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What Suitcase Size To Take On A Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Lacy Hermes



Embarking on a cruise is an exciting adventure that allows travelers to explore different destinations while enjoying the comforts and luxuries of a floating resort. When preparing for a cruise, choosing the right suitcase size is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your travel experience. Whether you’re packing for a short weekend getaway or an extended voyage, selecting the appropriate suitcase size ensures that you have enough space for all your travel essentials without compromising convenience or mobility.


Factors such as the duration of your cruise, the cruise line’s baggage policies, and the type of activities you plan to engage in during your trip will all influence your decision when it comes to picking the perfect suitcase size. In this article, we will discuss the various factors to consider when choosing a suitcase size for a cruise and provide insights into both carry-on and checked suitcase options.


By understanding the different suitcase sizes and optimizing your packing techniques, you can make the most of your cruise vacation and ensure a stress-free travel experience. So let’s dive in and discover the best strategies for selecting the right suitcase size for your upcoming cruise adventure.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Suitcase Size for a Cruise

When it comes to selecting the perfect suitcase size for your cruise, there are several factors to keep in mind. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Duration of the Cruise: The length of your cruise plays a significant role in determining the size of your suitcase. For shorter cruises, a smaller suitcase or even a carry-on bag may be sufficient, while longer voyages may require a larger checked suitcase to accommodate all your belongings.
  2. Cruise Line’s Baggage Policies: Each cruise line has its own baggage restrictions and weight limits. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these guidelines to avoid any additional fees or complications. Some cruise lines may allow larger suitcases for check-in, while others may have stricter size limits.
  3. Activities and Destinations: Consider the types of activities and destinations you’ll be encountering during your cruise. If you plan on participating in water sports or outdoor adventures, you may need extra space for equipment such as snorkels, hiking boots, or beach gear. Likewise, if you’re visiting colder regions, bulkier winter clothing may require a larger suitcase.
  4. Personal Packing Style: Everyone has their own unique packing style. Some people prefer to travel light and only bring the essentials, while others like to have more options and outfit choices. Understanding your personal packing preferences will help determine the ideal size of your suitcase.
  5. Shared Luggage: If you’re traveling with a companion or family members, you may choose to share a larger suitcase rather than each having individual ones. This can help save space and reduce the number of bags to manage during the trip.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the right suitcase size for your cruise. Remember, it’s essential to strike a balance between having enough space for your belongings and ensuring that your suitcase remains manageable and within the cruise line’s regulations.


Carry-On Suitcases for Cruises

Carry-on suitcases are a popular choice for cruise travelers who want to have their essentials within reach and avoid the hassle of checking in luggage. These compact and versatile bags offer convenience and mobility throughout your journey. Here are some considerations when choosing a carry-on suitcase for your cruise:

  1. Size Restrictions: Different cruise lines have varying size limitations for carry-on luggage. Typically, the maximum dimensions range between 22-24 inches in length, 14-16 inches in width, and 9-10 inches in depth. Check with your specific cruise line for their requirements.
  2. Wheeled or Non-Wheeled: Consider whether you prefer a carry-on suitcase with wheels or a non-wheeled option. Wheeled suitcases provide ease of movement, especially in crowded areas or on uneven surfaces, while non-wheeled options are generally lighter and offer more flexibility for overhead compartment storage.
  3. Compartmentalization: Look for carry-on suitcases that offer ample compartments and pockets to organize your belongings. This will make it easier to access and find your items during the cruise and help keep everything neatly packed and secure.
  4. Durable and Lightweight: Opt for a carry-on suitcase that is sturdy and lightweight. This will make it easier to lift and maneuver while navigating ports or carrying it on and off the ship. Look for materials such as polycarbonate or ballistic nylon for durability.
  5. Security Features: Consider carry-on suitcases that come with built-in locks or TSA-approved locks to secure your belongings. Some models also have anti-theft features, such as hidden zippers or slash-proof materials, for added peace of mind.
  6. Personal Preference: Ultimately, choose a carry-on suitcase that aligns with your personal style and preferences. Look for a design that appeals to you and reflects your taste, whether it’s a sleek modern look or a more classic and timeless design.

Carry-on suitcases for cruises offer the convenience of having your essentials with you at all times and can help expedite the check-in and disembarkation processes. They are perfect for storing important documents, medications, electronics, and a change of clothes, ensuring that you have everything you need on hand to start your cruise adventure.


