Packing for a Cruise: Airline Luggage Regulations and Cruise Line Policies

"Packing for a cruise – know these airline luggage regulations and cruise line policies before you start packing!"

Has it been a long time since you've flown? And even more so, a long time since you’ve flown out of the country? In this fast-changing world, both airline luggage regulations and cruise line policies change fast, trying to satisfy their passenger’s need for comfort, safety and security.

Before you actually board your Mediterranean cruise ship and start relaxing with a cocktail in your hand, you will first need to go through the airport and cruise line security and check-in counters.

Both the airlines and cruise lines have certain rules that will affect your packing for a cruise. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind, with the intention of getting you on board your flights and cruise ships as smoothly as possible. 

Packing for a cruise: airlines tips and rules

1. How many check-in bags are you allowed on board an airplane?

airline regulations, flying restrictions, cruise line restrictions

It is a very general rule you can check in 2 bags at the airports check-in counter. Although, lately only 1 bag is being permitted.

These may differ from airline to airline so make sure you double check with them directly!

For more tips on how to pack your check-in luggage read our article Travel Tips for Packing Luggage 

2. How many carry-on bags can I take on board with me?

As a general rule, you can take one size-limited carry-on bag with you. Additionally, you can also take a small laptop bag, a backpack, a handbag or a professional camera bag.

The maximum size carry-on bag for most airlines is 45 linear inches (height, width and depth of the bag).

TIP:: When packing for a cruise, and flying with layovers, there’s always a risk of having your luggage delayed. That’s why, with a cruise ship leaving port exactly on time and not being able to wait for your luggage, it’s very important to know what to pack in your check-in and what to pack in your carry-on luggage. For more tips read our article Travel Tips for Packing luggage - How to Pack for Cruising the Mediterranean stress free

3. What are the restricted items to take on board?

Apart from the obvious ones like firearms, explosives and dangerous chemicals, there are some items you may not be sure about. For instance, can you take scissors onboard and if yes, how big? Are they going to let you on the flight with those gel shoe inserts? What about your favorite pipe lighter you happened to forget in your waist bag?

Before you start packing for a cruise, check these sites with more info on allowed and restricted items to take onboard:


USA: TSA Prohibited Items

Canada: Catsa Permitted and Non-permitted items

4. What’s the quantity of liquids I can take on board with me?

Maximum is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller container. But you can take more in your check-in luggage, so if you are planning to stock up on some Tuscan Chianti or some Lemoncello from Sorrento, don’t worry, you can still take them home.

For more information on taking liquids onboard check here:


Canada: Catsa Liquids, Aerosols and Gels regulations

Packing For a Cruise: Cruise Line Policies and Regulations

1.What are the prohibited items to take onboard a cruise ship?

Just as with airlines, cruise lines also have a long list of items not allowed onboard their cruise ships.

Although they differ from cruise line to cruise line, there are many prohibited items that will be common to all of them, and that will affect your packing for a cruise:

  • ALCOHOL: You are not allowed to bring any alcohol onboard with you on the embarkation day. Those purchased in ports-of-call or shops onboard will be kept for you and typically delivered on the last night of the cruise.
  • WEAPONS: Firearms and ammunition, knives and large scissors, tasers, pepper sprays, handcuffs.
  • ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES: Coffee makers, clothes irons, hot plates, large coolers.
  • DRUGS: No illegal drugs and substances are allowed
  • Baseball bats, hockey sticks, cricket bats, bows and arrows, skateboards, surfboards, martial arts gear.
  • OTHER: No candles or incense are allowed onboard a ship. So if you’re a honeymoon couple, planning to have a romantic night by candle light in your cabin… unfortunately, that won’t be possible.

2. How many pieces of luggage may I bring on board?

Most cruise lines will just state you are allowed a “reasonable” amount of luggage or “encourage you” not to bring more than 2 suitcases per person. But it’s not really the cruise lines that will restrict you when it comes to your luggage… it’s the airlines (if you’re flying).

3. What are the cruise lines’ dress codes?

Cruise lines’ dress codes are something that will definitely affect your process of packing for a cruise.

Even if you’re a first time cruiser you will have heard of formal nights. If you’re a very casual person when it comes to dress, you know that for those you may be required to dress up a notch more than what you’re used to.

And we know you may be a bit confused as to what’s really expected from you when it comes to “formal dress”. That’s why for more information on different dress codes read our article Mediterranean cruise holiday: Cruise Formal Wear & Other Dress Codes.


  • How to pack for cruising the Mediterranean stress free.