Packing for a cruise can be complicated, especially for first-timers who aren’t 100% sure what to expect. The task is made more stressful because you cannot run to the nearest mall to pick up something you forgot when you are sailing in the middle of the ocean.
What you need is a cruise packing list that represents the cruise dress code for daywear and evening wear, the different activities you will do on the ship and in port, the gear you need to travel and to enhance your cruise cabin, and the essentials you need for everyday life and unexpected emergencies.
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We’ve listed 103 essentials you should always pack for any cruise. Follow our cruise packing list to avoid packing mistakes and be prepared for anything on your next cruise.
When packing for a cruise, start with the basics: what you plan to wear each day.
On all cruise lines, daywear is casual, and on a large ship cruise, almost anything goes. On a more luxurious or upscale cruise ship, casual daywear tends to be more trendy and stylish, so you may feel out of place wearing your cheap t-shirt from Target.
Of course, the destination and weather will determine what exactly makes it on your cruise packing list. to Caribbean cruiseYou will need a lot of beachwear; to Alaska cruiseYou’ll need durable clothing for hiking and warm layers for the frequently changing weather. In the Middle East and Asia, you may need clothing that covers the shoulders and knees to visit religious sites.
Remember that any destination can be unseasonably warm, cold or humid, so pack a jacket for a Bahamas cruise or a short-sleeved jacket for an Arctic sailing – just in case.
if you want Stay fit during your cruise If you plan to go to the gym on the plane or ride bikes in the port, pack gym clothes. I once forgot to pack my socks for a short warm-weather cruise, and was disappointed when I wasn’t allowed on the ship’s inflatable trampoline.
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Travelers in a group should consider planning matching outfits, especially if they want to take group photos on the ship. Team t-shirts are popular, as are color-coordinated clothing for everyone from kids to grandparents.
Most important of all: double-check how you pack your underwear. You’re welcome.
Pack one outfit for each day, or plan to do so Laundry on board your cruise ship. I love looking for ways to reuse pieces to save space. For example, I’ll wear a shirt with a skirt or pants to dinner, and then wear the same shirt with jeans the next day. Or I’ll get one dress in one color and wear it twice, but with different accessories.
Here’s your daytime clothing packing list (adjust the numbers depending on the length of your sailing):
- Casual tops
- Workout clothes
- Swimwear and swimwear
- Cover up or swim shirt
- Jacket or jacket
Some cruise lines, e.g Norwegian Cruise Line, have a relaxed attitude toward dinner attire, and you can come as you are. Other lines, especially the more upscale ones, have strict dinner dress codes. For cruises on these ships, you’ll want to add some cute clothes to your cruise packing list.
Evening wear on cruise ships is divided into two categories: casual and elegant. For casual nights, consider date night style. Some cruise lines allow jeans to be worn in the evening; Pair it with cute tops and pretty shoes.
Elegant or formal nights highlight cocktail dresses, suits, ties and jackets. If formal attire isn’t your thing, opt for room service, or go to a buffet or casual restaurant for dinner and skip dressing up. Some luxury cruise lines will not allow passengers wearing underwear to enter some restaurants or entertainment venues on formal nights.
Pro Tip: Many cruise ships turn on the air conditioning at night. Pack a light jacket or stylish shawl to keep you comfortable in the great restaurants and theaters on board.
Don’t forget to pack your clothes for cruise ship themed nights. Popular themes include White Night, Pirate Night, and Halloween – and yes, cruisers sparkle with costumes. Check with your cruise line to see what parties or theme nights will be happening, then pack accordingly.
Definitely don’t forget the perfect evening wear – comfy pajamas – especially if you’re sharing a cabin with family or friends.
Here’s your evening wear packing list:
- Skirt and blouse
- Wrap or jacket
- Button-up or polo shirt
- Wear nice pants or jeans
- Sports coat
- A suit or tuxedo for a formal night
- A cocktail dress or gown for a formal night
- Cruise clothing and fashion
- night dress
It’s easy to fill a carry-on with shoes alone when packing for a cruise. The essential must-have is a pair of comfortable travel shoes for flight, ship and port walking.
Other types of shoes you can add to your cruise list are sneakers for sporting activities, flip-flops for the pool and beach, and dress shoes for dinner. (Ladies, try to coordinate your outfit, so you only need to bring one pair of heels.) You may also want casual or sporty sandals, hiking shoes, or water shoes for rocky beaches.
Pro Tip: Pack all the pairs of shoes you think you’ll need for the cruise, then decide which ones can do double duty and which you can leave at home. For example, on a Caribbean cruise, a sturdy pair of waterproof sport sandals (like Keens) can multitask as travel shoes, beach shoes, and extreme activity shoes. You can wear a pair of comfortable flats with your casual daytime outfits and fancy evening outfits.
Here’s your shoe packing list:
- Sneakers or comfortable walking shoes
- Water shoes
- Hiking shoes
- Dress shoes for the evening
- Slippers for use inside the cabin
Once you have all the clothes packed, it’s time to accessorize.
