What You Don’t Need to Pack for a Cruise #CarnivalPartner

by Carrie with Children with 78 comments

Packing for my family for trips isn’t always an easy task. From swimsuits to dining clothes, pajamas and everyday outfits, our suitcases can fill up pretty quickly.

We’ve cruised four times together as a family and I’m finally figuring out what we can leave at home when traveling. It’s made our suitcases lighter and, best of all – now there’s more room to bring home souvenirs!

Here’s a look at what you do *not* need to pack for your Carnival cruise 

Hair dryer

This may be the item that takes up the most room in a suitcase. It is awkwardly shaped and not used a lot either, so leave it at home.

You’ll find a hair dryer built into the powder station drawer in your stateroom. And I’m happy to report that each hair dryer I’ve used onboard has been heavy duty and just as great as mine at home. Don’t worry about your hair, you will still look fabulous!


I always have the urge to bring along a computer, in case I get the urge to write while I’m sailing. However, having a computer completely defeats the point of being on vacation! Instead, I bring along a small notebook to jot down notes during the week. There are wi-fi capabilities onboard (for a fee) and if you need your online ‘fix’, stop by the Internet Cafe to check in with your friends at home.


While we don’t typically use our stroller while we are on the ship, we have found it helpful to have an umbrella stroller on the days we are in port. There’s no need to bring one from home though, you can rent strollers on the ship at the kids camp.


For sailings 5-days or more, a stroller rental is $30. For 3-to-4 day sailings, it?s only $8 a day. Single strollers are available on all ships; and some ships even have double strollers available for rent. So, save your little one’s energy and let them ride in style while you are in port!

Waterproof Camera

If you’ve always wanted to capture some fun, underwater vacation pictures, don’t spend your money on purchasing a new camera – rent one on the ship! The ship’s shore excursions desk has underwater cameras and handheld, video cameras rentals available for the duration of your cruise, as well as daily rentals for those days you have fun adventures planned in port.


I laugh about it now, but when preparing for our first cruise – I packed snacks for the girls to last an entire week. Hello?! You’re on a cruise ship where most food is included, plus room service! There is no need to bring snacks for the kiddos. My girls were thrilled with the menu items each day and our afternoon ritual included room service PB&Js with potato chips during ‘family rest time’.

Beach and Pool Towels

Leave your big, fluffy towels at home and take advantage of the oversized, blue towels in your stateroom. When packing for our first cruise, I was so unsure about whether to bring my own towels. Don’t waste the space in your suitcase, because these towels are the perfect size for drying off after time in the pool and hot tub. You’ll be dry in no time!

You can use the towels on the ship and even while in port. Each evening, leave your blue towel out for your stateroom steward and you’ll have a fresh towel waiting for you upon your return. In addition to pool time, I love using my towel as a blanket to wrap up in during nightly Dive-In Movies on the Lido deck.

Don’t let the fear of packing stress you out. Before you know it, you’ll be sailing away without a care in the world. And you won’t even miss those items you chose to leave at home.

So, what are your tips for not overpacking? Are there things that you’d prefer to leave at home? Or are there things that you can’t leave home without when traveling? What travel item isn’t a necessity for your family?  I?d love to hear what works for you…

 What items do you suggest leaving at home?

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.



  • Carrie This Home

    What a helpful list!! I’ve never been on a cruise but our family is really hoping to go on one in the next few years. Now I know what I don’t need to pack!

    • Carrie with Children

      I’m so glad to hear it was helpful, Carrie! Cruising with kids is tons of fun, hope you all can make a trip soon.

    • Cottage

      Well put David. Concise, descriptive and accurate! Cheers.

      • SR

        Thank you for that. I hate it when people without manners and mad at the world just leave a horrible rude comment just to be mean like he did!!!

    • Gregg

      I’ve sailed on 3 different cruise lines and this list applies to all of them. Taking a laptop onboard is a waste. If you have to conduct business while onboard, you’re either too valuable to be away from work or you just think you are. Its a vacation! IF you feel the need to be connected, take a tablet and sign up for Wi-Fi. The internet speeds onboard usually suck so email is about all you’ll be able to do anyway. I figured this list is for first time cruisers anyway.

