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What To Carry On A Cruise


by Bertine Mares



Planning for a cruise vacation can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. As you anticipate the adventure that awaits you on the open sea, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to make your trip memorable and comfortable. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or embarking on your very first voyage, knowing what to carry on a cruise is crucial to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience.


While the specific items you’ll need may vary depending on the destination, duration, and activities planned during your cruise, there are some essentials that every traveler should consider. From important documents to clothing and accessories, toiletries to electronics, and recreation items to medications, being well-prepared will help you make the most of your cruise vacation.


In this comprehensive guide, we will take a detailed look at the essential items you should carry on a cruise. From practical necessities to fun extras, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the must-haves for an unforgettable cruise adventure!


Essential Documents

When preparing for a cruise, it’s crucial to have all the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth sailing experience. Here are the essential documents you should have:

  1. Passport/ID: Regardless of your destination, it’s always wise to carry a valid passport or identification card. Make sure they are not expired and have blank pages for immigration stamps.
  2. Boarding Pass: Don’t forget to print or have a digital copy of your boarding pass. This will grant you access to the ship.
  3. Visas: If you’re visiting countries that require visas, ensure you have them before your cruise departure.
  4. Cruise Tickets: Print or have your electronic cruise tickets ready. These will be necessary for check-in at the port.
  5. Travel Insurance: Protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances by purchasing travel insurance. Have a copy of your policy and emergency contact information.
  6. Medical Information: If you have any specific medical conditions or allergies, carry a medical information card or bracelet for emergency purposes.
  7. Money and Cards: Bring sufficient cash in the local currency of your ports of call. Also, carry credit/debit cards for additional purchases and emergencies.
  8. Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of important contacts, including family members, friends, and the cruise line’s emergency contact number.

It’s essential to make copies of all your important documents and keep them separate from the originals. This will serve as a backup in case of loss or theft. Additionally, consider uploading scanned copies to a secure cloud storage platform for easy access from anywhere.


Remember, it’s crucial to check the documentation requirements for your specific cruise itinerary and destination. Some countries may have additional entry requirements or visa restrictions, so be sure to research and comply with their regulations.


Clothing and Accessories

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

  • Swimwear: Pack a few swimsuits for lounging by the pool or taking a dip in the ocean. Don’t forget a cover-up or sarong for walking around the ship.
  • Formal Attire: Most cruises have formal nights, so pack at least one or two outfits for these occasions. This could be a cocktail dress or a suit and tie.
  • Casual Clothing: Include comfortable clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, and sundresses for daily activities and excursions.
  • Footwear: Bring a variety of footwear, including sandals, flip-flops, sneakers, and dress shoes to accommodate different activities and dress codes onboard.
  • Layering Pieces: Depending on the cruise destination and time of year, pack light jackets, cardigans, or shawls for cooler evenings or air-conditioned spaces.
  • Gym Clothes: If you plan to use the onboard gym or participate in fitness classes, pack workout clothes and athletic shoes.
  • Accessories: Don’t forget to bring hats, sunglasses, a beach bag, and a small backpack for excursions or day trips.

It’s also a good idea to pack a few formal and casual outfits for themed nights or special events on the ship. Check the cruise line’s website or contact their customer service to see if there are any specific dress code guidelines or theme nights during your voyage.


Keep in mind that some cruise lines may have laundry facilities or offer laundry services, so you can pack lighter and wash your clothes during the trip. However, it’s always best to have enough clothing options for the duration of your cruise.


Remember to pack comfortable, versatile, and lightweight clothing items that can be mixed and matched for different occasions and activities onboard and ashore. By doing so, you’ll be prepared for whatever the cruise has in store for you!


Toiletries and Personal Care Items

When it comes to packing toiletries and personal care items for a cruise, it’s important to consider both your everyday essentials and any specific needs you may have. Here are some items to include in your cruise packing list:

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Make sure to pack travel-sized toothpaste and a toothbrush for maintaining your oral hygiene.
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash: Many cruise ships provide these basic toiletries, but it’s always a good idea to bring your preferred brands.
  • Haircare Products: Pack your favorite styling products, such as gel or hairspray, as well as a brush or comb.
  • Skincare Products: Don’t forget to bring moisturizer, sunscreen, and lip balm to protect your skin from the sun and keep it hydrated.
  • Razors and Shaving Cream: If you prefer to shave, pack your razor and shaving cream or gel.
  • Feminine Hygiene Products: Ladies, make sure to pack an ample supply of tampons or pads, as they may not be readily available onboard.
  • Nail Care Kit: Bring a nail file, clippers, and any other nail care items you may need during the trip.
  • Medications: If you take prescription medications, bring an adequate supply for the duration of your cruise. It’s also wise to bring over-the-counter medications for common ailments like headaches or motion sickness.
  • Hairdryer and Styling Tools: Although most cruise ships provide hairdryers, they may not meet your preferences. Consider packing your own, along with any other styling tools you use regularly.
  • Personal Care Items: Don’t forget essentials like deodorant, contact lens solution, and any other personal care items you use on a daily basis.

Remember to pack all liquids in leak-proof travel-sized containers to comply with airline regulations and to prevent any spills in your luggage. If you have any specific toiletry needs or preferences, consider doing some research or contacting the cruise line beforehand to ensure they can accommodate your requirements.


By packing these essential toiletries and personal care items, you’ll be well-prepared to stay clean, refreshed, and feeling your best throughout your cruise vacation.


Medications and First Aid Kit

When going on a cruise, it’s important to be prepared for any unexpected medical needs that may arise. Here are some tips for packing medications and creating a basic first aid kit:

  • Pack Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, make sure to bring an ample supply for the duration of your cruise. It’s also a good idea to carry a copy of your prescriptions, just in case.
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Include common over-the-counter medications for conditions like headaches, allergies, motion sickness, and upset stomachs.
  • Pain Relievers: Pack pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for any aches or pains that may occur during your trip.
  • Antiseptics and Band-Aids: Carry antiseptic wipes or liquid, along with a variety of adhesive bandages, to treat minor cuts or scrapes that may occur during your cruise.
  • Prescription Glasses/Contact Lenses: If you require prescription eyewear, bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses, as well as any necessary solutions or eye drops.
  • First Aid Supplies: Create a small first aid kit with items like gauze pads, adhesive tape, tweezers, scissors, and an instant cold pack.
  • Motion Sickness Remedies: If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider packing remedies such as wristbands, ginger candies, or over-the-counter medications specifically designed for seasickness.
  • Sunburn Relief: Bring aloe vera gel or sunburn relief lotion to soothe any sunburn you may acquire during your cruise.
  • Insect Repellent: Depending on your cruise destination, pack insect repellent to protect yourself from pesky bugs on shore excursions.

It’s important to keep all medications in their original packaging and carry them in your carry-on luggage. This ensures easy access and prevents any issues with lost or delayed checked bags. Additionally, if you have any specific medical conditions or concerns, it may be helpful to inform the cruise line in advance to ensure they can accommodate your needs.


While cruise ships have medical staff and facilities onboard, having a basic first aid kit and necessary medications can help you handle minor ailments or injuries quickly and efficiently. Remember, it’s always better to be prepared and have peace of mind during your cruise vacation.


Electronics and Gadgets

In today’s digital age, electronics and gadgets have become an essential part of our lives, even when we’re on vacation. Here are some must-pack items when it comes to electronics for your cruise:

