Mexico Cruise Packing List: 52 Essentials You Can’t Leave Home Without (Free Printable Checklist)

Are you ready to set sail and immerse yourself in the wonders of Mexico? I know I am! As a seasoned traveler, I’m here to spill the beans on how to make the most of your upcoming cruise to this vibrant destination.

I recently embarked on my very first 4-day cruise to Mexico (as an adult), and let me tell you, it was an absolute blast! But before I even began to think about packing, I delved deep into the world of research, determined to uncover the secrets to a flawless cruise experience.

After gathering tons of notes and executing on my Mexico cruise packing list, I headed off to Baja California and Mexico!

Well, let’s just say I came home with a few lessons learned, my friends. And guess what? YOU get to benefit from all my mistakes and learnings! I’m here to spill all the juicy details and equip you with the ultimate packing list essentials for your own Mexican cruise adventure.

From practical must-haves to quirky gems you didn’t even know you needed, consider me your trusty guide to packing perfection. 🎒✨

Together, we’ll dive into the essentials that will make your cruise through Mexico an absolute dream come true.

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-timer, this blog post will be your go-to resource for crafting the perfect Mexico cruise packing list. We’ll leave no stone unturned and no sunscreen unapplied, so you can head off to the Mexican sun, the sound of waves crashing, and the tantalizing aromas of street tacos with confidence and excitement.

Let’s dive into the essential items you simply can’t leave home without when cruising through Mexico!

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!

General Cruise Packing Rules

While all cruise ships are a bit different, luggage packing rules tend to be pretty similar.

  • You are not limited to the number of carry-on items (such as purses or small bags) but there might be a size limit to these items.
  • Pack your carry-on bag with essentials like medications, travel documents, and a change of clothes in case your luggage is delayed or lost.
  • While there is no hard and fast rule on luggage limits, most cruise lines suggest two checked bags per person maximum, and each bag may not exceed 50 pounds.
  • For most cruise lines, if you are over 21, you may take a single bottle of wine or champagne, no more than 750 ml, in your carry-on baggage. Once on the ship, you may be charged a corkage fee, running anywhere from $10 to $25. (On luxury ships, you may be able to bring as many bottles as you like.)
  • On some cruise lines, you are allowed to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages (usually limited to 12 cans or cartons). Bottles are usually prohibited.
  • All prohibited items, such as alcohol, weapons, candles, and other dangerous items, may not be taken aboard in your carry-on or checked bag.
  • If you give your luggage to a cruise porter, he/she will deliver it to your room free of charge. Don’t forget to tip! $1-2 per bag is fine.
  • Bring formalwear if required – Some cruise lines have formal nights or dress codes for certain dining areas, so be sure to pack appropriate attire if required.
  • Pack light layers – Cruise ships can have varying temperatures, so packing light layers can help you adjust to changing temperatures and weather conditions.
  • Consider packing a waterproof phone case – If you plan on taking your phone on shore excursions or to the beach, consider packing a waterproof phone case to protect it from water damage.

Fashion / Style: What To Expect On A Cruise

In general, cruises are pretty casual–with a touch of style. You should dress for a cruise the same way you would for any stylish land-based resort. Chances are, your existing vacation wardrobe will do just fine.

Cruise occasions can be broken down into three categories — daytime attire, evening attire, and swim/beach attire.

Daytime Attire

Due to the warm weather of the Mexico region, shorts, t-shirts, light linen shirts/pants, sundresses, and sandals are all the norm. This type of clothing will keep you feeling fresh and looking your best while at sea and ashore!

To travel smarter, I would definitely consider bringing comfortable walking shoes as opposed to a flimsy pair of flip-flops. I would also make sure to bring your belongings in an anti-theft bag!

Evening Attire

In some instances, your cruise will require more formal clothing in order to dine in some of their restaurants. They may even have designated formal evenings during your cruise.

If that’s the case, you’ll want to save some room in your luggage for those fancier nighttime outfits, dress shoes, heels, and jewelry.

Swim Attire

When you’re not eating lunch/dinner or out exploring a new port destination, you’re likely going to be swimming or enjoying the hot tubs aboard the ship.

All you’ll really need for these occasions are sandals, swimsuits, and coverups.

Now that we’ve set the stage on what to expect on a Mexico cruise, let’s get on to the juicy packing details.

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Consider The Weather Before Packing For Your Cruise

When planning what to wear for your Mexico cruise, it’s very helpful to start by looking at the weather forecast a few days before your trip.

Since your cruise could visit a number of places in Mexico (such as Puerto Vallarta, Ensenada, Cozumel, etc.) you’ll want to look up the weather for the actual cities you’re visiting.

Whether you’re planning a cruise to the Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Bahamas) or the Mexican Riviera (Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas), it’s important to be aware of the weather conditions during your travel dates.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about the weather in these regions:

Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Bahamas)

The Western Caribbean is known for its tropical climate, which generally means warm temperatures and high humidity. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Hurricane Season: The Western Caribbean falls within the hurricane belt, with the official hurricane season running from June to end of November. While hurricanes are rare, they can impact itineraries and weather conditions.
  • Rainfall: The region experiences a rainy season from May to October, with increased chances of showers and thunderstorms. However, rain showers here are usually short-lived and followed by nice and warm sunshine!
  • Temperature: The temperatures in the Western Caribbean remain relatively warm throughout the year, with highs ranging from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (29-35 degrees Celsius). The evenings are generally pleasant too, with temperatures dropping into the 70s Fahrenheit (around 25 degrees Celsius).

Mexican Riviera (Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas)

The Mexican Riviera boasts a pleasant and Mediterranean-like climate, with warm temperatures, less humidity than the Caribbean (in some destinations), and plenty of sunshine. Here’s what you should know:

  1. Dry Season: The Mexican Riviera experiences a dry season from November to April, making it an ideal time for cruises. During this period, rainfall is minimal, and you can expect plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures.
  2. Temperature: The Mexican Riviera enjoys warm weather year-round. Highs typically range from the mid-70s to low 90s Fahrenheit (24-32 degrees Celsius), with the hottest months being July through September. Evenings are generally comfortable, with temperatures dropping into the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (15-25 degrees Celsius).
  3. Baja California Peninsula: Cabo San Lucas, located on the Baja California Peninsula, benefits from a desert climate. This means lower humidity and fewer chances of rain compared to other destinations in the Mexican Riviera! The weather in Cabo San Lucas is generally warm and sunny, making it a popular destination for beach lovers.

These are just some general numbers, so you should most definitely check the local weather forecast closer to your travel dates before packing!

You’ll want to have all possible weather conditions covered, so packing essentials like sunscreen, bug spray, a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings, and appropriate rain gear (if traveling during the rainy season) is a must!

Mexico Cruise Packing List - Things You Need To Pack For Your Cruise

Consider Your Activities Before Packing For Your Cruise

Clothing is going to be a large part of your packing. After all, with so many dance parties, formal dinners, and excursions you’ll get to take part in, you may very well need outfit changes throughout the day!

Personally, I changed into at least two outfits per day!

When planning out your cruise attire, it’s helpful to think in both complete days and complete outfits.

What are the activities of that day? Will you be hopping off the cruise ship for an active excursion? Will you be following that up with a formal night on the ship? In this case, you’re going to need a change of clothes for both occasions.

Pack some comfortable activewear, swimwear, and formal attire such as a cocktail dress for women and a shirt and dress pants for men. Don’t forget about the shoes–you’ll likely also need a pair of sneakers for the days and heels/dress shoes for the nights.

And what about embarkation and disembarkation? If you’re embarking and disembarking from somewhere warm, you can likely re-wear some of your clothes.

Start with thinking through your days and jot down which days require what outfits. From there, you can begin to get your clothes packed.

Here’s a high-level example of what your clothing can look like depending on the length of the cruise:

  • 4-day cruise to Mexico – 2 formal night outfits, 2 smart casual dinner outfits, embarkation / disembarkation outfit, 1-2 excursion/activity outfit, 2 swimsuits and coverups, workout clothing if you plan to use the gym.
  • 5-day cruise to Mexico – 2 formal night outfit, 3 smart casual dinner outfits, embarkation / disembarkation outfit, 2-3 excursion/activity outfits, 2-3 daytime sea day outfits, 2-3 swimsuits and coverups, workout clothing if you plan to use the gym.
  • 7-day cruise to Mexico – 2 formal night outfits, 4 smart casual dinner outfits (feel free to mix & match your pieces in order to pack less), embarkation / disembarkation outfit, 3 excursion/activity outfits, 3 daytime sea day outfits, 2-3 swimsuits and coverups, workout clothing if you plan to use the gym.
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Packing Gear: How To Carry Your Stuff To A Mexico Cruise

Before you pack anything, it’s important to start with the skin and bones of packing. Having the right bags to put your belongings in is extremely important. The last thing you want is to toss everything for your trip into a bag with no method of organization.

Why? Because you’ll find yourself spending a lot of extra time later on packing and repacking once you’re actually on your trip. Trust me, your life will be so much easier when you actually apply a strategy to how you pack.

I recommend you bring the following things for your Mexico cruise:

  • Suitcase – for most of your things
  • Packing cubes – to organize your clothing, undies, socks, swimwear, etc.
  • A day bag – for toting things around the ship and for exploring cruise port destinations
  • Carry-on bag – this can be the same as your day bag, but this is mostly so you can access your important stuff before your stateroom is available (identification, travel docs, boarding pass, swimwear, hats, sunglasses, etc.)

👉 How much luggage can I bring on a cruise? While there is no hard and fast rule about how much luggage you are allowed, there are some “suggestions” provided by the cruise lines. Some cruise lines suggest you limit your luggage to a maximum of one bag per person if you’re traveling on a cruise of 3-5 nights, and to no more than two bags per person, for cruises of 6 days or longer. Other cruise lines “encourage” each passenger to limit luggage to two suitcases, weighing less than 50 pounds. In addition, you can also bring a carry-on!

