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How to Pack for a 5 Day Cruise

Carnival Cruise | Sunburn in Seattle

As I mentioned in my post a couple weeks ago about how to prep for a beach vacation, my mom and I are going on a cruise at the end of the month. It feels like we've both been planning our packing lists since we booked the cruise back in October. We both have very different packing styles. My mom packs for anything that could potentially happen - it's not likely to snow in the Caribbean, but you never know, right? On the other hand, I'm essentially just packing bathing suits and dinner outfits. I'm hoping this list strikes a happy medium for your warm-weather cruise.

Things to Consider

1: Onboard Activities - For example, are you planning on hitting the gym every morning or not straying too far from the poolside bar? Personally, gym clothes would never leave my suitcase. But, if you're trying to stick to your typical routine, definitely bring them along

2: Shore Excursions - Plan accordingly if you'll be doing a lot of walking, doing something more adventurous, or lounging on a catamaran.

3: Dinner Plans - You may just want to hit up the buffet instead of getting fancy for formal night, and that's totally cool! Or, you may want to bust out a fancy cocktail dress - which is totally cool, too.

4: Weather - Temperatures drop a bit in the evenings and it can get a little windy if you're wandering on the upper decks, so it's still a good idea to consider bringing an extra layer

5: You're More Than Likely Never Going to See These People Again - Dress how you want and don't worry about trying to impress anyone!

Carry On


Photo ID - I've been asked to show mine when ordering poolside drink

Cruise Documents

iPad & Charger

Neck Pillow

Sleep Mask

Book - I opt for a lighter one in my carryon and pack an extra in my suitcase

Water Bottle

Contacts Case & Glasses


Phone charger


2-3 Bathing Suits


2 Pairs of Shorts

3 Tops

Formal Night Attire - I normally opt for a cocktail dress, but this time I got a structured jumpsuit

3-4 Sundresses



Athletic wear - Like I said earlier, this one is totally optional

Light Sweater

Bathing Suit Picks

Coverup Picks

Formal Night Picks


Pool Slides or Flip-flops

Casual Sandals

Formal Shoes

Sneakers - Depending on your excursions, you can leave these at home

Pool Shoe Picks


Sunscreen - I'm taking an SPF 30 and 50

Body Lotion

Makeup - I usually only bring the essentials (brow mascara, concealer, bronzer, highlighter, blush and mascara)

Makeup Remover

Face Wash

Shampoo & Conditioner - Most cruises provide these, but I'm a little picky with my haircare

Sea Salt Spray



Aloe or After Sun Spray

Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Contact lenses



Advil - Or headache reliever of your choice

Curling Iron

OTC Medications - You never know when seasickness or an upset belly from overeating at the buffet will strike

Toiletry Picks


Beach Bag

Beach Towel - Towels are provided, but I still like to bring a cute one of my own along


Camera - I mostly use my phone for pictures, but I plan to bring my Instax, too!

Pool Float - Floats on the private island are a bit pricey for the day, so we're going to bring our own



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