Mexico cruise what to pack

What to Pack for a Cruise to Mexico {2023}

What to pack for a cruise to Mexico highlights the best things to bring along as your cruise down Mexico’s west coast.

Packing for a Mexico cruise is similar to packing for a Caribbean cruise however you will want a few warmer pieces of clothes for your first and last day.  Ideally clothes that you can layer.   

Mexican riviera cruises depart from Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco depending on the cruise line.  Since these departure points are further north than the Caribbean cruise embarkation ports the first and last day of your Mexican cruise can be a little cooler than you may expect especially in the winter months.

Be sure to consider this when packing for a cruise to Mexico.

What to pack for a cruise to Mexico.  This list includes cruise essentials and what clothes to pack for a Mexico cruise.  This article will help with your cruise planning and be a big help for first time cruisers.

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What to pack for a cruise to Mexico

This article will outline:

  • Best things to bring on a cruise to Mexico
  • Mexico cruise clothes to pack
  • Miscellaneous must pack cruise items
  • Who cruises to Mexico

Best things to bring on a Mexico cruise

If this is your first cruise you will want to take note and add these essentials to your Mexico cruise packing list. 

Waterproof cell phone pouch

A waterproof cell phone pouch is a good idea if you are planning on doing any water sports like snorkelling or taking any shore excursions to the beach. 

These cell phone dry bag cases allow you to safely take pictures in and around the water as well as keep your cell phone with you while you are playing in the ocean.

Cruise ship approved power strip

Many experienced cruisers like to pack a power strip or power bar for their cruise cabin.  Most cruise ship cabins have limited electrical outlets and with people travelling with so many electrical devices these day these power strips are a great way to get extra outlets in your room.

An important thing to note though, that not any power strip will do.  It MUST be a cruise approved NON surge protected power strip like this one.

This is the one we have.

Cruise lanyard

A cruise lanyard is a popular way to carry your cruise card.  You can find different styles of cruise lanyards here.

6 Ways to Carry Your Cruise Card explains how my family carries their cruise card. 

Cruise luggage tags

Regardless which cruise line you choose for your cruise to Mexico, you will need to attach a luggage tag that you print out to each checked bag.

The best, most durable, and easiest way to attach these are to purchase cruise luggage tag holders.  Each cruise line has slightly different sized luggage tags. These clear luggage tag holders are inexpensive and ones that you can reuse over and over. 

Cruise luggage tags – What you need to know has more information and links to cruise luggage tag holders for the major cruise lines. 

Towel clips

I’m quite sure your Mexican Riviera cruise will include some lounging by the pool.  These super cute beach towel clips keep your towel secured to your lounge chair.  They stop the towel corner from blowing annoyingly over your shoulder. 

These cute ones will have other cruisers wishing they had their own set of towel clips.

Carry-on bag

This is probably one of the most important things to bring on a cruise.   When you arrive at the cruise port the porters will take your checked bags from you.  This is why the cruise luggage tags are so important. 

Your luggage will be delivered to outside your stateroom door, but not for a few hours. 

You need a cruise carry on bag that contains everything you need for the first few hours on the ship such as sunscreen, swimsuit and a change of clothes.

For a cruise carry-on bag I like to use a beach tote, this is the one I use.  This way it doubles as my shore excursion bag.  You could also use a backpack.  I don’t use a small suitcase for a cruise carry on as I find it too big and bulky to tote around.

Read: The Only Things You Need in Your Cruise Carry On for more information on this.

Shore excursion bag

You will need to bring a shore excursion bag with you on your cruise to Mexico. 

Consider the types of activities you plan on doing in the Mexican ports of call.  You may want different types of shore excursion bags.

If a beach day in Cabo San Lucas is on you list, you will want a beach bag. 

If you are taking a jeep safari shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta then you would probably be better off with a backpack. 

What to pack in your shore excursion bag is a post you will find helpful.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a great travel accessory as they allow you to pack more efficiently and help keep your items more organized. Packing cubes help keep your clothes less wrinkled as they aren’t sliding all around in your suitcase.

Compression packing cubes are they way to go, they allow you to pack more or save precious suitcase space for souvenirs.

RFID Blocking Passport Holder

A RFID blocking passport holder is important whether you are travelling domestically or to a foreign country as it helps keep your personal information safe.

A passport holder and wallet combination like this one is a great option.  It keeps all your valuable travel documents together and your keeps your credit cards safe as well.  The last thing you want to deal with on vacation is having your credit card declined because they suspect fraudulent activity and having to call your credit card company.