  • Cell Phone: Your cell phone will likely be your main communication device during your cruise. Make sure to bring your charger and any necessary adapters.
  • Laptop/Tablet: If you need to stay connected or work remotely, consider bringing a laptop or tablet, along with its charger and any required accessories.
  • Camera: Capture memorable moments on your cruise with a digital camera or a high-quality smartphone camera. Don’t forget to bring spare memory cards and chargers.
  • Power Strip/Surge Protector: Cruise ship cabins may have limited outlets, so bringing a power strip or surge protector with multiple outlets can be beneficial for charging multiple devices simultaneously.
  • E-reader: If you enjoy reading, consider bringing an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook to have access to a variety of books without taking up space in your luggage.
  • Headphones: Whether you want to listen to music, watch movies, or enjoy podcasts, a pair of headphones can provide you with a more immersive and private experience.
  • Portable Charger: Keep your devices powered up throughout the day by bringing a portable charger. This is particularly useful during excursions or long days onshore.
  • Travel Adapter: Depending on your cruise destination, you may need a travel adapter to plug in your electronic devices. Research ahead of time to ensure you have the appropriate adapter for your specific cruise itinerary.

While it’s tempting to bring all your electronic gadgets, remember that a cruise vacation is an opportunity to disconnect and unwind. Choose the devices that are essential to you and leave the rest behind. And don’t forget to take breaks from your screens and enjoy the beautiful scenery and activities onboard!


Additionally, some cruise ships offer onboard activities and entertainment options that can enhance your experience. However, it’s best to check with your cruise line beforehand to see if they provide specific electronics, such as game consoles or DVD players, to avoid unnecessary packing.


By bringing the right electronics and gadgets, you can capture memories, stay connected, and have a more enjoyable and convenient cruise experience.


Entertainment and Recreation

When it comes to entertainment and recreation on a cruise, there’s never a shortage of activities to keep you entertained throughout your voyage. Here are some items to consider packing to make the most of your onboard experience:

  • Books and Magazines: If you love reading, pack a few books or magazines to enjoy during your downtime on the ship or by the pool.
  • Playing Cards or Travel Games: Bring a deck of cards or compact travel games to enjoy with your travel companions or new friends you’ll meet onboard. It’s a great way to pass the time during sea days or in the evenings.
  • Binoculars: If you’re cruising through scenic areas or wildlife-rich regions, binoculars can enhance your viewing experience, allowing you to spot dolphins, whales, or other fascinating sights in the distance.
  • Snorkeling Gear: If you plan on snorkeling during your cruise or visiting destinations with beautiful underwater landscapes, consider packing your own snorkeling gear, including a mask, snorkel, and fins.
  • Waterproof Camera/GoPro: Capture your snorkeling adventures or water-based activities with a waterproof camera or GoPro to preserve those unforgettable memories.
  • Exercise Equipment: For fitness enthusiasts, bring lightweight exercise equipment like resistance bands or a yoga mat. Many cruise ships have fitness centers where you can continue your regular workout routine.
  • Binoculars: If you’re cruising through scenic areas or wildlife-rich regions, binoculars can enhance your viewing experience, allowing you to spot dolphins, whales, or other fascinating sights in the distance.
  • Portable Speaker: Bring a portable Bluetooth speaker to enjoy music in your cabin or on the balcony. However, be mindful of noise levels and respect your neighbors’ privacy.
  • Sketchbook/Art Supplies: If you have a creative side, consider packing a sketchbook and art supplies to indulge in drawing or painting during your cruise.

It’s important to note that cruise ships offer a wide range of entertainment options onboard, including live shows, live music performances, movie screenings, themed parties, and various recreational activities. Take advantage of these offerings and try something new – you might discover a new hobby or passion!


Remember to pack items that align with your interests and the activities available on your particular cruise. Be mindful of weight and space limitations in your luggage, and choose items that will bring you joy and enhance your relaxation or entertainment experience.


