Cruise TipsBeach Day on a Cruise: 7 Things You Should Bring off the...

Beach Day on a Cruise: 7 Things You Should Bring off the Ship

It’s a port day on your cruise.  You’re at the perfect destination for a beach day.  So, what do you bring with you when you get off the ship?  We’ll list the most essential must-haves for your beach day, whether it’s on a private island or sandy port of call.

Sky Princess at Princess Cays, private island in the Caribbean. Lounge chairs on the beach with palm tree.
Don’t forget to bring these things with you for your beach day on your cruise.
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Embarking on a cruise offers you the chance to explore various destinations while indulging in the luxuries of a floating resort. One of the highlights of—and main reasons to go on—a cruise is undoubtedly the opportunity to relax on beautiful beaches along the way.

Ships traveling to the Caribbean Islands, Mediterranean Coast, South America, and Hawaii often make stops to sandy locations, offering passengers the chance to bask in the sun and dip their toes in the sparking blue water.

After days lounging around the boat with everything you might need at your fingertips, stepping off the ship and into the sand can sometimes be (comparatively) hard work! You must think in advance about what you might need so that you can pack the right items and make the most of your day on the shore.

But don’t worry—in this article, we will guide you through the must-have essentials for a fantastic beach day on a cruise, making your adventure a breeze!


1. Sunscreen and Sun Protection

The sun can be quite intense, especially in tropical destinations. To protect your skin from harmful UV rays, pack a high SPF sunscreen. The best sunscreens are waterproof and 50 or higher SPF. To ensure it stays effective even if you take a dip in the ocean, apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before getting wet. Make sure that you apply your sunscreen liberally and reapply it throughout the day.

Additionally, consider bringing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a lightweight, long-sleeved cover-up for added protection. Many ships will sell these items on board, and ports of call will often have markets with sun protection gear available, too. So, if you decide not to pack these in advance, you’ll be alright. I often use the beating sun as an excuse to treat myself to a new hat while on vacation—they make great mementos (and are light enough to bring back home)!

Related: 15 things people always forget to pack on a cruise


2. Beach Towels

Cruise ships usually provide towels onboard, but they are primarily meant for poolside use. While beach towels might be provided when you disembark the ship at your port of call, there’s no guarantee.  It really depends on the port of call and cruise line.  Therefore, it’s advisable to bring your own beach towels for shore excursions.

A large, absorbent towel will come in handy for sunbathing, drying off, and lounging on the sand. Opt for lightweight and quick-drying towels to ensure they won’t take up much space in your beach bag—microfiber towels like this one are a great choice.


3. Swimsuits and Extra Clothing

Whether or not you plan to get in the water, a swimsuit is a must for your beach day! I would recommend that you pack a couple of swimsuits so you can have a dry one to change into after your beach time. Also, if you are headed somewhere with chillier waters, you might want to pack a one-piece.

It’s also a good idea to pack a change of clothes, including lightweight and breathable garments such as shorts, t-shirts, or sundresses, in case you want to wander around the local town to shop or to grab some grub. I often wear my swimsuit under my “walking around” clothes off the ship, and then change as necessary!


4. Water Shoes or Sandals

Cruise destination beaches can vary in terms of sand texture, rocks, or shells. To protect your feet and ensure comfort, consider packing a pair of water shoes or sturdy sandals. These will come in handy when navigating rocky shores, protecting you from potential cuts or scrapes.

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Choose footwear that is water-resistant, comfortable for walking, and easy to clean. While most types of typical of beach shoes will do, I tend to avoid dark-colored shoes as they can get hot in the sun and burn the bottom of your feet when returning to the ship.


5. Snorkeling Gear

Many beach destinations on a cruise offer incredible snorkeling opportunities. If you’re a fan of underwater exploration, consider bringing your own snorkel, mask, and flippers.

While some cruises may provide gear for rent or shore excursions may have snorkels and goggles available, having your own set ensures a perfect fit and allows you to enjoy snorkeling whenever you please. Don’t forget to bring a mesh bag to carry your gear and allow it to dry properly.

Read more:  Buyer’s remorse: 10 things cruisers most regret buying on a cruise


6. Beach Bag

A spacious and sturdy beach bag is essential for carrying all your beach day essentials. Look for a bag with a secure closure to keep your belongings safe and protected from sand and water. The best bags are lightweight and made of waterproof material with multiple compartments to keep your items organized. A beach bag with a cooler compartment can also be a great addition, allowing you to keep your drinks and snacks cool.

Regardless of the type of bag you bring, it is a good idea to put a luggage tag or identifying name tag on it so that it can be easily identified as yours if forgotten or lost! One of my favorite travel tricks at the moment is putting a digital tracker in each of my suitcases and carry-ons—Apple AirTags or Tiles are great options that connect straight to your phone and show you the live location of your items.


7. Entertainment and Hydration

To keep yourself entertained while basking in the sun, pack some beach-friendly items like a book, magazine, or a portable speaker to enjoy your favorite tunes (though, of course, be mindful of those around you!). Additionally, stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle. Drinking lots of water is crucial, especially in hotter climates, and staying hydrated will help you fully enjoy your beach day without feeling fatigued.


A Few Extras

Waterproof dry bag:  A waterproof bag will help make sure you keep the things dry that need to stay dry.  It will also keep all that pesky sand off your electronics and other items.  A bag like this comes in handy if a sudden rainstorm comes along as well, as some private beaches don’t offer a lot of rain cover.

Beach games/toys like a Frisbee, beach ball, sand castle building tools:  If you have kids with you it’s always good to have some of these items with you.   Some private island have sand castle building tools, but it’s not hard to pack a few of these things in your beach bag just in case.

Cash: If you’re on a private island you only need your cruise card to make a purchase, but it’s good to have some cash when visiting  foreign port of call, especially if you plan to take a taxi back and forth from the ship.

Related:  Cash on a cruise: Why bring it and how much to bring


By packing these essential items—sunscreen, beach towels, swimsuits, extra clothing, water shoes, snorkeling gear, a beach bag, and maybe some entertainment—you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable beach experience.

Remember, adequate sun protection, personal comfort, and convenience should be your top priorities. With the right preparation, you’ll be ready to make beautiful memories and create unforgettable experiences during your cruise’s beach excursions.

Read more: 10 steps to making cruise packing a breeze

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Chari Spink
Chari Spink
Chari is an avid cruiser with over 20 cruises under her belt. Having lived both in the UK and the United States, Chari offers a unique perspective on cruising and is passionate about packing and planning for all her travels.
Cruise TipsBeach Day on a Cruise: 7 Things You Should Bring off the...

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