Tips for Luggage for Cruises

Traveling via cruise is one of the best ways to see the world. If this is your first cruise, you probably have several questions about what you can bring on a cruise. Every cruise line has different rules. Luckily, cruise lines make that information available online and are very forthcoming with their restrictions on luggage.

Packing for a cruise, especially an international one, usually requires a little more thought than packing for domestic travel. Cruising port to port means you might not have access to the normal stores you would back home. In this article we are going to discuss some luggage tips for cruises and cover some of the most frequently asked questions regarding luggage on cruises.

How to Measure Luggage for a Cruise?

Luggage can be measured at home with a simple tape measure and scale. There are several luggage scales that you can buy to make measuring and weighting your luggage a lot easier. The Samsonite Electronic Luggage Scale is an electronic scale that even includes a handy tape measure for taking the dimensions of your luggage.

To get a proper measurement and weight of your luggage, it is best if you fill the bag first. This will give you the most accurate measurement of the size of the bag on embarkation day. If you want to measure your luggage at home, you can take these simple steps:

  1. With the suitcase stood upright on the ground and the handle in the closed position, measure the height of the bag from the ground to the top. This is the bags length.
  2. Next, measure the distance from the left side of the bag to the right side of the bag. The resulting measurement is the width of the bag.
  3. Last, the bag should be measured from front to back. This measurement is the depth of the bag.

To measure the weight of the bag, it will need to be placed on a scale. A home scale can be used but might require some manipulation for oddly shaped bags. A luggage scale is usually more accurate and convenient.

How Much Luggage Can You Take on a Cruise?

When you think about how much luggage you need to take a cruise there are several factors that you will want to consider. The first consideration is going to be the rules and regulations for luggage from your cruise line. Each cruise line has different policies for baggage that we have outlined and linked in the sections below. This information is subject to change. Make sure that you check with your cruise line before packing to make sure that you have the most up to date and accurate information.

Carnival Luggage Policy

The Carnival Help Pages outline in detail what guests can bring onboard. The weight limit of checked bags is 50 pounds. Checked bags are not to exceed 16 inches in height and 24 inches in width. There is no limit to the length of the bag. Carnival does prefer that checked luggage be unlocked.

Carnival recommends one bag per person for 3-5 day cruises and a maximum of two bags per person for cruises 6 days or longer. Additionally, Carnival recommends one carry-on per person that contains important documents, medications, valuables, and other necessities that might be needed right away.

Royal Caribbean Luggage Policy

According to the Royal Caribbean luggage guidelines, they do not limit the amount of luggage that you can take onboard with you. They do suggest that guests only bring a reasonable amount of luggage with them.

All locked luggage may only have a TSA approved lock. Carry-on luggage needs to be able to fit through an x-ray screening machine which varies between ports. X-ray screening machines are generally the same size as the ones found at airport security check points, so use that information for choosing a carry-on bag size.

Guests are permitted to carry on their luggage, but staterooms may not be available immediately for storing bags. It is recommended that carry-on bags contain important documents such as passports, visas, and citizenship documents. It is also a good idea to carry-on prescription medication, a change of clothes, and a swimming suit.

Princess Cruise Lines Luggage Policy

On the Princess FAQ page, they do not provide a limit to the number of bags that can be brought onboard. There is also no printed restriction on the size of the checked bags. For the safety of crew members, it is recommended that passengers on Princess follow general airline policies and not bring any bag that weighs over 50 pounds.

Holland America Luggage Policy

The Holland America FAQ Pages do not place a restriction on the size, weight, or number of bags that guests can bring. Holland America recommends that passengers follow the guidelines of their preferred airlines and transfer services regarding luggage.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line details on their FAQ page that each guest is allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Each bag should weight less than 22kg or 50 pounds. Norwegian Cruise Lines does not provide any restrictions for the size of bags. However, they do recommend that travelers check on their airline’s luggage restrictions before packing.

Celebrity Cruises Luggage Policy

Celebrity Cruises does not place a limit on the size, weight, or number of bags that passengers can bring. Passengers on Celebrity Cruises should bring a reasonable amount of luggage and follow their airlines policies and restrictions for luggage.

Disney Cruise Line Luggage Policy

Disney is very upfront about the Disney Cruise Line luggage policy. The Disney Cruise Line luggage restrictions are similar to most airline luggage restrictions. Guests are allowed up to two checked bags that should weigh 50 pounds or less. Each guest is also allowed one carry on bag and one personal item. Carry-on bags need to be put through an x-ray screening machine and should be no larger than 22” wide by 14” in depth by 9’ in length. 

What to do with Luggage Between Cruise and Flight?

Sometimes flight times do not match up with boarding times and you will have several hours between landing and boarding or disembarking and taking off. There are a couple of options to look into for storing luggage between cruising and flying.

  • Cruise Line Luggage Service – Some cruise lines offer a luggage valet service that will transport your bags to and from the airport. This service may cost a fee, but it is worth checking with your cruise line to see if they offer a similar service.
  • Courier Services – Many major cruise ports have businesses that offer luggage courier and shipping services. These services are not provided by the cruise lines. They are a separate service, so the fees may vary. Sometimes the services offered include a complete luggage delivery service that will deliver luggage to and from your home and cruise line.
  • Rent a Car – Renting a car is a great option for people who have several hours between their cruise and flight. Guests who have long drives between the airport and port may also prefer to rent a car to make the drive more comfortable.
  • Hotel – Most hotels offer a luggage storage service. Usually, this service is provided by valet and you may find hotels nearby the port that are willing to store your bags for a few hours. This service may be free, just make sure that you provide a generous tip to valet.

Where to Store Luggage on a Cruise?

Cruise cabins are notorious for being small. You might be wondering where you will put your luggage so that you are not constantly tripping over it. Fortunately, cruise lines thought that out. Many cruise lines have designed the beds so that smaller bags can be stored underneath them. The closet is also a good storage space and can be used to hold one or two larger bags.

When it comes to storing luggage on a cruise, not all bags are created equally. For convenience bring a set of nesting suitcases and soft duffel bags or totes that can be compacted down after being unpacked.

What are Luggage Tag Holders for Cruises?

Luggage tag holders are plastic and usually waterproof. They attach to your bags and hold the luggage tag that is provided by the cruise line. Cruise lines usually take your checked bags at the port and deliver them to your room an hour or two before departure. Luggage tag holders can help to make sure that your luggage tags are not accidently torn off or damaged during transit. These should be added at the port so that they are not removed accidently while being handled at the airport.

Where can I buy Cruise Luggage Tags?

Luggage tag holders for cruises come in different sizes because each cruise line has different sized luggage tags. Royal Caribbean, for example, has a very long luggage tag. Cruise luggage tag holders can be purchased online from many different retailers including Amazon and Walmart. Some local retailers may sell luggage tag holders as well. Check with office supply stores like Office Depot or Staples. Additionally, travel and souvenir shops may sell luggage tag holders.