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What Can You Bring On A Cruise Ship


by Tiff Mcguinness



Planning a cruise can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re embarking on a tropical adventure or exploring historic ports, a cruise offers a unique and luxurious way to travel. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, it’s important to pack the right items for your cruise vacation.


When preparing for a cruise, it’s essential to consider the specific requirements and restrictions of your chosen cruise line. While some cruise ships provide a range of amenities and services, others may have more limited offerings. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the essentials to bring on a cruise ship, ensuring you’re well-prepared for a memorable voyage.


Regardless of the destination or duration of your cruise, certain items should always be included in your packing list. From important documents to personal hygiene products, this guide will cover everything you need to make your cruise experience seamless and stress-free.


Remember, packing efficiently and thoughtfully can maximize your enjoyment onboard and during shore excursions. So, let’s dive into the essentials you need to include when packing for your much-anticipated cruise vacation.


Important Documents to Bring

When embarking on a cruise, it’s crucial to have all the necessary documents for a smooth check-in process and hassle-free travel. Here is a list of important documents to bring:

  1. Passports or IDs: Make sure to bring valid passports for international cruises or government-issued IDs for domestic cruises. Check the expiration dates to ensure they are valid throughout your trip.
  2. Travel Insurance: It’s highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost baggage. Keep a copy of the policy and contact information easily accessible.
  3. Cruise Tickets and Itinerary: Print out or have digital copies of your cruise tickets, boarding passes, and itinerary. These will be required for check-in and to access your cabin.
  4. Visas and Documentation: If your cruise includes ports of call that require specific visas or documentation, ensure you have them in order. Research visa requirements well in advance and apply if needed.
  5. Credit Cards and Cash: Bring multiple forms of payment, including credit cards, to cover onboard expenses. Carry some cash for tips, small purchases in ports, and emergencies.
  6. Health and Vaccination Records: If traveling to certain destinations, you may need to provide proof of vaccinations or carry health records. Consult with your healthcare provider and check the requirements of the countries you will visit.
  7. Emergency Contact Information: Prepare a list of emergency contact numbers, including family members, friends, and your home country’s embassy or consulate in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
  8. Membership Cards: If you are a member of any frequent traveler or loyalty programs, bring your membership cards to take advantage of special perks and discounts.

Make sure to keep these documents in a secure and easily accessible place like a waterproof travel pouch or a folder. It’s also a good idea to have digital copies stored in your email or cloud storage as a backup. By having all the necessary documents ready, you can breeze through the embarkation process and start your cruise with peace of mind.


Clothing and Accessories

When it comes to packing clothing and accessories for your cruise, it’s important to strike a balance between practicality and style. Here are some essential items to consider:

  1. Swimwear: Pack a variety of swimwear options, including bathing suits, cover-ups, and rash guards. Depending on the destination, you may also need snorkeling gear or water shoes.
  2. Casual Clothing: Bring comfortable and lightweight clothing for daytime activities and exploring the ship. Opt for shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.
  3. Elegant Attire: Many cruises have formal nights or upscale dining options. Pack a few formal outfits, such as cocktail dresses, suits, or dress shirts with slacks. Don’t forget appropriate shoes and accessories.
  4. Activewear: If you plan on using the onboard gym or participating in active excursions, pack workout clothes, sneakers, and any necessary sports equipment. Remember to include comfortable walking shoes for shore excursions.
  5. Layering Pieces: Depending on the destination and time of year, carry lightweight jackets, cardigans, or shawls for cooler evenings or air-conditioned areas onboard.
  6. Sleepwear: Don’t forget comfortable pajamas or sleepwear for a restful night’s sleep. Consider the climate and adjust your sleepwear accordingly.
  7. Accessories: Bring a selection of accessories to complement your outfits, such as hats, sunglasses, scarves, and jewelry. These can elevate your look and offer protection from the sun.
  8. Undergarments and Socks: Pack enough underwear, bras, and socks for the duration of your cruise. Consider moisture-wicking options for increased comfort.

Remember to check your cruise line’s dress code policy for specific guidelines on attire. Additionally, consider the activities and excursions you plan to participate in to ensure you have appropriate clothing. Maximize your wardrobe options by selecting versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched.


