Are you worried about how much luggage you can bring on a cruise? You’ll likely need to pack clothes for multiple occasions on your cruise, from lounging around the pools to attending a fine dining restaurant or dressy events in the evening to heart-racing activities like rock climbing or zip-lining. This makes packing tricky, and you may wonder “How much luggage can you take on a cruise?”
Unlike with airlines, there isn’t really a specific restriction on how much luggage you can take on a cruise, as long as it’s reasonable. But whatever you bring, you’ll need to be able to store it in your stateroom.
Your itinerary will also influence what you need to pack. If you’re cruising the Caribbean or other warm-weather locales, you’ll spend most of your time outside in the sun. This means that you can pack light, compact clothes. But if you’re a chronic over-packer, you may worry about what to bring and what not to bring on a cruise.
How Much Luggage Can You Take On A Cruise?
Most cruise ships don’t have a particular restriction on how much baggage you can bring on a cruise. The general rule is to limit your baggage to what you can carry comfortably and what fits in your stateroom. Since storage space in staterooms isn’t the largest, you will ideally limit your luggage to what can fit under the bed and/or in the closet. You can usually fit two pieces of luggage under a single bed. And, if you choose your luggage wisely, you’ll be able to nest smaller pieces within larger ones.
Remember that cruise ships have laundry services you can use while on board, so you won’t necessarily need new sets of clothes for every day. (Also, if applicable to you, check out our special packing tips for those sailing with babies.)
What Size Suitcase Can You Bring On A Cruise?
There isn’t a restriction on the suitcase size you can bring on a cruise. Indeed, you can even bring a real steamer trunk! That said, your specific cruise line may have some advice to offer. For instance, according to Carnival Cruises’ website, you should stick to a suitcase smaller than 55x23x15 inches, as this size fits comfortably in their staterooms.
Of course, you should also consider the transportability of the suitcases, as well as your disembarkation plans. There will be people available to help transport luggage to and from your stateroom, but if you want (or need) to be more independent, you should not bring more than you can handle yourself.
Do Cruise Lines Check Your Luggage?
Before boarding a cruise ship, you must go through security checks. You can choose to check your big suitcases at embarkation, and they will be delivered to your stateroom when it is ready. Or you can keep your suitcases with you as carry-on items. In this case, you must carry your suitcases around until your stateroom is ready, which may take a while.
Whether or not you check your suitcases, they will go through x-ray scanners to detect prohibited items. Therefore, your suitcases must have a TSA-approved lock, so the security officers can do an inspection if needed.
Your carry-on items also go through security scanners similar to the ones you find at an airport. Check the cruise line’s website to ensure you don’t bring prohibited items on the ship, like weapons or flammable things.
How Much Luggage Can You Take on a Cruise – Do Carry On Items Count?
You absolutely can bring carry-on luggage on the ship. You just need to actually be able to carry it around with you. Given that there may be substantial time between boarding the ship and gaining access to your room, you will probably want to check your larger or bulkier items, so you don’t have to lug them around everywhere.
If you choose to check your luggage in, you should bring a carry-on cruise bag with a spare change of clothes, some snacks, and a swimming costume. Doing so will ensure you can enjoy the cruise ship while you wait for your stateroom to be prepared.
When deciding how much luggage can you take on a cruise, it is very much a choose-your-adventure exercise. Formal restrictions are relatively limited. Your practical limitations will be the amount of storage in your stateroom, and how independent you want to be when getting on and off the ship.