Packing Essentials for a Cruise Vacation!

Last weekend, I spent four luxurious days in the Gulf of Mexico on a Carnival Cruise! Leaving out of Galveston, this was just a quick trip with one stop to Cozumel. It was the perfect trip to celebrate with my future sister-in-law for her bachelorette. I’ve added a few pictures and highlights about our trip to the bottom of the post too!

Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive packing list, just my recommendations on what you should and should not bring for a cruise that is different than other forms of travel. I’ve only been on four cruises, so I am by no means an expert, but thought this would be more helpful than just a wanderlust post with pictures!

Wish I was still there. Notice the hat did not save me from burning on the first day.
Wish I was still there. Notice the hat did not save me from burning on the first day.

Packing Essentials for a Cruise:

1. For me, the most important item to remember to pack is sunscreen! #gingerproblems I’d also recommend a wide brim hat too!
2. Tumbler or insulated mug. I almost brought one with me, then at the last minute decided to skip packing one. Thankfully, since it was a bachelorette party the matron of honor had one for each of us! These were amazing. You are limited to the amount of bottled water allowed on the ship and the water from our sink was never cold, so I had to trek up to the buffet cafes to find water. The bottles in your room typically are not complimentary & cost an arm & a leg. I am serious. Bring one with you, it is a key!
3. Multiple swimsuits, nothing is worse than having to put on a cold, damp swimsuit in the morning! Two should be just fine, unless you are going on a long cruise, then more could be useful.
4. Beach bag/tote for days in port – I skipped bringing my normal large purse for opted for a beach bag with a cross body purse that doubled as a clutch. So glad I did because it was just one less thing to carry through the security line and I would not have needed my purse on the ship. I used my beach bag both on the ship and for our excursion in Cozumel.
5. A light sweater or jacket. Unless you are planning to skip all the shows, formal dinners & stay on the pool deck for the entire trip, I’d highly recommend bringing a jacket or sweater as the AC keeps things pretty cool!
6. One fancy outfit – not required, but I always enjoy dressing up and there are some good places on the ship for pictures!
7. Alcohol. I’m not going to get into ways to sneak alcohol onto the ship, you can do your own youtube search for tutorials, tons are out there, but I do recommend sneaking some aboard as drinks are very expensive!

Skip packing:
1. Beach towel – they have towels in your room, no need to take up space in your suitcase.
2. Laptop – unless you really have to have Internet (and want to shell out $$$ for it) or want to watch movies, it is completely unnecessary. I did bring my iPad, because I read on the kindle app, but I may even skip bringing it on my next cruise because I can also read from my phone.
3. Excessively high or uncomfortable heels. The boat rocks, even in calm waters, so that increases how unsteady you are in heels! I ended up switching to flip flips after a few hours in my 4″ heels anyways, so just save them for another time!

Pro tip, this also applies to airline travel: pack your jewelry & makeup in your carry on. A bag was lost on our ship and unfortunately, they had diamond earrings in it. I also don’t trust that the baggage handlers would be careful enough to keep eyeshadows & pressed powders from shattering. Plus, just think how much it would cost to replace ALL of your makeup & brushes.


Here’s a few pictures of the trip. We went to the towel creature creations class, and had a blast. The first animal we created is pictures below. What is it? The second one was a dog, which you can see at this link to my 2nd ever attempt at a time-lapse video. I think it turned out pretty good, don’t you?

Aardvark, Tapir, Snuffleupagus or Elephant?
Aardvark, Tapir, Snuffleupagus or Elephant?

This class was my second favorite part of the trip. Second to, you guessed it, the day on the beach in Cozumel!

Come sail away!
Come sail away!
Beach in Cozumel with palm trees, hammocks & lots of sunshine!
Perfect amenities for a relaxing day at the beach!
How gorgeous is this sunset over the Gulf of Mexico?
How gorgeous is this sunset over the Gulf of Mexico?

Be sure you’re following my new Instagram for the blog because I’ll be sharing a more pictures of the trip in next few weeks! Did I miss anything in the list that you’d recommend? Please let me know!

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