of your money.

Emergency Contact List

It’s important to have a list of emergency contact numbers readily available in case of any unforeseen situations. This list should include the contact information for your family members or close friends, as well as the contact information for your bank, credit card provider, and travel insurance company. Having this information easily accessible can provide peace of mind and help you navigate any emergencies that may arise.

Entertainment and Leisure

Books or Magazines

If you’re an avid reader, don’t forget to bring along some books or magazines to enjoy during your downtime. Whether you prefer physical copies or opt for digital versions on an e-book reader or tablet, having some reading material can be a great way to relax and immerse yourself in a good story. Consider bringing a variety of genres to suit your mood.

Playing Cards

A deck of playing cards can be a versatile and compact source of entertainment during your Carnival cruise. Whether you want to enjoy a game of solitaire or engage in a friendly card game with fellow passengers, playing cards are a great way to socialize and have fun. Plus, they take up minimal space in your luggage.

Board Games

If you’re traveling with friends or family, packing a compact board game can provide hours of entertainment and bonding time. Look for travel-sized versions of popular board games to save space. Card-based games or small travel editions of classic games like Monopoly or Scrabble are perfect for onboard entertainment.

Snorkeling Gear

If you’re planning to explore the underwater world and go snorkeling during your cruise, it’s a good idea to bring your own snorkeling gear. While some cruise lines may provide basic gear for rent or purchase, having your own well-fitting and comfortable mask, snorkel, and fins can enhance your snorkeling experience. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the availability or hygiene of rental gear.


Binoculars can be a handy accessory to bring along on a cruise, especially if you’re interested in wildlife spotting or enjoying scenic views from your balcony. Binoculars allow you to get a closer look at distant objects or wildlife, enhancing your overall cruise experience. Consider packing a compact pair that is lightweight and easy to carry around.

Portable Hammock

A portable hammock can be a luxurious addition to your cruise packing list. Many Carnival cruise ships have spacious balconies or designated areas where you can relax and enjoy the outdoors. Having a portable hammock allows you to create a comfortable lounging space wherever you go. Look for models that are lightweight, easy to set up, and come with their own carrying bag.

Art and Craft Supplies

If you’re interested in indulging your creative side during your cruise, consider packing some art and craft supplies. This can include items such as sketchpads, colored pencils, watercolors, or knitting supplies. Use your downtime to unwind and explore your artistic abilities while taking inspiration from the beautiful surroundings of the ocean.

Health and Safety

First Aid Kit

Having a basic first aid kit on hand can help you handle minor injuries or illnesses while onboard or during your excursions. Pack essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, motion sickness medication, and any necessary prescription medications. Additionally, include items such as adhesive tape, gauze pads, and scissors. It’s always better to be prepared for any unexpected health concerns.

Motion Sickness Medication

If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s crucial to pack some medication to alleviate any discomfort you may experience while on the cruise. Motion sickness can be particularly common during rough seas or if you’re sensitive to the ship’s motion. Consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to determine the best medication for your needs and to ensure it won’t interact with any other medications you may be taking.

Hand Sanitizer

Maintaining good hand hygiene is crucial, especially when you’re in close proximity to other travelers. Packing a travel-sized hand sanitizer is a convenient way to keep your hands clean and germ-free, even when handwashing facilities may not be readily available. Use hand sanitizer before and after meals, after using public facilities, and whenever necessary to prevent the spread of germs.

Insect Repellent

Depending on your cruise itinerary, you may encounter destinations where mosquitoes or other insects are prevalent. Protect yourself from bug bites by packing insect repellent. Look for a repellent that contains ingredients such as DEET or picaridin for maximum effectiveness. Apply repellent to exposed skin and clothing to minimize the risk of bites and potential diseases transmitted by insects.

Travel Locks

Having travel locks for your luggage can provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind. When you’re away from your cabin or exploring a port of call, you want to ensure that your belongings are safe and secure. Pack a few travel locks to secure your suitcases, backpacks, or any other bags you’ll be using during your cruise. This can deter potential theft and keep your valuables protected.


While most areas onboard a cruise ship are well-lit, having a small flashlight can be useful in certain situations. Whether you need to navigate your cabin during nighttime or explore dark areas during shore excursions, a flashlight can help you see clearly and ensure your safety. Pack a compact and lightweight flashlight that can easily fit in your bag or pocket.

Safety Whistle

A safety whistle is a simple yet effective tool for alerting others in case of an emergency or if you find yourself in a distressing situation. It can be particularly useful during shore excursions or outdoor activities where you may be exploring unfamiliar areas. Pack a small safety whistle that can easily be attached to your keychain or backpack strap for quick access.


Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is crucial throughout your cruise, especially in warm and tropical destinations. Packing a reusable water bottle allows you to fill up whenever you need and helps reduce single-use plastic waste. Look for a lightweight and durable bottle that can easily be stored in your bag or backpack. Some cruise ships even have refillable water stations to make it even more convenient.

Laundry Bag

Having a dedicated laundry bag for your dirty clothes can help keep your luggage organized and separate dirty items from clean ones. Pack a lightweight and compressible laundry bag that can easily be folded when not in use. This will make it easier to sort and manage your laundry during your cruise, especially if you plan on doing laundry onboard or at any ports of call.

Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags are versatile and can be incredibly useful during a cruise. They can be used to pack toiletries and prevent any leaks or spills, keep electronic devices protected from water or sand, or segregate wet items from dry ones. Pack a few different sizes of Ziploc bags to accommodate various needs. They can also come in handy for storing leftover snacks or organizing small items.

Wrinkle Release Spray

Avoid having wrinkled clothes during your cruise by packing a wrinkle release spray. This is a great alternative to ironing, especially if you don’t have access to an iron while onboard. Simply spray the solution onto your clothing and smooth out any wrinkles or creases. Look for travel-sized bottles or transfer the solution into smaller spray bottles to save space in your luggage.


While cruise ships are equipped to handle unexpected rain showers, it’s always a good idea to pack a compact umbrella just in case. An umbrella can provide protection from both rain and sun, ensuring you stay dry and shaded when needed. Choose a lightweight and compact umbrella that can easily fit in your bag or backpack for easy access.

Reusable Tote Bag

A reusable tote bag is a versatile item to have during your Carnival cruise. It can be used for carrying souvenirs, storing snacks for shore excursions, or even as a beach bag. Opt for a collapsible and durable tote bag that can be easily folded and packed when not in use. Having a reusable bag helps reduce single-use plastic waste and is environmentally friendly.


While cruises offer a wide variety of dining options and onboard snacks, it’s always a good idea to have some of your favorite snacks on hand. Packing some non-perishable snacks can come in handy during long excursions, late-night cravings, or in case you need a quick bite between meals. Consider packing items such as granola bars, trail mix, or individually packaged snacks that are easy to grab and go.

Kids and Family

Diapers and Wipes

If you’re traveling with infants or toddlers, packing an ample supply of diapers and wipes is essential. Cruise ships typically have onboard stores where you can purchase these items, but it’s always better to be prepared. Make sure to pack enough diapers and wipes to last for the duration of your trip, as well as a few extras in case of any unforeseen delays.

Baby Food and Formula

For parents traveling with babies, packing enough baby food and formula to last the duration of the cruise is crucial. While some cruise lines may provide baby food or formula, it’s best to bring your preferred brands to ensure your little one’s comfort and dietary needs are met. Pack enough supplies to last throughout your trip, including any specialized feeding equipment your baby may require.


If you’re traveling with a young child, having a stroller can make navigating the cruise ship and ports of call much easier. Choose a lightweight and collapsible stroller that is easy to maneuver in crowded areas. Some cruise ships may have restrictions on stroller size or type, so it’s important to check with the cruise line beforehand to ensure compliance with their policies.

Swim Diapers

If you plan on taking your little ones for a swim in the ship’s pool, having swim diapers is a must. Regular diapers are not suitable for use in the pool and can become heavy and uncomfortable. Pack a few swim diapers to ensure your little one can enjoy a dip in the water without any worries. Additionally, bring some regular diapers as backup for non-pool times.

Kids’ Entertainment

Keep your little ones entertained during the cruise with their favorite toys and activities. Pack items such as small toys, coloring books, puzzles, or travel-sized board games to keep them occupied during downtime. Consider bringing a tablet or portable DVD player loaded with their favorite movies or TV shows for those moments when you need a little extra distraction.

Extra Clothes

Young kids can be messy, so make sure to pack extra clothes to account for any accidents, spills, or messy situations. Accidents can happen, and having backup clothing on hand can save you from unnecessary stress. Pack a few additional sets of clothes, including pajamas, to ensure your child is comfortable and well-dressed throughout the cruise.

Excursions and Daytrips

Comfortable Shoes

When participating in shore excursions or day trips, comfortable shoes are a must. Choose a pair of athletic shoes or closed-toe sandals that offer good support and grip. Depending on the activities you have planned, you may also want to pack water shoes or hiking boots. Consider the types of activities you’ll be engaging in and ensure your footwear is appropriate and comfortable for each excursion.

