There is a lot to think about when packing for a cruise. You need all your outfits for nights onboard the ship and for day excursions at your destinations. You want to be sure of a piece of luggage that can hold it all with ease while being easy to use and looking great. So, what should you look out for in the best luggage for cruise travel?
Finding The Right Suitcase For Cruising
Ideally, you want a good hardside case that you can bring on board the ship and use with ease. Duffel bags aren’t as tough or good-looking for a trip like this. Softside cases can look good, but may not be as durable as needed.
Luggagerate Top Picks
The Delsey Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage is our top pick for cruise in 2023. The luggage looks stylish & beautiful and is very suitable for photo-taking, especially when you are on a cruise trip. The shell is made of 100% polycarbonate making it resilient and has a one button locking handle system which makes maneuverability even easier. The Delsey Paris Chatelet is an Amazon Choice product with over 2k reviews and maintaining a high 4.7/5.0 rating. Generally, customers are happy with their purchase.
So, with all of this in mind, let’s look at the 10 best luggage for cruises in hardside cases.
- Sherpani Meridian, 22 Inch Travel Hardside Luggage
- Ben Sherman Nottingham Lightweight Hardside 4-Wheel Spinner Travel Luggage
- LEVEL8 Elegance Checked Luggage, 24 Inch Hardside Suitcase
- DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage
- DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage
- KENNETH COLE REACTION Out Of Bounds Luggage Collection
- Samsonite Omni 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage
- Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels
- Betsey Johnson 26-Inch Checked Luggage Collection
- Amazon Basics 2 Piece Geometric Hard Shell Expandable Luggage Spinner Suitcase Set
First up, we have this model from Sherpani that ticks a lot of the right boxes. The capacity is just right for this sort of cruise luggage, with dimensions of 14x22x9 inches and a 40L capacity. There should be more than enough space inside, but you can also use the expander to gain a couple of inches. That interior has three separate compartments for organization, and everything within should stay nice and safe thanks to the “anti-crush” hardside shell.
Other helpful features for the trip include the 360-degree spinner wheels, locking zippers for security, and ergonomic handle. This one also comes in some fun colors. The Caribe blue is perfect for an exotic ocean voyage.
This Ben Sherman case is another one that looks great with a smart and minimalist approach. The exterior is textured in an almost tartan/plaid effect for subtle visual interest. The shiny ABS material with tough molded corners also comes in different colors, including a fun raspberry.
This version is a 20-inch carry-on case, which should be a good size for traveling on a cruise ship. There are bigger versions as needed and also a two-piece set for couples. The interior is great for staying organized as it splits down the middle with dividers. The downside here is the lack of an expander to increase the capacity. But, there is so much else going on with the design that it is still a highly recommendable choice.
This case may not be as attractive to all users because it is quite boxy in shape and a little plainer. But, that simple style could be just what you need. The more interesting feature here is the use of packing cubes. These cubes sit within the case to allow for better security and organization of items without using pouch and compartments. It makes the case a lot more adaptable to suit different trips. But, these extra elements do contribute to a higher price tag.
This and the 68L capacity on the 26×17.5×10.4-inch case mean that there is no need for an expander system that might make the case more unattractive. You also get the benefits of the tough hardside shell, the built-in lock, and the spinner wheels.
If color is really important to you and you are focused on getting something bright for your trip, you can’t go wrong with this Delsey case. The Delsey Paris Helium Aero comes in a wide range of colors, from deep red tones like the Peony Pink to striking cool tones like the Cobolt and Teal. The ribber design adds further visual interest and makes the case look sleeker.
There are different sizes available, from 19 to 29 inches. The largest of these still has that helpful 2-inch expansion that was missing in the two cases above. This is another case that divides into two halves for better storage, and it has web straps for added security. From there, you can take advantage of the locking telescoping handle, the combination lock at the side, that the spinner wheels.
Stick with Delsey for a moment, we have the Delsey Paris Chatelet This one is arguably the most stylish of the lot. There is a vintage look to the shape and the curved bands that make this look like something from the golden era of river cruises. The deep leather accents stand out on the Champagne White and Chocolate Brown polycarbonate shells. The lined interior opens to reveal enclosed compartments and a removable garment hanger. This 24-inch version should have more than enough room for all you need. But, you can go higher up to 28-inches or as low as 19-inches.
While the case looks old-fashioned, there are some helpful modern features to make life easier. There is the telescoping handle alongside the leather carry handle, small spinner wheels, and a lock on the side. Also, be aware that some options come with a brake added to the wheels while others don’t.