Water bottle

A good quality reusable water bottle is cruise essential.  You will want to stay hydrated while enjoying the sun in Mexico.  A good water bottle can help you save money on your cruise vacation if haven’t purchased a drink package or if your drink package doesn’t include bottled water (many don’t).

Printable cruise planner and journal

Clothes to pack for a cruise to Mexico

When creating your cruise clothes packing list consider:

  • Daytime warm weather clothes
  • “Resort casual” type evening wear
  • A couple formal night outfits
  • A couple warmer outfits

See examples of each type of cruise clothes below.

I won’t list the quantities of clothing to pack as it will depend on whether you are doing a weekend getaway cruise, a week-long cruise or something even longer.

 Daytime cruise clothes – Mexico

Bathing suits

A bathing suit is a definite must pack item for your cruise to Mexico.  If your cruise is longer than 3 days, you will want more than one bathing suit.  You’ll wear your swimsuit in and around the cruise ship pools, hot tubs and to the Mexico beaches.

If you are looking to buy a new swimsuit before your Mexico cruise, here are some you might like.  You can click on any of the pictures to see the price, size, and additional colors.

Bathing suit cover ups

Bathing suit cover ups (also called beach cover ups) are great cruise wear for lounging around the pool or for a beach shore excursion.

Click on any of the below pictures for more details.

Check out 29 Crochet Swim Suit Cover ups if you like the crochet look.

T-shirts and tank tops

Here are some fun shirts if you are looking for something new. 

Click on any of the below pictures to check price.


Sundresses or Rompers

Ladies may want to swap out shirts and shorts for a cute romper or a sundress or two.

Here are some cute ones to check out.  Any of these would be a great addition to your cruise wardrobe.  Click any of the pictures to check prices.

Evening cruise wear

For the evenings you will want to pack clothes that adheres to the cruise line dress codes especially for the dining rooms.  On a 7 night cruise, most cruise lines will have 2 formal nights (some cruise lines refer to them as elegant nights), with the remaining nights usually being “resort casual” or “smart casual”. 

You can choose not to attend the formal dinners in the main dining room and instead eat at one of the casual dining options (other meal options will vary cruise ship to cruise ship – check your ship carefully before booking) if you prefer not to bring or buy formal attire.

Evening cruise attire – casual

For the non-formal nights there will still be a dress code for the main dining rooms.  Check your cruise line for details as each cruise line is different but usually includes things like no shorts, no tank tops, no hats, no torn jeans, some may say no jeans at all, no gym clothes.  Things like that. 

What you can wear on the “resort casual” or “smart casual” nights are things like a skirt or pants with a nicer shirt or a casual dress for the ladies.  And for the men, a golf shirt and khaki pants or a button up shirt with nice pants.

To pack lighter choose bottoms (pants or skirt) that can be worn with more than one shirt. 

Cruise formal night outfits

A formal night on a cruise is a great chance to get dressed up for a fancy dinner, especially if you don’t get to do that very often. 

If you are on a 7 night cruise plan for 2 formal nights. 

On a cruise formal night ladies will want to wear a cocktail dress, that little black dress that has been hiding in your closet or a nice pants and shirt combo.

Here are some options if you are looking to add to your wardrobe.

Click on any of the above pictures for prices and alternate colors and patterns.

On a formal night men usually wear a suit or at least a dress shirt, tie and dress pants if your cruise dress code allows no jacket.  Some men will go all out with a tux. 

Mexico cruise – additional cruise clothes

As mentioned earlier, on a cruise to Mexico you will want to add to your packing list a couple of warmer pieces of clothing in case your first and last day on the cruise ship are on the cooler side.

Cruise essential – A cardigan

A cardigan is essential for any cruise.  I always pack a black cardigan as it is on the dressier side and can be thrown over a nice shirt or even a dress if the air conditioning is too cold for you in the dining room or other public rooms.  You can dress a cardigan up or down.

Light jacket

A light jacket can come in handy on a Mexican Riverian cruise for an evening stroll outside around the ship or for any bad weather days.


I would suggest packing a hoodie or sweatshirt in case the weather one day isn’t as nice as you’d like or for early mornings or for cooler evenings.  I prefer a zip up hoodie that way it can be layered easily over a t-shirt and taken on and off as needed. 

