The Best Carnival Cruise Packing List and Tips
We’re preparing for a warm weather Carnival cruise, and decided to do something we’ve never done! We’re sharing our Carnival Cruise packing list with you (gulp!). Yep, all the nitty gritty little things we’re packing can be found right here.
And, if you want to see some of these items in action, check out this Cabin Hacks video we filmed onboard.
Weather Conditions & Planning Tips
While this packing list is meant to be used for ANY warm weather destination, I want to share some important details to give you an idea for this particular trip!
We’re headed to the Mexican Riviera for an early fall cruise (September). The cruise departs from California, which contrary to what some may think, isn’t always warm and sunny! Particularly once you’re onboard the ship, and subject to those ocean breezes! We’ll be headed South, to the cities of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. The weather in these Mexican Riviera ports is quite warm year round, with Cabo San Lucas being typically dry, and Puerto Vallarta, a bit more humid and balmy. Mazatlan falls somewhere in the middle of those two weather patterns, but overall, expect it to be warm and somewhat humid.
Because the cruise leaves from California, you’ll notice that we’ll pack one pair of jeans and a warm hoodie or sweater. I mention this because if we were packing for a Caribbean cruise (a bit of a different packing list!), we’d likely leave the jeans and hoodie HOME. But since California weather can be a bit cool and unpredictable, we want some warmer clothing, just in case.
If you’re cruising the Mexican Riviera during the winter or spring months, PLEASE pack some warm clothes, possibly even a jacket for those sea days going up and down the coast of California. California and the upper Baja Peninsula can remain quite cool and breezy before you reach warm, sunny Cabo San Lucas.
This packing list would be perfectly suitable for a Caribbean or Bahamas cruise too! Really, this Carnival Cruise Packing List can be easily adapted for any warm weather destination.
If you’re like me, and you prefer the video version, this Pack with Me video should do the trick. Filmed just before our Carnival Cruise, we show you many of the items listed below, and talk about why we chose to pack them, and how this cruise was different from others we’ve been on. And it WAS different!
Want to see what we packed for our summer Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean? You’ll like this video, and there were LOTS of things that set this trip apart because the Caribbean weather is MUCH warmer, and we were flying to port. Don’t miss that video!
Want to shop this article? We’ve hyperlinked lots of products, but this “as seen in” list covers many of the products listed, and will allow you to save time by shopping in just one place.
Looking for a printable cruise packing list?
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Packing Techniques & Tools
If you’ve been around the CTTV community for a while, you know the virtues of packing cubes! Yes, these little beauties come in every print, color and style you can imagine, and let me tell you, they make packing a BREEZE. Needless to say, we’re using them on this trip. One color for each member of the family and they should ABSOLUTELY become a part of your Carnival Cruise packing list!
Suitcases are kind of a personal thing, IMO. Mine are so old and scratched up that I’m not going to show you a close up photo. What you’ll want to know is that we’re taking a combination of carry on suitcases, a camera backpack for my husband’s gear, and one slightly larger suitcases on this trip. Typically, we pack carry-on only, but since we’re driving to port, we’re not going quite as extreme as a cruise where a flight is required. Let’s get to the Carnival Cruise packing list!
If you prefer a printable cruise packing list, our Intro to Cruising Master Class has it all. For $5 off the course, use the code ALLABOARD.
Packing List: Toiletries & Random Items
- Lightweight foldable backpack
- Travel Size Shampoo & Conditioner
- Haircare items
- Hot tools (curling iron/flat iron)
- Body lotion
- Shaving cream
- LiquidIV – for hydration & immunity (25% off using this link)
- Reusable hot/cold water bottle
- Medications (pain reliever, cold relief, allergy relief, heartburn relief)
- Foam hand soap for stateroom bathroom
- Bandaids & butterfly closures
- Antibiotic ointment
- Sleep mask
- Cotton balls
- Baby powder (for beach days -takes sand off your feet!)
A little note about toiletries: this is personal stuff. The list above just contains examples of what works for us. We don’t always pack ALL of this either, but for the sake of being thorough, we outlined a pretty exhaustive list.
What’s in my embarkation day bag:
- Passports – tucked into a neck wallet or combo vaccine card pouch
- Pen (keep near passports)
- COVID Vaccine Cards in waterproof protectant pouch
- COVID test results (staff prefer them printed out!)
- Boarding documents (boarding passes, luggage tags, cruise contract, etc)
- If flying, boarding passes, face masks for airport flight, and other flight documentation
- Phone, chargers, cables, earbuds (kept in this handy bag)
- USB Charging hub
- $1 and $5 bills for tipping porters and bartenders
- Wallet, car keys
- Toiletries (we elaborate on those above)
- Lanyards (so you can go “hands free” with your cruise card)
- Swimwear for the family (goggles for junior)
- Hand sanitizing wipes
- Clorox wipes for a quick cabin wipe down
- 1 change of clothes for each member of the family (in the event of luggage delays)
- Camera & camera equipment
- Laptop & laptop sleeve (if working)
- Soda & allowable champagne or wine
- Champagne stopper (keeps the bubbles longer!)
- All of the above is packed into this backpack or a rolling carry-on size suitcase (with our soda)
Health & Safety Items
- Clorox or similar disinfecting wipes (for cabin surfaces & door handles)
- Face masks (disposable or washable)
- Hand sanitizing wipes
- Medications (we recommend packing extra prescription medication in the event of travel delays)
Clothing & Accessories
- Shoes (flip flops, athletic shoes or sneakers, formal pumps, wedges for dinner)
- Swim cover ups
- Sun protective clothing (like rash guards for beach days)
- Formal wear (2 nights)
- Casual dinners (5 nights). For me, this means 5 casual dresses. For my husband, 5 casual pants & 5 collared “surf” style shirts.
- Workout clothes (also nice for Skyride, Skyzone, etc)
- Jeans (1 pair only- this is a warm weather cruise)
- Hoodie or light jacket (just 1)
- Jewelry (nothing fancy)
- Small travel purse for evenings (to carry lipstick, phone/camera & cruise card to dinner)
- Wall mount itinerary – here’s a sample you can customize
- Binder to hold paperwork, reservations, etc (optional) – here’s how to make one
- Wall mount magnets (use one to hold up itinerary on wall for easy reference)
- Sticky notes
- Highlighter pen
- Pop up hamper
- Mesh pouch to hold all of the above!
- And… Cruising ducks!
That’s a wrap! Your turn!
We hope this Carnival Cruise Packing List helped you to get started on your cruise planning! Do you have any packing challenges you still need help with? Check out how we used some of these items in our latest Stateroom Organization video.
We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to direct message us on Instagram or Facebook with your thoughts, or just check in to see what we are up to on those platforms. We have lots of fun on Instagram, and we have a wonderful welcoming cruising community on Facebook. Be sure to check those out.
Want to shop this article?
We’ve hyperlinked lots of products from our Carnival Cruise packing list, but this “as seen in” list covers so much, and will get you started!
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