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What To Bring On A Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Jan Wardell



Embarking on a cruise is an exciting and memorable experience. Whether you’re venturing on a luxurious Caribbean cruise or exploring breathtaking Alaskan fjords, proper preparation is key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey. One of the essential aspects of planning for your cruise is knowing what to bring along with you.


In this article, we’ll guide you through the must-have items that will enhance your cruise experience. From important documents to clothing and accessories, and from toiletries to electronics and entertainment, we’ll cover all the essentials to make your voyage comfortable and memorable.


It’s important to note that packing for a cruise will highly depend on the destination and duration of your trip. Researching the weather conditions and activities available onboard and at each port is crucial for determining what to pack. Additionally, always check the specific guidelines provided by your cruise line regarding any restricted items or dress codes.


So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list of items that you should consider bringing on your next cruise adventure.


Important Documents

Before setting sail on your cruise, it is essential to gather and organize all the necessary documents to ensure a hassle-free journey. Here’s a list of important documents to bring along:

  • Passport/Identification: Check the passport requirements for your cruise destination. It is advisable to carry a photocopy of your passport as well.
  • Cruise Tickets/Boarding Passes: Keep your printed or digital cruise tickets and boarding passes easily accessible for check-in and embarkation.
  • Visa and Travel Documents: If you’re traveling to destinations that require visas or special permits, make sure to bring them along and keep them in a safe place.
  • Health Insurance/Medical Information: Carry your health insurance card and any necessary medical documents or prescriptions.
  • Credit Cards/Cash: Have multiple forms of payment available, including credit cards and some cash for onboard expenses and port visits.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Create a list of emergency contacts, including family members, friends, and your cruise line’s contact information.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself against unexpected events or trip cancellations.

It is advisable to make copies or take pictures of all your important documents and store them securely in case of loss or theft. It’s also a good idea to keep digital copies stored in the cloud for easy access.


Remember to carry these documents in a waterproof travel organizer or a secure travel wallet to keep them safe and organized throughout your voyage.


Clothing and Accessories

Packing the right clothing and accessories is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise experience. Here are some essential items to consider:

  • Daytime Attire: Pack casual and comfortable outfits for daytime activities. This can include shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, swimsuits, and cover-ups.
  • Evening Attire: Most cruises have formal or semi-formal evenings, so be sure to pack appropriate attire such as cocktail dresses, dressy slacks, or suits. Check the dress code specified by your cruise line.
  • Outerwear: Depending on your cruise destination, pack a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings or excursions in colder climates.
  • Footwear: Bring a variety of footwear options, including comfortable walking shoes, sandals, and formal shoes for evening events. Don’t forget flip flops for the pool or beach!
  • Accessories: Remember to pack accessories like hats, sunglasses, and a versatile bag or backpack for excursions and exploring ports of call.

Additionally, consider the specific activities and amenities available on your cruise ship. If there are fitness centers, pack workout clothes and athletic shoes. If there are specialty restaurants or themed parties, plan outfits accordingly. It’s always better to be prepared!


Don’t forget to check if your cruise ship offers laundry facilities or laundry services. This can help you pack lighter and have access to fresh clothing throughout your trip.


Remember that space can be limited in your cabin, so try to pack efficiently by rolling clothes instead of folding them and utilizing packing cubes or compression bags.


Toiletries and Personal Care

When it comes to toiletries and personal care items, it’s important to pack travel-sized products and consider the specific needs of your cruise. Here’s a list to help you stay fresh and well-groomed during your voyage:

  • Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash: If your cruise line does not provide these items, bring travel-sized versions or transfer them into reusable containers.
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Opt for a travel-sized toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste.
  • Deodorant: Keep yourself smelling fresh with a travel-sized deodorant.
  • Hair Care Products: Pack hairbrushes, combs, hair ties, and any other hair care products you usually use.
  • Skincare Products: Bring your essential skincare items, such as facial cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreen, and lip balm.
  • Razors and Shaving Cream: If needed, pack your preferred shaving supplies.
  • Makeup and Cosmetics: Select your favorite makeup products and consider the cruise’s dress code and activities when deciding what to pack.
  • Nail Care Items: Don’t forget nail clippers, nail files, and any nail polish or manicure essentials you may need.
  • Medications: If you take any prescription medications, be sure to bring an adequate supply for the duration of your cruise.
  • Personal Hygiene Items: This includes items like cotton swabs, tissues, feminine hygiene products, and any other personal care items specific to your needs.