Comfortable casual pants

Pack a pair of comfortable casual pants for the daytime, again in case you have not great weather for a day or two.  Whether it’s a pair of jeans, sweatpants, or a different type of casual pants be sure to pack at least one pair that can be worn with more than one top.

Sun hat

Click a picture to shop.


Cruise shoes

What shoes to pack for a cruise to Mexico.

Unfortunately, on a cruise one pair of shoes isn’t going to cut it, however you don’t want to pack too many shoes either.  They quickly take up a lot of luggage space. 

Once you have decided on your cruise outfits, decide what shoes go with them.  Comfortable shoes are important regardless of the style.

Some of the types of cruise shoes you will want to consider bringing on your Mexico cruise vacation are:

Running shoes

Running shoes or a closed toe shoe is required for some of the onboard cruise ship activities like a ropes course, rock climbing wall, and zip lining.  These activities aren’t available on all cruise ships so research your ship before booking if these types of activities are of interest to you.

Running shoes are also required for the gym.

Certain shore excursions may require running shoes such as ATV trips or horse back riding.

Walking sandals

Your cruise shoes are going to want to include a pair of good comfortable pair walking sandals.

Flip Flops

Even though I wear my walking sandals most often on a cruise, I still pack a pair of flip flops for wearing to the pool.  They are much easier to slip on and off.

Dress shoes

Pack a pair of dress shoes that will go with both your formal night outfits.

What to pack for a cruise to Mexico

Looking to get organized before your next cruise vacation? Check out our Ultimate Cruise Planner & Journal. 36 printable pages to help you every step of the cruise process. From planning to preparing to remembering. Check it out here.

Cruise planner and journal printable - ink friendly version

Miscellaneous must pack items for a cruise to Mexico


Whether it’s a Mexican Riviera cruise, an Alaskan cruise or a Caribbean cruise, your toiletries will be pretty much the same.

Check out What Toiletries to Pack For a Cruise for a complete list

Consider a hanging toiletry bag as the cruise bathrooms have little counter space.  A hanging toiletry bag can be hung on the bathroom door freeing up space in the bathroom.


Sunscreen is a Mexico cruise essential.  Prepare for those sunny days.

After sun or Aloe Vera

For the days you take in too much sun.

Lip balm

Cruise first aid kit

What Toiletries to Pack for a Cruise also lists first aid items you will want to bring along.


Be sure to pack your prescription medications in your carry on.  Pack them in their original containers and make sure you have more than you need in case your trip gets unexpectedly extended.

Also bring on your Mexico cruise any over the counter medication that you may need.  Be prepared for all situations.  Upset stomach, sore throat, pain meds, etc. 

Sea sickness remedies

If you are worried about motion sickness pack a pair of Sea Bands and as a back up some motion sickness medication.  Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

8 Ways to Help With Sea Sickness has non-medicated remedies and preventative measures.

Hand sanitizer

Phone charger

Don’t forget to pack your phone charger.  Carry this in your carry on bag.

Alarm clock

A lot of people pack a travel alarm clock with them when they cruise.  If you don’t plan to use your phone, then you may want to consider adding a small travel alarm clock to your cruise packing list.

I hope this list has helped you answer what to pack for a cruise to Mexico and helps you plan your next cruise vacation. 

Related posts:

What to Wear on a Carnival Cruise

Top 15 Tips for First Time Cruisers

Tipping on a Cruise

11 Clever Cruise Packing Tips

Best shoes for a cruise

If you are just in the early cruise planning stage, you might be wondering who cruises to Mexico.  This may change year to year but these cruise lines are currently cruising to Mexico. 

What to pack for a cruise to Mexico.  This list includes cruise essentials and what clothes to pack for a Mexico cruise.  This article will help with your cruise planning and be a big help for first time cruisers.

Who cruises to Mexico?

  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Holland America

How long are cruises to Mexico?

The length of cruises to Mexico varies cruise line to cruise line but the most common Mexico cruises are 3 nights, 4 nights, and 7 night cruises.  Some cruise lines currently also offer 5 night cruises and 8 night cruises. 

Do you bring beach towels on a cruise?

If you are new to cruising, you may wonder if you need to pack a beach towel on a cruise.  The answer is no.  If you have a great quick dry sandless beach towel that you love then pack that, but most cruise lines allow you to take their pool towels to the ports.  Just don’t loose them as you may be charged.

The biggest cruise tip ever is – have fun!!  Try something new and create life long memories.

If you are looking for smart packing light for a cruise tips, this article has them.