      Its all good.

    • Thomas Ryan

      I’ve been approximately 16 cruises (NCL, Princess, RCI, Carnival Holland, Premier, Disney and Celebrity), my wife has done about 20. They all have their ups and downs. Disney, lots of kids, but lets you bring as much alcohol you want on board and their drinks are reasonably priced. Carnival – Yes it is the low budget. Nothing worse that 45 y/o woman on an booze cruise trying to re live the glory days. This list is fairly accurate, just check the ship, some have self serve laundry that’s very reasonable if you don’t feel like overpacking.

      I’ll leave ALL with this. I was on an RCI cruise in Labadee Hati in 2013 and there was a ship announcement for O-Neg blood. Of the 3500 passengers on board 2 showed up including myself. Between me and 1 other gentleman we gave 5.5 pints of blood to save a passengers in order for him to be MEDEVAC out. He lived, long story short him and his wife were smart…:) they bought the $99.00 insurance at booking. In 2014 I followed up them to collect my free beer he said he owed me. He said the medical bills were over 1 Million and counting. Paid for by the insurance. Something to consider if you find yourself in a port of call and need help…..

    • Frank K

      Wow–glad to know he won’t be on my next Carnival cruise! Those are the kind of people that complain about everything during the cruise and then wonder why they are miserable.
      We’ve cruised Disney, MSC, Royal Caribbean, and Dolphin and continue coming back to Carnival (12th Carnival cruise scheduled in December)for the best value. Your list is very good for those who have not cruised that often before. My wife used to pack her hair dryer until RC confiscated it.

      • Christine

        I was just on Carnival and there was no hair dryer. I had brought my own so no worries. Everything is WAY over priced.

  • Shannan

    You’re so right about the towels! We cruised a few years ago and I wish I had your list then. You covered all the big ones!

    • Carrie with Children

      You can save a lot of room in the suitcase by not bringing towels! Glad you found the story helpful.

      • Strikelord

        An o.k. list, but I’m puzzled by one thing–If a cruise ship is a “floating hotel”, why bring your own towels? Who does that? Even the cheapest “No-tell Motel” has towels in the bathroom, and the better the hotel, the better and greater number of towels provided.

        • Mary Ann Peddicord

          Someone said that my above post was “brutal”. I did not mean for it to be – at all. I was just stating an obvious. Cruising is a business and they need to make money – does that mean that they do not want you to have fun – NO! Every single person I have ever met connected with the Cruising Industry wants their customers to have a GREAT time! They want you to have the best vacation you have ever had! They want you to come back and they want you to spread the word so that your friends and family will also try cruising and love it! Every member of the industry work VERY hard for the ships to be great and the food and the experience to be fun and just what you are looking for. If you are interested in cruising and not sure which ship or which cruise line is best for you PLEASE seek out a Cruise Planner! They are great and GREAT Cruise Planner’s charge NOTHING for their services. They will give you great service from beginning to end! And NO I am not a cruise planner, but I do know some GREAT ones!

  • Mary Beth

    Thank you so much for the great information! My husband and I are going on our first cruise this summer and I’ve already been agonizing over what to take! Your list helps me know what I don’t need to bother taking. I hope our cruise line has the availability of underwater cameras. That’s the big one for us.

    • Carrie with Children

      I hope you and your husband have a great trip and I’m glad to hear my story was helpful for you. Enjoy your cruise!

    • Mary Ann Peddicord

      The biggest mistakes first time cruisers make is over packing. I still do it sometimes. We always book ahead of time and give ourselves time to purchase gift certificates for ourselves that we then apply to our onboard account. We use cash to buy these so to not add to our credit card. Then when we are aboard we have that money to have laundry done, pay tips, do shore excursions – if we wish – (we have done very few) go to the casino, etc. all paid for! And if we do not spend it all they give the change back when we disembark. Any questions – just ask!

  • LinneyBean's mom

    Take comfortable shoes for excursions, one pair if you plan to dress for dinner and one pair of sandals/flip flops. Don’t take several pairs of shoes. Plan mix and match outfits to save room and remember there are laundry facilities. Don’t pack shampoo, conditioner or soap either as Carnival supplies that as well.

