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Ultimate Cruise Packing Tips for a Hawaiian Cruise

You’re getting ready to check one big item off your bucket list with a dreamy Hawaiian cruise, and you only have one thing left to do: pack. Make sure your cruise vacation is easy breezy and full of fun with these smart tips for a Hawaiian cruise packing list.

friends holding surf boards at a hawaiian beach

Start With Your Carry-On

When you’re wondering what to pack for a Hawaii cruise, start with your carry-on. Just in case your checked baggage gets lost or delayed, fill this bag, backpack, or suitcase with all the things you need to get by for a day or two. Must-haves should include:

  • Wallet and travel documents
  • Eyeglasses/contact case and solution
  • Essential medications and over-the-counter products like bandages, ibuprofen, antacids and motion sickness supplements
  • Cell phone
  • Basic toiletries
  • A swimsuit
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, reef-safe sunscreen)
  • Earplugs
  • A good novel
  • Portable charger for your electronic devices
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra change of clothing

couple wearing sunglasses and holding a cocktail, pointing at a hawaiian island

Add a Piece of Portable, Hardside Luggage

When creating your cruise packing checklist, consider portable, hardside luggage. Suitcases top backpacks for packing and repacking, and a hard shell keeps your travel belongings safer and your clothing less wrinkled.

Pack Proper On Board Clothing

Once you’ve purchased a piece of good-quality luggage, it’s time to fill it with the proper cruise apparel. When packing, consider the onboard activities you’ll want to participate in. For casual cruise and shore wear, pack light, breathable clothing like shorts, skirts, capri pants, blouses for women, khaki shorts, short-sleeved polos, and collared shirts for men.

For elegant dining on and off the ship, add dresses, nice slacks, a dress jacket, dress shoes, or heels. Throw in a small container of wrinkle-release spray to always look your best.

Pack Clothing Appropriate for Excursions

Be sure to pack proper attire for the excursions that you’ve scheduled. Based on the shore excursions you choose, your clothing options may vary. To make sure you have all the travel apparel you need, pack these additional essentials:

  • Athletic wear like shorts, tennis shoes, yoga pants, and sleeveless shirts for activities like horseback riding, exploring and zip lining. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit for after your ride!
  • Comfortable land-to-water shoes for Hawaiian shore excursions
  • A warm, hooded sweatshirt or light jacket for men
  • A cozy pashmina or light jacket for women
  • A raincoat
  • Sandals

couple wearing athletic clothing looking over the hawaiian coast line during a hike

Don’t Forget Toiletries and Hair Products

For comfortable travel, make sure to bring all the toiletries and hair products you need, including:

  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash
  • Razors and shaving cream or shower gel
  • Deodorant or antiperspirant
  • Makeup, nail polish, nail polish remover
  • Perfume or cologne
  • Tweezers, nail clippers, eyelash curler
  • A curling iron or flat iron
  • Combs, brushes
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hair gel
  • Feminine hygiene products

Keep all of your personal care items and hair products in place and organized with a fold-up hanging toiletry bag.

Bring Necessities for Shore Adventures

When you cruise to Hawaii, you’ll enjoy a variety of exciting shore excursions, from attending a sunset luau to exploring rain forests and waterfalls. Certain items make these adventures much more enjoyable. Bring along a light backpack or day bag equipped with your cell phone, a small pair of binoculars, a water bottle, sunscreen, your wallet, a comb or brush, and lip balm.

If you’ll be in and out of the water, add a few zippered plastic disposable bags to keep wet things separate or to protect your cell phone. Make sure to save room for any souvenirs or gifts you might purchase along the way. For maximum comfort in warm weather, wear a mosquito-repellent wristband on any outdoor adventure.

man wearing a backpack during a hike is admiring the coast at the top of a cliff

Pamper Yourself with Luxury Items

A few indulgences help to make a cruise vacation extra special. These might include:

  • An underwater camera
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • A selfie stick
  • A portable mini fan

Take Advantage of a Few Extra Hawaii Cruise Tips

On Carnival Cruise Lines, you can cruise to Hawaii from Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, or you can start your trip off in Honolulu. For 10 to 16 days, you’ll enjoy lush, tropical locales spanning four islands: the Big Island, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.

The best time to sail to Hawaii depends on you. Weather tends to be drier from April to October and slightly rainier from November to March. To avoid the heat of the summer months, many travelers choose springtime or fall for a Hawaiian cruise.

friends eating traditional hawaiian food during their cruise vacation

While you’re in Hawaii, don’t forget to sample the local cuisine. Enjoy all the just-picked tropical fruits and fresh seafood you can eat along with treats like poke, poi, kalua pua’a, Hawaiian barbecue, and shaved ice.

With sunshine, palm trees, white-sand beaches, and water fun, a cruise to Hawaii is a many-splendored thing. For the most enjoyable getaway possible, follow these handy tips on what to pack for a Hawaii cruise for the airport, plane, ship, and shore.

Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.