Going on a Disney Cruise and not sure what to bring in your carry-on? It can be a little daunting for sure. But packing a carry-on for a Disney Cruise vacation is just as simple as packing a carry-on for anywhere else! With a little planning, it can be a breeze. Here are some of our Disney Cruise Carry-on bag essentials!
Embarkation Day on a Disney Cruise
Embarkation Day on a Disney Cruise Line is always exciting! But it can also be a little overwhelming too. Between figuring out how to get to the port, doing the mandatory Safety Drill, and getting acquainted with the ship, it’s a lot. Worrying about your belongings should be one less thing to stress about. Luckily, if you’ve checked all the boxes on our Disney Cruise Packing List, you know you have everything you need. But what about that little bag you bring with you onboard while you’re waiting for your luggage to arrive at your carefully selected cruise stateroom?
Carry-On Bag Items for A Disney Cruise
It’s important to know that when you board a Disney Cruise Line ship, very much like an airline, you check the majority of your luggage. Disney Cruise Line allows 2 checked bags per guest, 1 carry-on, and one personal item. Keep in mind though, that you generally won’t go straight to your stateroom. For most sailings, staterooms are ready around 3 pm. This means if you have an earlier boarding time, you’ll be lugging around whatever you brought onboard with you. So you may want to limit that.
Don’t get us wrong; we’ve seen many passengers throughout our sailings pulling their carryons along with a purse or backpack, but it’s really not our style. We try to keep it at one item per person and keep it simple. That being said, sometimes there are things that you really just need to bring along and hopefully, this post helps with that! For details on luggage allowance on a Disney Cruise, click here!
What Can You Pack in a Disney Cruise carry-on?
There are a few things you will need to pack and then there are a few things that you will probably want to pack. If you’re trying to keep your carry-on item small, it’s best to determine what you need to bring first. You can bring a carry-on-size suitcase, a duffel bag, or a backpack, as well as a purse or fanny pack as your personal item. We usually each just bring a backpack to keep things simple, but it’s really a personal preference! You can check out our favorite weekender bags for some ideas. Just remember, whatever you pack your items in, it needs to be able to fit through the scanner at security.
Disney Cruise Bag Packing List
While you will have all the things you need in your actual luggage, these are the things you will need on hand with you as you board the ship, on your Disney Cruise Embarkation Day.
Proof of Citizenship
By far, this is the most important thing to bring in your Disney Cruise carry-on. You will not be able to board without it, so make sure you have proof of citizenship for each and every person in your party. This usually just includes carrying your passport with you, but if you’re unsure of what you need, you can find that information here.
Your cruise documents are usually mailed to you about a month before your cruise. The type of cruise you’re taking will determine what your cruise documents include, but whether it’s one paper or a handful, make sure you have these with you!
If you take any sort of medication, it is highly recommended that you put that in your carry-on. Especially if you are on a specific schedule or need to take it with a meal. You may not have access to your luggage until evening, and it’s just safer all around to bring them with you.
If you’re planning to take advantage of the pool or waterslide on board when you first arrive, then you’ll want to make sure you have your swimsuits in your carry-on. There are restrooms that you can change in near the pools, and this is a great way to enjoy the pool areas before the boat is fully boarded. Be sure to pack your swimsuit, cover-up, and anything else you may need for some poolside fun. But don’t worry, they provide plenty of towels, so no need to bring your own.
Even if you’ve already applied your sunscreen for the day, you’ll still want to bring extra in your carry-on. Since you’ll likely be spending most of your time on the upper decks, sunscreen is a must. Be sure to check out our favorite sunscreens from our Disney Cruise Packing List on amazon.
Something for Motion Sickness
I find this the most important for first-time cruisers who may not know whether they are prone to seasickness. Or if you are an experienced cruiser who sometimes gets seasick. We personally like using seabands; but there are many options like Dramamine or even motion sickness patches.
I always bring my camera in my carry-on, whether it’s on a cruise or on an airplane for a variety of reasons. I do this mostly out of caution just in case my luggage would get lost. But it’s also a good idea to keep it with you so it doesn’t get damaged and so that you have it on hand for photos before you set sail! The Sail Awave party happens as the ship is leaving port, and your room is most likely ready at that point, but it’s good to have on hand.
If you’re a first-time cruiser, this is especially important. Your stateroom key, also known as your Key to The World card, acts as your payment for pretty much everything onboard, so you’ll want to keep it with you and a lanyard is a great way to do that. If you’re a Castaway Club Member, then you’ll receive a free one at check-in, but they are kind of cheap and I’ve had a couple of them break pretty easily. Amazon has plenty of lanyards to choose from if you decide to bring your own.
Phone and Portable Phone Charger
We always recommend carrying a portable phone charger no matter where you are going on vacation. It just makes things easier. Sure, you probably don’t want to spend your vacation staring at your phone. But your phone is necessary on a Disney Cruise vacation. The Disney Cruise Line app will have all of your entertainment, dining rotations, messaging system, and more; and you probably don’t want to have to keep going back to your room to charge it. Plus if you are using it for photos and videos of your trip, your battery can drain pretty fast.
Can you bring snacks on a Disney Cruise ship?
Yes! You can bring snacks on your Disney Cruise vacation. They must be prepackaged, sealed, and nonperishable. We’ve never seen the need to bring snacks onboard because they have so much to offer, but it can be helpful if you have a picky eater or someone that has very specific dietary needs. Disney Cruise Line is great about accommodating dietary restrictions, but if you feel like you need a little something extra, you can bring it as long as it complies. You can read the full food policy for the Disney Cruise line here.
Items that Cannot be Checked on Disney Cruise Line
While there are some items you may be carrying on because you need them or want them, some items that can be brought onto a Disney Cruise ship can only be carried on. In other words, you are not allowed to bring these items in your checked luggage. But they are allowed. There are a few catches with each of these items though. First of all, keep in mind, that you will have to carry all of these things around with you until your room is ready. Again, I’ve seen people do this and it doesn’t phase them, but it’s important to know that there’s not really anywhere to leave your things until your room is ready.
The other thing to keep in mind is that just like at an airport, your carry-on items have to go through an X-ray scanner. So whatever you bring has to fit through that scanner.
Bottled water is available to order from your room while on a Disney Cruise. But it is expensive. There is also free water at the drink stations. But it can be a hassle to go to and from your room to the upper deck to get your water. So if you prefer a certain brand of bottled water, or just want to save some money, you can bring your own case of bottled water.
Yes, you can bring your own alcohol onboard a Disney Cruise! There are limitations though. Guests 21 and over can bring two bottles of wine or champagne. They must be 750 ml or smaller. Or if you prefer beer, you can bring 6 beers, no larger than 12 ounces. If you place your alcohol in your checked luggage, it will be removed and you likely won’t get it back. For the full alcohol policy, click here.
If there is a specific soda you want to have on your cruise vacation that’s not served onboard, you can bring your own. Again, it needs to be able to fit through the security scanner. This isn’t something we’ve ever done because we just enjoy whatever they have at the fountain beverage station, but it’s an option! For a full list of all of the items that you simply cannot bring on a Disney Cruise ship, click here.
Disney Cruise Bag
We hope this post has helped you plan what to pack in your Disney Cruise carry-on! Looking for more ideas of what you need to pack on your Disney Cruise? Check out all our Disney Cruise Packing Lists for all your cruises.
- Disney Cruise Packing List
- Disney Cruise Packing Tips For Cold Weather
- Disney Alaska Cruise Packing List
- Disney Halloween Cruise Packing List
- 10 Things to Pack in your Disney Cruise Bag
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .