Headed to go on a cruise? Here are some essential items to pack for a stress-free and enjoyable vacation.
Now that you’ve booked your first cruise it’s time to start thinking of what to bring and pack. Being a first timer, you may not know everything you need.
While I had to learn the hard way when I first went on a cruise, I thought I would create a list to help you.
Whether you’re going on a 9 month ultimate world cruise, 7 day 7 night Caribbean cruise, 5 day Mexican cruise, or a shorter 3 day cruise, here’s what you should pack for a cruise:
Clothing, Shoes & Accessories
- Bathing suit (and an extra one just in case)
- Sweatshirt for cold nights
- Small backpack, belt bag or drawstring bag to take on stops
- Flips flops, water shoes or sandals
- Comfortable tennis shoes
- Dressy shoes for dinner
- Clothes that don’t wrinkle (casual to dressy according to weather) – Choose lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen that will keep you cool in warm weather destinations like the Bahamas or Bermuda.
- Workout clothes is you plan on working out
- Contact lens, glasses and supplies to hold and clean them
Toiletries & Medications
- Basic toiletry items you use daily such as deodorant, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, razors, makeup, feminine products, etc.
- Poo-purri (for obvious reasons)
- Motion Sickness Bands
- Sunscreen with high SPF
- Pain meds such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen
- Bug spray
- Clorox wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- First Aid kit with all the necessary medications you need (eg. bandaids, tums, cortizone, aloe, etc.)
- Prescription medications
- Aloe vera in case you get sunburned
- Phone charger
- Back up battery phone charger
- Power strip for extra electrical outlets in the cabin
- Small travel fan for the room
- Walkie talkies for communication (since there is no cell service)
- Night light
- E-reader or tablet
- Portable speaker for listening to music
- Small camera to capture all the moments – I love the Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera from Midwest Photo. It’s small enough to fit in your hand and comes with a microphone and mini tripod.
- Extra SD card in case you run out of memory
- Small bills for tipping
- Travel documents, photo ID, credit cards, travel insurance
- Decorations for you cabin door
- Lanyard for room card
- Heavy duty suction cups
- Ziploc bags (all sizes)
- Towel clips for the chairs (it can get windy)
- Shoe organizer to hold toiletries for over the door since there is no counter space
- Yeti cup or insulated tumbler to keep drinks cold.
- Reusable straws
- Magnetic hooks (the walls are metal in the cabin and these are great for hanging stuff)
- Trash bags for dirty laundry
- Detergent if doing laundry on the cruise ship
- Books to read or downloaded on your Kindle
- Playing cards or games to play
What NOT to Pack on a Cruise
- Bulky luggage: Use lightweight suitcases or duffel bags instead of large, heavy ones. It’ll make getting around the ship much easier.
- Irons and steamers: Most cruise lines prohibit these due to fire hazards. If you need to get the wrinkles out, hang your clothes in the bathroom while taking a hot shower – the steam will help release any wrinkles or use a Downy wrinkle release spray.
- Beach towels: Don’t waste precious suitcase space on bulky beach towels; most cruise lines provide them at poolside or during shore excursions.
- Flammable items: Candles, incense, and other flammable items are not allowed on cruise ships for safety reasons.
- Illegal substances: This goes without saying, but bringing illegal drugs or substances on board is strictly prohibited and could result in serious consequences.
- Too many shoes: While it’s important to have comfortable footwear for walking tours and exploring ports of call, try not to go overboard with multiple pairs for every occasion.
- Expensive/valuable items: It’s not uncommon for items to go missing on a cruise, so it’s best to leave expensive jewelry and valuables at home.
A Few Important Tips
- Plan ahead before you start packing and make a checklist.
- Keep important essentials and documents in carry on.
- Use packing cubes or compression bags to maximize the space in your suitcase.
- Make sure to take photos and keep copies of all documents such as passports, license, birth certificates, etc. just in case.
- Get travel insurance in case you need to cancel.
- Carry multiple forms of payment; cash, credit cards and traveler’s checks and store in a safe place onboard. Only carry what you need when ashore.
- Set a budget to avoid overspending.
- Inform your bank ahead of time of your travels so they don’t flag any suspicious transactions on your credit cards while you’re away.
Now you’re ready to board and set sail!