My last cruise (this past September) was to New England and Canada and so my suitcase was filled with lots of layers, scarves, boots, and cuddly warm weather outfits. If you are going on a cruise to a cooler climate you may find my post, Top 10 Must Pack Items for a New England and Canada Cruise helpful. You can find it HERE!
So as I searched for what to pack for this type of cruising climate and I struggled to find answers. There were tons of ideas for basic things to pack, but not specific tips from people who have been here before. So I searched and talked with people who have cruised to the Caribbean often, talked with Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and searched tons of travel sites for their thoughts on visiting this area of the world. The reality is that the Caribbean is gorgeous no matter what time of year you go to visit and brings warm tropical weather in the day and cooler breezes in the evening. A perfect combination for a relaxing getaway! So here are the top 10 things that you can't leave home without y'all:
1. Different Bathing Suit Options
If you plan to spend time simply sun bathing than you probably don't care what type of bathing suit you are choosing, but if you plan to participate in a shore excursion that involves a sporty activity you will want to consider carefully your bathing suit. Since you will spend so much time in swimwear on the cruise, throw in a couple of different options.
2. Cute and Comfy Sandals and Shoes
Y'all know that I love sandals and would wear them every day of the year if I had the opportunity so the Caribbean weather is the perfect time for packing cute sandals. Don't forget to pack Sandals and shoes that are also comfy though. You will be surprised at how much walking you do on the ship and at the ports for different excursions. As a gal who loves shoes it is the perfect opportunity to pack a couple of different pairs. *smiles*
3. Caribbean Inspired Clothes
One of the most fun parts of a Caribbean Cruise is having the opportunity to dress up in cute sundresses, flowing maxi skirts, and sweet tops. Think through what you will be doing on your cruise and plan out some fun outfits for your trip that match your destination.
4. Widebrim Oversized Sunhat
There are so many adorable different hats that can be worn during the summer months and also on a Caribbean Cruise. My favorite hats come from Joules (as seen on me in the picture above) and Nordstrom as they have lots of different options. A tip that a friend gave me was to purchase an elastic fastener that works like a two-sided clothespin. Attach one end to your hat and the other to your shirt- this is a perfect way to keep your hat on your head instead of over the boat! *smiles*
Don't forget to bring a pair (or two!) of sunglasses for your trip!
6. Snorkel and Mask
If you love to swim and snorkel (or even scuba dive) consider bringing your own equipment. Rental masks not only cost a lot of money, but they often fit poorly which allows water to come in or your mask to fog up. While snorkels are "one size fits all", if you are a bit of a germ freak like me, you might feel a little disconcerted by how many people have used the snorkel before you. (Ewww....) Throw in your own snorkel and mask and you will be happy you did!
This is obviously a "must pack" item for a Caribbean Cruise, and yet so many people forget to throw it into their suitcase. It is extremely easy to get sunburned in the Caribbean so don't forget to throw this in. You will be saving money by bringing your own sunscreen as Cruise ships charge a premium for this essential item. Traveling with a large group or going on a long cruise? Consider taking some travel-size options with you so that you don't have to carry around a huge bottle. And don't forget to toss in a lip balm for your lips!
8. Aloe Vera
Even with sunscreen, the warm climate of the Caribbean can make it easy to get sunburned. Consider taking along some soothing aloe vera with you for your skin. One of my favorites that I use throughout the year is the Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera. It is incredible light and at only 4 oz. it is easy to throw into your suitcase without adding a ton of extra weight. I use this often on my skin, even when I don't have a burn after being out in the sun and it is extremely soothing. One of the other things that I love about this is that it is under $10 on Amazon! You can find it HERE!
9. Camera (and the Extras)
Although I technically have been to several of the ports that we will be stopping at I can't wait to experience these cruises with my loved ones and the beautiful views that I am sure we will be met with. I have never traveled to the Caribbean in the fall and I am sure it will be stunning. But you know what? Its not just the experience. It is always who you are with and you don't want to miss out on remembering these special memories that you will make. Don't forget to bring all of the "extras" that you will also need like a spare battery, battery charger, extra chip, etc.
A great tip that a friend of mine shared with me the last time I went on a cruise was to charge my camera battery every night. This tip was invaluable as one day I accidentally forgot to turn off my camera in all of the fun we were having and would have missed out on some precious picture memories had I not done this!
ALSO because you are going to have opportunities to view beautiful islands with different corals, colorful fish, and lots of fun, you will likely want to document your experience with an underwater or waterproof camera. Don't want to spend a ton of money on an underwater camera? Consider purchasing the Nikon COOLPIX S33 Waterproof Digital Camera to use! I purchased this for our Royal Caribbean Cruise in November and it was wonderful! You can see some pictures that I took with it in my post about our Reef Snorkeling and Sandbar Getaway Shore Excursion HERE!
10. Extension Cord
Okay, so this isn't a particular suggestion only for Caribbean cruises but can be for any cruise! This was a suggestion that someone gave to me on my first cruise and it was a lifesaver! Throw in an extension cord and you will be glad that you did! One that I bring along is the 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip simply because it allows for several things to be plugged in at once which is a must on a cruise!
11. Purse, Bag, Etc.
Anyone that knows me knows that I love big purses and bags. They are honestly one of my favorite accessories. Taking a big purse and bag with me when I cruise is the perfect way for me to carry everything that I needed for our days off the ship (and adding a cute accessory). Some people like to use a backpack or some different type of item to carry their belongings in, but definitely remember to pack some type of bag. For me a large purse works perfectly as I can fit in everything I need to (including my camera and other things!) into it!
12. Journal, Travel Books, Etc.
Y'all know from my shop that I love creating and altering travel books and journals so this recommendation is probably not a surprise at all! *smiles* Some people like to pack travel guides to take with them on the cruise so they can explore in depth the ports of call while others like to bring journals on board so as to remember the special details and memories that are made. With so many special memories that are made it can be hard to remember every detail and was so glad that I brought this along.
13. Cruise Documents and Passport
Don't forget like any other cruise (that leaves the US) that you will need to bring all of your cruise documents and passport. Curious about what type of documentation that you need? Check out this page at Royal Caribbean on Requirements on Documentation!
What about y'all? Any must pack items that you recommend for a Caribbean Cruise?