Keep in mind that most cruise ships provide basic toiletries, but it’s always a good idea to have your preferred products on hand. To save space, consider sharing items like shampoo and conditioner with your travel companions.


Lastly, pack a small travel towel or washcloth for excursions or beach visits where these items may not be readily available.


Medications and First Aid Kit

When it comes to your health and well-being on a cruise, it’s important to be prepared with essential medications and a basic first aid kit. Here’s what you should consider packing:

  • Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your cruise.
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Pack common medications like pain relievers, antacids, motion sickness pills, and any other medications you may require.
  • Allergy Medications: If you have known allergies, pack antihistamines or any other necessary allergy medications.
  • First Aid Kit: Put together a basic first aid kit that includes band-aids, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, gauze pads, tweezers, scissors, and any specific items you may require for personal medical needs.
  • Sea Sickness Remedies: If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider bringing sea sickness bracelets, patches, or medication to help alleviate symptoms.

It’s also a good idea to inform your cruise line about any specific medical conditions you have or special needs you may require. They can provide you with additional guidance and ensure the onboard medical staff is aware of any necessary information.


Remember to keep medications and your first aid kit in your carry-on luggage, as checked bags may be inaccessible during the embarkation process.


If you have any concerns about your health or medications while on the cruise, seek medical assistance from the ship’s medical professionals.


Electronics and Gadgets

In this digital age, electronics and gadgets have become essential for many travelers. When packing for your cruise, consider the following items:

  • Smartphone and Charger: Your smartphone is a versatile tool on a cruise, serving as a camera, communication device, and travel guide. Don’t forget to bring your charger to keep your phone powered throughout the trip.
  • Camera and Batteries: Capture the special moments of your cruise with a digital camera or GoPro. Make sure to bring spare batteries or a charger, as well as memory cards or extra storage.
  • Tablet/Laptop and Charger: If you wish to access the internet, work remotely, or watch movies during downtime, consider bringing a tablet or laptop. Don’t forget the charger and any necessary cables.
  • E-reader or Books: If you enjoy reading, an e-reader or a few physical books can provide entertainment during relaxation time on your cruise.
  • Portable Power Bank: Ensure you have a portable power bank to charge your devices on the go, especially during excursions where electrical outlets may not be readily available.
  • Adapters/Converters: Depending on your cruise destination, you may need adapters or converters to plug in your electronics and gadgets.
  • Headphones: A good pair of headphones is handy for listening to music, watching movies, or enjoying entertainment options on the cruise.

While it’s great to have these gadgets, be mindful of your surroundings and the activities you want to engage in during the cruise. Sometimes it’s better to disconnect and fully immerse yourself in the experience without relying too heavily on electronic devices.


Remember to secure your electronics in your cabin’s safe when you’re not using them and take appropriate precautions to prevent loss or theft.


Entertainment and Recreation

A cruise offers a wide range of entertainment and recreational activities to keep you entertained throughout your voyage. Here are some items to consider packing to enhance your onboard experience:

  • Swimwear: Pack multiple swimsuits to enjoy the pool, waterslides, or hot tubs onboard.
  • Snorkeling Gear: If you plan to explore underwater wonders during shore excursions, consider bringing your own snorkeling mask and fins for a more comfortable and personalized experience.
  • Deck of Cards/Board Games: Bring along a deck of cards or a compact board game for some evening entertainment or leisurely hours spent on deck.
  • Books/Magazines: Don’t forget to pack your favorite books or magazines to enjoy during moments of relaxation on deck or in your cabin.
  • Binoculars: Enhance your views of coastal landscapes, wildlife, or distant landmarks by bringing a pair of binoculars.
  • Fitness Gear: If you plan to use the onboard fitness center, pack your workout clothes, exercise shoes, and any fitness accessories you may need.
  • Portable Speaker: If you enjoy listening to music, consider bringing a portable speaker for on-deck parties or relaxing moments in your cabin.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated during your cruise by bringing a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day.
  • Seasickness Aid: If you’re prone to seasickness, it’s wise to pack seasickness bands, wristbands, or medication to ensure a comfortable journey.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the onboard activities and entertainment options offered by your cruise line. From live shows and concerts to trivia contests and sports activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during their time at sea.


