How To Pack Just Hand Luggage for a Cruise

10 Tips How To Pack Just Hand Luggage for a Cruise - Lucy Williams Global

Can you really pack just hand luggage for a cruise? For some of you, you have just read the title of this article and thought there is no way you can just pack hand luggage for a 10-day cruise! Well, yes you can!

How? A capsule wardrobe, clever packing and leaving a few things at home!

Here are 10 tips on how to pack for a cruise with just hand luggage:

Packing Tip One

First, you need to check the size of your hand luggage as there are different sizes. As if you are flying to your destination check the dimensions your airline allows as of course, they differ!

Cruise Ship - Lucy Williams Global

Cruise Packing Tip Two

Second check maximum weight as some airlines allow 23kg for hand luggage, while others only allow 7kg! 

Do not bring bulky clothes, if you want to bring a big puffy skirt, that is all you are going to take! Bring lightweight clothes and if you are going to a cooler climate pack some thin layers.

Packing Tip Three

Are you going to the formal nights? Check how many formal nights there will be on your cruise, usually on a 7 to 10-day cruise there are two formal nights.

These days you do not need to wear a full-length ball gown. A nice cocktail dress is fine and there are lots of lovely dresses that are lightweight and pack nicely.

Cruise Ship - Lucy Williams Global

How to Pack Just Hand Luggage for a Cruise Tip Four

Use Packing Cubes – These are a game changer and I love them. They have changed the way I pack for years now and I always use them from a weekend away to a four-month trip.

They keep you organised and they save so much space in your luggage.

Also, vacuum packing bags are good if you have a bulky item of clothing, like a jacket, but best to stay away from bulky clothing and if you have a bulky jacket, wear it!

Cruise Packing Tip Five

Roll all your small clothing, like tees, shorts, dresses and nightwear and fold the larger items and put them under the packing cubes.

10 Tips How To Pack Just Hand Luggage for a Cruise - Lucy Williams Global

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Cruise Packing Tips Tools

How to Pack Just Hand Luggage for a Cruise Tip Six

Take fewer toiletries as you can only use that lovely little clear plastic bag that holds 100 ml products and we all know that little bag does not hold much!

Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and soap are usually in the bathroom of your cabin, so leave those items at home and bring your other essential items makeup, deodorant, perfume, etc.

Which is Best a Cruise Vacation or Land Vacation?

Cruise Packing Tip Seven

Transfer your own toiletries into small bottles, and jars and only take the amount that you are really going to use. I love the jars and it saves so much more space.

Hand Luggage for a Cruise Tip Eight

Leave the hairdryer at home there is one on board in the cabin or if you must bring one bring a tiny travel-sized one.

At Sea

Cruise Packing Tip Nine

Try to pack this amount of clothes:  7 casual tops, 7 smart tops, 2 casual shorts/skirts/trousers, 2 smart skirts/trousers, 2 formal dresses, nightwear, underwear and 2 pairs of shoes (not including the pair you wear to embark the ship). There are washing machines onboard to use or use the laundry service.

Packing Tip Ten

Bring shoes that can be mixed and matched with all your clothes. I always bring nude coloured shoes as they go if everything and they make your legs look longer! Wear a pair of shoes, e.g. sports shoes on the day you embark.

Coffee at sea

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I hope these tips help you on your next cruise vacation. If you have any top tips to share, please do so in the comment box below, I would love to hear them.

I hope you enjoyed reading the 10 Tips How To Pack Just Hand Luggage for a Cruise. Please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Happy Cruising!

Love Lucy x

10 Tips How To Pack Just Hand Luggage for a Cruise - Lucy Williams Global



  1. Peggy
    September 15, 2017 / 3:41 am

    Hi Lucy, we are so lucky to live in Phoenix, AZ. Very hot temps – 110 – but at least no floods. I enjoy reading your Blog. Where are you off to after next week ( 9-24-17 ). Will you be cruising on the same ship? Hello to Hubby…….. Peggy W

    • September 15, 2017 / 4:24 am

      Hi Peggy! Thank you so much 😊 I’m looking forward to warmer weather soon! We will be on the same ship, we have one more cruise in Alaska then we head down for a coastal California, then Mexico. Lovely meeting you, take care love Lucy x

  2. Anisa
    December 27, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    I need to do better with packing less, these are great tips! I may have to try the packing cubes.

  3. December 28, 2017 / 7:31 am

    i loved the tip number 4. It keeps the clothes arranged and segregated. Would follow all these for my next long trip’s packing

    • December 30, 2017 / 10:20 pm

      Thank you! So pleased you have found these packing tips helpful.

  4. Stephanie
    June 7, 2018 / 12:59 am

    I love the tip about putting toiletries into small bottles! I will have to remember that next time I pack.

    • June 7, 2018 / 11:50 am

      This tip makes life so much easier when travelling, just remember to label the bottle. I once didn’t and ended up using my moisturiser as a shampoo!

  5. Lori
    July 8, 2019 / 4:10 pm

    Hello, I’ve been on 8 carnival cruises. They have never had conditioner in the stateroom. What cruise line has conditioner in the staterooms?

    • July 8, 2019 / 4:21 pm

      Hi Lori! Most cruise lines have it, but you have to ask for it!

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