Backpack or Day Bag

Having a backpack or day bag is essential for carrying your essentials during excursions or day trips. Choose a bag that is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has multiple compartments for easy organization. Look for features such as water resistance, security pockets for valuables, and padded straps for added comfort. Don’t forget to pack any necessary items such as a reusable water bottle or sunscreen in your day bag.

Waterproof Dry Bag

If you plan on participating in water-based activities or visiting destinations with a high chance of rainfall, having a waterproof dry bag can help protect your belongings from getting wet. A dry bag is a waterproof container that keeps your items dry, even if submerged in water. It’s perfect for storing electronics, valuables, or a change of clothes during water-based excursions.

Portable Phone Charger

To ensure your phone stays charged while exploring ports of call or participating in day trips, having a portable phone charger is essential. Look for a portable charger with sufficient capacity to provide multiple charges for your phone. Consider getting one with multiple USB ports to charge other devices simultaneously. Having a fully charged phone is crucial for taking photos, navigation, and staying connected with your fellow travelers.

Snacks and Water

When embarking on excursions or day trips, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks and water to keep yourself fueled and hydrated. Depending on the duration and intensity of the activity, you may need more or less snacks and water. Pack non-perishable snacks that can withstand various climates, such as energy bars, trail mix, or dried fruit. Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day.

Swimsuit and Towel

If you’re planning to visit beaches or participate in water-based activities during your excursions, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and towel. It’s always a good idea to have a spare swimsuit in case one is not dry by the time you head out for your next excursion. Packing a quick-drying microfiber towel is also a smart choice, as it takes up less space and dries quickly.

Language Translator

If you’re traveling to destinations where English may not be widely spoken, having a language translator can be incredibly helpful. Pack a pocket-sized language translator or download a language translation app on your smartphone. This will allow you to communicate more effectively with locals, ask for directions, or order food, ensuring a smoother and more immersive experience in different cultures.

Final Tips

Pack Light and Smart

The key to a stress-free and enjoyable cruise is to pack light and smart. Only bring the essentials and items that you know you’ll use. Consider the space limitations in your cabin and the weight restrictions for luggage. Remember, you can always do laundry onboard or at ports of call if needed. Aim for a minimal and versatile wardrobe that can be mixed and matched for various occasions and weather conditions.

Check the Dress Code

Each cruise line and ship may have its own dress code for different venues and events. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the dress code beforehand and pack accordingly. Some evenings may require formal attire, while others are more casual. By being aware of the dress code, you can ensure you’re prepared and won’t feel out of place at any of the onboard events or dining venues.

Utilize Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a game-changer when it comes to organizing your belongings and maximizing space in your luggage. These lightweight fabric cubes help compartmentalize your clothes, shoes, and accessories, making it easier to locate items quickly. They also compress your belongings, allowing you to fit more into your suitcase. Consider using packing cubes to keep your luggage neat and tidy throughout your cruise.

Coordinate Outfits

To make the most of your cruise wardrobe and minimize overpacking, consider coordinating your outfits. Choose a color scheme or theme that allows you to mix and match different pieces. This way, you can create multiple outfits with fewer items. Select garments that can easily transition from day to night or from casual to formal by adding or removing accessories. By planning your outfits in advance, you can streamline your packing process and avoid unnecessary stress.

Consider Climate and Destination

When packing for a Carnival cruise, it’s essential to consider the climate and destination of your itinerary. Research the weather conditions in each port of call and the general climate during your cruise. Pack appropriate clothing and accessories, such as lightweight and breathable fabrics for warm destinations or layers and outerwear for cooler regions. Make sure to have a good understanding of the activities and excursions you’ll be participating in and pack accordingly.

Leave Space for Souvenirs

One of the highlights of any cruise vacation is exploring different ports of call and collecting unique souvenirs along the way. Make sure to leave some extra space in your luggage for these special mementos. Consider packing a foldable or collapsible bag that can be used to transport your souvenirs back home. This allows you to keep your luggage organized and avoid exceeding weight restrictions on your return journey.

Pack Travel-Size Toiletries

To save space in your luggage and comply with TSA regulations, pack travel-sized toiletries or decant your favorite products into smaller containers. Most major brands offer travel-sized versions of their popular products, or you can purchase empty travel-sized containers and fill them with your preferred items. This ensures you have your favorite products while avoiding any potential leaks or spills. Remember to pack any special or specific toiletries you may need, such as contact lens solution or feminine hygiene products.

By following these comprehensive packing tips and guidelines, you’ll be ready to embark on an unforgettable Carnival cruise. From formal evening events to exciting excursions and leisurely days at sea, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy every moment of your vacation. Remember, smart packing leads to a stress-free and enjoyable experience, so plan ahead and pack with comfort, convenience, and style in mind. Bon voyage!

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