Packing cubes or organizers can help keep your clothing tidy and save space in your suitcase. Consider the weather and any special events that may take place during your cruise when planning your clothing choices. By packing the right clothing and accessories, you’ll be prepared for any occasion that arises during your cruise adventure.


Toiletries and Medications

Packing the right toiletries and medications is essential to ensure you have everything you need for personal care and to handle any potential health issues during your cruise. Here’s a comprehensive list to consider:

  • Personal Care Items: Bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and any other daily hygiene products you typically use.
  • Skin Care Products: Don’t forget sunscreen with a high SPF, moisturizer, lip balm with SPF, and any other skincare products you regularly use.
  • Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have enough to last throughout the duration of your cruise. Pack them in their original packaging, and consider bringing a copy of the prescription. Don’t forget over-the-counter medications for common ailments like headaches, allergies, motion sickness, and cold and flu.
  • First Aid Kit: Prepare a small first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, antacids, adhesive tape, and any other medical supplies you may need for minor injuries or illnesses.
  • Personal Hygiene Products: Bring items such as cotton swabs, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products, razors, and any other personal care products specific to your needs.
  • Hair Care Tools: If you use styling tools like hairdryers, straighteners, or curling irons, check if your cruise ship provides them. If not, pack them securely for personal use.
  • Contact Lenses/Solution or Glasses: If you wear contact lenses, ensure you have an adequate supply and the necessary cleaning solution. Alternatively, bring your glasses as a backup.
  • Hand Sanitizer: While cruise ships have hand sanitizing stations, having a travel-sized hand sanitizer can be convenient when you’re away from the ship and need to clean your hands.

Remember to pack your toiletries and medications in a leak-proof bag or organizer to prevent any spills or accidents. Check with your cruise line regarding any restrictions on liquids or aerosols. It’s also a good idea to keep important medications and essential toiletries in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage is delayed.


Having a well-stocked toiletry and medication kit will ensure your personal care needs are met and that you’re prepared for any health-related situations that may arise during your cruise.


Electronics and Entertainment

While a cruise offers a chance to disconnect and enjoy the beauty of the sea, it’s also important to have the necessary electronics and entertainment options to enhance your onboard experience. Here are some essential items to consider:

  • Mobile Phone and Charger: Bring your mobile phone for communication purposes and to take photos. Don’t forget the charger and any necessary adapters. Check with your cruise line regarding cell phone coverage and roaming charges.
  • Laptop or Tablet: If you need to stay connected, get work done, or enjoy entertainment on a larger screen, consider bringing a laptop or tablet. It can also be useful for backing up photos or accessing important documents.
  • E-Reader or Books: If you enjoy reading, bring an e-reader or physical books to enjoy during your downtime. It’s a great way to relax on the deck or in your cabin.
  • Headphones: A good pair of noise-canceling headphones can be a lifesaver, especially in crowded areas or when you want to enjoy some peace and quiet. They’re also handy for watching movies or listening to music.
  • Camera: Capture beautiful memories of your cruise by bringing a camera or a high-quality smartphone with a good camera. Make sure you have enough memory cards and batteries.
  • Portable Speakers: If you enjoy listening to music, consider bringing portable speakers to enhance your cabin ambiance or enjoy music on the deck.
  • Power Strip or Extension Cord: Cruise ship cabins often have limited power outlets, so a power strip or extension cord can be useful for charging multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Travel Adapter: If you’re traveling to a different country with different plug types, make sure to bring a travel adapter to charge your electronics.
  • Board Games or Playing Cards: For some old-fashioned entertainment, bring along board games or a deck of cards to enjoy with your travel companions or make new friends onboard.

Remember to consider weight and space limitations when packing electronics and entertainment items. It’s also a good idea to download any necessary apps, movies, or shows beforehand, as internet connectivity on the ship may be limited or chargeable.


By bringing the right electronics and entertainment options, you’ll have a variety of activities and sources of enjoyment throughout your cruise.


