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Family Cruise Vacation Packing List

Family Cruise Vacation Packing List

Updated February 2020

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Packing for a Caribbean Cruise

Here is a list of items you want to be sure to include on a warm weather cruise, most likely to the Caribbean, with your family.

Pay close attention to the list of items you don’t want to buy on board—prices will be high and choices slim if you forget them.

Tips for Packing

Even the biggest state rooms are smaller and more compact than hotel rooms. Remember to use luggage you can easily stow away in your tiny state room.

Clothes: When you’re packing consider your most versatile clothes, like dresses that you can dress down for a shore excursion and dress-up for dinner.

I pack sport sandals instead of sneakers unless I know I’ll be hiking. They are comfortable to walk around in and can also get wet, which makes them more versatile.

Quick-dry shorts or capris and tops are really handy, too.

We’ve done all of our cruises so far with NCL, which has an optional dress-up night where people can really get fancy. For some families this is an important night and they use it to have family portraits taken by the ship’s photographers. We’ve never wanted to pack the extra clothes and opted out.

Some cruise lines do have requirements for evening dress. Check into whether yours does or if it has a dress-up night you want to take advantage of.

daypack: I always pack a light tote bag or drawstring backpack. On board it’s handy for keeping handy items like, a water bottle, book, sunglasses, phone and a sunhat. On shore days it held all those extras we needed for whatever activity we were doing.

Diapers: Moms of babies and toddlers, note that swim diapers are not on this list. Most cruise lines don’t allow them. Unless they’ll come in handy on shore you can’ leave them home.

If your child is still in diapers plan to spend more time around the splash pad and not much time in the pool, where he or she won’t be allowed to swim.

Find out what play rooms and programs they have for kids too young to use the kids club and when babysitting is available. Pack more or fewer toys depending on what they can offer.

the familiesgo! packing list for a family caribbean cruise vacation

Snorkel gear: If you plan special shore excursions make sure to pack any footwear, clothes or gear you’ll need.

travel fins are handy to pack for a cruise

I think it’s nice to carry your own snorkel gear. Because I’m pretty certain places that rent or loan it don’t worry about cleaning it.

Travel fins are not quite as good as regular ones in rough water. But they are much easier to pack and fine for most off-beach or excursion snorkeling.

Lanyards: If your cruise doesn’t provide ID bracelets bring lanyards for your keycards. You’ll need your room key with you all the time for everything. 

More often than not Tween Traveler and I are wearing clothes with no pockets. A lanyard would have saved me from having to carry a bag around all the time just to have someplace to put my key. And they’re they best way to keep kids from losing their keys. 

lanyards with retractable cords are handy on cruises for holding your room key.

My husband and I regretted all those conference  lanyards we tossed out as we were pricing them for $8 and up a cruise ship gift shop. 

Amazon sells a handy lanyard 3-pack for roughly the same price. 

And let us now if there is anything we forgot when packing for a cruise with kids. Happy sailing!

The Complete Caribbean Cruise Packing List.


  • Passports for everyone
  • Visas if required 
  • Airplane tickets/boarding passes
  • Receipts for prepaid land excursions
  • Reservation number 
  • Cruise line apps 

Things you DON’T want to buy on the ship

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Basic Toiletries
  • Spot stain remover
  • Laundry detergent pods
  • Batteries
  • Water bottles
  • Memory cards
  • Sunglasses
  • Lanyards for your key card


  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Charging cords
  • Power Strip or multi-outlet plug
  • E-reader/tablet
  • Waterproof camera
  • Phone
  • Portable charger 
  • Music player and headphones
  • waterproof phone case that goes around your neck


  • Pool shoes/flip-flops 
  • Sport sandals
  • Sneakers or hiking/walking shoes 
  • Casual dress shoes 

Clothing for adults

  • Sunhats 
  • Wrap or cardigan for air conditioning
  • 2 bathing suits per person
  • Cover-up 
  • 2-3 dresses that can go from casual to dressy
  • Shorts, skirts or skorts
  • Casual tops
  • Active wear
  • Capris or light pants
  • 1 light long-sleeve top (for the sun)
  • Pajamas
  • Under garments
  • Toiletries bag
  • Make-up

Clothing for kids

  • Sunhat2 bathing suits
  • Light hoodie or sweater
  • Underwear
  • 1 light long-sleeve top
  • Sun dresses
  • Shorts
  • Light pants
  • Short-sleeve tops
  • Capri leggings
  • 1 pair long shorts 
  • Pajamas
  • Toiletries

For little cruisers

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Rash ointment
  • Baby sunscreen
  • Bottles or sippy cups
  • Pacifiers
  • Mid-weight pajamas
  • Swim vest/floaties
  • Snuggly animal
  • Small toys 
  • Bedtime books
  • Baby blanket
  • Crib sheet

Optional Extras

  • Eyeglasses
  • Contact lens accessories
  • Aloe
  • 1 cocktail dress (moms)
  • Dress-up clothes for the kids
  • Slacks/jacket/tie (dads)
  • Exercise clothes
  • Specialty clothes for land excursions
  • Rain jackets
  • Kids books
  • Kids activity books
  • Portable board/card games
  • Books/magazines for you
  • Day tote bag
  • Snorkel gear (short fins)
  • Boogie board (for shore)

Download & Print This Packing List

You can download our printable packing list just below the graphic.

Or read it and click on the graphic to print it out:

the familiesgo! packing list for a caribbean cruise vacation with kids

Download our printable caribbean cruise packing list

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