  • Melissa McCracken

    I found having our nice lightweight unrella stroller very helpful, at the airport especially! We were far away from the kids camp so,we used the stroller to take and pick up oir 4yr kid from camp. I also suggest taking walkie talkies!!

  • Robert

    For our first cruise my wife and I packed formal clothes including all of my three piece suits. On TV and in the movies everyone is SO dressed up for dinner. We each packed 6 formal outfits each! Our clothes took up every spare spot in the room. We had formal clothes for night, casual clothes for day, beach clothes, shopping clothes – we didn’t know what to expect so we basically packed everything we owned. We wore maybe half of it. We were overdressed at most of the dinners. The next cruise we cut it down and it was still too much. The next cruise we packed one suitcase each and paid to have some laundry done on the ship. It was so nice to not have all that luggage to deal with. Even the upgraded cabins have small closets.

  • Chad

    If you take ship towels on a shore excursion and they scan your card when you get them, make sure you turn them back in on the dock before re-boarding. We had a delay on shore and returned to the ship near the last minute. Staff rushed us up the gangway and through security before I realized I still had checked-out towels, and it was too late – we were already on board, with no way to prove we had returned the towels we took to shore. It took a lot of phone calls and not taking no for an answer to get the charge ($50?) removed from the bill.

  • joanne bagatelli

    We went on a cruise a couple years back and noticed a young lady(25 years old or so)who got off the boat with nothing but a small carry-on suitcase (about a 15-16 inch size). I believe all she packed was two min-skirts, two tops, and two swimsuits and hopefully some underwear. I’m nowhere near brave enough to pack for a week on the boat like that, but I guess it can be done.

  • sherrie

    I agree with most of these, but please check to make sure the ship you are going on has a hair dryer in your room. The ship we were on didn’t have them in the rooms, but luckily I brought my own.

    • Barbara

      We cruised on an older carnival ship which didn’t have a hairdryer in the room. If you ask for one they will supply it. Also If you need an ironing board and iron they will bring it to your room.

  • Jan

    This list is good if you’re an overpacker! One thing I would highly recommend taking is a small electric outlet splitter (the kind that makes one outlet into several) or a small surge protector. There are usually very few outlets in the room and ALWAYS more things than that to plug in!

  • Ronni

    This only works in larger staterooms. My reg cabin didn’t have a dryer, or extra towels…

    • Mary Ann Peddicord

      If you need extra towels, just ask your room attendant! They will help you with anything you need. He probably could have gotten you a hair dryer.

  • leecy fink

    we took extention cords and a surge protector for each of our two rroms. They were removed hw e they insoected our bags. They also took my small sound spa that I sleep with at nights. So wierd. We only had two plus in our room and none were near the beds…

    • Lisa

      Wow, we had no problems keeping our sound spa on either princess or royal Caribbean.

    • Angela

      Sorry to hear that. I’ve been on 16 cruises over 3 cruise lines (Celebrity, Holland America and Carnival) and have never had any trouble with my sound spa.

  • Andy


  • MariSela

    I wish I would have read this about two weeks ago. I just came back from a cruise to the Bahamas and my mom brought towels from home and I completely forgot to bring a stroller for my son so I had to carry him when we reached the port and it was a complete hassle. Great article and your right about those blue towels they are amazing. They even have bathrobes in the room!!!

  • Derek Etnyre

    Your crappy attitudes and small town hang ups. You are not in Hooterville anymore 🙂

  • robin garrett

    As far as the hair dryers go none of the group of fantacy ships have hair dryers so if you are going on one of those ships then pack your hair dryer

  • Martha

    Our biggest lesson was packing too much water our first cruise. We were not sure what to expect and the travel guides read all suggested taking your own water bottles. The water served on board is all filtered and we’ve had no issues. Of course, cruising now we get our complimentary bottle which usually is more than enough.

    • Diana

      That’s no longer a problem. You are no longer allowed to bring your own water on board Carnival, But they have drastically lowered the $ of bottled water and you can preorder for your room even cheaper.

  • Lynn Wash

    What about the drink packages?