Snacks and Beverages

While cruise ships offer a wide range of dining options and food choices, you may still want to bring some of your favorite snacks and beverages to enjoy during your trip. Here are some considerations when it comes to snacks and beverages:

  • Non-perishable Snacks: Pack a selection of non-perishable snacks such as granola bars, nuts, trail mix, dried fruit, and crackers. These snacks can come in handy during long excursions or when you want a quick bite between meals.
  • Individual Drink Packets: If you have specific beverage preferences, such as flavored water or powdered drink mixes, bring individual drink packets to add to water onboard. This can help keep you hydrated and add some variety to your beverage options.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is important, so bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day. Most cruise ships have water stations where you can refill your bottle.
  • Coffee or Tea: If you’re a coffee or tea lover, consider bringing your favorite blend or specialty tea bags. While cruise ships provide coffee and tea, having your preferred brand can add a personal touch to your morning routine.
  • Special Dietary Needs: If you have specific dietary requirements or restrictions, such as gluten-free, vegan, or allergen-free items, bring snacks and food options that meet your needs. This ensures you have suitable choices available during your cruise.
  • Alcohol and Mixers: Check with your cruise line’s policy on bringing alcohol onboard. Some cruise lines may allow you to bring a limited amount of alcohol or wine. If allowed, consider bringing a bottle or two of your favorite beverage or mixers to enjoy in your cabin.
  • Sealed Beverages: Some cruise lines may allow you to bring sealed non-alcoholic beverages like bottled water or soda. Check the specific policies of your cruise line before including these items in your packing list.

When packing snacks and beverages, ensure they comply with the cruise line’s policies on outside food and drink. Keep in mind that many cruise ships have strict policies regarding bringing food from ports of call back onto the ship. Be sure to consume any fresh or perishable items bought on land before reboarding.


Bringing a selection of your favorite snacks and beverages can provide an added level of comfort and enjoyment during your cruise vacation.


Travel Adapters and Chargers

When traveling on a cruise ship, it’s important to have the right travel adapters and chargers to ensure your electronics stay powered and ready for use. Here are some key considerations for travel adapters and chargers:

  • Research the Plug Types: Find out the plug types used on the cruise ship and at your ports of call. Different countries and cruise lines may have varying plug configurations, so it’s essential to bring the appropriate travel adapters to fit the outlets.
  • Universal Travel Adapter: Consider investing in a universal travel adapter that can accommodate various plug types. These adapters usually have multiple sockets and USB ports, allowing you to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
  • USB Charging Cable: Bring USB charging cables for your electronic devices. Many cruise ship cabins have USB ports, making it convenient to charge your devices without the need for an adapter.
  • Portable Chargers: To keep your devices powered on the go, bring a portable charger or power bank. This is particularly useful during shore excursions or when you’re away from your cabin for an extended period.
  • Laptop Charger: If you plan on bringing a laptop or tablet, don’t forget to pack the charger specific to your device. Some cruise ships provide power outlets suitable for charging laptops, making it easier to work or browse the internet during your trip.
  • Camera or Phone Battery Chargers: If you’re bringing a separate camera or using your smartphone as your primary camera, make sure to pack the necessary chargers or extra camera batteries to capture all the memorable moments of your cruise.
  • Adapter and Surge Protector: Consider bringing an adapter with built-in surge protection. This can safeguard your electronics from power surges and voltage fluctuations, providing an extra layer of protection.
  • Label Your Chargers and Cables: To avoid confusion and potential mix-ups, label your chargers and cables with your name or initials. This can help identify your belongings and prevent accidental loss or swapping.

Before you embark on your cruise, familiarize yourself with the electrical outlets available in your cabin and research the voltage requirements of your devices. This knowledge will help you pack the right travel adapters and chargers for your needs.


By ensuring you have the correct travel adapters and chargers, you can keep your electronics powered up and ready to use during your cruise.