Remember to pack all the necessary equipment and accessories for any specific activities or sports you plan to participate in during your cruise.


Beach and Pool Essentials

If your cruise includes destinations with beautiful beaches or if your ship has onboard pools and water attractions, it’s important to pack the right essentials for these water-based activities. Here’s a list of beach and pool essentials:

  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by packing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. Apply it generously and frequently to prevent sunburn.
  • Beach Towels: While most cruise ships provide towels, it’s always a good idea to bring your own beach towels for shore excursions or relaxing by the pool.
  • Beach Bag: Pack a spacious beach bag to carry your essentials like sunscreen, towels, sunglasses, snacks, and other personal items.
  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the bright sun with a good pair of sunglasses. Consider bringing a backup pair in case of loss or damage.
  • Hat or Visor: Shield your face and head from the sun by packing a wide-brimmed hat or a comfortable visor.
  • Water Shoes/Sandals: If you plan to explore rocky beaches or participate in water activities, bring water shoes or sandals with good traction.
  • Floatation Devices: If you have kids or are not a strong swimmer, consider bringing inflatable floatation devices or life jackets for added safety in the pools or at the beach.
  • Waterproof Phone Pouch: Keep your phone protected from water damage by using a waterproof phone pouch or case when participating in water activities.

Remember to respect local beach rules and guidelines and always practice good beach and pool etiquette.


Pack your beach and pool essentials in a separate bag for easy access, both when onboard and during shore excursions. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes if you plan to head directly to dinner or other activities after your time in the water.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essentials mentioned earlier, there are several miscellaneous items that can enhance your cruise experience. Consider packing the following:

  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated throughout your journey by carrying a reusable water bottle that you can refill on the ship.
  • Travel Adapter/Power Strip: Some cruise ship cabins may have limited electrical outlets, so bringing a travel adapter or power strip can be handy for charging multiple devices.
  • Hangars: While cruise ship cabins usually provide a limited number of hangars, you may want to bring a few extra to accommodate your clothing.
  • Ziplock Bags: Pack a few ziplock bags in various sizes to store wet swimwear, protect small electronics from moisture, or organize toiletries.
  • Laundry Bag: Keep your cabin organized by packing a laundry bag to separate dirty clothes from clean ones.
  • Travel Sewing Kit: A small sewing kit can come in handy for quick repairs to clothing or accessories.
  • Travel Pillow and Blanket: For overnight flights or long journeys to the cruise port, bring a travel pillow and blanket for added comfort.
  • Travel-Sized Laundry Detergent: If you intend to do laundry onboard or in port, bringing travel-sized laundry detergent will save you from purchasing it on the ship.
  • Cruise-Specific Items: Consider bringing special items like a lanyard to hold your cruise card, door decorations to personalize your cabin, or clothespins for drying swimwear.

Be mindful of any specific cruise line restrictions regarding items like irons, candles, or any potential safety hazards. It’s always a good idea to check their guidelines before packing.


Remember, the key to a successful cruising experience is to pack smart and efficiently, considering the limited storage space in your cabin. Tailor your packing list to your specific needs and preferences, and ensure you have all the essentials for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.



Packing for a cruise can be both exciting and overwhelming, but with proper planning and consideration, you can ensure that you have everything you need for a memorable and enjoyable voyage. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your cruise experience.


Remember to start with the essential documents: passport, cruise tickets, visas, and health insurance. Then, carefully select your clothing and accessories based on the destinations, activities, and dress codes. Don’t forget to pack toiletries and personal care items in travel-sized containers, along with any necessary medications and a basic first aid kit.


For entertainment, bring along electronics and gadgets like smartphones, cameras, and e-readers. And of course, don’t forget to pack beach and pool essentials, such as sunscreen, towels, and swimwear, for those fun-filled water-based activities. Lastly, include miscellanous items that will enhance your overall onboard experience.


Before finalizing your packing, it’s always a good idea to check the specific guidelines provided by your cruise line to ensure you comply with any restrictions or requirements they may have.


By packing smart and efficiently, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you have everything you need to make your cruise comfortable, enjoyable, and memorable. So, get ready to set sail and embark on an incredible journey. Bon voyage!