    • Barbara

      The drink packages are over priced. Bring a water bottle from home if you must. At a port we purchased 6 pak of water and cokes. The water on the shop is filtered so you can refill your bottle.

  • Tracy

    Great list! Another thing I’ve brought on many cruises with the kiddos is an over-the-door shoe holder. I paid $5 for it at Ross. I put it over the bathroom door to hold sunglasses, Chapstick, small toys, and other little items that can easily get lost.

    • Barbara

      Purchased a hanging cosmetic bag (cheap one) and did the same thing for us senior citizens. Everything (first aid, lotions etc.) was in one location and easy to find. Might want to bring a laundry bag to use to wash clothes in the laundry area.

  • Efrem

    I agree with most of your comments, but not with one: Don’t leave your computer at home. Unless you use a cloud-based e-mail service and nothing else, your computer has your e-mail address list, earlier messages you might want to refer to or reply to, and more. It also provides a place to back up your photos so you don’t have to rely on nothing going wrong with your camera’s SD card. Finally, you won’t spend your entire trip on board the cruise ship. You might want to e-mail or surf the Web from a hotel or an airport.

    • Delmar H. Knudson

      I took my computer along on a princess cruise. It was difficult to get online in my stateroom or the special room where they often had a computer guy and some computers for your use. They charged a lot to use the internet, it was very slow, and if you didn’t remember to very specifically tell them you were through, you could pay for using the internet for 24 hours at an extremely high cost. I spent a lot of time to get on the internet 3 times, then gave up. Taking my computer with personal information along seems to leave one open to I.D. theft from employees who have keys. Not worth it.

    • Delmar H. Knudson

      I took my computer along on a princess cruise. It was difficult to get online in my stateroom or the special room where they often had a computer guy and some computers for your use. They charged a lot to use the internet, it was very slow, and if you didn’t remember to very specifically tell them you were through, you could pay for using the internet for 24 hours at an extremely high cost. I spent a lot of time to get on the internet 3 times, then gave up. Taking my computer with personal information along seems to leave one open to I.D. theft from employees who have keys.

  • Michelle Evarts

    Great list! I’ve cruised with carnival many times before and after kids. Here are some things I have found useful…
    If you have a child 2-5 and put them in camp carnival they will give you a cell phone for emergencies. This is helpful if you want everyone to be able to reach you.
    Bring insulated bottles/cups. You’ll appreciate the extra hour of coolness to your water or lemonade at the pool.
    We bought a little $20 rolling cooler and have brought it on the last few cruises. It was perfect to bring our one bottle of wine each and some sodas and waters. I heard carnival is changing their non-alcoholic drink policy, but if they still allow coolers I would bring it.
    Our stewards always kept ours filled. If you don’t have a hair dryer in your room ask your steward. They’ve always had them. There’s usually an iron in the laundry room so don’t waste your time with a travel one.
    I bring a little bit of powder detergent to wash a few things in the sink.
    Bring some Clorox wipes and plastic ziplock baggies. Wipe anywhere and everywhere you touch and drop the remote control in a baggie. I’ve even done the phone.
    Towel clips are great for the windy days. You can always get extra towels by the pool and either return them there or in your room so your steward can count them.
    If you love professional pictures, take plenty of them and group them together to review at the end.
    Have fun!!

  • allison

    For some reason Carnival doesn’t want surge protectors on board, hence the confiscation.

  • Rececca

    My husband and I are going on a 4 day curse with 3 days at port in the Bahamas only taking 2 backpacks. It can be done!

  • Tracy

    After multiple family cruises I still pack snacks. Some of those long excursions don’t have food on them and we were glad to have water and snacks we brought with.

  • Kim

    I find that I never wear the street clothes so I only bring 2 pair of jeans shorts and a couple of t shirts. I am in swim stuff all day. Then I change to dinner wear. I bring one outfit for the gym and use camping soap to rinse it each day. I have easily packed for a 10 day cruise in one suitcase. Only bring two pair of shoes.