Money and Payment Options

When preparing for your cruise, it’s important to consider your money and payment options to ensure a seamless and convenient financial experience. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Currency: Determine the currency used onboard the cruise ship and at your ports of call. This information will help you plan your budget and decide on the most suitable payment methods.
  • Credit Cards: Bring at least one major credit card with a sufficient spending limit. Most cruise ships accept credit cards as a form of payment for onboard expenses, such as gratuities, specialty dining, and spa services. Ensure that your credit card is authorized for international transactions.
  • Debit Cards: Consider bringing a debit card for ATM withdrawals or as a backup payment option. Check with your bank regarding foreign transaction fees and ATM access on the cruise ship or in ports of call.
  • Cash: While credit cards are widely accepted on cruise ships and at major ports, it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller purchases, tips, or in case of emergencies. It’s essential to have local currency when visiting ports that may not accept cards.
  • Traveler’s Checks: Traveler’s checks are not commonly used nowadays, and many places may not accept them. It’s more convenient to rely on credit cards and cash, but if you prefer traveler’s checks, check with the cruise line to ensure they are accepted onboard.
  • Prepaid Currency Cards: Consider getting a prepaid currency card that allows you to load multiple currencies onto a single card. These cards offer convenience and often have competitive exchange rates.
  • Budget Allocation: Set a budget for your cruise expenses, including onboard activities, dining, and souvenirs. This will help you manage your finances and avoid overspending.
  • Tip Money: Keep in mind that tipping is customary on cruise ships. Plan to bring enough cash to cover tips for the crew members who provide exceptional service throughout your trip. Check with the cruise line for guidelines on tipping amounts.

Remember to notify your bank and credit card company about your travel plans, including the cruise dates and ports of call, to prevent any issues with blocked or declined transactions.


Having a combination of payment options, including credit cards, cash, and potentially a prepaid currency card, will ensure you have flexibility and convenience when it comes to managing your finances during the cruise.


Safety and Security Items

When going on a cruise, it’s essential to prioritize safety and ensure you have the necessary items to keep yourself and your belongings secure. Here are some important safety and security items to consider:

  • Travel Insurance: Having travel insurance is crucial to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances, such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage. Make sure you have a comprehensive policy that covers your specific needs.
  • Travel Document Holder: Invest in a secure and waterproof travel document holder or pouch to keep your passports, cruise tickets, credit cards, and other important documents organized and protected from water damage or loss.
  • Money Belt or Hidden Wallet: Consider using a money belt or hidden wallet to securely store your cash, credit cards, and important documents while exploring ports of call. These items are designed to be worn discreetly and can deter potential pickpockets.
  • Luggage Locks: Protect your belongings by using luggage locks on your suitcases. This can deter theft and provide peace of mind while your luggage is stored onboard during the cruise.
  • Portable Safe: If you have valuable items or important documents that you want to keep secure in your cabin, consider bringing a portable safe. These small, lockable safes provide an extra layer of security for your valuables.
  • Medical Supplies: Carry a basic first aid kit with essential supplies such as band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and motion sickness medication. It’s better to be prepared for any minor medical issues that may arise.
  • Waterproof Phone Case: Protect your phone from water damage by using a waterproof phone case or pouch. This is especially useful for water-based activities or exploring rainy destinations.
  • Portable Door Lock or Door Stopper: For added security in your cabin, consider bringing a portable door lock or door stopper. These devices can provide an extra level of security and peace of mind, particularly if you’re traveling solo or have concerns about cabin security.
  • Safety Whistle and Flashlight: Carry a safety whistle and a small flashlight when exploring ports of call or walking on the ship’s deck at night. These items can attract attention or help you find your way in case of emergencies or power outages.

Always be vigilant and mindful of your surroundings while traveling. It’s essential to stay informed about the cruise ship’s safety procedures and follow the instructions provided by the crew in case of any emergencies.


By having these safety and security items, you can have a worry-free cruise experience and focus on enjoying your vacation.


Health and Fitness Accessories

Staying healthy and maintaining your fitness routine while on a cruise is important for overall well-being. To help you prioritize your health and fitness, consider packing these essential accessories:

  • Workout Clothing: Pack comfortable workout clothes, including athletic shorts, t-shirts, sports bras, and leggings. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics that will help keep you cool during your workouts.
  • Exercise Shoes: Bring a pair of comfortable athletic shoes suitable for various types of activities, such as walking, running, or working out in the ship’s gym. Make sure they have good support and proper cushioning.
  • Fitness Tracker or Smartwatch: Consider wearing a fitness tracker or smartwatch to monitor your physical activity, steps taken, and heart rate. It can help you stay motivated and track your progress throughout the cruise.
  • Resistance Bands: These lightweight and portable exercise bands are perfect for adding resistance to your workouts, whether you’re in your cabin or using the ship’s fitness facilities. They offer a wide range of exercises for strength training.
  • Yoga Mat: If you enjoy yoga or other floor exercises, bring a portable and lightweight yoga mat. It will provide cushioning and grip during your workouts and can be easily stored in your luggage.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is important, especially during physical activities. Carry a reusable water bottle to refill and drink water throughout the day. Most cruise ships have water stations available for refilling.
  • Snacks and Supplements: If you have specific dietary needs or prefer certain snacks or supplements, consider bringing them along to support your health and fitness goals.
  • Travel-sized Toiletries: Pack travel-sized versions of your preferred toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. You’ll have the convenience of using products you’re familiar with during your fitness routine.