1. Wheeled Luggage

Monos Metro Backpack Review

Personally, I love Monos Travel luggage. Their pieces meet all the important criteria when looking for luggage — design, quality, and sustainability!

If you’re looking for premium, minimalist luggage built with only the finest quality materials and components, I’d recommend you invest in these bags!

I personally own the Monos Carry-On Pro, Monos Metro Backpack, Monos Metro Duffel, and their compressible packing cubes — and have been loving every minute I get to travel with them! Am I obsessed? Just a little bit.

You may also like: 10 Best Carry-On Travel Bags For Your Next Trip

2. Packing cubes

You need to get these packing cubes, they are amazing at creating space in your luggage that you never thought you had. No matter how you want to organize your clothes— by day, by outfit, by type—these will be the most useful thing you have in your packing artillery.

Gone are the days where you need to dig through your entire suitcase for that one thing you’re looking for, because you’ll know exactly where it’s at!

3. Everyday bag

A mini backpack that can fit a water bottle, phone, camera, sunglasses and sunscreen is a great option. Another good option for days where you’re not feeling the backpack look is a medium-sized, cross-body bag.

And if you’re able to find a bag that folds flat so that you’re able to stow it in your carry-on, even better!

I like the Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack or my trusty Bellroy Sling for something simple and compressible, so when I’m not using it, I can flatten it and store it in my luggage.

For the guys (and gals too), crossbody shoulder sling bags work really well for traveling! My boyfriend is absolutely obsessed with his Bellroy Sling Bag.

Playa Del Carmen Travel Backpack - TravelsWithElle

Worried about bag theft? Check out this post: 10 Best Anti-Theft Travel Bags For Your Next Vacation

What To Pack For A Mexico Cruise: Clothing

4. Tops

You really don’t need that many shirts, especially if you choose versatile pieces, allowing them to be multifunctional. You can go with a mix of sleeveless and sleeved for the most part.

Depending on when and where you’re going exactly, mosquitos may be a problem. If mosquitos could be a problem for you, be sure to pack 1-2 lightweight long sleeves (or bring some bug repellent spray with you).

Please be sure to bring proper clothing if you plan on visiting religious sites.

5. Pants

Depending on the length of your cruise, bring 1-2 pair of long pants just in case there happens to be a chill at night or if you plan to attend a more formal nighttime event.

Pants are also great for protecting against mosquitos at night! For summers, in the face of humidity, go with loose and light materials like cotton or linen.

Jeans can be way too hot for the Mexican Riviera or Western Caribbean, so I’d avoid bringing these. Trust me, I’ve experienced my fair share of sweaty legs trapped in jeans. It’s pretty uncomfortable, to say the least.

6. Shorts or skirts

2-3 pairs will do for your daytime attire. If you plan on doing more active excursions, opt for shorts that are more athleisure or activewear-style.

If you plan on wearing more dresses during the cruise, you can definitely cut out some tops and bottoms and substitute them with dresses.

7. Leggings

Leggings are very useful if you plan on working out, hiking, or want something comfortable to lounge in on the ship. I love traveling with leggings and can’t really go on any trip without at least 1 pair!

A pair of lightweight leggings like Lululemon’s Fast and Free Tight is a great option if you’re looking for breathability while getting that protection from bugs and the sun’s UV rays. The best part? These have pockets large enough to fit your phone in!

8. Sundresses

Plan to pack ~3 sundresses for your cruise to Mexico. Long or flowy dresses/skirts are really great options if you want to save space in your luggage.

If you plan on participating in formal attire nights, aim for one of the dresses to be appropriate for both daytime and evening looks. Add a nice cardigan (or even a shawl), swap out the sandals for your nicer sandals, and be on your merry way!

This way, you’ll be able to pack fewer items and ultimately save space in your luggage for things like souvenirs and gifts. It’s all about versatility!

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9. Bike shorties

For the ladies who want to wear dresses on their cruise, let me be the first to tell you about my newest discovery on how to keep my legs from becoming a huge sweaty mess… I love Thigh Society’s shorties for hot weather! 

Thigh Society - Hot Weather Essentials

There are two different options I like depending on what look I’m going for.

  • If I want to wear an above-the-knee dress on a hot day, I go with The Cooling 5″ option. It’s so thin, meaning “sweaty butt” won’t be an issue. And it’s especially useful if it happens to be a windy day. These lil’ shorties make me feel so much more comfortable knowing that I have an extra layer of protection and coverage should the wind decide to do me dirty and lift my dress in one swoop. 
  • The other pair that I have is The Original, which has become a staple in my hot weather arsenal too. They’re super-versatile because these guys are very opaque, meaning they can be worn alone or layered under clothes.

Do You Need To Pack Fancy Clothes? A Note On Evening Attire

Your cruise line may have some restaurants that require formal attire. They’ll likely even hold elegant nights or formal nights during your cruise.

This may mean you’ll need to bring formal shirts, fancy pants, collared shirts, blouses, cocktail dresses, etc.

For men, you could even go with suit jackets and ties if you really want to dress it up (but these are often optional).