Checked Suitcase Sizes for Cruises

Checked suitcases provide ample space for those who like to pack more or are embarking on longer cruise journeys. These larger suitcases are stowed in the ship’s baggage hold and are retrieved upon arrival at your destination. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a checked suitcase for your cruise:

  1. Size Restrictions: Each cruise line has specific size limitations for checked luggage. The maximum allowed dimensions typically range from 27-30 inches in length, 18-20 inches in width, and 10-12 inches in depth. Be sure to check your cruise line’s guidelines to avoid any surprises or additional fees.
  2. Weight Limits: In addition to size restrictions, cruise lines often impose weight limits for checked luggage. The weight threshold may range from 40-50 pounds per bag, although this can vary. Pack efficiently and consider using a lightweight suitcase to maximize your weight allowance.
  3. Durability and Construction: Since checked luggage will be handled by port staff and transported in the ship’s cargo area, it’s crucial to choose a suitcase that is sturdy and able to withstand the rigors of travel. Opt for suitcases made from durable materials like polycarbonate or ballistic nylon to protect your belongings.
  4. Expandability: Select a checked suitcase that offers expandable compartments. This feature allows you to increase the storage capacity of your suitcase if needed, especially if you plan on doing some shopping during your cruise or want to bring back souvenirs.
  5. Multiple Compartments: Look for checked suitcases with multiple compartments and organization features. This will help keep your belongings organized and easily accessible, reducing the need to rummage through your suitcase during your trip.
  6. Wheels and Handles: Opt for checked suitcases with sturdy wheels and telescopic handles for easy maneuverability through airports and cruise terminals. Spinner wheels provide superior mobility, allowing you to navigate through crowds and tight spaces effortlessly.

Checked suitcases are ideal for travelers who require more space for longer trips or for those who prefer to have a larger selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories. They provide the flexibility to pack more without worrying about size restrictions, ensuring that you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise experience.


Tips for Packing Efficiently for a Cruise

Packing efficiently for a cruise is essential to ensure that you have all the necessary items while maximizing available space. Here are some tips to help you pack smartly and efficiently:

  1. Create a Packing List: Before you start packing, make a checklist of all the essential items you’ll need for your cruise. This helps you stay organized and ensures that you don’t forget anything important.
  2. Plan Outfits in Advance: Consider the activities and events you’ll be participating in during the cruise and plan your outfits accordingly. Mix and match clothing items that can be paired differently to create multiple outfits, reducing the number of items you need to bring.
  3. Roll Your Clothes: Rolling clothes instead of folding them helps save space and minimizes wrinkles. This packing technique also allows for more efficient use of the available suitcase space.
  4. Use Packing Cubes or Compression Bags: Packing cubes or compression bags can help compress your clothing and make more efficient use of space in your suitcase. They also help keep your belongings organized and make it easier to find what you need.
  5. Maximize Empty Spaces: Utilize every inch of space in your suitcase effectively. Utilize the insides of shoes for small items or roll up socks and place them inside your shoes to save space.
  6. Pack Versatile Clothing: Opt for clothing items that can be dressed up or down and can be worn in different settings. This allows you to pack lighter and have more flexibility in your outfit choices.
  7. Limit Shoe Selection: Shoes can take up a significant amount of space in your suitcase. Try to limit your shoe selection to a maximum of three pairs, including one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of formal shoes for special occasions.
  8. Consider Laundry Options: If your cruise offers laundry services or self-service laundry facilities, consider packing a small amount of detergent and plan to do a load of laundry during the trip. This allows you to pack fewer clothes and frees up space in your suitcase.
  9. Minimize Toiletries: Instead of carrying full-sized toiletries, transfer them into travel-sized containers to save space. Also, check the cruise line’s regulations on toiletries to ensure compliance with their policies.
  10. Leave Room for Souvenirs: If you plan on shopping during your cruise, leave some extra space in your suitcase to accommodate any souvenirs or new items you may acquire along the way.

By following these packing tips, you can make the most of your suitcase space and ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise vacation. Remember to pack smart, pack light, and pack with versatility in mind.



Choosing the right suitcase size for your cruise is crucial in ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience. By considering factors such as the duration of your cruise, the cruise line’s baggage policies, and the activities you plan to engage in, you can make an informed decision on whether to opt for a carry-on suitcase or a checked suitcase for your trip.


Carry-on suitcases provide convenience and mobility, allowing you to have your essentials within reach and avoid the hassle of checking in luggage. They are perfect for shorter cruises or for those who prefer to travel light. On the other hand, checked suitcases offer more space and are suitable for longer cruises or for travelers who need to pack more clothing and accessories.


Regardless of the suitcase size you choose, there are tips and techniques you can employ to pack efficiently. Creating a packing list, planning outfits in advance, rolling clothes, and maximizing empty spaces in your suitcase are just a few strategies to utilize. Additionally, using packing cubes or compression bags, limiting your shoe selection, and packing versatile clothing can help you optimize your suitcase space.


Remember to familiarize yourself with the specific size restrictions and weight limits imposed by your cruise line to avoid any additional fees or complications. It’s also important to consider any specific requirements for activities or destinations on your cruise.


By taking these factors into account and implementing efficient packing techniques, you can ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise vacation. So, pack smart, pack light, and embark on your cruise adventure with ease and confidence!