Are you going on a Carnival cruise and wondering what to pack? Cruise vacations are different from other holidays, and it’s important to know what to bring, as well as what to leave at home.
Your Carnival cruise packing list should include cruise outfits to wear on casual sea days and evenings, as well as formal nights if you enjoy dressing up. It’s also a good idea to pack a few cruise travel gadgets for your cruise ship and cabin, as well as for shore excursions.
In this post I share what to pack for your Carnival cruise, including must-have travel documents, clothing and cruise essentials.
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Carnival Cruise Packing List
This cruise packing list is geared mainly towards Caribbean or warm weather Carnival cruises. However it can be easily adapted to other itineraries.
Here are specific cruise packing lists for different cruise itineraries (including clothing packing lists):
- Alaska Cruise Packing List
- Caribbean Cruise Packing List
- Bahamas Cruise Packing List
- Bermuda Cruise Packing List
- Mediterranean Cruise Packing List
1. Government ID &/or Passports
The most important things to pack for your Carnival cruise are your government ID (driver’s license) and passport if applicable.
It’s a good idea to use a passport wallet holder to keep organized. Here are 2 great options.
This one is so practical when travelling with a family, and will ensure that you don’t make the mistake of packing your passport in your luggage. This can result in being unable to board your cruise ship.
This passport holder is great for a single passport, is RFID protected and includes slots for credit cards and cash.
2. Travel Documents
Make sure to have your cruise and travel documents handy. This includes cruise or airline boarding passes, as well as shuttles or shore excursion reservations.
3. Proof of Vaccine & Test Results (no longer required for most cruises)
Make sure to check your cruise reservation and communication from Carnival or your travel agent, for your current travel requirements.
4. Carnival Luggage Tag Holders
Since they are made of paper, I like to buy and use these Carnival cruise luggage tag holders which are reusable, sturdy and convenient.
Recommended: Carnival luggage tag holders
5. Carry On Bag for Embarkation Day
Along with your checked luggage, be sure to pack a carry on bag with your first day essentials for embarkation day.
Some items to pack include medication, valuables, electronics and a bathing suit and cover up. It can take several hours until you get your luggage delivered to your cabin, so bringing on the items you may need is important.
This carry-on bag is roomy and expandable!
6. Credit Card
It’s a good idea to bring along at least one credit card when you travel. Even if you don’t plan to use it, a credit card is good for emergencies and there is it’s required.
7. Small Bills
Bring along some $1, $5 and $10 dollar bills on your cruise. I like to have some small bills handy from the time we get to the cruise terminal at embarkation to tip the porters, as well as to use for tipping for room service once on board.
It can be handy to have cash on hand when shopping for souvenirs at cruise ports as well.
8. Cruise Outfits
Carnival cruises are pretty fun and casual, so you don’t have to over stress about what to wear on a cruise.
Plan on relaxed clothing for daytime, like shorts, t-shirts or tank top, or a sundress for ladies. On a Caribbean cruise, you’ll likely spend a lot of time in a swimsuit and flip flops!
In the evening, you’ll need some cruise outfits for the dining room. Most nights the dress code will be casual or smart casual.
As an example, for men this can be a polo style shirt with pants or jeans. For ladies a casual dress or a pair of pants or dark jeans with a pretty top is perfect.
9. Formal Wear (optional)
If you love to dress up or you have a special occasion to celebrate, you can wear elegant attire on Carnival’s formal night.
In practice, formal night and dressing in an evening gown, suit or tuxedo is optional. However, dressing up a little more than usual is a nice idea (think beautiful family photos).
10. Theme Night Outfits
Carnival brings the fun with theme nights on short and longer cruises. You can plan to bring theme outfits if you want to participate.
2-5 nights cruises have an 80s Rock’n’Glow Deck Party. Cruises 6 nights and longer usually have a Mexican Mega Deck Party, 80s Rock’n’Glow Deck Party and a Caribbean/Island theme night in the main dining room.
When making your cruise packing list, consider bringing an 80’s costume and even a Hawaiian shirt for an island theme.
11. Carry On Bag for Embarkation
Pack a carry on bag for the first day of your cruise. On embarkation day, it will take a few hours for your luggage to be delivered to your cabin.
Make sure to pack your first day essentials in your carry on bag including any medication, sunscreen and a bathing suit, and valuables.
12. Packing Cubes
Keep organized by using packing cubes for your cruise. They make it so much easier to unpack quickly once you get to your cruise cabin.
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Cruise ship lanyards are a very useful cruise accessory! As someone who has misplaced my cruise card on past cruises a lot, this is a must for me in recent years.
Recommended: Cruise lanyards
13. Bottle of Wine or Champagne
Carnival allows you to bring one bottle of wine or champagne per person on embarkation day in your carry on bag.
This can be a good way to save money on your cruise if you are a light drinker and don’t want to buy the Cheers beverage package.
Note – a corkage fee is charged if you drink the wine in the dining room, restaurant or bar.
14. Non-Alcoholic Beverages (small amount)
Carnival cruise passengers are able to bring a small amount of non-alcoholic beverages on board on embarkation day. The soda, juice or energy drinks must be in cans or carton (no plastic and glass bottles).
If you’d like to have bottles of water, Carnival has a reasonably priced water bottle packages available for purchase online before your cruise.
15. Reusable Water Bottle
Many cruisers like to bring a refillable water bottle for water and other beverages. Water is safe to drink on a Carnival cruise ship.
Recommended: Refillable & resuable water bottle
Don’t forget to pack make up, personal care items and feminine hygiene products if needed.
17. Cell Phone
Cell phones are not a necessity, but these days all cruise lines use an app onboard as well as pre-cruise. It’s handy to have a smart phone, even if you don’t buy a cruise ship internet package.