10. Underwear and socks

Bring 1 pair of underwear for as many days as you’re going to be traveling. Sometimes, I even bring extra for changing out of bathing suits after a visit to the beach.

I also tend to bring fewer socks than the number of days I’m visiting because I find that I wear sandals more than shoes on my tropical vacations!

These items are light enough that overpacking is not a problem.

11. Bras

Depending on your activity level, 2-3 will do. Because I’m pretty active and tend to do a lot of tropical hiking, I typically bring more sports bras than regular bras.

Want to save luggage space? Your swimming suit tops can function as bras too.

12. Comfortable Walking Shoes

Ecco Soft 7 - Best Walking Shoes For Travel That Are Actually Cute

Even on a cruise, you will be walking for a considerable amount of time. You should at least bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with good support and traction.

My all-time favorite travel shoes these days are the tried and true Ecco Soft 7 (they’re stylish, comfortable, and have been raved about for decades since they were first created). The best part is that they have them for both men and women!

Read More: 7 Best Walking Shoes For Travel (That Are Actually Cute)

13. Sandals

When traveling to tropical destinations, sandals or flip-flops are a must. For sandals, I alternate between my Birkenstocks and Oofos Recovery Slides— both allow you to walk miles and miles.

We recently discovered the Oofos slide at our REI store and boy were we sold on it. From the moment we slid them on our feet, maximum comfort! It was like walking on clouds. Not only were they perfect for our tropical vacations, but we also now plan on gifting this to everyone we know!

For something more water-resistant, going with something like the Oofos or these OluKai quick-dry flip-flops will allow you to hit the beach, enjoy eco-parks with water activities, and walk with max comfort as well.

14. Water Shoes

If I know I’ll be going on water adventures, I always make sure to bring a pair of water shoes that will allow me to take sure-footed steps while still being able to keep my toes free. These work great for strolling through nature reserves, going on kayaking tours, or going to eco-parks.

I love bringing along my Chaco’s Z1 Classic sandals because they serve as both sandals and water shoes. Be sure to break them in before your trip and adjust the sandal straps to make sure they’re set perfectly for your feet!

Want something more enclosed? Sometimes, you’re going to need closed-toed water shoes, such as in the case of going on an kayaking tour or ziplining combo tour. In these cases, go with a simple quick-drying aqua shoe.

Pro Tip: If you plan on participating in formal nights on your cruise, you may very well need to pack heels or dress shoes too! In this case, you’ll need to think about how to pack all these shoes.

15. Cardigan or lightweight jacket

For those unsuspecting chilly/windy nights on deck, it’s best to have a light cardigan with you. Especially if you run cold and plan to be outside after the sun falls!

By packing a light cardigan ahead of time, you won’t need to buy anything in case of an emergency.

These also come in handy at indoor establishments that tend to blast the air conditioning.

16. Rain jacket

If you’re traveling to Mexico during the rainy season, you may want to prepare for the chance of rain.

Consider packing a light rain jacket, poncho, or collapsible umbrella if there’s any potential of rain in the forecast.

17. Shawl / scarf

One of my travel must-haves! I’ll always have a medium-sized thin scarf or pashmina shawl in my bag.

Not only can you use them for warmth or style, but you can also use them as a coverup after beaching, as a towel, as a mat on grass/sand/dirt, as a quick rain shield, or as an emergency skirt if your bottoms get stained or soaked somehow.

And if you tend to run cold, a shawl will come in handy at the lobby, bars, restaurants onboard, and on land. Some establishments will have the air conditioning on, so while it may be warm outdoors, it can get chilly indoors.

18. Swimsuits and coverups

You’ll likely find multiple hot tubs and swimming pools onboard the ship, as well as beach-bound excursions when you arrive at your destination islands.

If you plan on getting wet at all, bring 2-3 sets of swimwear depending on how much you plan on swimming and beaching.

It’s okay to pack extra, in case you need to hit the beach or pool and the ones you wore previously haven’t had a chance to fully dry yet.

Don’t forget to pack 1-2 stylish coverups. You can find all my favorite beach coverups and accessories here.

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19. Sleepwear / loungewear

Loose shorts and a t-shirt or even workout clothes are all you need. You can really save luggage space here by choosing clothes that are multi-purpose.

Clothing To Pack: For Men

T-shirts, tanks, button-up shirts, linen shirts, linen pants, shorts, 1 pair of nice pants (good for if you plan on partaking in elegant night or eating at a formal sit-down restaurant), 2 pairs of swim trunks, 1 lightweight jacket for the chillier nights.

Consider a light rain jacket if there’s any chance of rain in the forecast. If you plan on attending a restaurant that requires formal attire, don’t forget those dress shoes!

What To Pack For A Mexico Cruise: Accessories

20. Sunglasses

Because it can get really bright during those summer afternoons.

While you’re at it, why not accessorize your accessories? Bringing cute sunglasses straps can also be convenient for putting them on/taking them off in a jiffy. And making sure they don’t get lost!

