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What to Pack for a Cruise to the Bahamas: The Ultimate Guide

by | Mar 16, 2024 | Cruise, Featured, Mexico & The Caribbean, Travel Tips | 25 comments

If you’re getting ready to set sail to the Bahamas and stressed about what to bring, this post is for you! It uncovers everything you need to know about what to pack for a cruise to the Bahamas.

The Best Guide for What to Pack for a Cruise to the Bahamas

Packing for a cruise can be overwhelming. There is so much to consider and pack for. For starters, you need to pack for days at sea, dinners, any onshore excursions, and travel days. Not to mention if your cruise has any fun theme nights. As a professional travel advisor, who has cruised and helped many travelers plan and prepare for cruises, I have picked up several packing tips.

One of the most important things to do when packing is to carefully read your itinerary thoroughly. Pay attention to any specific dress codes for restaurants, excursions, and other activities. Whether this is your first cruise or your tenth, you’ll want to keep reading, as I will share all my best tips for what to pack for a cruise to the Bahamas.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and buy I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

How to Pack for a Cruise to the Bahamas Based on the Season

Before you begin packing, consider the season you are traveling. It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast, doing this will help ensure that you pack the necessary clothing items to ensure a comfortable trip. Packing for a cruise to the Bahamas in the winter is quite a bit different than packing for a summer Bahamas cruise.

Summer

The Bahamas weather can get quite warm in the summer. Temperatures hover in the mid-80s and can reach over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. While you can expect plenty of sun, it’s good to know that summer can also bring the occasional rain shower.

Winter

Winter is the ideal time to go to the Bahamas. Early December through February average temperatures range from low 70 degrees Fahrenheit to in the low 80s. It is also the driest time of year with an average rainfall of less than 2 inches per month.

Spring

The Spring is another great time of year to travel to the Bahamas. Ideal temperatures stay in the 70s from March through May. Rain levels stay low through April, and by May the average is 4.6 inches per month.

Fall

The temperatures start to cool off by September. You can expect average temperatures to have highs in the mid-80s and lows in the upper 70s. September is traditionally the rainiest month in the fall with an average of 7 inches of rainfall, but this drops drastically by November with an average of around 3 inches of rain.

When is the Rainy Season

The rainy Season in the Bahamas begins in the summer. June through November is when there will be the most rainfall accumulation. Because it is the rainy season, it is also the slowest season for travel.

Cruise Line Dress Code: What to Wear for a Bahamas Cruise

What to pack for formal night for a cruise to the Bahamas

I mentioned earlier to make sure to read your itinerary and check your cruise line’s dress codes. Cruise lines have become more relaxed with the dress code post covid. However, some general rules apply. For example, a bathing suit is allowed at the pool (pool bars and restaurants also apply) but must be covered up when walking through the cruise ship.

Formal Night

As I mentioned, cruises have become a little more casual in our post-COVID era. However, some cruise lines still have formal nights. A 7 day Bahamas cruise might have two formal nights. Shorter cruises may have one formal night, or not have any. Good options for men could include tuxedos or dark suits. For women, an evening gown or cocktail dress would work. An elegant pantsuit would also be a great option.

Royal Caribbean

A Royal Caribbean cruise that is 3-5 nights will have one formal night. Cruises 7-10 nights have 2 formal nights, longer cruises will have 3 or more formal nights. Please notice that the number of formal nights on Royal Caribbean is at the cruise ship’s discretion and can vary by itinerary.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has one to two evenings where “evening chic” is the dress code. This is their version of a formal night. On evening chic nights, guests are asked to dress to impress in evening wear ranging from cocktail dresses and gowns to suits and tuxedos.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line no longer has a night dedicated to formal wear. However, they do have one or more themed nights depending on the length of the cruise. The White Hot Party is their signature event. At the white party, guests are encouraged to wear an all-white outfit and bring some brightly colored/neon accessories. If you want to get glammed up, this is the night to do so.

Casual Wear

For the most part, the dress code on board is casual, especially during the day. In the evenings, when dining in the main dining room or specialty restaurants it’s typical to dress in smart casual or evening wear. In general, this means, no ripped/torn/overly faded jeans, no tank tops for men, swimwear, baseball caps or flip flops.

Bahamas Cruise Packing List

Use these clothing lists as a guide for what to pack for a cruise to the Bahamas. This is based on personal preference and can be adjusted accordingly.