Beach and Pool Essentials

One of the highlights of a cruise vacation is relaxing and enjoying the sun by the beach or pool. To make the most of these aquatic activities, make sure to pack the following beach and pool essentials:

  • Swimwear: Pack a few bathing suits or trunks, so you have options for different days or activities.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by bringing waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF. Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.
  • Beach Towel: While many cruise ships provide towels for pool and beach areas, it doesn’t hurt to bring a compact and lightweight beach towel of your own.
  • Sunglasses: Shield your eyes from the sun’s glare with a good pair of sunglasses that offer UV protection.
  • Hat or Cap: Wear a wide-brimmed hat or a baseball cap to protect your face and scalp from the sun.
  • Water Shoes: If you plan on exploring rocky beaches or participating in water sports, bring water shoes to protect your feet.
  • Waterproof Phone Case: Keep your phone safe from water damage by using a waterproof phone case. This allows you to capture photos or listen to music while lounging by the pool or beach.
  • Floats or Inflatable Rafts: For added relaxation in the pool or ocean, consider bringing inflatable floats or rafts to lounge on.
  • Snorkeling Gear: If you enjoy snorkeling, bring your own mask, snorkel, and fins for a more comfortable and personalized experience.
  • Waterproof Bag: Keep your belongings dry and secure by using a waterproof bag to store your phone, wallet, and other personal items when enjoying water activities.

It’s important to follow the rules and regulations set by the cruise line and respect the safety guidelines provided at the pool or beach areas. Additionally, be mindful of environmental preservation and avoid leaving any trash or litter behind.


Remember, the beach and pool areas are perfect for relaxation and fun. By packing these essential items, you’ll be prepared to enjoy the water activities and make the most of your time in the sun.


Miscellaneous Items

When packing for a cruise, there are always a few miscellaneous items that can come in handy and make your trip more comfortable and convenient. Here are some miscellaneous essentials to consider packing:

  • Travel Adapter: Depending on the ports of call and the electrical outlets used, having a universal travel adapter can ensure you can charge your devices anywhere.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is important, so bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day. Some cruise lines even have water filling stations to make it more convenient.
  • Travel-Sized Laundry Detergent: If you prefer to wash some of your clothes during the cruise, packing travel-sized laundry detergent can come in handy.
  • Ziplock Bags: Pack a few ziplock bags in various sizes for storing wet swimwear, organizing small items, or keeping documents dry.
  • Travel-Sized Sewing Kit: A mini sewing kit can be a lifesaver if you need quick repairs for your clothing or accessories.
  • Earplugs and Eye Mask: Cruise ships can get noisy, and the cabins may not always have blackout curtains, so earplugs and an eye mask can help you get a good night’s sleep.
  • Cruise Lanyard or ID Holder: Keep your cruise ID card, room key, and other essentials easily accessible by using a lanyard or ID holder.
  • Cash/Credit Cards: While most purchases onboard will be charged to your cruise account, it’s always a good idea to have some cash or credit cards on hand for any unexpected expenses or purchases during shore excursions.
  • Travel-Sized Umbrella: You never know when a sudden rain shower may occur, so having a compact travel-sized umbrella can help keep you dry.
  • Travel Journal: Capture your cruise memories by bringing a travel journal to jot down notes, highlight experiences, and record special moments.

These miscellaneous items may seem small but can make a big difference in your overall cruise experience. It’s always better to be prepared and have these little extras to enhance your comfort and convenience when needed.


Remember to check with the cruise line regarding any restrictions or guidelines for specific items, especially those related to security or safety measures.



Preparing for a cruise can be both exciting and overwhelming, but with careful planning and consideration, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. By packing the essential items discussed in this guide, you’ll be well-prepared for your cruise vacation, allowing you to relax and make the most of your time at sea and in port.


From essential documents to clothing, toiletries to medications, electronics to entertainment items, and beach/pool accessories to miscellaneous essentials, each item serves a purpose in enhancing your cruise experience. By having the right items on hand, you can feel comfortable, prepared, and ready to embrace all that your cruise has to offer.


Remember to be mindful of any restrictions or guidelines set by the cruise line, especially when it comes to items like liquids or electronics. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to research and check the specific requirements of your cruise destination to ensure a hassle-free experience.


Ultimately, the goal of a cruise vacation is to relax, explore, and create lasting memories. By utilizing this comprehensive guide and tailoring it to your specific preferences and needs, you’ll be well-equipped for an unforgettable cruise adventure. So pack your bags, embark on your journey, and prepare for an amazing time on the open seas!