21. Hat / Baseball Cap

Hats are so necessary for sun protection, don’t forget it! You most definitely should have one if you’re going to be spending any prolonged time outdoors.

Baseball caps are great for more active days where you plan on hiking or getting out on the water.

Straw sun hats are better for those casual days by the pool or beach. I’d recommend getting a sunhat with a string so that you won’t need to worry about it flying off every few seconds on a breezy day.

Whenever I want to do my hair and protect my face from the harsh sun rays, I go with my trust roll-up sun hat. This hat is my favorite because it gives me the best of both worlds, a cute hairdo, and sun protection!

22. Jewelry

Definitely optional. I tend to skip jewelry on most days (even if I’ve packed it) because either it’s too hot/humid to want to deal with something sticking all over my neck, or I just forget to wear it.

If there are a few formal nights scheduled on your cruise, you may want to bring more jewelry to complete those nighttime looks!

What To Pack For A Mexico Cruise: Toiletries

23. Sunscreen

Reef Safe Sunscreen - What To Bring To Mexico All Inclusive Vacation

Sunscreen is absolutely necessary. Even if it’s overcast or cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors.

Whenever we head to tropical destinations with ample marine life, we always go with a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreens contain chemicals that harm our environment as well as the natural balance of marine ecosystems.

In fact, you may even encounter tour companies and eco-parks asking you to only use sunscreen and sunblock that are biodegradable, containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide only.

And honestly, it’s not enough to just buy any old bottle that has a “reef-friendly” label on it. It turns out many sunscreens claiming to be “reef-friendly” or “reef-safe” actually aren’t!

Products containing the following ingredients are technically NOT reef safe: oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene or nanoparticles. Always review the active ingredients on the bottle to be sure you’re really getting something reef-safe.

Here are a few travel-sized biodegradable sunscreens you can easily buy on Amazon:

And on days where we are just out and about (not getting into the water)–for the face, we are absolutely obsessed with the magical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen. No white-cast, no greasy film!

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👉 Don’t forget to pack that after-sun lotion either!

24. Bug spray

Depending on the season you go on your Mexico cruise, mosquitoes may be prevalent and you’ll want to protect yourself against bites. Typically the closer you are to trees and jungles, the more prevalent mosquitos are.

If you plan to go hiking, ziplining, or ATV-ing in the jungle, I would definitely recommend packing an effective insect repellent. We recommend the following travel-size options:

If you’re looking for more natural options, we recommend the following travel-friendly options:

25. Squeeze bottles

GoToob travel bottles are my favorite things ever for liquids. Made of high-quality silicone, they are extremely durable, have never leaked on me, and are super easy to squeeze.

Whenever I travel, I usually want to bring my own face wash, body wash, shampoo, or conditioner, so I put them in these!

26. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer gel or hand sanitizing wipes are a must any time you’re going to be in contact with surfaces many other people have touched.

Never leave your hotel room without it! And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.

27. Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes

Body Wipes - Road Trip Essentials Packing List - TravelsWithElle

Feeling a bit gross after a hike, swim, or bike ride but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these large body wipes for a quick refresher.

And for the ladies specifically, it’s always good to carry around feminine wipes, especially for those post-beach or post-swimming scenarios. The ones I like are both very affordable and take up no space at all.

Trust me, you will feel and smell so much better. It’s always good to have a few handy in your travel backpack when you’re out on a day of excursions!

28. Toiletries 

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, baby wipes, moisturizer, creams, shavers, lip balm, feminine products, lotions, dental supplies (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash).

And don’t forget that Poo-Pourri because those cabin bathrooms don’t ventilate that well!

To carry all this stuff in an organized way, I recommend getting yourself a hanging toiletry bag.

Cruise ship cabins are notorious for their limited counter space. Having a hanging toiletry bag eliminates the need to use up all the valuable countertop real estate with your toiletries. Instead, you can hang it up and keep your surfaces free for other essentials like makeup, hair styling tools, or personal items!

29. Makeup

Some women bring a huge collection of makeup wherever they go. I also love to wear makeup on vacations! But it’ll be hot, humid, and your face will be sweaty and oily from the sun exposure. Or, you’ll be beaching and snorkeling so much that you won’t need to wear makeup.

I find that with hot or tropical destinations, one of the only appropriate times for makeup is when you’re not doing any water activities such as during dinner, at nightly entertainment shows/events, or if you plan to go out for the night.

Try to pack lighter here and bring only what you need.

30. DIY survival kit

Make a little bag of the following: ibuprofen, allergy pills, Immodium, ciprofloxacin (or whatever your doctor prescribes for traveler’s diarrhea), bandaids, floss, hand sanitizer, eye drops, lip balm, a sharpie, tape, and extra contact lenses (if applicable).

Think about the ailments you typically suffer from and have to deal with on a regular basis and adjust the contents of the bag as needed!

Pro Tip: Definitely pack some Immodium, Pepto-Bismol, and/or ciprofloxacin just in case. While the food will likely be clean, a lot of travelers’ stomachs are not used to the differences in food (especially if you’re going to be trying street food during your trip). Your stomach is probably also not used to unlimited food either! Both of these can cause upset stomachs.

