5 Things I'm Glad I Packed for a Caribbean Cruise

Ahoy mateys! If you are like me, the mere mention of a cruise to the Caribbean gets you excited for sun-soaked shores, crystal-clear waters, and the rhythmic sway of the ocean. I thrive on new experiences and exploring new places, plus the thrill of the open sea and the possibilities ahead always make cruise travel exciting for me. I recently embarked on a memorable spring break cruise with one of my college kiddos to the Caribbean that left me with a treasure trove of memories and a newfound appreciation for the art of packing just the right thing to make your life that much more enjoyable! It is essential to be well-prepared and I'm excited to share this top five list of items that made my cruise experience not only unforgettable but also seamlessly enjoyable. If a cruise is in your future, take note!


5 Things I'm Glad I Packed for a Caribbean Cruise:
 You Won't Find These Items on Other Packing Lists!

cruise packing tips caribbean

You might be a seasoned travel pro, but you find yourself embarking for the first time on a cruise to the Caribbean, or you've set sail before and you want to brush up on your packing skills. Heck, maybe you just took a cruise to the Caribbean and you're curious if what I'm about to recommend as my top 5 travel items, are the same as your top 5 travel items. Let's compare notes! 

Don't miss this post: 7 First Time Cruise Tips for Your First Vacation at Sea

1. Travel Hammock

This was hands down the number one thing I'm glad that we had packed. I didn't see another single person pack a hammock on any of the beaches in any of the ports that we went to. This hammock is traditionally marketed as a camping hammock, so it probably doesn't even cross the minds of others to pack up their hammock and bring it along on a cruise vacation. But why not?

Seriously. Why not? Every beach spot we went to was happy to take at least $20 of our money for a chair rental. The hammock cost around $10 and we brought two of them and used them in every port that we visited. We didn't have any problems finding trees to hang them in and they pack up super small. They barely take up any room in luggage. 

2. Reusable Water Bottle

If you aren't traveling with a reusable water bottle, then you are making a rookie mistake. Buying water can add up. On our cruise, they had boxed water you could purchase for $6.50 per box. Or you could purchase a water package for the low low price of around $75 for unlimited water for the week. Or, you can use your reusable water bottle and fill up for FREE. 

Free is my favorite four-letter word! We didn't have any problems getting water on the ship. There are water and ice stations in several places. All had signs that asked you not to fill your water bottle directly from the ice and water station, so we just used a cup and filled them. Some waiters will fill it up from their pitcher as well. 

My biggest tip when bringing a water bottle is to make sure it doesn't leak. Say no to your big Stanley and pack this or this instead. And make sure your water bottle is double-wall insulated if you want things to stay cold. This is important when you are traveling to a hot climate that will melt anything! I could put ice in my water bottle the day before and there would still be ice-cold water in it the next day.

Did you know that you can pack ice through TSA? It's considered a solid. I like cold ice water, so this works great for me when I'm traveling because I can fill up my water bottle after security. 

If you like flavored water, these true lime or true grapefruit packets are my favorite. They add zero sugar and zero calories, but are 100% delicious! I use one packet in 24 or 32 ounces of water and it tastes delicious!

Don't miss this: A Beginner's Guide to Cruises

cruise packing list items caribbean

3. Phone Tripod

If you have been around my website or social media for any length of time you will know how much I LOVE my phone tripod. I bought it two years ago for a trip to Ireland and I've used it constantly since. This tripod folds up to about the size of a curling iron so it doesn't take up a lot of space. It's easy to pack in a backpack. 

As a mom, I spent years being behind the camera, and looking back, there were rarely photos with me in them. If I'm traveling solo or if we travel as a couple, now we can get photos with us in them. No awkward asks of other people to take a photo of us. The tripod comes with a Bluetooth button, but I can just use my watch camera setting

What's that you ask...aren't cruises known for their photography? Why yes, yes they are. I cruised back in the 90's and people on formal nights would line up in front of a backdrop before dinner to get their picture taken by the onboard photographer. They'd happily sell you a photo for cash dollars. They will STILL happily sell you a photo, but less and less people line up for these photo sessions. 

We actually stopped by a photographer one night and he was so eager and sweet and set up a 15-minute photo session that was the absolute most awkward thing ever! But you can still get your photo taken on a cruise. And it will cost you.

Because I brought my tripod I've got photos on the beach with our family together and pictures of us showered and dressed up before dinner. This extendable tripod phone stand is slowly becoming one of my favorite travel items and I'm glad we had it on our cruise.

4. Floaties

A Caribbean cruise has a lot of beach port stops. I love the beach. Sure, there are plenty of things you can do outside of having a beach day, but if your plan on any of the days includes a relaxing stop at a beach, pack the floaties. 

More and more cruise ships, especially in the Caribbean, have their own private islands. There are limited excursions on these islands, so likely you'll have a beach day at least once. Hands down, I patted myself on the back more than once for packing beach floaties. This is far and away my favorite beach float. It's comfortable and has a ton of neck support but also doesn't dip you too far into the water and did I mention that it has two cup holders? I also love it because the arms stay out of the water, so I can easily read a book in the water and not get the pages wet. 

We also packed something like this. We didn't have an air compressor so we blew them up at each stop, and these didn't require as much blowing up!

If you want to go next level, you could also bring this portable air pump that's rechargeable and battery powered so you don't need to use all your breath! 

cruise packing list caribbean

5. Card Games

It doesn't matter what your travel plans are, on a cruise, you will find yourself with downtime. Sometimes it's downtime waiting for the entertainment to start, or for your table to be ready for dinner. Maybe you've got a sea day and are looking for something to do or you are listening to some of the live music onboard enjoying a game together while sipping on a drink. Does that sound oddly specific? If it does, that was our favorite evening activity. 

While many ships have game rooms, it's nice to not be tied down to one area. We brought Cover Your Assets and Bananagrams on this cruise. Monopoly Deal, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, and Sushi Go would also be good games that are easy to pack and easy to play on a cruise.

Want to know what other cruise essentials I recommend? Check out this Amazon list!

Packing for a cruise requires some strategic planning. While I've seen plenty of packing lists for a cruise, I have yet to see one that has these five items listed on it. These five items were our trusty travel companions and they made the cruise that much more enjoyable! Bon Voyage my friends!

In case you missed it: What I Wish I Packed for my Cruise to Alaska

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