  • Debbie

    the drink packages are over priced. You get all the water and tea you can drink. I take a few different flavors of Mio to put in the water when we want something other than plain water. Works well for kids

  • Christy

    There was a post about snacks for excursions, I used to bring snacks also then my steward explained they will pack snacks for shore excursions if you ask the room service or your dining room wait staff depending on type of snack you would like.
    We also stopped brining everyone’s individual shampoos and soaps we now only pack my daughters conditioner it saved a lot of weight and space as they provide shampoo and soap:) lotions etc. we even purchase our sunscreen (except that one daughter with RX) on board as the price is in line with our local drug store and it prevents us packing it.
    We tried renting formal wear one time I would not suggest it unless you are having a special event onboard, that leve of formal wear is not necessary normally on carnival 🙂
    Next cruise is on the count down 🙂 thank you for all the suggestions 🙂 especially the Clorox wipes o had not thought of that!

  • Tiffany

    We are getting ready to go on our third cruise and here are our tips. Turn off your phone, don’t bring your computer. “Getting away from it all” cannot happen if we treat it like every other day. Pre-pay gratuities and pay ahead some on-board cash. It feels so good when you are checking the sail and sign account and there is little to no balance because it was pre-paid. Feels all inclusive. sunscreen and after-sun gel. Paid $20 for after-sun gel at the on-board hospital because I burnt the 2nd island. Order whatever you want at dinner. If you want two desserts they will bring it to you. Or you want to try a rare appetizer like alligator but really want a salad as a back-up…order both. Print a map of the ship and keep with you so you know what floor and front-back the shows, dinner, ect. Are. Have fun!

  • Melody

    This list and comments help . We are leaving for our first cruise in a month. We are going with Royal Caribbean, how much are the photos on board ? I heard we should group them with our friends in another cabin ? What’s your thoughts ?

    • Tricia

      I just cruised Royal Carribean and had a room on 3rd floor. We had no hairdryer,no shampoo or lotions. I’m sure we could have asked Keita our cabin attendant for a hairdryer but I brought one. We did ask for an extension cord and got one. Someone on board did mention that a clothes iron would not have been allowed since they offer laundry service. It was a 9 day cruise and we had 2 dress up dinners. There was also theme nights that I was not aware of so was not prepared…one was 70s night, one was all white outfits night. I don’t know what or if there were others but just because I wasn’t prepared doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun people watching. Turns out the teenagers got a kick out of it. We had to go to the pool deck to get a towel for off boat fun and had to show our card to get it, they never scanned the card when I brought it back. This was my first cruise so I definitely over packed but glad I had options to choose from. My one issue I had as did other guests…people saving pool deck chairs all day long and if you watch some of those chairs you will see that no one ever goes near them even though there are signs saying stuff will be removed after a certain amount of time if no one is there. Just complain if necessary. Also, we prepurchased cases of water for the room instead of paying the expensive beverage packages. If you only purchase 1 or 2 drinks a day that’s only average $12.00 each…includes tip. Even if you prepay your tips, you still need to tip for drinks. Also, you should tip the important people at thee doc your trip…cabin attendant and waiter(s) if you feel they have performed their services well. If you choose to stay on board during in port days, there are things that are not open on the ship so look for other things to do…mine turned into a day at the pool. I would definitely cruise again!

  • Wendy

    If you don’t wear a watch, I highly recommend bringing a battery powered alarm clock set to ship time. When I get on board the first thing I do is throw my phone in my suitcase and forget about it for a week 🙂 Besides, the “real” time and “ship” time are often 2 different times

  • Tommi

    We recently took a two week cruise in the Mediterranean followed by a week in Italy — there was no way to pack that much. What saved us was “wrinkle remover”! It is a sp re ay in a can. I carefully ironed everything (ugh) that needed before packing and then used the wrinkle remover to keep everything fresh and nice looking … perfect!

  • Kate

    Thank you all for the great tips about cruising. Have never been, but hope to someday.

  • Michelle

    My husband and I are going on a 15 night cruise soon and are planning a couple of laundry days. I was planning on 2 pair of pants, 3 shorts and 5-6 tops. Plus 2 dresses for the formal nights. Too much? Best way to downsize?