31. DIY first aid kit

Chances are you already have a first aid kit lying around at home. Take a few bandaids, ointments, etc. with you on your cruise trip in case of emergencies.

Don’t feel like making your own? Buy a premade first aid kit instead–we like the simple ones by Welly.

32. Extra plastic baggies

Because you never know, but they always come in handy.

Small bags are great for storing the little things like pills, jewelry, hair accessories, etc. Medium-sized bags are good if you need to protect electronic products from water.

Larger size plastic bags are great if you need to temporarily store wet and dirty garments.

33. Tissue / antibacterial wipes

Sometimes, your hands get dirty. Sometimes, there’s no toilet paper in the public bathrooms.

34. Laundry soap (Optional)

Bring a super-concentrated soap and a handy-dandy travel clothesline so you can do your own laundry. We usually wash our swimsuits and swim trunks after hitting the pool or beach to prevent them from smelling funky.

By doing your own laundry, you can save on washing machine fees!

If you’d rather save money, simply use soap or body wash gel to wash your clothes. It will still get the job done.

35. Quick-drying towel

Travel towels are probably one of the best inventions for efficient travelers. They are light, super packable, and quick-drying. Definitely very useful if you plan on going on water-related excursions or having beach days but don’t have access to a beach towel!

This one is a great option if you’re in the market for one.

If you’re just hanging out on the cruise ship, then you won’t need to bring one as beach towels are provided to you.

What To Pack For A Mexico Cruise: Electronics

36. External battery

You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures… the last thing you want is to be on the go with no phone battery!

A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.

37. Power strip

Cruise ship cabins often have limited electrical outlets (likely just 2 in the entire cabin), so bringing a power strip can be helpful for charging multiple devices all at once!

For even more convenience, try to get one that has regular sockets as well as additional USB ports — like this one!

38. E-reader / a good book / magazines

With all the pool-lounging opportunities (and likely no free WiFi onboard), you’ll have a lot of time to get through that book you’ve always wanted to start.

Go with the Kindle e-reader over actual physical books if you plan to read a lot– it eliminates a lot of potential weight (and waste) from actually carrying books. What better way to spend some time poolside or tanning at the beach?

39. Portable Bluetooth speakers

We love listening to music when we’re relaxing in a hotel bed in the morning or getting ready for the day. The JBL Flip Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker is our go-to whenever we’re traveling.

Cruise lines do allow guests to bring Bluetooth speakers on cruises. However, the majority of cruise lines only allow speakers to be used in personal staterooms and NOT in public areas. Some music is better than no music!

What To Pack For A Mexico Cruise: Other Travel Essentials

40. Magnetic Hooks

When you’re on a cruise ship, space is super limited, and finding creative ways to maximize storage and hanging space can make a world of difference in keeping your cabin organized and clutter-free. That’s where magnetic hooks come into play.

Bring magnetic hooks for your room to expand your hanging space (the walls are metal). Especially if you’re one to pack a lot with you!

By utilizing magnetic hooks, you can hang lightweight items such as hats, scarves, jackets, and even small bags directly on the walls. This frees up valuable closet space for larger items like dresses, suits, and formal attire.

👉 Pro Tip: You could also go with an Over-The-Door Shoe Organizer to organize your things and save space. They don’t need to be used JUST for shoes either. We like to throw anything and everything that will fit into the shoe pock

41. Eye mask / Earplugs

If you need to fly to a departing port, there is a good chance there will be families traveling by plane with young children and/or babies. I would recommend bringing earplugs or headphones for your plane rides to drown out any potential crying babies!

These earplugs by Mack’s are my absolute favorite.

Earplugs will also come in handy if you have noisy neighbors onboard. Or if you’re on a low floor. Waking up to the sound of an anchor dropping every morning is NOT fun.

42. Travel belt / money belt

A travel belt is a smart traveler’s best friend. They are the best thief-proof tool for airplane travel, public transportation travel, walking around abroad, and just about everything else in between.

I always, always use a Flip Belt to carry around identification, important documents, and money that I want to keep safe and right by my side.

Another benefit of the Flip Belt? It’s actually supposed to be a running belt, so it’s great for holding a phone and keys while running/walking. I swear, this thing doesn’t budge or jiggle at all when I run, plus it’s super comfortable!

For something a bit safer and bigger (that can properly fit your documents and keep them nice and neat), Peak Gear’s Travel Money Belt with RFID Block is ideal.

43. Cash and Credit Cards

Be sure to bring credit cards and some cash onboard the ship. You’ll likely need to present a credit card upon check-in to set up your onboard spending account.

While most cruise ships are cashless, you may still want to carry cash for use at your cruise ship destinations. You should also tip staff members such as the porters who bring your luggage to your room!

👉 How much money should you bring on a cruise? Cruise ships generally do not accept cash onboard because all onboard purchases are charged to passengers’ personal cruise accounts (which are connected to their debit/credit cards). If you bring cash, it would mostly be for your time in cruise ports, the onboard casino, and for tipping the staff on top of mandatory gratuities.

