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18 Items to Pack in Your Cruise Carry-on

This list will vary a ton based on personal preference and needs. I always feel like I have too much now, but when traveling with a baby and a toddler there is not much choice. A large tote, backpack, rolling duffle, etc. will work. Make sure you check size requirements with your cruise line. If you have kids and sodas, or wine, use the bottom of the stroller to keep them.

A great rule of thumb is, if you need to have it, and can not go without it that day or the next couple of days, then take it in your carry-on.

1. Swimsuit

I generally wear a summer dress with sandals. I am not worried about swimming or getting in the hot tub. However, if you just want to relax in or near the pool or hot tub then wear your swimsuit under your clothes. Purchase a coverup that doubles as a dress and wear your flip flops, then you do not need to waste time changing.

2. Change of Clothes

Sometimes luggage gets lost, it has happened to my dad, so if at any point you think you might like to change just pack them. This is especially true if you want to eat in the main dining room or one of the restaurants.

3. Towel and Towel Clips

If you plan on going right to the pool or hot tub, you will need a towel. Kids can not get in the pool or hot tub unless they are fully potty trained.

4. Kid Items

A small toy, book, coloring book, etc. to keep them entertained. Also, consider bringing a sippy cup or bottle, pacifier, change of clothes. Definitely bring your baby’s diaper bag.

5. Stroller or Baby Carrier

It is so much easier to get babies and small toddlers on and off the ship. If you choose to bring a stroller, bring one that has a basket underneath to hold some carry-on items, like soda cases.

6. Sunscreen

A small bottle whether you will be sunbathing, in the pool or hot tub, exploring the outside of the ship, or enjoying a meal or drink in the sun.

7. Sunglasses

Of course! Enough said.

8. Passports/ID/Cruise Paperwork

You will need these for security and to check-in.

9. Cash and Credit Card

You will need it to tip the porters. You can use your credit card for your onboard spending account. We typically use cash but most prefer credit card.

10. Motion Sickness Medicine

Regardless of what type you use, be sure to have this easily accessible. You do not want to start your cruise feeling sick.

  • Seasickness wrist bands
  • Dramamine
  • Bonine (this is what we use on cruises)
  • Motion sickness patch
  • Ginger drops

11. Important medication

Keep all important medicine in your carry-on, because you do not want to risk it getting delayed, lost, or damaged.

12. Toiletries

I keep most of my toiletries with me, but Jason does not. Really depends of the person. I do not want to have to deal with replacing my makeup while on vacation.

13. Diapers and Wipes

Definitely pack these in your carry-on. The ship will be limited, if they have any at all, and be much more expensive.

14. Breast Pump or Formula

Extremely important so just do not take the chance. I personally understand that it is annoying to carry on a breast pump.

15. Lanyard

A great and easy way to keep your cruise card stored. You will use it to make onboard purchases and get in your room.

16. Electronics

Keep your iPad, tablets, etc. in your carry-on and be sure to keep these items locked away in your room safe. Also, keep a portable charger in your carry-on.

17. Jewelry

I do not take expensive jewelry, other than my wedding bands, but if you really want to bring nice or special pieces then pack them in your carry-on.

18. Wine/Champagne/Soda

These items are required to be carried on, check with your cruise line for specific restrictions and requirements.



What do you pack in your cruise carry-on? Tell us in the comments below!