On sunny days, both men and women will want to bring hats and sunglasses. On cold weather cruises, you’ll need a warm hat, scarf, gloves, and waterproof gear. (Antarctica and Arctic cruises have unique packing lists, so check with your cruise line.)
Don’t forget belts, jewelry and ties for evening dresses. Have a little fun with it – you’re on a cruise.
Don’t forget to add these accessories to your cruise packing list:
- A wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap
- Warm hat
- Rain jacket and/or pants
- Pashmina or shawl
Toiletries and medications
Like hotels, cruise ships usually provide soap and shampoo in your cabin. Some also offer conditioner and body wash. However, it’s hard to know if your hair will respond well to the products on board or if you’ll hate the smell.
It is always safe to pack your own toiletries. Bring more with you than you think you’ll need because it can be difficult to find your favorite brands in foreign ports, and cruise ships sell necessities at inflated prices. (Here are some more Things you should never buy on a cruise ship or in port.)
Although you’ll find hand sanitizer stations throughout your cruise ship, you’ll still want to pack your own supplies.
Sunscreen is essential; Look for reef-safe versions if you plan to swim in the ocean. Bug spraying is also helpful, especially in Alaska, where people joke that mosquitoes are the state bird.
It’s always smart to pack a first aid kit for your cruise; Make sure it has seasickness remedies if you are sensitive to ocean motion. Over-the-counter medications are expensive on a plane, so bring the brands you commonly use with you. If you take prescription medication, bring enough with you for the trip plus a few extra days, just in case.
Pack the following cosmetics and medications for your cruise, preferably in your carry-on bag:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hair styling products
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- The thread
- Glasses, contact lenses, and contact lens solutions
- Shaving and shaving cream
- Facial Wash
- Body moisturizer
- Lip balm (consider one with SPF)
- Soap (if you’re picky about scents or ingredients)
- Women’s products
- Hand sanitizer (gel or wipes)
- sunblock cream
- Bug spray
- Seasickness remedies (patches, pills, ginger candy, acupressure bracelets)
- Pain-relieving medications, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen
- Allergy medications
- Stomach upset medication
Not all of us are lucky enough to live an hour or two from a cruise port. Many cruisers have to fly or take a land trip to their port of departure and need to pack for this travel as well. Make sure your cruise packing list caters to your pre- and post-cruise travel needs, as well as useful items for your time on board.
For longer, overnight trips to your cruise, pack airplane accessories. If you’ve scheduled a hotel stay before your cruise, consider packing the essentials needed for that night in a separate bag so you don’t need to unpack and repack your main bag.
You will need to prepare your tablet, portable video game system and e-reader for your trip before the cruise and the sailing itself. Don’t forget all relevant charging cables. Or you can skip the technology and bring some books, as many cruise ships no longer offer on-board libraries.
It goes without saying, but you are responsible for filling out necessary travel documents, including cruise/airline/tour tickets, Passport book or passport card (or birth certificate) and visa papers. Do not place these items in your checked bags. Pack it in your carry-on bag so it’s always on hand and less likely to lose it.
I’m a fan of bringing a day bag to carry things around the ship (like carrying my book, water bottle, and cover to the Lido Deck pool) and a small wallet to carry my key card, lipstick, and tissues at night. Some people prefer that Bring the rope To keep their cruise room key card handy.
If you like to walk around with your morning coffee or tea, you won’t be able to get a to-go cup at the buffet unless you pay extra for a latte or espresso. Pack a travel coffee mug so you can fill it up with free stuff. I also recommend bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it up at the buffet or even the bar. It helps reduce plastic waste, and doesn’t blow your budget when buying bottled water.
- Neck pillow
- Eye mask
- Noise canceling headphones
- Headphones or regular earbuds
- Tablet or laptop
- Portable video game system
- Playing cards or other small games
- E-reader or physical books
- Visa documents
- Cruise ticket or documents
- Travel insurance information
- Tour booking information
- shopping bag
- Small wallet
- Bottle of water
- Travel mug
First-time cruisers don’t get it all figured out Cruise ship cabin hacked They can hire them to improve their accommodations on board. Usually, all you need to pack are a few basic items from home.
Many cruise cabin walls and doors are magnetic (did I just startle?), so I like to pack magnets as fun decor and organizational purposes. Magnetic clips and hooks can help keep papers and hats off the desk and sofa inside the room, while a magnetic whiteboard can be useful for leaving notes for your travel companions.
Newer cruise ships are designed so that each cabin has enough electrical outlets and USB ports located throughout the room. However, older cruise ships have a woeful lack of ports. Unless you want to constantly compete with your travel companions for charging priority, pack a power strip, multi-prong outlet, or power adapter/power adapter so you can charge multiple devices at once (and use any 220V European outlets in the cabin) .
Just make sure your power strip doesn’t include a surge protector; These are banned on most cruise ships, as are extension cords.