44. Tickets and travel documents

Passport, government-issued ID, medical card, proof of travel insurance, printed documents of your flight/hotel bookings, visas if you need them.

All U.S. citizens must have valid proof of citizenship.

If you’re traveling internationally, I’d highly recommend bringing your passport over your birth certificate. You’ll get out of customs WAAAY faster with a passport!

45. Reusable water bottle + coffee mug

Staying hydrated is important on a cruise, and bringing a refillable water bottle can help you avoid the high cost of bottled water onboard. Plus, with a refillable water bottle, you can have water even when you’re not nearby restaurants and other public areas.

Go with a collapsable bottle like this so when it’s not filled, you can easily pack it away in your travel bag.

For something more durable that keeps your water ice-cold for hours upon hours, Hydroflasks are my favorite for everyday use.

👉 Pro Tip: I’d bring a larger water bottle, such as the larger 40 oz. sized Hydroflask — that way, you won’t have to run to the dining rooms every couple of hours to refill your water!

If you’re big on coffee in the morning, bring a tumbler or a coffee mug so you can enjoy coffee outside of the dining rooms.

46. Cruise Lanyard

A cruise lanyard is a simple yet HIGHLY practical accessory that can really make your life onboard a heck of a lot easier! By wearing a lanyard around your neck, you’ll have a convenient and secure way to keep your cruise card easily accessible at all times.

And trust me, you’ll need to use your cruise card quite frequently!

For first-timers who aren’t yet familiar, your cruise card is not just a key to your stateroom but also serves as your identification, onboard payment method, and access pass to exit/board the ship.

While onboard the ship, you’ll find yourself frequently needing your cruise card. Whether it’s for ordering drinks, participating in activities, gambling in the casino, or simply exiting and re-entering the ship, having your card easily accessible saves you time and effort.

Keeping it in a lanyard ensures that it’s always within reach, eliminating the need to dig through pockets, bags, or wallets whenever you need to present or use your card!

47. Foldable beach bag

Great for carrying beach essentials to shore or carrying your belongings in a pinch! A small backpack or tote bag can be helpful for carrying essentials like sunscreen, water, and snacks on shore excursions.

This option is both stylish and compact and can fit right in your carry-on.

48. Snorkel gear

Bringing your own snorkeling set is pretty freeing. It means you can choose to snorkel anytime you want without having to track down a rental shop to rent gear. This is important because not all beaches have rental shacks nearby.

In addition, you’ll have the comfort of knowing the snorkel and mask haven’t been used by a million other people.

Seavenger, one of the best snorkel gear makers in the game, sells a Hanalei Anti-Fog 4-Piece Snorkeling Set that’s really loved by both kids and adults.

snorkeling in kona hawaii - travels with elle

49. Laundry bag

Keep your worn clothes separate from your clean ones, especially when traveling to high humidity climates.

When it’s humid, you’ll definitely be sticky by the end of the day. All that stickiness will transfer to your clothes. And even if you don’t get sticky/sweaty, you will inevitably have dirty socks and undies to toss in here.

I have this laundry bag set, and it’s great because it includes many size options.

50. Emergen-C and electrolyte packets

Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets are a must for travel. These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health on a trip. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!

Plus if you plan on doing a lot of drinking on your cruise vacation, these supplements are going to be the most necessary.

51. Seasickness wristbands

If you’re prone to motion sickness or seasickness and/or plan on doing boating/kayaking excursions or sailing trips, you’re going to want to pack a few seasickness wristbands for your trip. These babies work by applying acupressure to just the right spots on your wrist.

As Sea-Bands are totally natural, they’re a great alternative when you don’t want to take oral medications.

Dramamine will be your best medication option.

52. Your own non-alcoholic drinks

While water, lemonade, and tea are usually free on a cruise, you often have to go to the ship’s restaurants to get them. Other non-alcoholic drinks like sodas and even some juices cost extra (typically around $2-3 each), so bringing your own drinks onboard can actually save you a decent amount of money!  

Additionally, bringing your own drinks can ensure that you have your favorite beverages on hand, which may not be available onboard or may be available at a premium price.

And having your own drinks can be way more convenient than relying on visits to the restaurants — you can bring them with you when you go ashore, lounge by the pool, or when you’re spending time in your cabin!

What are the drink policies on bringing personal drinks onboard a cruise ship?

Depending on your cruise line, you may or may not be able to bring onboard your own drinks. Here’s the policy of a few popular cruise lines: 

Carnival Cruise Lines Drink Policy: “On embarkation day, a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, energy drinks, juice, and milk), packaged in cans or cartons, may be brought on board and must be in the guest’s carry-on luggage. A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less, per person.”

Royal Caribbean Drink Policy: Guests may also bring non-alcoholic beverages as carry-on items on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. Milk and distilled water brought on for infant, medical, or dietary use are permitted.”