At the very least, you’ll likely take photos with your cell phone.
Your Carnival cruise packing list should include prescription and over the counter medication. When traveling, it’s a good idea to bring 2 extra weeks of prescription medication.
Make sure to bring sunscreen. If you’re going on a Caribbean cruise, it’s a good idea to pack reef friendly sunscreen. There are many cruise ports destinations that now require reef safe sunscreen and can issue fines.
20. Aloe Vera
With sea days and beach days, sunburns can happen on a cruise. Make sure to have some aloe vera in case you need sunburn relief!
This aloe vera gel is my favorite. It’s organic and non-sticky.
21. Lip Balm with SPF
Lips can get burned and swollen in the hot sun. Be sure to bring lip balm with SPF for all family members.
Recommended: Lip balm with SPF
Whether you’re on a Bermuda cruise or Alaska cruise, you’ll want to pack at least one bathing suit. For hot weather cruises, packing 2-3 bathing suits for a 7 day cruise is ideal.
Recommended: Ladies bathing suit
Recommended: Men’s bathing suit
23. Swimsuit Cover Up
24. Flip Flops
Recommended: Pool flip flops
25. Closed Toe Shoes or Sneakers
Closed toe shoes are a must to pack for a Carnival cruise. If you’d like to do some of the amazing activities onboard, many will require closed toe shoes.
Comfy sneakers are great walking shoes as well! I have these Reebok shoes and they are so cute and versatile.
Make sure to pack sports for your daytime shoes and dress socks for dress shoes if you dress up for formal night.
27. Shawl or Pashmina
The air conditioning can be cool in the dining room on your cruise, so it’s good to have a shawl, scarf, or pashmina to cover up your shoulders.
28. Cruise First Aid Kit
29. Motion Sickness Medication
If this is your first cruise, make sure to be prepared for motion sickness just in case. These are some of the best things to bring on your cruise to prevent and deal with seasickness.
Cruise Essentials to Bring on a Carnival Cruise
30. Non-Surge Protected Power Bar
Most Carnival cruise cabins won’t have many electric outlets or USB’s. Bring along a non-surge protected power bar.
Important – surge protector bars are prohibited on cruise ships, so don’t bring one from home.
31. Over the Door Organizer
Recommended: Over the door organizer
32. Magnetic Hooks
We like to hang a few magnet hooks on the cabin walls (they are metal). This way, we can hang our cruise lanyards, hats, bathing suits to dry and even backpacks and beach bags
Recommended: Magnetic hooks (35 lbs & up will work best)
33. Magnet Clips
Magnet clips are great to keep paperwork and your Carnival Fun Times (daily newsletter & planner) organized and off the counter in your stateroom.
Recommended: Magnet clips
34. Cruise Cabin Door Decorations
35. Hanging Toiletry Bag
36. Poo-Pourri Bathroom Spray
A bathroom spray is useful in compact cruise cabins for obvious reasons. Poo-pourri is a favorite “before you go” spray that works quite well.
37. Waterproof Phone Case
It’s a good idea to bring a waterproof phone case on your cruise, for sea days by the pool as well as port days by the beach. This one includes the ability to use the touch screen as well.
Recommended: Waterproof Phone Case with cruise lanyard
38. Towel Clips
Towel clips are wonderful to use on cruise ship deck chairs, to keep your towel in place when there’s an ocean breeze. It also makes it easier to recognize your chair!
Recommended: Cute towel clips (set of 2 pairs)
39. Towel Bands
An alternative to towel clips, especially if you’re trying to pack light or carry on only for your cruise, are towel bands.
Recommended: Towel bands (check price & 4.5* Amazon reviews here
40. Beach Bag
Make sure to pack a beach bag or tote to use for excursions. You’ll want one large enough for your towels, sunscreen and other essentials.
Recommended: Beach bag (extra large mesh tote)
41. Water Shoes
These lightweight water shoes are very comfortable and great for beach days at CocoCay or other destinations.
42. Wrinkle Release Spray
Recommended: Downy Wrinkle Release (travel size)
43. Portable Fan
This small fan is battery operated, but rechargeable, and gets great reviews on Amazon.
43. Motion Sensor Nightlight
Recommended: Motion sensor nightlight
44. Mesh Laundry Hamper
Recommended: Mesh laundry hamper (foldable & compact)
45. Travel Alarm Clock
This simple travel alarm clock is a favorite cruise travel essential. With time changes common on cruises, this simple clock will ensure that you won’t be late for early morning shore excursions!
Things You Can’t Bring on a Carnival Cruise
A Carnival cruise packing list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t let you know the things not to pack for your cruise. For safety reasons, many of these things are prohibited on a cruise ship.
If you bring these items, they’ll likely be confiscated by crew members.
Here’s a quick list:
- Candles or any item with an open flame
- Irons and clothes steamers
- Appliances with the exception of curling irons and hair straighteners
- CBD or cannabis
- Surge protected power strips (you can bring a non-surge protected power bar like this one)
Related and Popular Posts:
- 15 Genius Travel Gadgets & Tech Items to Bring on a Cruise
- What to Pack in Your Cruise Shore Excursion Day Bag
- 75 Genius Cruise Tips, Hacks & Secrets
- What to to Pack in Your Cruise Carry-On Bag
- 30 Cruise Cabin Hacks Every Cruiser Needs to Know
- The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Gratuities
- What I Wore on a 7 Day Caribbean Cruise
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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for a Carnival Cruise
If you’re going on a Carnival Cruise, this cruise packing list will help. This list includes important items to pack for your Carnival cruise, for the cruise ship, cabin and port visits.
Have you cruised with Carnival and do you have anything to add to this Carnival cruise packing list? Please let me in the comments below.
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