For evenings on board, pack a nightlight or battery-operated candles so you can find your way to the bathroom in the dark. A small portable sound machine is useful for blocking out hallway noise if your cabin is in a noisy area of the ship, for example near the elevator banks.
You can spruce up your cabin bathroom by bringing a bathroom spray to mask unpleasant odors. Are you traveling with babies and toddlers who hate bathing? There is a small inflatable pool or small bathtub that can be used to give your little one a bath.
You don’t need to pack a clothesline to dry wet items because one is usually hidden in your cabin shower. However, I recommend bringing a laundry bag or pop-up basket to keep dirty clothes separate from the cabin floor. Chair clips are useful if you plan to dry your clothes on the balcony and don’t want them flying around.
Pack these items to enhance our cruise cabin:
- A power strip or multi-pronged outlet without surge protection
- Night light
- Battery operated candles
- White noise machine
- Bath spray
- Inflatable children’s pool
- Pop-up basket or laundry bag
- Chair clips
Port day equipment
You will need to pack items specific to the activities you aim to do in port. Leave room on your cruise packing list for items that will change based on your destination and planned tours.
No matter where you travel, you will want a shoe that is sturdy and lightweight back bag To store everything you need to take off the ship with you. I like the one that has mesh pockets on the side to put a water bottle.
In particularly scenic destinations, like Alaska or Scandinavia, you may want to bring binoculars and/or a DSLR camera (instead of relying on your phone to take photos). Don’t forget accessories like extra batteries, chargers, and memory cards.
On shore cruises, you’ll need a beach bag, sand toys for the kids, and perhaps your own snorkeling gear. Wet bags (or even plastic zipper bags) will prevent your wet items from leaking onto everything on your way back to the ship.
For water sports like kayaking, consider using a dry bag to store your camera gear, smartphone, and wallet and keep them from getting wet. Waterproof cell phone and camera cases are also useful, as well as “beach wallets” that allow you to get into the water with your credit cards and personal cash.
- Camera, memory cards, portable tripod and other accessories
- Waterproof dry bag
- Waterproof phone and/or camera case
- Waterproof beach wallet
- Snorkel, mask and fins
- Beach toys for kids (such as fillable buckets and inflatable floats)
- Retractable walking poles
- Packed snacks (like protein or granola bars) for long flights
- Lightweight, packable travel towels if you want something that folds smaller than the bulky beach towels on cruise ships
Miscellaneous items to pack for your cruise
Some items to pack for a cruise defy categorization but are important nonetheless. Don’t leave them off your cruise packing list.
Cruise lines have strict rules about… What types of drinks and alcohol can you bring on a cruise ship?. If you’re picky about wine, many lines will allow you to bring a 750 ml bottle or two. Pack your favorites, but be prepared to pay a corkage fee if you drink it at a bar or restaurant on the ship.
If you plan to purchase wine in port to bring home, you will also need to pack bubble wrap or wine protection bags to get your bottles home safely.
Some fonts like Netherlands America At the carnival, you are also allowed to bring a limited number of cans of non-alcoholic beverages such as soda, juice or carbonated water. This could lower your bar bill or increase your Diet Coke obsession if your ship only carries Pepsi.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone to bring their cell phone on vacation (but remember to pack charging cables). However, you may not know how to download your file Cruise line application Before you leave home. The app will show you the daily schedule, deck plans, dining reservations, shore excursion options, and more. Many applications, such as those found in Celebrity travelsIt even allows you to chat with other passengers while you are online Internet on a cruise ship. (Remember to keep your devices in airplane mode to avoid racking up significant roaming fees.)
You will need cash, especially small bills, to tip the porters and buy small souvenirs in the port. Depending on your itinerary, you may want to have some foreign currency in advance. Otherwise, you can use the ATM once you arrive at the port. (ATMs always offer a better exchange rate than airport kiosks.)
Bring a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so you don’t spend more than you need to abroad. (If you don’t have one, consider applying for one.) Best credit cards for travel.)
What not to pack on a cruise
Now that you know what to put on your cruise packing list, you’ll also need to know what to leave behind. Some items you might be tempted to pack Strictly prohibited by cruise lines. Others are simply not necessary.
Here’s what you can leave out of your bag.
- Linens and towels
- Hand soap (unless you’re picky)
- High chair and carrycot (will be provided by your ship)
- Coffee makers and other appliances with heating elements
- Illegal drugs (including marijuana and CBD products, even if legal in your home state or port of departure)
- Extension cords
- Drinks that exceed a modest serving of wine or bottled non-alcoholic beverages
- Meats, cheese, fruit, or other non-packaged foods (check with your cruise line if you have dietary restrictions and require special dietary items)
Many cruisers tend to overload when it comes to clothes and shoes but sometimes forget about other essentials. When you take your suitcase out of the closet and start packing for your next trip, review this list and make sure you’re protected when it comes to those all-important clothes and accessories.
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