What to Pack: Cruise Edition

Oh hey guys! We got back from our Mexican cruise this past weekend, so I’m still getting adjusted to life as a landlubber, so no outfit post for you all today, but instead…I thought you might like to see a Style On Target cruise packing list!


I needed some help on what to pack for the cruise, and I ended up creating this after not finding a lot! It’s kind of similar to my Hawaii What to Pack post, but since cruises have very specific wardrobe needs, I figured I could update it to reflect that a bit. For this cruise, we’re going on a 5-day cruise with two stops, so we’ll be on the boat for a good portion of the time, but I’ll need a good mix of on-boat clothes and off-boat clothes. I can personally guarantee that all these items can fit into a regulation sized carry-on suitcase, your personal item (use a beach tote and put your purse inside it along with your in-flight entertainment items), and what you end up wearing on the plane.

Super great right? Feel free to send me the $20-50 you save on checked bag fees. ;)

  • Pop of Color Tee: Casual and cool and works to give you some excitement to your basic shorts. Tuck it into a skirt for a casual, but dressy dinner outfit or pair with shorts for exploring!
  • Stripe Tee: You know I love me some stripes and probably can’t last 5 days without. Wear it with the shorts and your light jacket. Or wear it with your graphic shorts. Or with everything (too much?)!
  • Graphic Tee: Perfect for site-seeing. They work with shorts, skirts, and jeans. Easy peasy, right?
  • Breezy Embroidered Top: Classier than a t-shirt, but not too heavy for those tropical temperatures.
  • Light Jacket: This could be denim or a rain jacket or a anorak jacket. Take one.  Trust me. Beaches get chilly at night, plus it can double as a blanket on the plane.
  • Shorts (navy, chambray, and print): These can be used for casual day looks, paired with a color tee and statement necklace for night, or as a swimsuit coverup. Oh, and it’s HOT in the tropics. Shorts are a need.
  • Skirts (stripe and blue): Skirts are great, because they’re instantly classier than shorts, even when paired with tees. How cute would your breezy top be paired with a skirt?
  • Dresses (1, 2): For a fancy dinner (elegant night) or a casual dinner on the beach. Plus, you can always throw a t-shirt over it, knot the tee, and then you have another outfit!
  • Two Swimsuits (how cute is this anchor one?!): One to wear Day 1, one to wear Day 2. Continue to alternate, because there is nothing worse than a wet, cold swimsuit (am I right?)!
  • Beach Hat: Perfect for “Days at Sea” when you’ve got a book in one hand and the sun in your face!
  • Crossbody Purse: Hands-free traveling is the best kind. This purse is pricey, but you can find more affordable ones. It easily holds a wallet, tickets, sunglasses, camera, and a small bottle of water, which is exactly what I need it to hold and no more!
  • One or Two Pairs of Sunglasses: I always suggest bringing two pairs because my husband and I are notorious for losing them in the ocean (I mean, we’ve been on two beach trips together and have lost a pair on each vacation!). We’re embarrasing, we know.
  • Sneakers: These are the shoes you wear when you’re exploring ruins or using the on-boat gym. Lightweight and in a neutral color. This pair doesn’t scream tourist. Don’t pack these and wear them on the plane to save room!
  • Sandals: This gold braided pair from Target is perfect because it’s classier than the Birks, small and easily packed, and adds some interest.
  • Espadrille Flats: I just included these, because I brought them on our trip, and I love how made every outfit better!

So that’s it for my cruise packing guide. Obviously, you’ll need accessories, undergarments, toiletries (hello sunscreen and motion sickness pills! #glamourous), books/magazines/Kindles/iPads, etc., but that’s more person to person needs anyway.

Is there anything you would add or subtract from my list?

  • Alyssa D

    How have your Espadrille flats held up? I would love to get them but some of the reviews on Target say they fall apart pretty easily.

  • Rebecca

    Do you own that J Crew stripey skirt? I want to see it in person because it’s adorable!

  • Great packing list! I would definitely bring all of this too! Can’t wait to see pictures from your trip!

  • So hopeful that I will get to pack for a cruise someday in the not-to-distant future. Your list is really thoughtful and actually perfect for beach resort vacays, too. Thank you for sharing.

  • This is perfection! Love the colors and the mix & match possibilities. For my own typical vacation needs I’d probably do one less on the skirt/shorts and put in a pair of white jeans and this list is WAY good to go for me.

    And pretty funny (though probably not so surprising) that many of these items – the exact ones – are showing up in the Bahamas packing post I just started putting together :) I always try to do a carry-on sized suitcase for a trip like this because really you don’t need very many clothes on an all-inclusive beach vacation – I spend the vast majority of every day in a bathing suit, and the mornings in workout gear because we’re old people and play tennis before we go to the pool every morning – but it can be a little hard to find a balance between packing light and being all excited to get to wear fun summer clothes that haven’t seen the light of day in forever!

    Hope your cruise was so great!

  • Kaci

    Great list! I definitely agree with the inclusion of a jacket – it’s a must have if you’re going to be out on one of the upper decks of the boat at night.