  • charla

    Most showers have a laundry line, bring a few clothes pins, bring less underwear/bras and wash in shower with u, hang to dry. Bring one dress or pant for dinner, change tops or add sweater, or jacket for different looks..one pair dress sandals, sneakers, regular sandals and flip flops, can’t go wrong with black or white for all..Bring one floppy hat, 2 swimsuits, one pair of shorts or capris for shore excursions..extra tops to change off. That’s all u need!

    • Liz

      if you plan to do your own laundry bring some Tide Pods. A few years ago we were staying in port for a few days after the cruise and did some laundry. We were purchasing the little boxes of detergent when someone came in with a Baggie of tides pods,and I thought what a great idea.

  • Lisa

    I agree with some of your list, hair dryer for one. Computer, so nice you get to leave your computer home. Some of us with work/businesses need to check in. Yeah, it’s a vacation and some of us need to work on vacation but the alternative is no vacation at all.
    Towels: the towels on the ship are heavy and even heavier when wet. This makes them inconvenient to carry in your backpack/bag on off ship excursions. I bring lightweight beach towels for off ship (less than $4 at Walmart). Strollers, some people need the strollers to get on and off the ship at home port. It’s nice they have inexpensive rentals, but not convenient for everyone. Snacks: bring baggies to take snacks to room or on excursions. I used to bring my own water bottles on board, but Carnival no longer allows this. They did reduce their bottled water prices (which means they were price gouging everyone before), but still over charge. Carry empty travel water bottles and refill in the buffet.
    Waterproof camera. No need to even carry one. I have a waterproof bag that I put my phone in. I put my lanyard on it and carry everything in it, even around ship. The phone is much lighter than the camera and all my pictures are in one place, which I upload every night to my computer so they are backed up (2nd reason to bring a computer).

  • Carmen

    Having completed 14 cruises, I would disagree with more than half of your list. I am picky about what I use on my hair, so I always take shampoo, conditioner, and styling products. DH & DS use what’s on board or what I take. I also always take my dryer – I have thick curly/wavy hair, and most of the ones supplied simply do not cut it. I have a travel dryer that folds in half and is very light weight. When DS was younger (he’s 14 now), taking our own umbrella stroller was invaluable, especially on embarkation and disembarkation. I have always either taken a laptop, or now my Surface2. I do take notes on it and upload photos, but don’t use it to get online except at a hotel before/after the cruise. I purchased my own waterproof case for my pocket case. It’s been awesome for use on the beach and when we do cave tubing in Belize. I also always pack a surge protector on ALL trips – to just cruises. Lots of stuff to charge. And my cruise only item is the over the door shoe holder. Helps keep the cabin neat and tidy and our things easy to find.

  • Susan

    we are going on The princess cruise to Alaska from Seattle in may– first time -we are celebrating a big anniversary this year. Do I need a hair dryer –can we bring wine for cabin I have heard its expensive on the ship– – I heard all the tipping is included?? Is this true ? Do I need my own water — how dressy? — its only a week? Is there a web-site to check all my questions or would AAA tell me ? thank you

    • Carmen

      Hairdryer – depends on your hair. I don’t travel without one. The wine question is Princess-specific. Since I carry on wine, I cannot answer this one, but don’t be surprised if there is a $15 corkage per bottle. Tipping/daily service charge – or what ever Princess calls it is not included unless you either pre-paid it or gratuities were a perk when you booked. You definitely do not need to carry water on. Princess still has 2 formal nights on a 7 night cruise. AAA is not a great source for cruise info unless the person you’re working with cruises a lot and is very familiar with the line you’re cruising. The absolute best place for cruise info is http://www.cruisecritic.com. Go to the Princess board and even check out the roll call for your cruise.

      • Susan

        What type of hair? I do have thick hair to dry and I did some research. This cruise ship has hair dryers in bathroom. I never take my hair dryer anymore -My question was dumb, as they are provided every where now. We are taking a couple bottles of wine and it will be drunk in our room on balcony -why a would there be a cork fee?My husband can do that. It looks like the tips are included already and there may be 2 formal nights — but from what I read , it seems pretty much up to you to the dress and its from casual nice to dressy– Just no holes in jeans and swim wear which is not me. Its probably the kind of clothes I wear to symphony.
        I have checked cruise critic too- we have months to prepare,since we are going in May and I’m excited.