Many cruise ships offer fitness facilities, including gyms, classes, or outdoor sports activities. Utilize these resources to keep up with your fitness routine or try something new.


Remember to listen to your body and adjust your exercise intensity according to your fitness level and any underlying health conditions. Don’t forget to consult with your physician before engaging in any vigorous exercise activities.


By bringing these health and fitness accessories, you can stay active and maintain your well-being during your cruise vacation.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essential items mentioned earlier, there are some miscellaneous items that can come in handy during your cruise. These items may not be directly related to travel or specific activities but can enhance your overall experience. Consider including the following miscellaneous items in your packing list:

  • Reusable Tote bag or Daypack: A lightweight and collapsible tote bag or daypack is useful for carrying items during shore excursions or when exploring ports of call. It can also serve as an extra bag for shopping or carrying essentials.
  • Travel Pillow and Blanket: To ensure a comfortable journey, bring a travel pillow and a cozy blanket for long flights or bus rides to the embarkation port. These items can also be helpful for relaxing on the ship’s deck or during long stretches of relaxation.
  • Binoculars: If your cruise involves scenic landscapes or wildlife spotting, pack a pair of lightweight binoculars. They can enhance your viewing experience and allow you to observe wildlife, islands, or landmarks from a distance.
  • Travel-sized Laundry Detergent: Some cruise ships offer laundry facilities or have a laundry service available. Bring a travel-sized laundry detergent to wash a few items if needed, enabling you to pack lighter and keep your clothes fresh during the trip.
  • Ziplock Bags: These versatile bags have numerous uses, such as keeping your phone or other electronics dry during water activities, storing wet or dirty clothes, or organizing small items like jewelry or medications.
  • Seasickness Remedies: If you’re prone to seasickness, pack remedies such as motion sickness wristbands, sea bands, or over-the-counter medications. Consult with your healthcare provider for the best options to alleviate seasickness.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget to pack a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Even on cloudy days or while at sea, UV exposure can still occur.
  • Swim Bag: If you plan to spend a lot of time at the pool or beach, a dedicated swim bag can keep your wet swimsuits and towels separate from the rest of your belongings.
  • Deck of Cards or Travel Games: Bring a deck of cards or compact travel games to enjoy with your travel companions or meet new friends onboard. These can be a great way to unwind and pass the time during sea days or in the evening.

Each cruise experience is unique, so consider any specific activities or interests you may have and pack accordingly. These miscellaneous items can enhance your comfort, convenience, and enjoyment throughout your cruise.



As you embark on your cruise adventure, proper packing becomes crucial for a smooth and enjoyable trip. Packing the right items can enhance your comfort, convenience, and overall experience. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-prepared for your cruise vacation.


Remember to bring important documents such as passports, travel insurance, and cruise tickets. Pack appropriate clothing and accessories for different occasions, including swimwear, formal attire, and comfortable attire for daily activities. Don’t forget toiletries, medications, and health-related items to take care of your personal needs.


Ensure you have the right electronics and entertainment options, such as your mobile phone, chargers, and headphones, to stay connected and entertained during your cruise. Consider bringing snacks and beverages to supplement your onboard dining experience and stay hydrated throughout the trip.


Pay attention to safety and security by carrying travel adapters, luggage locks, and personal safety items. Prioritize your health and fitness by packing workout clothing, fitness accessories, and necessary medications or first aid supplies.


Lastly, remember to include other miscellaneous items that can enhance your overall experience, such as a travel pillow, reusable tote bag, or binoculars.


By taking the time to plan and pack thoughtfully, you’ll be ready to embark on an incredible cruise experience filled with unforgettable moments and delightful adventures.