Packing List Essentials, Cruise Carry On Bag For Families


Today we are going to share a packing list of Cruise Essentials You Need For Your Cruise Carry On Bag For Families. Anyone else get that cruise day buzz? If you are reading this I am guessing you either do? Or are about to experience this for the first time and it’s the best feeling ever.

Having spent many years cruising with kids, we have learnt all the cruise packing tips and tricks to get cruise embarkation day right. Especially when travelling with a family. Because if you get it wrong it can be a pretty miserable day, especially with kids who just want to go in the pool.

31 essentials to pack in your cruise carry on bag for families
Photo Credit Royal Caribbean

AD We have been or could be if you click on a link in this post compensated via a cash payment, gift or something else of value for writing this post. See our full disclosure policy and privacy policy for more details.

Essentials When Packing Your Cruise Carry On Bag For Families

When you take kids on a cruise vacation it’s all about getting the holiday survival kit right. Ie packing you cruise carry on bag correctly! Because being organised and packing everything you need for the first day on your cruise, will get your vacation off to a smooth start.

What Is A Cruise Holiday Survival Kit? And Why Do You Need One With Your Cruise Carry On Bag?

This is something most parents will already do. We called ours the holiday survival kit. Named so, as we pack everything we needed to keep the kids busy for the entirety of their cruise.

The grand reveal was always in the car on the way to the airport or port. It became such an anticipated part of our travels. The boys became just as excited about the holiday survival kit (cruise carry on bag) as they were about the prospect of travelling.

Almost everything inside the survival kit is new. All treats are to use for the duration of the cruise but there are also a few essentials for cruise day to keep the kiddies occupied and happy. This is something I used to build up over a year so there was no big outlay. Thus if I was out and saw a bargain that would work, I would buy it and put it away.

Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising with Kids

This post may contain affiliate links. Which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended at no extra cost to yourself. As an amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

What To Pack In A Children’s Cruise Carry On Bag?

Start with a rucksack or suitcase. You know your children, will they carry a back or will a wheelie case or Trunki be better? Dont over fill it, if its heavy you will end up carrying the bags. However both our boys had A Disney, Cruise Carry On Bag and they were happy to pull them as they knew they were filled with brand new goodies such as……

  1. Favourite teddy, it’s always good to have this handy.
  2. Swimming shorts, do not forget these, I have made that fatal mistake.
  3. Arm bands or water wings.
  4. Small pack of tissue and handy wipes ( Saves you carrying them and kids think its novel to have in their bag).
  5. Empty water bottle, this is handy to keep filled with water. If you have ordered a kids drinks package you will also get a refillable drinks cup on the the first day of your cruise.
  6. A5 notebook and printable quizzes or colouring pages for drawing or notes with pencils or crayons ( I found it best to avoid felt tips just in case).
  7. Digital camera, always fun to look back on.
  8. Small set of travel toys, we used to love the Disney Play sets as they are miniature movie sets that fit into a drawstring bag and can be taken everywhere.
  9. Snacks, such a raisins or popcorn and a drink, there is a bit of waiting to do at the port so snacks come in handy ( Drinks need to be consumed before security, however if you are waiting for test results it’s handy to have a drink).
  10. Wipeable activity books, these are great to take to dinner.
  11. Travel Uno, we have spent many hours playing Uno, it’s a great pre dinner family game.
  12. Sun hat/sunglasses..
The kids pool on Norwegian Encore
Photo Credit, Cruising With Kids

What To Pack In Your Cruise Carry On Bag?

That’s the kiddies sorted and happy. But what about us mums and dads? What do we need to pack in our Cruise Carry On Bag? Remember it can take a while to get your luggage delivered to your cabin. Thus anything you think you will need before then, pack in your carry on bag.

  • A folder with all tickets, cruise passes and covid passes all together and a pen ( I know these are all mostly digital, however it saves time to have a folder with printed copies).
  • Passports/identity cards.
  • Swimwear, flip flops, and dry bag, the kids will want to jump straight in that pool.
  • If you have a baby or toddler swimming nappies (Although check this post as toddlers can not use pools on all ships.)
  • If cruising with a baby? Nappies, sterilised bottle, spoon and sachet of dried milk ( Shops will not be open till after sailaway and you may not get your luggage for some time)
  • Suncream.
  • A wallet with small notes for tipping.
  • Laptop, camera, tablets, keep all valuables with you until you can put them in a safe, they are not insured if you leave them unattended.
  • Any medication, don’t put this in your checked luggage in case it gets misplaced, If you carry injections, insulin or medication that needs to be kept cool we use a Frio Bag and can thoroughly recommend it.
  • Sunglasses.
Essentials to pack in your Cruise carry on bag for families
Photo Credit, Pixi Bay

That Seems A Bit Of A Cruise Packing List Right?

But with a bit of organisation, it’s not too much to carry. Especially for a little peace of mind, that you have all you need to make the most of the first day of your cruise. Thus making it part of your cruise vacation. Rather than a day of waiting around for luggage, essentials and shops to open.

And if you would like a printable list, print off our free cruise checklist here.

Cruise Carry On Checklist for Families

What To Expect On Cruise Embarcation Day

Photo Credit Sarah Christie Cruising for All.

If you are travelling kids check out our article the get the best out of the first day or your cruise.

What you need in your cruise carry on bag Family Edition


  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

    View all posts

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.