This case is similar to the Delsey in that there are many great colors on the textured hardside case. You can be as subtle or bold as you like here with a range of tones and effects. The rose gold one is great for those that want to bring a little metallic elegance to their luggage. There are different sizes available, from the smaller 20-inch version to the bigger 28-inch, depending on how much you plan to take.
Again the case is nice and tough to protect against damage with the ABS shell and the guard corners. There are also straps inside to stop your clothes from tumbling around when the crew handles your luggage. With the additional, multi-directional spinner wheels, side grab handle, and push-button handle at the top, this is a simple option that should work for multiple trips.
Sometimes, the little details in the design and finish of a case can make all the difference. The vertically ribbed effect on previous cases allows for a slimmer look, while the horizontal bands here make this case seem more spacious. The brushed-texture finish is also really nice in the deep Nova Teal and Purple. This version is the largest at 28-inches, which allows for plenty of space inside for a week or more of outfits for the cruise. This is another than opens up in two halves for better organization There is a zippered cover on one side and webbed garment straps on the other.
If you need to go smaller, you can get this as a 20-inch or 24inch option instead. Whichever you choose, you can make use of the extra space with the expandable capacity. Again, you get the standard convenient features of the spinner wheels, telescoping handle, and the combination lock on the size.
Because Samsonite is such a reliable brand when it comes to this sort of hardshell luggage, we have another from them. There are many similarities in the finer details here, with the brushed finish to the hardside material. There is an interesting shape that immediately makes this look smaller than the one above. But, you still get the choices of 28, 24, and 20-inch cases, depending on your needs. This time, there are a few more color options, with the Ice Blue and Charcoal looking particularly stylish.
As with the case before, there are the helpful extra elements of the spinner wheels, the lock of the side, and the strong telescoping handle. One possible downside to note is that the expansion feature is 1.5-inches rather than the 2-inches seen in other brands.
So far, the cases we have looked at have all been uniform in color, often with fun tones or ribbed patterns to the shell. Here, we have something a bit different and more fun. If you are off on an exotic cruise, what better than a hardside case with a flamingo pattern, or the Eiffel Tower for a cruise down the Seine? That PC/ABS case is built to last, so the pattern should stay intact for a while.
This 26-inch case is another with just enough space between the twin compartments, but you can expand it as needed. There is a zippered divider between the two and those helpful webbed garment straps. From there, you also get the benefits of 8 spinner wheels for manoeuvrability, telescoping handle, and side handle. But, there is no lock on the side this time.
Finally, we have a product that shows that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great set of luggage that meets your needs for a cruise. This one doesn’t look as high-end in the finish of the hardside material. But, there is a nice textured pattern and some fun colors. The Sunset Orange is completely different from the usual pinks and blues, but the black one also looks smart. There are two cases in this set, one large 31.3-inch model and a smaller one at 21.7-inches. Both are also available as separate items.
These cases open up in the middle for that split compartment style and have an expander to allow for a little more space. From there, you also get the spinner wheels, telescoping handle, and the lock on the side. It might not be as long-lasting, but it is a great choice for a first cruise.
Important Criteria For Picking The Best Luggage For Cruises
There are three main areas of consideration when looking at the best luggage for cruising on the ocean. Any case with these features should prove to be helpful and convenient. But, you still need to consider other details like portability and ease of use.
An expandable capacity
The capacity of the case is important. There may not be the same sort of weight and size restrictions as you would get with carry-on luggage for planes. But, you still don’t want anything taking up too much space in a compact cabin. It helps if you can expand the interior dimensions as needed, especially if you plan on buying gifts and souvenirs.
It is also a good idea to look at the internal compartments to help you organize everything you might need throughout the trip. This could mean a case with split compartments and dividers or with smaller pouches.
A protective hardside case
An issue with cruise travel is that you have to hand all your cases over to the crew when boarding the ship. It will be awaiting you at the other end. But, that could be a long time where other strangers have the case and treat it a little too roughly. A strong hardside shell makes a big difference here, as does a security lock on the zipper.
The design of the case
If this is something of a luxury holiday and the chance to indulge for a week or so, you may want to find luggage to match that vibe. This means looking at models ad designs that have a cleaner look, better style, or some fun colors.
Clearly, not all the best luggage options for cruising offer every one of these features for the best possible experience. You sometimes have to make a choice and find your priority. For example, there are those stylish models with clever packing solutions that don’t have an expander. Or you may focus on the expander and not have the same minimalist style.
Cruising With Suitcases Can Be Easy And Fun
It is a good idea to choose a suitcase over any other form of luggage for cruising. These cases are stylish, easy to use, and you can find the right capacity to meet your needs. Enjoy comparing your options in different sizes, colors, and styles to find the one that will make your next cruise even more enjoyable.