        • Carmen

          There is a corkage fee – the price for bringing your own wine aboard. Doesn’t matter who opens it. There are some lines where you can’t bring any alcohol on board – it makes your luggage go to the naughty room.

          Unless you prepaid gratuities or got that as a perk, I can guaranty they are not included. (usually $12 per person per day on average)

          If it’s the blow dryer in the bathroom, it’s one of those old hose ones that are crap. They will not dry my hair. YMMV.

          You can certainly do what you want, I’m just trying to give you a heads-up. I’ve cruise Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, so I do have a bit of experience. I’m not just talking about what I’ve heard.

          • Susan

            It sounds like you are a season traveler. The hair dryers are always that bad huh?
            I have never had a problem when we travel- we stay at world marks and interval internationals over years. I will check – a hair dryer is bulky.
            It looks like 1 to 2 bottles of wine can be brought on princess – no beer or hard stuff. We are not heavy drinkers. A small glass of wine-very small and My husband likes a small beer the good stuff! ha- I don’t think the pre purchase would benefit us- will research more.
            -My neighbor said they took wine on in carry on and drank it nightly on balcony with room service and appetizers — so who to believe? But it was Holland… each line has rules of their own. thanks for help- we have lots of time to search all these questions.

          • Dan

            Just a few comments.
            -There is no corkage fee on Carnival unless you want to take the bottle to the dinning room and drink it there.
            -My wife never has a problem with the hair dryer.
            -We have never had a surge protector/power strip taken away.

            Leaving in one week for our 5th cruise with Carnival.

          • Carmen

            Dan – The person you replied to is going on Princess, not Carnival, where there is a corkage fee.

            Your wife’s hair is obviously much thinner than mine or she’s not as picky about blow dryers. Either way, this is a YMMV issue and I was simply giving my POV.

            Also, I made no mention of a surge protector being taken away, nor did the OP. I’ve also never had one taken away, but I also pack it in my carry on.

            Leaving on my 15th cruise in about 2 months. And I’ve sailed on more than Carnival.

    • Ruth

      Just returned from a Ruby Princess Inside Passage cruise last night. You can take 1 bottle of wine per adult; additional bottles incur the corkage fee. The also sell full and half bottles on board. Half bottles of Robert Mondavi wines were $5 and served a generous two glasses. The hair dryer was adequate…I have thick hair, so it took longer than normal but got the job done. Formal nights were not much. I took a lace top to wear over slacks and was probably over dressed. Many people just dressed like they did on the rest of the trip. Gratuities are charged on pretty much everything, but you can prepay the daily room gratuity ($11.50 per person per night). The bottled water is $2 for an 8-oz bottle, which was handy for excursions and no more than what you’d pay in a shop on shore. I bought a coffee mug which I was able to refill with coffee or hot tea throughout the trip at no additional charge, and I took a water bottle from home that I could fill with iced tea, also at no extra charge. I took my own hair care and other toiletries in small sizes that I could throw away at the end of the trip. You leave your packed bag outside your door the night before you disembark, so anything you need to get ready the morning you disembark will have to be carried on your flight unless you want to spend some time repacking after you retrieve your bag. Check the weather…We had daytime temps mostly in the mid-50’s, and one of our at sea days was completely socked in and rainy, so very few people were out on deck or watching the movies they play on deck.

      • Susan

        thanks to everything you told me very helpful and I did check about tipping- 11.50 per person a day added and 1 bottle of wine can be brought on confused to water — why would we have to pay for water coffee and tea? — we are driving to Seattle,no flight — will park car — so do I need extra bag for overnight clothes then? we are doing inside passage on princess crown in may to Alaska with balcony suite – I have lots of time to make notes- but thanks — I had heard dryers do fine too– thanks

        • Carmen

          You would only pay for any bottle water (including the big bottle they leave in your cabin). Regular tea (hot or cold) or coffee in the buffet or MDRs would also be free. Any specialty coffees or teas, there would be charges.

          I would always have a carry on per person. In those bags should be at least one change of clothes (more underclothes, IMO), toiletries, any medications, all electronics (as well as chargers, etc). I always carry on all my toiletries as well as anything you absolutely cannot be without.