Princess Cruises Drink Policy: “A small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, juice, milk) packaged in cans or cartons may be brought on board on embarkation day, only if carried on in Guests’ hand luggage (not in checked luggage). A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less per person. Guests will be asked to discard open beverages in plastic containers prior to boarding.”

Norwegian Cruise Lines Drink Policy: “Effective for sailings July 15, 2016 and beyond, guests are prohibited from bringing any beverages — including liquor, beer and non-alcoholic drinks such as water, soda and juices — on board either as carry-on or checked luggage.”

53. A cooler for your drinks

Bringing a personal-sized cooler for your cruise can be a good idea for a few reasons. First, it can help you transport your dozens of cans on embarkation day. Secondly, it’ll help keep your drinks cold and refreshing, especially if you plan on spending time outside or on the beach.

Having a cooler can be super convenient, as you can bring your own drinks with you when you go ashore or when you’re spending time by the pool. 

It’s important to note that most cruise lines have restrictions on the size of coolers that passengers can bring onboard. This is typically to ensure that the coolers can fit within the cabin or stateroom, don’t hinder your ability to board the cruise, and do not cause a safety hazard.

For example, here’s what Carnival has to say about it:

“Carnival Cruise Line does not allow guests to bring large coolers on board its vessels. However 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. Screening and movement of large coolers through embarkation is an impediment to the boarding and security screening process and therefore large coolers are not permitted as carry-on or checked luggage.”

Cruising with another cruise line? It’s a good idea to check with your specific cruise line to see what their cooler size restrictions are before packing your bags.

Read More: 7 Best Coolers For Your Next Cruise

54. A bottle of wine or champagne

Most cruise lines allow passengers to bring a limited amount of wine or champagne onboard their ships. The exact policy varies by cruise line, but in general, passengers are allowed to bring one or two 750-ml bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom.

The bottles must be unopened and may be subject to a corkage fee if consumed in the ship’s dining areas or restaurants.

Additionally, it’s important to note that most cruise lines prohibit passengers from bringing hard liquor, beer, or other spirits onboard, and any alcohol purchased at port may be stowed away for you until the end of the cruise.

Of course, you’re going to want to check your cruise line’s drink policy before packing this into your luggage!

55. Cruise Door Decorations

This one’s a fun and silly one that I saw many other cruise guests doing, and it makes so much sense!

Cruise door decorations can be a fun and practical way to locate your room amidst the seemingly endless rows of identical cabin doors.

With hundreds or even thousands of cabins on a cruise ship, the hallways end up looking quite similar. By adorning your cabin door with unique and eye-catching decorations, such as magnets, signs, streamers, or personalized door hangers, you can create a fun (and colorful!) way to make it easier to identify your room from a distance.

What To Pack For A Mexico Cruise: For Kids

If you’re traveling with kids, don’t forget to pack some of their favorite items that’ll make them feel right at home. This could be their favorite stuffed animal, a blanket, a toy, or even just an iPad or a Nintendo Switch.

Some other things you should add to your Mexico cruise packing list for kids:


Keep your little ones entertained during the cruise with items such as coloring books, small toys, puzzles, or handheld electronic devices with headphones. Consider bringing a few favorite books or travel-friendly games to keep them occupied during downtime.

Snacks and Drinks

Although cruises practically come with unlimited food, it’d still be smart to have some kid-friendly snacks and drinks on hand. Pack easy-to-carry snacks like granola bars, fruit pouches, or crackers to keep hunger at bay between meals. It’s also essential to stay hydrated, so bring refillable water bottles for each child.

Swim Gear

Don’t forget to pack swim essentials for your kids. This includes swim diapers (if applicable), swim goggles, pool toys, and inflatable floatation devices if needed.

Documents and Identification

Make sure you have all necessary identification documents for your children, including passports or birth certificates. You won’t be able to get on without them!

You should also carry copies of their health insurance cards, emergency contact information, and any required cruise documents.

Childcare Essentials

If you’re traveling with infants or toddlers, don’t forget the baby bottles, diapers, wipes, formula, toiletries, and other baby products!


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    That was a lot, but guess what — now you’re ready for your Mexico cruise vacation!

    If you get nothing else out of this post, at least take this with you–

    When packing for a cruise to Mexico:

    • pack light
    • think through the different outfits you’ll need throughout the day
    • be prepared for unfavorable weather (if it’s remotely in the forecast)
    • be prepared for heat, humidity, and mosquitos (during certain seasons)
    • be prepared for colder nights on board (during certain seasons)
    • try to save room for souvenirs and local snacks to bring home!

    Alright, and now that we’re at the end of this post, I think you’ll have a good handle on your Mexico cruise packing list. Now go on, you’ve got a lot to look forward to and a lot of trip to pack for!

    Looking for more cruise travel tips? Read More: 

    The Best Time To Visit Cozumel: A Month By Month Guide

    35 Essential Cozumel Travel Tips: What You Need To Know Before Going

    10 Best Places to Snorkel in Cozumel, Mexico

    7 Best Coolers For Your Next Cruise

    40 Travel Essentials for Hot Weather and Tropical Climates

    Photo of author


    Elle Leung

    My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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