What to pack for a Disney Cruise Carry-On (Embarkation Day Bag)

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Typically, most people are more concerned about the full packing list for their full trip… and then neglect the Carry-on (at least that’s what I tell myself when I’ve forgotten yet another thing while waiting to board the ship in the cruise terminal!)

When packing your carry-on bag for embarkation day on a Disney Cruise, it’s important to include essential items to ensure a smooth start to your vacation. After all, you are here to vacation and let go of the stress, and it doesn’t help when you can’t seem to get what you need.

It’s important to note that the shops on the Disney Cruise Ship are closed when you first board. You’ll need to wait till the ship is out to sea before they reopen- so if you need it- you should pack it!

If this is your first time on a Disney Cruise, Embarkation Day can be full of unknowns. Here’s a full tips sheet on the first day of your Disney Cruise.

Who needs to bring a Disney Cruise Carry-on ?

Everyone, including Children, should have a carry on bag since your luggage will be unavailable for several hours. This is not a requirement, but it does make your cruise more pleasant in that you will have options like your swim clothes and a place for medications.

What Size Carry-on can you bring on a Disney Cruise?

Disney Cruise line states that a Carry-on should be no greater than 14 inches wide, 9 inches deep and 22 inches in height

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Travel Documents

Clearly, you need a place for travel documents! While Disney Cruise also allows for a personal bag, like a fanny pack, purse or satchel, you might choose to carry your documents in your cruise carry-on. These includes items like your Travel Insurance, your ID’s, your Disney Cruise Documents, your Passport, your Birth Certificate, and any other important documents.

Embark on a seamless Cruise adventure with a team of dedicated travel agents who listen, orchestrate and make your dream vacation come to life! Ready to take the first step in a planning a Vacation that you’ll remember forever? Connect with the team here!

Valuables you don’t want to pack in your checked luggage

In a perfect world, there would be no theft. But if you have an item you can’t live without, and you don’t want to leave it at home, consider packing it in your Carry-on to make sure that it is not lost, damaged or stolen.

Since I like to work on my cruises for a few hours, I always bring my Laptop and iPad. I do pack these in my carry-on, since I can keep an eye on it!

➡️ Note, You’ll want to double check that all electronic items you’ve brought are properly backed up!

Want more about what to pack in your Checked Luggage? See the 15 items you shouldn’t Cruise without on your next trip.

Portable Charger

I just brought my fuelrods that I use at Disney World, but any portable charger will do! By the time you get in your room around 4, your battery might be low. Couple that with needing to get ready for Dinner and the Shows and your battery is dead before you know it! 

Shop portable chargers on Amazon.

➡️ Note that Power Strips are not allowed.

Cash for Tips 

While you can include tips for your Stateroom Host and Servers in a prepayment option when you book your cruise, you’ll want to bring cash for others who help you with your vacation. 

⭐These include the luggage porters, the bus driver or ride share, and the Crew Members if you order Room Service. 

I like to budget $50 per guest for miscellaneous items, and then $100 per guest if you did not prepay your tips for Stateroom Host and Servers (you’ll have three Servers- The Head Server, Your Main Server, and then the Assistant Server)

First Time Disney Cruise? See all my thoughts about what I wished I knew for my First Disney Cruise.

Snacks, Water Bottle, Reusable Bottle

Yes, you can bring snacks onboard Disney Cruise, but you don’t really need to because of all the options available for purchase or included with dining. Though with Food Allergies and Gluten Free, I always have a bar in my carry-on, and also a bag of snacks in my packed luggage.

When you board, they’ll have lunch available, with a LOT of options. You can also order things from Room Service once the ship has left port.

Having a refillable bottle is also handy, and very much recommended! The cups that are available on the Cruise tend to be small.

⭐Snacks need to be sealed. No Fruit, Veggies or Meat. (exceptions for medical needs)

⭐Water Bottles and Reusable Bottles need to be empty (there is an case by case exception for those with medical needs, and small children)

Sun Protection

Personally, I bring it all. I bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen! You know yourself best though, so plan for what you might need. I just throw in my regular size sunscreen that I plan to use for the whole cruise. I also pack a baseball cap and then have my sunglasses that I used on the way there.

For the kids, I bring long sleeve Rash Guards, coupled with hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses. It might seem like a lot, but I’ve had kids for eight years now and never sunburned them once.

➡️ Heads up you won’t be able to purchase Sun Protection until the shops open, typically around 6pm.

Sun screen is available on board when the shops are open.

Bathing Suits 

There isn’t much to do when you first board the ship, but there is swimming! You can go ahead and check out the available pools and lounge in the chairs.

➡️ Some folks wear their swimsuits under their clothing, so you don’t always have to pack it, especially if you are running out of room in your bag.

Medications and/or Motion Sickness items

An obvious option but often overlooked! Remember, you aren’t able to buy things until the shops open at a later time. Pack prescription meds, over the counter options and bandaids. Consider Motion Sickness items like dramamine or the seabands. There’s also stickers, gum and mints for motion sickness- I haven’t tried those but lots of reviews say they work! You can see more options for Motion Sickness on Amazon.

This is one of those, you don’t want it till you need it categories, so do future you a favor and throw in a small medical kit for your carry-on.

Entertainment, Reading Materials or Entertainment for kids

While there’s a good amount of things to do on the ship, there are some times where you will be waiting around doing… nothing.

When you check into the Cruise Terminal, especially if you’ve checked in early, there is a lull where you are just hanging out. This is the perfect time to have entertainment on hand. Another time when you might need something is after lunch but before the Sail Away party- chiefly if it’s raining.

Change of Clothes/Toiletries to freshen up

Should something happen, like your luggage get lost, a drink get spilled, or you simply sweat yourself out of your first outfit… it’s nice to have a spare!

➡️Pack a change of clothes, and a small bag of toiletries that may include items like deodorant, cleansing cloths, brush or comb.

If you’re interested in the Spa, many options can be booked for Embarkation Day!

Headphones or Earplugs

The Cruise terminal before boarding, the inside of the Cruise when you come inside, and the Dining areas can be very loud. People are excited to be on vacation, intercoms are blasting instructions overhead and the decks are filled with blaring horns and equipment sounds. 

But truly, the Safety Drill is the loudest thing you will hear on your cruise. Around 4 pm, you are instructed to go to the Safety Assembly Drill. Here you learn how to survive should an emergency occur, and they test out the horns. 

So if you are a hearing person that dislikes loud noises, hollering kids, has a noise sensitivity, has a sensory need, etc… consider ear care in your embarkation day bag. 

Since the rooms weren’t ready and there was no ‘quiet’ place to escape, my headphones came in great use on opening day! But for the kids, they have their own headphones/ear plugs packed into their bag. 

Overall, several items you’ll want to consider to start your trip off the best way possible

Keep in mind that I didn’t list any banned items, as you’ll want to check those out here, which include things like snorkels, hockey sticks, balloons, electric blankets, scooters and large coolers.

Embark on a seamless Cruise adventure with a team of dedicated travel agents who listen, orchestrate and make your dream vacation come to life! Ready to take the first step in a planning a Vacation that you’ll remember forever? Connect with the team here!

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