7 Carry-On–Friendly Essentials to Pack for a Cruise


(Image credit: @carodaur)

Headed on a cruise in the coming months? Then we certainly envy you. With the temperatures dropping lower every day, a warm-weather getaway via a cruise ship is the ultimate winter vacation. Ahh, the beauty of sitting poolside, sipping on Piña Coladas and fully relaxing on the water. But while the final destination is the perfect spot to unwind, actually getting there, well, that's another story. You'll have to go through the usual packing stress, with many cruises having a strict "one bag per person" policy.

Of course, you don't want to lug an oversize, 50-pound suitcase on board, so it's best to go with a carry-on bag. While the storage space is certainly more limited, a smaller travel bag will prove far more convenient in the long run. As for what to actually bring with you? We've curated a list of all the thing to pack in a carry-on for a cruise. Ahead, shop our selection, and get ready to sail away in style.

A Swimsuit

This is a no-brainer. If you're going on a cruise headed to a warm-weather destination, you'll likely be spending 90 percent of your time in a swimsuit.

An Elegant Slip Dress

After hours spent at the pool, you'll likely find yourself heading to a fancy dinner (or a show) on the boat. For this occasion, pack an elegant silk dress. It's lightweight, doesn't take up much room (great for a carry-on), and can be styled in so many ways.

A Sundress

For casual days of exploring, a sundress will always be a great go-to. Plus, it can easily be dressed up or down with the addition of a few simple accessories. 

A Verstaile Pair of Sandals

What's a warm-weather vacation without a pair of easy, versatile sandals? You can pair them just as easily with the slip dress as with the sundress and you can wear them to the pool or to dinner. Best of all, they don't take up much space in your carry-on.

Simple Sunglasses

Block out the UV rays and protect your eyes with a stylish pair of sunglasses. Trust us—this is one accessory you'll be so happy you packed.

A Straw Bag

Both practical and stylish, a straw bag is a cruise essential. Carry it poolside or during dinnertime.

Statement Earrings

No cruise trip is complete without a pair of statement earrings. Pick a bold, colorful style to go along with the beachy, summery vibes of your vacation.

Next up, shop the best travel makeup bags to bring with on your next vacation.

Eva Thomas