Some of these things might seem obvious.
But as you’re packing for your first cruise and have a million and one things on your mind with the excitement (and a little bit of stress!), you want to make sure none of these things end up in your checked luggage!
These are things you mostly DO want to take with you on a cruise and add to that cruise packing list.
But you want to make sure that YOU personally have them, either on you or in your carry-on luggage, and that they are NOT packed away in your checked luggage!
What should you NOT pack in your checked cruise luggage?!
There are affiliate links below. You should totally check out some of the cruise outfit ideas. And you might be able to find some cruise outfits for 50% off here. Also see cruise formal outfit ideas too.
Also see possibly the most popular item specific for a cruise – these tags for your cruise luggage.
And also see these packing helpers to help you pack better and maybe even go carry-on only.
1. The important travel documents
Anything you can’t travel without!
Whether that means flying or getting on the cruise itself.
Some people like traveling with one of these travel wallets to keep travel essentials organized, and to have a convenient place to store their phone.
Do you need a passport for a Caribbean cruise as an American?!
You’re going to be stepping foot into a foreign country during your cruise, so you NEED your passport, right?!
Well, as long as you’re on a “closed-loop” cruise – that’s a cruise starting and ending at the same port in the U.S. – then you don’t need to travel with a passport, per the U.S. State Department.
But things can always change though, so check with the appropriate sources, including the recommendations of your cruise line.
That said, what you need and what you might want to have just in case are 2 different things!
If something happens to you when you’re in the cruise port and you can’t make it back to the ship, you’ll make things a lot easier if you’re carrying your passport with you when you’re stuck in a foreign country.
If you don’t have a passport, you can apply for a passport through the U.S. State Department.
You’ll generally want to allow for at least 6 weeks, but application process times can be longer if you’re applying during a busy time. You can also expedite the process if you need the passport more quickly.
2. Portable phone chargers
Well it would just be really horrible if your phone died right as you’re walking around the massive cruise ship the first time.
Because of course you want to take a picture! 😉
So make it so you never have to worry about your phone dying and carry a phone charger with you wherever you go.
If you’re packing any of the drinks you’re allowed to bring on a ship, you’ll want to pack that in your carry-on cruise luggage.
If you’re flying to start your cruise vacation, you do need to put it in checked luggage for your airline.
But before you check in for your cruise, you’ll want to transfer the drinks to your carry-on so you can take them on the cruise ship.
4. Prescription medications
Unfortunately part of travel is lost luggage.
If you’re flying to your cruise departure, this can mean lost luggage by the airline or airport.
And whether you’re flying or driving, it can mean lost luggage by your cruise line.
You probably won’t lose your luggage, but it’s still a good idea to plan in case the worst case scenario does happen.
So it’s best to make sure you are traveling closely with any important medications, instead of putting them in your checked luggage, even if you don’t think you’ll need it until later.
Look at the official TSA policy on traveling with prescription medications so you know what to expect and so you won’t have any unnecessary stress as a part of your vacation.
5. Anything you want immediately when you get on the cruise ship
Well, if your travel attire is different from your cruise attire, you might want to change immediately once you get onto the cruise ship to get straight into vacation mode!
In that case, make sure you pack those clothes in your carry-on luggage because your checked-in baggage may not arrive to your cruise cabin for hours.
For things to do on Carnival cruises on the first day of your cruise, going down the water slide can be a GREAT activity!
There will generally be minimal to NO wait time, unlike sea days that can have you in line for 10-15 minutes just to go down once if your cruise is during a school vacation with lots of kids and teens.
6. Your wallet essentials!
Don’t let your cruise be the ONE time you forget your credit card or driver’s license!
Also extra cash can always be a good thing when you’re traveling on a cruise and in foreign countries… just in case!
And then the one thing you want FOR your checked cruise luggage
Help the cruise ship employees make sure that the luggage gets to your room.
If the tag that has your cruise ship room number on it rips off… lost luggage on the cruise ship! (Don’t worry, it won’t be completely lost though, because it will likely at least be ON the cruise ship.)
But to avoid that hassle of a potentially stressful situation altogether, these types of cruise tags can help to keep your room number on your checked in luggage.
Regular luggage tags can also be good for your carry-on luggage in case you accidentally leave your bag behind.
You know, like when you get on the cruise ship, you go straight to the food… you eat… and then you go off exploring the big cruise ship… and you forget you had a bag with you.
You’re on vacation, so your mind may be scattered a bit. 😉
And of course, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly suitcase for your cruise, you can find cheaper suitcases on Amazon too.
HAPPY CRUISE PACKING!