Packing for a Bahamas cruise? Toss your swimsuit and tropical outfit in your suitcase, and start channeling those laid-back island vibes.

Even in winter, the coldest part of the year, temperatures in the Bahamas only stay in the low 70s, making comfortable and breathable clothing crucial. But to do this cruise destination right, you’ll want to explore beaches and historic sites, hike through stunning terrain, indulge in water sports and even swim with wild boar, all of which require the right gear and attire.

We know you don’t want to come home with a sunburn or sit around in wet clothes during your vacation. Learn what to pack for a Bahamas cruise so you’re ready for fun in the sun.

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What to Pack for a Bahamas Cruise

The weather in the Bahamian Islands does not change much, which makes packing for a cruise at multiple Bahamian ports easy. Daily year-round temperatures average between 77 and 90 degrees.

The weather does not change drastically throughout the day, as it can on one Alaska cruises, but mornings in the Bahamas can be fun. Pack an extra layer, such as a lightweight cotton sweater or jean jacket, to shed by lunch. Just make sure it’s easy to pack into your bag or purse once the sun starts baking.

Thin and breathable clothing

Rainfall in the Bahamas is short and over before you know it. But, since you’re living out of a suitcase, you want clothes that dry quickly. Choose polyester, cotton and linen fabrics for your cruise wardrobe. As tempting as it may be to pack your favorite heavy cardigan to stay cozy, don’t. It will take a long time to dry, and sitting in wet wool can be painful.

Roberto Moyola Sisoworld/Getty Images

When in doubt, choose thin, light and loose-fitting clothing as opposed to tight and constricting outfits. Your body will appreciate the clothes that cling to you when you’re climbing the 66 steep limestone steps of the Queens Staircase in Nassau or braving oppressive humidity to explore Luccayan National Park. A shirt or dress you can throw on over a swimsuit, too, if a day in port means a stroll into town for lunch after the beach.

Related: What to Wear on a Cruise: Cruise Attire and Cruise Line Dress Code

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Sturdy footwear

Not all Bahamian sidewalks or roads are paved like in the US.

For travel, choose sturdy shoes, such as Keen, Chaco or Teva sandals – they are all waterproof and comfortable, whether on land or in water. Pack footwear you don’t mind getting a little dirty. In other words, those brand new white sneakers you packed should probably be resigned as “deck shoes” and only worn aboard.

evening wear

Most cruise lines will have one or two formal or “evening chic” nights during which dressing to the nines is encouraged, though not required.

Instead of velvet gowns or dark suits, the trend for warm-weather travel is lighter colors. For men, this might mean a tan suit or tan sport coat over slacks (if it’s linen, which breathes more easily). Women should ditch the casual sundress for something more elegant while honoring a color palette influenced by the seaside surroundings. (That said, little black dresses are never out of fashion on board.)

Accessories and gear

If you don’t take a lot of photos, did the cruise even happen? While a smartphone camera is good, so is a camera you can pack in a dry bag and take to the beach. Don’t forget to bring a portable charger or power bank when you know you’re going to run out of battery on your phone. It is difficult to find an outlet for charging cables on the beach.

Image source/Getty Images

The sun shines brightly in the Bahamas, which is why 7.25 million tourists visit every year. Pack sunscreen in your day pack; Apply it liberally and often. It’s especially easy to burn out when you’re spending all day in the sun on a cruise line’s private island. Use a waterproof sunblock for days you’re in the water.

Related: Cruise Packing List: The Ultimate Guide to What to Pack for a Cruise

Take the stress out of packing

You will sweat through your clothes, so expect to change clothes several times a day. Keep in mind that your ship may have a self-service laundry room or offer Laundry services to send. That means you can pack less with plans to wear the same outfit more than once.

Bahamian harbors are lined with shops selling clothing, medicine and toiletries. There are some things you may have left at home that you can’t find in Nassau or Freeport; Your cruise ship will also sell a variety of limited edition items. If your ship is only visiting cruise line-operated islands, however, you may want to bring extra toiletries and medications.

Related: 7 Cruise Ship Packing Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid at All Costs

Bahamas Cruise Packing List

Here’s a handy checklist to use when packing for your Bahamas cruise.

  • Opting for lightweight t-shirts, tank tops, or other casual shirts (such as those made of quick-drying material) for daytime wear
  • Two or three pairs of shorts, leggings or skirts to wear during the day
  • A swimsuit or swimming trunks, with extra extras for when the other is drying (because you’ll be spending a lot of time in the ship’s pool and on country beaches)
  • A rash guard or shirt that can get wet so you don’t burn your back while snorkeling or playing in the surf
  • A cover-up (think stylish for that beachside selfie)
  • A lightweight waterproof jacket or raincoat
  • A thin fleece jacket or sweater for chilly mornings (and airplane rides).
  • A backpack or large beach bag to carry in port or on the ship’s pool deck
  • Two pairs of slacks or a skirt (or dress) or two button-down shirts and a suit coat for evening meals on board
  • A lightweight cardigan, scarf or sweater for the air-conditioned restaurants on the ship
  • A pair or two of good walking shoes that breathe, such as sandals with ankle straps or ankle-cut hiking, walking, or running shoes
  • A pair of fancy shoes for an evening dinner on board
  • Sun protection: sunglasses, a baseball hat or floppy straw hat, and sunscreen (possibly even an aloe-based gel or cream, to soothe the inevitable burn).
  • umbrella
  • Reusable water bottle (to stay hydrated while in port and on board)
  • Gym clothes (if you’re itching to work off all those calories at the ship’s gym or run in port)
  • Toiletries and prescriptions (packed in your carry-on in case luggage is delayed or lost)
  • Underwear, pajamas and socks
  • Your mobile phone or camera (and a charger so you don’t miss an awesome shot)
  • A dry bag or Ziploc bag to keep your phone, camera, and wallet safe on the water or during a shore excursion to the beach
  • Entertainment for the beach, on board, and on the plane (if you’re flying to your port of embarkation), such as an e-reader or book, deck of cards, portable video games, tablet, sketchpad, adult coloring book, or crossword puzzles
  • Children’s beach toys, such as inflatable beach balls, arm floaties, frisbees and collapsible pails with shovels

Bottom line

Except for a formal night (which, again, is optional), casual attire is the preferred choice on a warm-weather trip. So go ahead and pack that Hawaiian shirt or favorite outfit in tropical colors. Then, get on board and make some fabulous memories in both comfort and style.

Have more questions about Bahamas cruises? TPG has the answers.

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