          Also, if you are in a suite, your gratuities will be more than $11.50. If you’re in a balcony, $11.50 is right for Princess.

    • lfox18

      We took this cruise a few years ago. We brought our own wine – no problem. Every afternoon we went to the buffet to get a plate of cheese and crackers. Brought it back to our balcony and had wine and cheese and watched for whales and sealife. Magic!

  • Jerry

    We will be embarking on out 20-somethingth cruise in a couple months. My suggestion for “What to leave home” is: KIDS.

    • CruiseNut

      Why on earth would you have kids and not want to spend a vacation with them? My wife and kid are so much fun to be with, I wouldn’t want to leave them behind.

  • Beth

    I say, skip the dressed up dinners and just go to the buffet for dinner. This means that you can eat when it is convenient for you, the food is pretty much the same thing they are serving in the restaurants and you don’t have to pack dress clothes. I dress every single day for work, not dressing up is vacation.

    • Carmen

      Some people aren’t buffet people. I’m one of them. I’d rather sit at a table and be served on vacation. I cook at home so vacation time is a time where I get to be served instead of doing the serving. And most lines aren’t that dressy even on formal nights anymore.

  • Suburbtastic

    Good tips! I completely agree with the laptop tip. I brought mine along and never used it, and I liked it!

  • Missy

    If the beach towel issue is a struggle for you, simply buy one in port, use it and consider it as one of your souveniers. That’s what I picked up as a tip for our first cruise and it was a great piece of advise. The shoe organizer for over the bathroom door is a definite lifesaver – everything and everything will fit and keep your cabin much neater and manageable. We prepaid our gratuities, drink package, shore excursion, anything we could do. THEN, we made sure to tip well our cabin steward and main dining room wait staff extra despite the prepaid on expressing our appreciation for their patience “with us first timers” on the very first night. We were treated like absolute royalty. If you tip them extra the first night, they are more likely to take extra care of you the entire cruise as you have made an impression is what we have been told countless time from more seasoned cruisers. There was a hairdryer in our cabin that was equivalent to mine at home – my hair is fine and curly – to give it perfect humidity frizz :/ We found we preferred the main dining to the buffet dinners – and are going to try this for the other meals for our next cruise that is coming up in January ;o)
    (and DEFINITELY take a travel adaptor/surge protector for phone charging extra outlets – LIFESAVER again). BTW, this was RC – we were very pleased and the only thing I need to do this time is pack less, lol.

  • Carol Samuel

    I was amazed at some of the comments that I read. I don’t understand why people use crude language and seem to enjoy belittling others. Most of the suggestions seem to be useful, especially first-time sailers and those with children. My husband and I have taken over 20 cruises. We have gone from 2 suitcases each to 1 suitcase each. This still allows us room for the gifts for the grandchildren. We do not use the dining room facilities as we don’t want to dress up on our vacation. That is our choice. It in no way means we think those that use it are wrong. We enjoy spending time on the boat-people watching. We go into port, do some shopping and then return to the boat. Most of the other passengers are in port, so the boat is almost empty. The prices, conveniences, etc are priced within a normal range to each other. Stop complaining and enjoy a cruise!!!!
    *If you cannot spell correctly or use correct grammar, please do not waste our time with your drivel

  • adrienne

    just a note: good suggestions, good advice, but snarky answers are not a good thing. Is it poor taste, or over tired from too much travel? Just ignore, appreciate people will read your article. We did find because we pack lightly and wear the same things frequently (15 day cruises) we really didn’t want to pack to have to send home,( extended land trips following cruise). We would have ship laundry do items we were tired of wearing or didn’t want to lug on land trip, and then offered to steward if they could give them to anyone who could use them. They were grateful and appreciative since there are crew members you will never encounter on board who are thrilled to have things to give to their families back home, and do not feel insulted, but actually have sent us lovely messages. Happy Sailing, enjoy and appreciate you have a readership. (P.S. there are times kids are not necessary for a good vacation for a couple. Those trips should be planned with the children in mind, not necessary to make the children part of an adult trip, so don’t chastise those who suggest leave children at home)