Cruise Luggage Rules You Need to Know

There are many things you’ll want to bring with you when you set sail on a cruise. However, you and your cruise luggage need to follow specific rules.

Failure to follow the rules could land you in hot water with the crew. They may even make you walk the plank. 

While that may be extreme, knowing the rules for your cruise luggage is essential. Let’s dive in! 

How Much Luggage Can You Bring on a Cruise?

The rules and regulations for cruise luggage depend on the cruise line. Generally, most cruise lines allow passengers to bring at least two suitcases and a carry-on bag. Even for the longest cruises, this should be more than enough.

While they may not have an exact limit, it’s important to consider storage. Once you get into your stateroom, you’ll need a place to put your suitcases.

Some rooms can be tiny. If you have half a dozen luggage pieces, they’ll be in the way your entire trip.

Close up of an open suitcase being packed for a cruise ship.

Is There a Weight Limit for Luggage on a Cruise?

Weight limit policies for luggage on cruises vary from one cruise line to another. Some have strict guidelines regarding baggage weight, and others do not. Unfortunately, most of these policies are vague. As a result, you may need to call and talk to customer service to verify.

However, it’s essential to consider how you’ll get to the port for your cruise. If you’re flying, you’ll want to follow luggage requirements. This typically means keeping each piece of luggage to under 50 pounds.

While this is a rather generous amount of weight, you can quickly eat away at the pounds by packing multiple pairs of shoes and other heavy items.

So, while the cruise line may not care, your airline likely will. We recommend keeping it under 50 pounds if you want to avoid issues. It might be worth purchasing a luggage scale to help ensure your bags aren’t overweight.

Do You Carry Your Own Luggage onto a Cruise Ship?

Most cruise lines will allow passengers to carry their luggage. However, it’s not a requirement. When you arrive at the ship, workers at the porter (often called porters) will take your bags from you. Your cruise line will have sent you luggage tags for you to fasten to your luggage to help make sure it finds its way to your stateroom.

As we mentioned, it’s possible to carry your luggage. However, it may not be the best idea. It’s common for it to take a few hours before your stateroom is ready.

This is an excellent time to explore and familiarize yourself with the ship. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy or much fun if you’re hauling heavy luggage around.

Luggage all lined up at port ready to be loaded into a cruise ship.

Cruise Luggage Rules You Need to Know

When packing your cruise luggage, you need to know some rules. This can help ensure you have a smooth cruising experience. Let’s take a look!

Baggage Allowance

Every cruise line has its policies when it comes to baggage allowances.

As mentioned, two checked bags per passenger and a carry-on item are the norm. These policies are similar to the airline industry, which can help ensure you stay in compliance.

Make sure you take the time to familiarize yourself with the baggage allowance rules for your particular cruise line. You may have to leave some things behind because they won’t fit into your two-bag limit.

Carry-On Luggage

A carry-on bag is essential to bring on a cruise, even if you can fit everything you’ll need in your checked luggage.

We recommend putting medications and other vital items in your carry-on to avoid losing them. You should also pack extra clothes or your bathing suit since you won’t have access to your luggage immediately.

Typically, carry-on items must be 22 to 24 inches long and 14 to 16 inches wide. It must be able to fit through the X-ray screening machines. If you flew and carried it onto the plane, you likely have nothing to worry about.

Prohibited Items

Just like when flying on a plane, you have some things that you can’t bring with you on a cruise. Most of these are common sense items like firearms, explosives, illegal drugs, and sharp objects. However, there are some not-so-obvious items that you can’t bring.

Some items you may not have considered are irons, surge protectors, candles, and liquor. Call our cruise line if you have a specific question about prohibited items for your cruise line. They’ll be able to provide the best and most up-to-date answers to the company’s policies.

Liquor and Beverage Policy

As you might expect, most cruise lines prohibit guests from bringing liquor and certain beverages in their luggage. They not only want you to purchase your liquor from their bars, but they also want to keep all passengers safe.

However, while cruise lines may not allow you to bring your liquor or beer on board, they often make exceptions for wine.

Some will allow passengers to bring a bottle per person onto the ship. However, it must be unopened, and you must carry it onto the ship when boarding.

A couple on a cruise ship clinking glasses with white wine.

Oversized Items

You’ll typically find no restrictions on oversized items for cruises. However, it must be able to go through standard airport security X-ray machines.

Again, if the large object is anything other than your suitcase, you’ll want to verify that the cruise line will allow you to bring it on the boat.

Despite what the marketing pictures might show, the staterooms generally aren’t very large. You won’t have much room to store oversized items during your sailing. So, even if the cruise line allows it, you may want to leave it at home.

Know the Rules for Cruise Luggage Before Setting Sail

Knowing cruise luggage rules can help you have a smooth and relaxing sailing. We understand you want to bring as much as possible to stay comfortable.

However, hauling luggage through the airport or into your vehicle isn’t fun or easy. It can make for a stressful and chaotic situation, the exact opposite of what you want from a cruise.

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