The Best Size Luggage for a Cruise

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So, you’re planning a cruise, huh? Congratulations. Enjoy your break; you’ve earned it! Of course, it’s not as simple as just booking tickets and setting sail. When is life ever that convenient? You need to get some preparation done, and what better place to start than by knowing just how much stuff you get to bring with you.

Often times, you are going to be hurting for space on a cruise, so you want to avoid overpacking, and bringing a massive suitcase. Now, of course, how much you even get to consider depends on your cruise line’s policy. There is, generally, a bag limit or weight limit, so be sure to check that first of all.

Then, you need to consider how long you are going for. The amount you bring for a short three-day weekend is not going to be the same as the amount you take for a two-week fiesta.

Let’s work in the middle ground. Say you’re going for a relaxing seven-day cruise. You can scale it up or down depending on your situation.

What Is the Best Sized Luggage for a Cruise?

For seven days, you should work with a 20-25-inch suitcase and a carry-on bag. You need to make sure you can pack everything you need without taking up too much space in your cabin or making it too difficult to get your bags to the ship in the first place.

So, try avoiding packing unnecessary things and keep the weight of your bags down. You also need to consider what kind of suitcase you want. Do you want a soft, padded fabric one or something with a hard outer shell?

Usually, it is almost always a good idea to stick to hard suitcases, as a rule of thumb. It protects your belongings, meaning when it gets tossed around by baggage handlers, your precious items have a higher chance of survival.

That’s just the thing, though; there is much less baggage handling here as opposed to an airport. So, you can afford to give the hard case a miss, but it is still the better option if you have the choice.

Just don’t forget to tag your bag so you can recognize it. The last thing you want is for it to end up in a pile with other, identical black suitcases. So, get a color that stands out and tie a cute ribbon onto the handle for good measure.

There are advantages and disadvantages to hard and soft bags of course. For instance, you can’t flatten hard suitcases, but you can with some soft ones, at least a little bit.

Keeping this in mind, decide if you are going to live out of your case, or completely unpack. Cabins often have room under the beds for suitcases, so if you are unpacking, maybe consider going with a soft shell a little more.

Of course, if you’re living out of it, then this isn’t a factor. Once you decide what bag to go with, it’s time to go shopping!

There is no shortage of suitcases out there, so have a look around for one that fits your budget and taste. You can get one with extra compartments for clothes, or holders for toiletries. Just make sure that your case suits your needs.

Once you have your case picked out, it’s time to deal with your hand luggage. An ordinary handbag or rucksack does the trick here. Unlike your suitcase, this stays with you at all times, so you want to keep the essentials in here.

Toiletries, like some deodorant, your papers and passport, and maybe a swimsuit, in case your bag is delayed getting to your room, are all everyday things to throw in your carry-on. You can also throw in any gadgets you are bringing with you, like a Nintendo Switch.

Pros and Cons of a Hard Suitcase and a Soft Suitcase

Hard-Shell Case:


  • Keeps your goods nice and safe
  • Durable and built to last
  • Come in a variety of colors and designs


  • Not very flexible, making it hard to fit it into tight spaces
  • Can be heavy depending on the make

Soft-Shell Case:


  • Can be squeezed to fit under your bed, or into a tight wardrobe
  • Light and easy to maneuver
  • Can be bought relatively cheap


  • Leaves your belongings prone to being damaged
  • Can suffer wear and tear easily

Okay, so that’s it for suitcases and carry-ons, but what if you’re going on a cruise for a special occasion, like a wedding, and you need to bring a suit or dress?

Best Size Garment Bag to Bring on a Cruise

If you are going to a formal event, one of these is a must. It stops your fancy clothes from getting dirty and wrinkled and keeps them safe in transit. The bag can vary massively in price and type, so you can often be left scratching your head as to what kind of bag to get.

Well, the good news is that you don’t need to break the bank. At least, not if you don’t want to. The chances are that you won’t be using this bag often, and the function it serves is relatively simple, so you can afford to skimp out on the price-tag.

You can get a simple folding garment bag, which does the job just fine, or you can dish out the money for a multi-storage bag on wheels. It’s up to you really; it’s not the most critical decision in the world.

The bags don’t vary too drastically in size, but of course, you may end up with a cramped cabin, so the smaller you can get, the better.

Another little piece of luggage you might have to consider is your toiletries bag. Chances are you have one already, but in case you don’t, it’s just a little, zip-up bag that you can keep a deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, and razor in.

You want to pick up one that can fit in your suitcase handily enough, but otherwise, just go with the one you like the look of.

Of course, there are other situational pieces of luggage you might be bringing with you. For instance, you might need an out-door bag pack if that is part of your trip, or perhaps you are going to a dangerous city, and you need an anti-theft bag.

The point is, what you need all depends on your holiday, so your best tool to decide what to bring is common sense. Just make sure it all fits in your cabin.

The Gist of It

That’s the long and short of it. It all boils down to what type of cruise you’re going on, and how long you’re going for.

Firstly, a long trip or a short trip? You are going to need more luggage the longer you’re going for, so take that into consideration.

Secondly, make sure you look up your cruise liners policy on luggage. You may be limited to a certain number of bags or a certain weight. So be sure to check before you get there.

Then you need to decide on case type. Are you going with hard or soft? Each has its advantages and drawbacks, so do some thinking as to which suits your needs better.

A good size to go with is between 20 and 25 inches for a week’s travel. That’s not too big and gives you plenty of room to bring the necessities. If you’re going for longer, push that to 28 inches, if you’re going for a weekend, consider maybe only bringing a large carry-on.

Next up is hand luggage. Either a rucksack or handbag. Again, it comes down to what you need. Handbags are more convenient, but backpacks are more secure.

Are you going to a fancy party or a wedding? Then you’re going to need a garment bag. If you’re just bringing one suit or dress, a simple, folded bag should do it. Just be careful, these things can get needlessly expensive.

If you are doing some out-door adventuring on your travels, you’re going to need a hiking bag or a hard-cased rucksack. So pick up one of them to keep your valuables safe, again judge what kind of one suits what you’re doing.

If you don’t have a toiletries bag, then buy one, too. Just make sure it fits in your suitcase.

If you’re not going off on adventures in the mountains, but are still venturing out into the city, you may consider investing in an anti-theft bag. It can be pricy, but worth it when it keeps your laptop or tablet safe.

Just make sure you don’t overdo it! You need to bring all these bags to the boat, and back again. So make sure your bags are not too heavy. You’ve to store them also, so make sure there is enough room to keep them in your cabin, but don’t suffocate yourself! You’re there to relax.

Use your common sense! How much are you really going to need while you’re away? Chances are you’ll have access to cloth washing facilities anyways, so don’t worry.

Hopefully, this has helped you get your thoughts in order. A cruise is meant to be relaxing, yet ironically the planning for one can be really stressful. Just remember to enjoy yourself no matter what. That is the point, after all.