A cruise to the Bahamas offers a classic Caribbean cruise experience. From snorkeling in crystal clear waters to spending the day at Perfect Day at CocoCay, there’s always something to enjoy in the Bahamas.
Packing for a cruise efficiently means you can enjoy your vacation as much as possible without having to worry about forgetting essential items or lugging around extra weight.
From packing lightweight clothing to remembering sunscreen and comfortable shoes, here is our list of the top items to pack on a cruise to the Bahamas.
Breathable, casual clothing
Lightweight fabrics are key on a Bahamas cruise, where you’ll encounter warm temperatures nearly all year round. Heavy fabrics and non-breathable clothing are not recommended unless you plan on overheating!
Lightweight shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, sundresses, and rompers are all acceptable clothing options in the Bahamas. Packing loose-fitting clothing is recommended over tight, restrictive outfits to ensure you remain comfortable.
It can also be fun to pack colorful, tropical patterned clothing to fully immerse yourself in vacation-mode. Leave the boring, black clothes at home and opt for a floral sundress or Hawaiian-print shirt instead.
If you opt to wear only a swimsuit and coverup, be sure to pack a change of clothes or a lightweight dress to throw over your swimsuit. It’s common courtesy to wear real clothing if you spend time walking around port and entering local businesses after the beach.
Packing footwear for a Bahamas cruise can be a bit challenging, as you want to ensure your shoes are comfortable for walking through town and also for the beach.
Flip flops are acceptable to wear both on the beach and in Bahamian ports, but reconsider wearing flip flops if you plan to do a lot of walking. Sturdier sandals with an ankle strap, such as Chacos, will fare more comfortably during a port day with various activities.
If your only goal is to go from cruise ship to beach with little walking in between, flip flops will be totally fine.
Sneakers can be a solid footwear option for comfortability, but they aren’t the best choice for a beach day. If you want to wear sneakers, consider packing sandals in your daypack so you can change shoes once at the beach.
Evening and formal wear
In between colorful shirts, shorts, and a swimsuit, don’t forget to pack for evening wear you’ll need once you get back onboard the ship.
While you can choose to eat at casual restaurants like the buffet every night of the cruise, if you want to eat in the Main Dining Room or specialty restaurants you should dress in clothing a bit nicer than what you wore to the beach.
Slacks, collared shirts, polos, jumpsuits, dresses, skirts, and blouses are all acceptable outfits for the dining room and restaurants onboard. Additionally, your cruise may have at least one formal night, so packing your best formal wear can be a good idea.
While dress codes are not strictly enforced, it’s common practice to pack a few nice outfits for evenings onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Read more: What to wear on a cruise ship formal night
Our top recommended accessory for a Bahamas cruise is a water-resistant daypack. A good daypack is extremely valuable to have, as it offers a safe place to store your phone, camera, wallet, ID, and SeaPass card while on shore.
As it is common to encounter rain in the Bahamas, even if only for a few minutes at a time, having a water-resistant daypack will cause less concern over your electronics and valuables being damaged.
Some daypacks even have “hidden” pockets that rest against your back, which can offer extra security when walking through busy port areas.
Once you have your water-resistant daypack, be sure to pack it full of accessories that will come in handy on your cruise, whether onboard or on shore.
Sunscreen is of utmost importance on a Bahamas cruise, so remember to apply it regularly throughout the day. If you run out of sunscreen or forget it altogether, you can purchase extra onboard, but it will come at a higher price than at home.
Sunglasses and a sun hat are also important to ensure you remain covered, cool, and comfortable. If you plan on reading while at the beach, don’t forget to put your e-reader or book in your daypack as well.
If you booked an excursion in the Bahamas that requires traveling on a small boat (i.e. a catamaran tour), be sure to pack medication like Dramamine if you are prone to motion sickness. While your cruise ship will have stabilizers to reduce motion, it’s common to feel the seas much more on a smaller boat.
Bahamas cruise in winter
If you’re traveling to the Bahamas in the winter months, we recommend packing a few outfits to keep you warm in case of chilly weather. While you’ll likely encounter sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, short “cold” stretches can appear in the winter months.
Having a lightweight cardigan or pair of jeans on hand will be helpful in case of unexpectedly cold weather.
Packing list for a Bahamas cruise
Now that you know the basics of what to pack for a Bahamas cruise, use this list as a reference point when it comes time to pack:
- 1-2 swimsuits
- 2-3 pairs of lightweight shorts, preferably one pair of “nicer” shorts like jean shorts and one casual, lightweight pair
- Casual, lightweight t-shirts or tank tops (1-2 shirts per day of your cruise)
- 1-2 sundresses or rompers (for ladies)
- Evening wear (slacks, blouses, etc.)
- Lightweight cardigan or jacket for winter months
- Water-resistant daypack
- Sun hat (straw hat, baseball cap, etc.)
- Beach toys if traveling with kids
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 pair of sandals with an ankle strap (Chacos or similar)
- 1 pair of formal shoes for dinner
- Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash)
- Hairbrush, razors, and other personal hygiene products
- Book or ereader
- Underwear and pajamas
- Lightweight socks