Caribbean Cruise Packing

Must Pack Items For A Caribbean Cruise

I’m sitting here preparing for an upcoming trip to Colorado and an Alaskan cruise and I’m starting to realize I’m a little out of my packing comfort zone for these two destinations.  The last ten years of trips have been to tropical paradises by way of an all-inclusive resorts or cruises.  Hopefully, after these trips I will be able to provide you with a must have list for colder weather destinations.  For now, here’s the things I can’t live without on a Caribbean cruise.

  • Two Bottles Of Sunscreen: Every cruise we’ve been on I just stick one can in my beach/deck bag and one in my husband’s backpack because inevitably we will only take one or the other’s bag and the sunscreen is conveniently left behind in the wrong bag. This last cruise we just did two bottles to make sure we always had one on hand.
  • Camera Battery Charger: I’m old fashioned I guess and still like to take picture with my camera not my iPhone.  So, if you’re like me, pack the small charger or bring extra batteries.
  • A Book: Again, I’m old fashioned and I genuinely like to still read a book vs. using a kindle. This last cruise I read Lion and couldn’t put it down.
  • Binoculars: I really enjoyed having these up on the deck at night looking at other boats and stars. I also liked using them early in the morning as we would pull into port.
  • Towel Clips: This was an item that when I first saw it suggested I thought, what kind of first world problems do I have when I need to order clips for my towels. However, they were cheap and I thought it would be a great little gift to hand out the night before the cruise.  This was probably the best thing I took because the first two sea days we had a ridiculously strong winds that every time you got up to go to the bathroom on the ship or get a drink, your towel would go flying.  These keep your towel nice and neat and no flyaway.  It also came in handy to hang wet swim suits up in the shower.  On a side note… pack two swim suits because it will take a full day or two for yours to dry.
  • Small backpack: One of our excursions had a hike to Mayan Ruins and this backpack came in handy to put waters, wallets, sunscreen, and camera. It doesn’t take up hardly any space and is very affordable.
  • Luggage Tags: This is not a necessity by any means, but they do keep your paper luggage tags nice and dry. When we dropped our bags off this last cruise before we went to park it was kind of misty outside and our luggage got a little damp but our tags stayed nice and dry.
  • Medicine: stomach, allergy, and motion sickness… it’s cheaper to get the small bottles of this ahead of time vs. paying for it on the ship or at a port.
  • Hat: Baseball hat or even a big floppy hat just something to give your face a break from the sun.
  • Plastic and Ziploc Bags: throw a couple in your day bag and suitcase… they’re great for dirty/wet clothes and keeping your camera and phone dry.
  • Wipes: Face or baby wipes come in handy to wipe off your hands when port bathrooms aren’t up to par.
  • A Pullover: Some of the theatres and lounges can get a little chilly and there were even some cool nights on the deck so a simple pullover came in handy many times.
  • Bug Spray: This is an item I didn’t pack that I wish I had because my feet got ate up by sand fleas in Belize.


I’m a little OCD about my packing lists but I think I just like being prepared and I don’t like to waste money on my trips on things I could have brought with me.  Hope this helps you on your next cruise!

Before You Leave

Maybe I’m just an OCD list lover, but does anyone else make lists of things to do before they leave on a trip?  I’m not talking about a packing list… I’m talking about the list of papers to print, things to arrange, etc… I keep an open list on my phone for about a month before I leave so I can check off and add things to the to do list when they pop in my head.  Here are a some of things I write on my list to check off before I go anywhere.

  • Create a to pack list: We all have that moment during the day where we think, “oh, I need to remember to pack xyz.” Just have a list (yes a second list).
  • Create a travel folder: Print color copies of your passports, travel itinerary, any confirmations you receive, travel insurance, etc… I also make a copy to leave at my house with my mother.
  • Notify your bank: I learned this the hard way. I was once on a road trip and used my card in two different states and then did an online purchase where the transaction was processed in a different state, which led the bank to shut down my card.  Go by your bank a few days before you leave and let them know where you are going and if you need to remove any limits on transactions.
  • Safe deposit box: This may be my insurance background going into overdrive, but I’ve always kept a safe deposit box that holds important documents and when I travel I let the bank know to give access to my mother and/or husband if something were to happen to me. I keep car titles, my husband’s adoption papers, birth certificates, our will, and copies of life insurance documents.
  • Insurance: I make sure whoever is watching over my home knows who to call if something were to happen to the house and claim needed to be started. I also make sure that whoever is watching my child has a copy of my health insurance card.
  • A will: If you don’t have a will and you have a child at home, get a will before you leave on your next trip.
  • Alarm: I always call my home monitoring company and give them the number to whoever is watching or staying at my home while I’m gone so that if it gets set off, that person is immediately called. Also make sure this person knows your password and alarm code.
  • House keys: Again, we learned this the hard way. We returned home during a power outage and our garage door wouldn’t open and my mom had already left to return home… with our house key.
  • Medical: If you have a child at home, make sure you leave a notarized document granting a certain person the right to make medical decisions for your little one while you are gone.
  • Pay your bills: You don’t want to return home to your water being shut off because you forgot about it.
  • Take out your trash: You don’t want to return home to a stinky garage or kitchen.
  • Cash to tip with: We always carry an envelope with enough bills in small denominations to cover tipping.
  • Car maintenance: If you are going on a road trip, have your vehicle looked over for any issues during the oil change prior to leaving.

What are some things you make sure are done before you travel?