How To Pack For A Caribbean Cruise

Being a fashion blogger, I definitely overpacked for our Caribbean cruise since I thought the beautiful scenery would make for great outfit photos. However I quickly realized that a gorgeous location doesn’t necessarily make for an ideal fashion photo backdrop. My hair would frizz up from humidity, it poured rain one day, was usually windy on the boat and I sometimes felt greasy from bug spray. Plus I didn’t want to bring my nice camera on most shore excursions where it could get wet or damaged from the sand. Looking back at what I packed, there are quite a few must-have pieces, but also some things I wouldn’t bring next time. We honesty lived in our swimsuits until it was time to clean up for dinner, so I thought it might be helpful to share the items that were the core of what I wore on the trip. Please let me know if there’s anything you would add!


Swimsuit. As much as I love the strappy styles and high necks, I tried to stick with a simple silhouette, like this Triangl suit so that I wouldn’t get funky tan lines. Whether we were at a port or still at sea, we definitely spent most of our time in swimwear.

Light coverup. I wore this white, lace one from Target every day, for both going up to the pool deck and walking around the beaches. One day I wore denim shorts and a tank over my swimsuit to explore, but I soon realized I prefer something breezy when you’re hot and sweaty from walking around.

Comfy sandals. Walking on sand or back to the boat with sandy feet can be uncomfortable, so simple slip-on styles are a must! Preferably a pair that you don’t care too much about since they will get kind of dirty.

Sun screen and bug spray. With the Zika scare in full force as we were traveling, I made sure to stock up on bug spray. Obviously I brought a few tubes of sunscreen, too. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 30 SPF has worked best for my sensitive skin over the years.

Tote or beach bag. Every morning I would load up my tote with sunscreen, sunglasses, my phone for taking photos, our Kindles and beach towels. It was a must for carrying everything to and from our stateroom.

Nice dress, skirt or romper. People can get pretty dressed up for evenings on the ship, especially if you’re going to a show or fancy restaurant. I found that I wore a lace romper (pictured above) and this embroidered dress most evenings.

Casual sundress or shorts/T-shirt combo. I brought a comfy cotton dress that I wore a lot, especially for just grabbing a quick bite up at the buffet. Definitely bring some casual pieces (like denim shorts and simple T-shirt) that are easy to throw on when you don’t feel like dressing up.

Neutral shoes. I try to keep shoes to a minimum when I travel since they take up a lot of space, so I stick to neutral colors and styles that will be versatile. My nude-colored heels and gladiator sandals were definitely used the most!

Tennis shoes. I wore my white converse for traveling and excursions that had a lot of walking involved, like our day trip to the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico. Although the white was not a good idea since it poured… ugh.

Hat. This is one thing I didn’t pack, but wish I had! I don’t like getting too much sun on my face and there isn’t exactly shade on the sun decks.

Sunglasses. I brought my go-to Marc Jacobs pair, but also packed some cheaper, yet still stylish aviators from Target to wear on shore in case I lost them in the water or something.

Books. My Kindle Paperwhite is a must while traveling, otherwise my suitcase might reach that 50 lb. limit with books alone. There’s nothing like a great read and sipping on a piña colada by the water. I went through a few books during the week and really enjoyed The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer and Confess by Colleen Hoover. Not exactly the deepest stories, but still entertaining beach reads.

Neutral accessories. I’m more of a costume jewelry person, so I packed a statement necklace to pair with simple studs and also some dangly earrings to dress up my romper pictured above. My rose gold watch and a versatile crossbody bag were the other accessories that I used a lot.

Jacket and light sweater. Be prepared for storms! I was not and spent the afternoon in Tulum getting drenched. A light sweater is also nice for the air conditioned boat or breezy evenings on the decks.

Travel sized beauty items and medications. I like to bring my own shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream and lotions rather than relying on the hotel/cruise ship. I also like buying the small pack of face wipes to remove makeup (just one less bottle to carry around). Since I didn’t know what to expect on the cruise, I also brought travel-sized containers of Dramamine, ibuprofen, Tums, allergy medicine, etc. Better safe than sorry!

Didn’t wear:

Workout clothes or running shoes. Rob, my workout-obsessed husband, convinced me that I’d want to hit the gym with him at least a couple times, like on our sea days. However, that didn’t happen. Even he only went to the gym once. I mean, you can workout at home, but how often can you lay by the pool and get your tan on in the Caribbean?!

Jeans. When I’m at home I like to dress up jeans for an evening out, but after eating so much and putting lotion on after showering off the sunscreen I was more comfortable in rompers or dresses. The only time I wore my skinnies was with this go-to travel look.

Blouses. I brought this bell sleeve top and this pretty lace number, but when I wanted to dress up I would gravitate towards dresses instead of something I had to pair with tight pants, as mentioned above.

Is there anything you would add to the list?