Clothing Packing List For Women

  • Pajamas
  • Undergarments and socks
  • Athleisure (optional for working out)
  • 1-2 pairs of nice jeans or long pants
  • 2-3 pairs of lightweight shorts or casual skirts
  • 3-4 tank tops/t-shirts
  • 2-3 casual sundresses
  • 2-3 casual evening dresses
  • 1-2 evening dresses (cocktail or gowns)
  • 2-3 light blouses for the evening
  • 3-4 bathing suits
  • 2 bathing suit cover ups
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Water shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Dress sandals
  • Dress shoes (for evening)
  • Light jacket or a lightweight cardigan (it can get cold in the evening)
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach bag or tote bag
  • Jewelry
  • Sun hat
  • Evening bag or clutch

Clothing Packing List for Men

  • 2-3 pairs of shorts
  • 3-5 t-shirts
  • 3-5 polo-style shirts
  • 1-2 button-down/oxford-style shirts
  • 1-3 pairs of long pants
  • 1-2 pairs of nice jeans
  • 1 suit
  • 1-2 dress shirts
  • 2-3 bathing suits
  • Sweatshirt
  • Light jacket or light sweater
  • Athleisure (for working out)
  • Undergarments and socks (don’t forget casual and dress socks)
  • Sleepwear
  • 1-2 pairs of dress shoes
  • 1 pair of casual shoes
  • Sandals/flip flops
  • Running shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Baseball hat
  • Backpack
  • Belt

What to Pack for a Cruise to the Bahamas: 41 Essential Items

Now that we have discussed the proper attire for a cruise, let’s talk about cruise essentials. Some of the items on the following list are things that are necessary for travel of all types, others are cruise-specific items that will help make your cruise vacation that much more enjoyable.

Travel Documents

Make sure to take copies of all your travel documents. Including health insurance, passports, birth certificate, tickets, itineraries, etc. I also always recommend giving a copy to a trusted friend or family member back home.

Government ID and/or Passport

If you are traveling on a closed-loop cruise from the United States, and you are a US citizen, it is not required for you to have a passport. However, I strongly encourage you to travel with a valid passport anyway.

Luggage Tags

Each cruise line will have its own specific luggage tags that you will need to print off for each traveler before embarkation day. Do not forget these.

Towel Clips

If you travel to warm weather destinations often you cannot travel without towel clips. First, they keep your towel from slipping down or flying away. Secondly, they hold your spot if you get up to take a dip in the pool or while you grab lunch or a drink.

Magnetic Hooks

Magnetic hooks are an inexpensive way to keep a cruise ship stateroom organized. They come in handy to hang up wet towels and bathing suits or create extra closet space by using them to hang up purses, belts, and ties.

Magnetic Clips

Like magnetic hooks, magnetic clips will help keep the space organized. They are a practical gift that will be well utilized in a cruise cabin. On my last cruise, I used them to hang up important documents like excursion passes, tickets for onboard activities, and other reservations.

Non-Surge Protected Power Bank

There are very few outlets aboard a cruise ship. A power strip will be a lifesaver for making sure all electronics stay charged.

Laundry Hamper

A pop-up laundry hamper is another must-have item for your cruise. Dirty laundry will have its own place in the hamper instead of being strewn about the cruise ship cabin.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

This toiletry bag by Bagsmart is perfect. It holds more in a smaller space than many of the others and it can be easily hung up, to give you much more counter space.

Portable Lockbox Safe

A portable lockbox safe is perfect for keeping your small valuable items safe while at the pool or on beach days.

Dry Bag

There are many different uses for a dry bag. I use a waterproof bag to pack my wet bathing suits on travel days. This ensures my dry items stay dry. It would be great for a cruiser who wanted to take advantage of the cruise ship’s hot tub on the final night, without having to worry about how they’d pack the wet swimwear.

Cruise Luggage Tag Holders

Cruisers have to put cruise line-specific luggage tags on their bags before embarkation day. These plastic holders make this process so much easier and eliminate the need for stapling or using tape.

Alarm Clock

A lot of cruisers love having a travel alarm clock in their cruise staterooms. It eliminates the need to rely on a cell phone to check the time in the middle of the night.

Portable Fan

As previously mentioned, cruise cabins are small. The size can also lead to them getting stuffy. A small battery-operated fan will help solve that problem.

Waterproof Phone Case

These waterproof phone cases are perfect for keeping phones dry during a day at the beach or while on an excursion. You can even take underwater photos on your phone with them.

