How to Pack for a Cruise to the Panama Canal


A cruise to the Panama Canal requires a similar packing list to other cruises to the tropics. For the most part, you will want to pack clothing for warm-weather activities. Remember to bring formal wear, if formal nights are part of the cruise. The trick is to not pack too many items, because the excess luggage will slow you down, wear you out, and clutter your stateroom.

Things You'll Need

  • Suitcase or backpack
  • Carry-on bag
  • Medicines and prescriptions
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries, especially sunscreen

Take only two bags, if at all possible. This will limit the number of items you will have to deal with in your stateroom. Also, it's easier to carry just two bag when you need to carry them (such as at the airport), and it's less expensive to fly with one checked bag and one carry-on item.

Pack 1 1/2 outfits per day of anticipated cruising, which is a good guideline for most cruises. Include one nice outfit in that total whether you're a man or a woman, for those shipboard occasions when a little dressing up is called for.

Pack for the weather. Panama is a tropical destination, hot during the day most of the year, and warm in the evenings. Bring mostly light-colored cotton clothing, mainly short-sleeved shirts and short pants, for better comfort. Also bring a sweater or some kind of wrap, since there might be air-chilled indoor environments on the ship.

Pack a hat and sunscreen to ward off the tropical sun during your Panama Canal cruise. Also bring a sturdy pair of walking shoes and two swimsuits--one for wearing while the other is drying out.

Bring any medicines and copies of prescriptions. Pack personal hygiene products, to avoid having to pay shipboard prices for them. Since Panama is a foreign destination, take a small neck bag for your passport, a reserve of cash, and other important documents.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make a list of what you want to take before you go. Label your bags.
  • If you forget to pack your passport, you're not going anywhere. Besides bathing suits, pack a cover-up, since the tropical sun can be cruel.

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