The best advice for a woman wondering what to pack for a cruise in the Caribbean is to pack light, and with more than one function in mind for each major item of clothing.

Asher & Lyric say this regarding things to bring on a cruise: “Before you commit to bringing anything, make a list of what activities you’ll be doing throughout the whole cruise. Plan out each day’s outfit, and try to stick to items that can be worn and repurposed.”

The list that follows covers what to bring on a cruise lasting one week. These are just the basics, based on our experiences. We haven’t included gadgets, pastimes, toiletries, etc. There are lines we won’t cross…

How to pack for a cruise? Read on!

The List of What to Pack for Your Cruise

The following categories represent common–and recommended–items packed for one-week Caribbean cruises:


  • Comfortable walking sandals: Make sure these are well broken-in. There’s nothing like a blister to ruin a day tour!
  • Running shoes: Wear these for exercise or more rugged excursions. They will be a godsend if you do get a blister, too.
  • Sturdy waterproof flip flops: Emphasis here is on sturdy. You will wear these a lot while onboard the ship.
  • Dressier shoes or sandals: Find a pair that can work for either formal or “smart casual.”

If You Get Chilly or Want to Stay Dry 

  • A medium weight semi-casual jacket: This will be a “go to” item since cruise ships don’t spare on the AC. You will need this for dinner and after-dinner events.
  • Two lightweight cardigans: These too will help offset the AC, and are good for onboard daytime wear. Remember, there will be “days at sea.”
  • A zip-up sweatshirt or fleece jacket: A necessary component when thinking about how to pack for your cruise. You might even want this to sleep in if your cabin is chilly!
  • A lightweight and packable rain jacket: We hope you don’t need this, but you should carry it with you on excursions, just in case.


  • A drip-dry sundress in a neutral color that can go from beach to dinner: You can wear it as a swimsuit cover-up or “dress it up with a light sweater and accessories.
  • One dressier dress: You definitely will want to pack one of these for your luxury Caribbean cruise. Depending on the length of the cruise, there will be one or two “formal” dinners. We recommend checking the cruise line’s dress code before packing clothes you plan to wear to dinner on any evening.

Tops and Bottoms

  • One pair of rugged pants (jeans or khakis): Some excursions will require them, and you can dress them up for less formal dinners.
  • Two pairs of nice, comfortable touring pants: These will work for dinner as well as touring.
  • One pair of exercise shorts (drip dry). If you work out every day, you might want to bring two.
  • Two pairs of longer “walking” shorts: Wear these for touring or daytime onboard the ship.
  • Four “nicer” tee shirts. Dress these up or down. You’ll be glad you brought them. At least one should be drip-dry.
  • Two or three “exercise tee shirts.” How many depends on how often and how intensely you work out. Also, one should be drip dry and have SPF for active water excursions.

Other Clothing

  • Two swimsuits: You will need both. Who wants to put on a swimsuit that’s still wet? You might want to take two different styles as well–make sure at least one is a one-piece; you’ll need it for some more active shore excursions.
  • A sun hat: Don’t get your face and shoulders sunburned. Use it along with sunscreen.
  • Socks, underwear, sleepwear, etc.

Miscellaneous Items

  • A medium-sized backpack for excursions (this can double as your carry-on bag, which you will want for the time after boarding when you’re still waiting for your larger suitcase).
  • A portable charger for all the devices you bring.
  • Other items that you “can’t live without”–just remember that you will have to unpack, repack, and lug around whatever you bring.

A Further Comment on How to Pack for a Cruise

It’s up to you to adopt this list of what to pack for your cruise as needed and put your own spin on your wardrobe. If you prefer not to wear dresses, pack lightweight pants and tops instead. If you don’t like sandals, pack comfortable closed-toe shoes instead. The medium-weight jacket can be anything from faded denim to wrinkle-resistant linen.

Bon Voyage!

Now that we’ve given you some advice on how to pack for a cruise, you are ready to start planning. Good luck and have the best time you possibly can on your cruise.And, be sure to take lots of pictures to share with friends and family back home!