Over the Door Shoe Organizer

The over-the-door shoe organizer was my personal favorite item I took on my first cruise. The cruise cabin bathroom is tiny and has minimal counter space. We used the shoe organizer for storing all of our toiletries, makeup, etc. It created so much extra space!

Poo-Pouri

It’s one of the most popular items cruisers take, and something that requires no further explanation.

Reef Safe Sunscreen

Reef-safe sunscreen is required in most cruise ports. Make sure to pack a little more than you think you will need.

Aloe Vera Gel

Sometimes we get a bit too much sun, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. That’s why it’s important to pack Aloe Vera Gel. Pro tip- put it in the mini-fridge, the cool aloe will feel heavenly on burned skin.

Stainless Steel Straws

Major cruise lines have pledged to become more environmentally friendly. One way they are doing this is by banning all plastic straws and switching to paper straws or no straws at all. If you prefer to drink your beverages with a straw, make sure to take a portable stainless steel with you.

Stainless Steel Travel Mug

A good quality stainless steel travel mug is essential for all cruise lovers. They are perfect for keeping beverages cold while spending an afternoon in the sun on the pool deck.

Travel Night Light

A travel night light is a necessity for inside cabins, they are pitch black.

Portable Phone Charger

Having a fully charged phone is so important when exploring one of the ports of call. The portable charger by Anker is one of the best available. Its super slim design makes it easy to tuck into the pocket of a carry-on. It also can charge devices multiple times before needing to be charged.

Folding Travel Mirror

Cruise ship bathrooms are small. Only one person can fit in them at a time. This can create a problem if multiple people must get ready at the same time. A folding travel mirror will resolve this problem.

Travel Water Bottle

Bottled water does not come free with the cruise fare and is an extra cost cruiser incur. It’s important to stay hydrated on vacation, so a reusable water bottle will come in handy. I highly recommend a Hydro Flask water bottle.

Insect Repellant

Mosquitos and other bugs thrive in a tropical environment and more than likely you won’t want to wear long sleeves and long pants to the pools and beach for protection. So don’t forget to pack a DEET-based bug repellent.

Cruise Lanyard

No more digging around a bottomless bag! Cruise hands-free with these cruise lanyards. They are especially helpful for cruisers as they board the ship on embarkation day or after a long day of touring.

Water Shoes

Keep those feet safe with water shoes. They are a necessary item to have if any of the cruise excursions include water activities.

Travel-Sized First Aid Kit

There is a first aid station aboard the ship, but it’s important to have some first aid items available for days spent off the ship too. This little kit will fit perfectly in a day bag.

Sea Bands

Make sure to take sea bands or motion sickness medication with you on your Bahamas cruise. It’s better to have it just in case you need it than to need it and not have it.

Travel Sized Umbrella

There is no predicting the weather, and getting caught in the rain unprepared is no fun. Make sure to pack a travel-sized umbrella, especially if your Bahamas cruise is during the rainy season.

Lip Balm

Don’t forget to pack lip balm with SPF. Your lips can get sunburned too, and it’s uncomfortable!

Compression Packing Cubes

I am a big fan of packing cubes and have been for some time now, but the compression packing cubes are on another level. They are so good. First, they keep everything organized. Second, they create even more space than the regular ones. When I travel, I like to use one for each type of clothing I am packing- one cube will be for workout wear, another for casual outfits, a third for dressy outfits, and a fourth for pajamas and undergarments.

The compression packing cubes by Bagail are fantastic. They are at a fantastic price point and come in plenty of colors and different set sizes (4, 5, or 6 pieces). Having different colors is great for family cruisers, each family member can have their own color.

Travel Backpack

Make sure to take a travel backpack with you. You will want to have something small and lightweight to take with you if you will be spending a lot of time off the resort for any excursions. An anti-theft travel backpack like this one by Pacsafe has a RFID-blocking pocket to keep credit cards, IDs and other small valuables safe.

Rash Guard

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If you are fair-skinned and burn easily consider taking a rash guard. They are not just for kids. A rash guard will be especially important if you are planning on doing any snorkeling. Some tour operators do not allow sunscreen because it’s damaging to the ecosystem and a rash guard will protect you from burning.

Tech Organizer

We all have so many electronic devices, and each device has a specific charging cord. Those who travel often understand the struggle when they find all the cords tangled up into one giant mess. A tech organizer helps keep everything nice and tidy and would be a great gift for any traveling techie. They make it so much easier to access everything and are great space savers too.  This option by Bagsmart is a great option. It’s lightweight, water resistant, and has plenty of elastic straps and pockets for holding everything.

