Can I confess something...I am a bit of an over-packer. I always worry I won't have the right things with me on vacation. Thankfully after taking many cruises, we have compiled this list of what not to pack on your cruise vacation!
Save space in your bag and leave room for souvenirs by leaving these items at home.
What NOT to pack on your cruise vacation
A lot of these items are not allowed on cruise ships because of safety concerns. Fire is the most dangerous event on a cruise ship and the cruise lines want to do everything they can to prevent a fire from happening,
Your room should have a hairdryer in it. I will say they may not be as powerful as the one you have at home but they work. Plus not packing one frees up a lot of space and weight in your suitcase.
If you don't want to use the hairdryer in your stateroom you may want to look at a travel hairdryer that is small and compact.
Shampoo and Soap
Most cruise lines provide shampoo and soap in the shower. If you need a special shampoo or soap, by all means, pack them. But if you can get away with a generic shampoo or soap for a week you can easily save a ton of weight in your suitcase.
If you do want to bring on your own products check out these TSA Approved leak-proof travel containers.
Most boats have extensive libraries you can use during your cruise vacation. Save the weight in your bags and enjoy the variety of books available on the cruise.
Or download the Kindle app to your phone or bring a waterproof Kindle Paperwhite with you loaded with new books.
Cruises do not allow you to pack your own iron. There should be an iron available in the laundry room that is approved by the ship.
Leave any knives or sharp implements at home. Each bag and person entering the ship goes through security and these will be confiscated.
The cruise ship will provide towels for you to take to the beach or the pool.
Coffee Maker/Hot Plate
Neither of these is allowed on the cruise ship due to fire hazards. Don't worry if you need a hot cup of coffee in the morning to be human it is only a phone call away. Just call up room service and one can be delivered to your door.
Also, don't plan to bring any electrical and household appliances containing any kind of heating element, such as irons, clothes steamers, immersion heaters, heating blankets, water heaters, coffee machines, hot plates, toasters, heating pads, humidifier, etc.
Due to fire hazards, candles and incense are not allowed on cruise ships.
Small, personal-sized coolers no larger than 12” x 12” x 12” for the purpose of housing small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and/or medications are permitted as carry-on luggage.
Personal Safety Devices
It goes without saying but just in case other items to leave at home include guns, pepper spray, stun guns, martial arts gears, handcuffs, fireworks or anything else that is well dangerous
For Carnival Cruise Line this includes synthetic, designer drugs, Cannabidiol (CBD), and medical marijuana.
Weapons and any item made, adapted, or intended for use as an offensive weapon: firearms (including replicas, imitations, and their components), spears or spear guns, crossbows, crossbow bolts, and longbow arrows; blunt weapons, including knuckle dusters, brass knuckles, clubs, coshes, batons, flails or Nunchaks; sharp-pointed weapons, including throwing stars; air, BB, pellet pistols or rifles, stun devices and tasers, any projectile-weapon, including paintball guns, etc.
If you have recently gone to the gun range or hunting make sure to check your bag for any bullets or items left over. We watched someone go through security with bullets in their bag which they said they didn't know were there. I am honestly not sure if they were allowed on the cruise ship.
This includes fireworks, flares, and any pyrotechnics
Compressed gas tanks
This includes dive tanks and propane tanks. If you plan to go scuba diving during your cruise you will need to use the tanks offered during the cruise excursion or from the company you sign up with.
Medical gas bottles/oxygen cylinders are allowed in connection with a certified medical condition, but cannot be packed in baggage. Oxygen cylinders must be delivered to Guest Services and stored in a designated safe area
Alcohol (hard liquor) and beer
Most cruises do not allow you to bring on any alcohol or beer.
Wine or Champagne
Carnival allows you to bring on one 750 ml bottle per adult (21 years of age or older)
Self-balancing hover boards and air wheels
Footwear with wheels
Such as Heely’s type of shoes
Only qualified service dogs trained to perform a specific task for a guest with a disability are allowed
Additional Cruise Resources
10 tips for saving money on your cruise
Tips for going on shore during your cruise
Tips for preparing for your cruise
First-time cruise questions answered
Don't forget to pack these essentials on your cruise
10 tips for first-time cruisers
You can find all of our cruise travel posts here.
We are going on our first cruise to Alaska on Norwegian Cruise Lines next month. You mentioned it's OK to take a small cooler with small amounts of non-alcoholic beverages. Does that mean I could take a few cans of diet soda onboard?
Hi, I would double check with the cruise line to see what their current policy is just in case. We haven't cruised on Norwegian so I don't have any experience with their regulations. I hope you have an amazing cruise!
I also sailed on the Carnival Sensation this year and thank goodness I looked up what amenities were in the room. This ship is older and has no blow dryer, so I took my own. Also, they provide shampoo but not conditioner. I'm glad I brought my own shampoo and conditioner because I did not like what theirs smelled like. Not all walls were metal either. The front door, which we decorated, is not metal so thankfully I brought clear tape as a backup. A lot of posts I read about this said the doors are metal. Maybe the newer ships are but not all. Always take tape as a backup.
Evelyn, This is great to know! I hope you had a wonderful time on the Sensation! We haven't been on that ship yet.
I disagree. We sailed on Carnival Sensation in November and the ship did not have a blow dryer in the room. I will always bring mine with me from now on!
A colorful beach towel is useful for identifying your chair on the beach when every chair has the same blue towel on it, it is easier to see our bright orange sunglasses. i always bring my own soap and a small bottle of shampoo and conditioner. I don't like the ones provided by the ship. my husband always brings his leatherman with him and we have not had an issue yet. I don't bring candles but I do bring an air freshener for the bathroom.
I take along an over the door shoe organizer on cruises, to have 12 see through pockets to store and organize cameras, charging cords, postcards, suntan lotion, ...all the junk that collects on the desk and bed, makes it worthwhile. Also, every cruise ship I have been on, Disney, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, has metal based walls, what that means is take some magnets and have fun posting your maps, itineraries, or decorations if it is a birthday or anniversary. Don't forget room service is FREE. Every breakfast, we order in.
I had NO idea that cruise shops had libraries! That is so awesome to know on our next vacation!
I love the libraries on board. I always find great new books to enjoy while sitting out on the deck.
It's been years since I've been on a cruise. I don't remember packing a lot of those things but I know I brought a hair dryer!
I brought a hair dryer on our first cruise and then regretted having it with me. It took up way to much room in my bag and I bought way to many gifts.
I found this very helpful as I have never gone on a cruise before so would have over packed and also taken things they already provided. I did not know they had an extensive library so that is a pleasant discovery. It is nice to know that small coolers are allowed and accepted as carry on. I also think it is great they have security checks as I was always concerned about that.