Camera

I am not really a souvenir sorta gal. To me, the perfect souvenir is a beautiful photo taken in destination that I can display in a beautiful frame at home. If you’re like me, and having high-quality photos is very important, then don’t forget to pack your camera.

Portable Luggage Scale

Even though I’m not a souvenir person, I still manage to come home from vacation with a heavier suitcase than when I left. If you’re like me and run the risk of having a suitcase that will be deemed overweight, make sure to take a portable luggage scale with you. This will help you avoid having to rearrange everything at the airport.

Credit Card

Make sure to pack a debit or credit card. You will want to have it for days when you are off the ship and exploring on your own. Also, at the end of the cruise, you will need it to settle any purchases/tabs from your vacation.

What to Pack in Your Carry-on for Embarkation Day

If you’re a first time cruiser an important thing to know is that you will be checking your bags at the cruise terminal and they will be delivered to your stateroom later on embarkation day. It could take several hours before you receive your bags, so you will want to pack a carry-on bag with essentials that you will have access to before your checked bags arrive. Below is a list of items to pack in your carry-on.

  • Swimsuit
  • Cover up
  • Flip flops
  • Change of clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Prescription medications
  • Sun protection
  • Portable charger

What to Pack for a Cruise to the Bahamas: Final Thoughts

41 Things you must pack for a cruise to the Bahamas

As you can tell, there is a lot to think about in terms of preparing for a cruise, and it can be overwhelming. I hope you found this to be a helpful resource for you as you determine what to pack for a cruise to the Bahamas.

Would you like help planning your cruise vacation? We’d love to help! Book a complimentary consultation today!

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25 responses to “What to Pack for a Cruise to the Bahamas: The Ultimate Guide”

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Thanks!

  1. Trisha Avatar

    This is exactly the kind of advice I’ve been looking for! Packing for a cruise always seems like a daunting task, but your expertise and firsthand experience as a professional travel advisor truly shine through! Thank you!

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Thank you for stopping by! I am glad you found it helpful 🙂

  2. Karen Kasberg Avatar

    Wow! You’ve compiled a very comprehensive list of what to pack for a cruise to the Bahamas! This is so helpful, especially for someone like me who has never been on a cruise before. Great post!

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Thank you! I appreciate your kind words!

  3. Tina Avatar

    Such a comprehensive guide! I had no idea cruises have become a bit more casual. I’m so glad I saw your post…and now I want to book a cruise to the Bahamas. 🙂

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Yes, the relaxed dress code seems to be a post-Covid change. I still like to get dressed up for dinner though! 🙂

  4. Andrea Avatar

    I’ve never been on a cruise but would love to go!! Especially to the Bahamas. Such a helpful list of tips, I love the cute decorative towel clips!

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      The towel clips are such a fun purchase, and can be used at home too!

  5. Courtney Avatar
    Courtney

    This is such a helpful list!

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      I’m so glad you found it helpful 🙂

  6. Olga Avatar

    This is a very detailed post about packing for a cruise to the Bahamas. I learned a lot and discovered a couple of things I never heard before. Thank you!

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Thank you! I am so happy you found it helpful!

  7. Taylor Avatar
    Taylor

    The metal hooks are such a great idea! They help dry things out faster and keep the smaller rooms organized and tidy especially if you are traveling with kids.

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Yes, one of the most helpful/useful items!

  8. Under flowery sky Avatar

    Awesome guide, I would expect summer temperatures on Bahamas though..

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Thanks!

  9. Linda (LD Holland) Avatar

    I always think that packing for a warm destination means less to pack. But your post reminds me it is just different things to pack. And you really don’t want to buy some of this stuff after you arrive! Good checklist for people.

    1. katie Avatar
      katie

      Thank you! While not less, the clothing items aren’t as bulky 🙂

  10. Tracy McHugh Avatar
    Tracy McHugh

    I haven’t been on a cruise since I was 7 and I am pretty sure I didn’t pack myself then, so this is a really helpful list! I love the travel backpack idea. Thanks for the tips.

  11. Olivia Grace Avatar
    Olivia Grace

    I’ve never been on a cruise but this sure is making me want to! I saved this post for when my time comes! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Poornima Avatar

    A very useful guide

  13. Jennifer Record Avatar
    Jennifer Record

    Great advice..esp about keeping the room organized and clean…and I never remember water shoes!

  14. Ann Avatar

    I like this article because it offers a comprehensive guide specifically tailored for packing for a cruise to the Bahamas. I plan to visit here one day. Great post!

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