Cruise Packing List: Must-Haves For Your Next Cruise


When it comes to packing for a cruise, some items are no-brainers: sunscreen, swimsuits, and comfortable shoes, to name a few. However, some things might not immediately come to mind when packing for your next cruise. These items can make a big difference in the quality of your trip, so it’s essential to add them to your cruise packing lists before setting sail.

Utopia of the Seas, Royal CAribbean Ships by Size
Photo Royal Caribbean

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Things To Know Before Packing for a Cruise

When planning a cruise, you must consider the cruise line’s policies. Nothing is standard across the industry. For example, some cruise lines let you bring your own soda, but most don’t, and some cruises have formal nights.

Some standard policies to be aware of include the following:

  • Alcohol policies: Most cruise lines have restrictions on bringing alcohol onboard, and some prohibit it entirely. Be sure to check your specific cruise line’s policy before packing any alcohol.
  • Dress codes: Many cruise lines have dress codes for specific areas of the ship, such as formal nights in the dining room. Pack appropriate attire to avoid being turned away from these areas.
  • Excursion policies: If you plan to book shore excursions through the cruise line, be aware of the cancellation policy and any refund restrictions.
  • Bottled water and soda: Many cruise lines will let you carry a determined amount of bottled water or soda. However, most cruise lines are moving away from this. Check before you go.

Clothing Essentials

When packing for a cruise, clothing is one of the most important things to consider. This section will cover the essentials for daytime attire, evening attire, and footwear.

  • Lightweight, breathable tops
  • Shorts or skirts
  • Swimwear
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Light jacket or sweater
  • A cocktail dress
  • Suit or dress pants with a dress shirt
  • Formalwear for any formal nights on the ship
  • Dress shoes
  • Comfortable walking shoes for shore excursions or exploring the ship
  • Sandals or flip-flops for the pool or beach
  • Dress shoes for formal evenings
  • Sneakers for the gym or other active pursuits

Packing socks and any necessary foot care items, such as blister pads or inserts, is also a good idea.

Geiranger Fjord Waterfall
Photo Credit: Donna Vallance

Weather Considerations

You might check the weather before the cruise and think you are all set. But like the Boy Scouts motto says, “Be Prepared.” While it may be tempting to pack for warm weather only, it’s important to remember that temperatures can vary depending on the location and time of year. Some weather considerations to keep in mind include the following:

  • Layering: Packing layers is key for any weather. Even if you are cruising to a warm destination, it’s a good idea to pack a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
  • Rain gear: Depending on your destination, you may encounter rain during your cruise. Pack a rain jacket or umbrella to stay dry.
  • Sun protection: Even if the weather is cool, pack sun protection such as sunscreen and a hat. UV rays can still be strong, especially on the water.

Medication And Personal Hygiene

Make sure that you pack prescription medication and any vitamins you take daily. It’s a good idea to bring enough medication to last the entire trip, plus a few extra days in case of any unexpected delays.

  • Dramamine
  • Sea bands
  • Or other seasickness remedies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash or soap
  • Deodorant
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent

Bringing your own hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes is a good idea to help prevent the spread of germs. Cruise ships can be a breeding ground for illness, so taking extra precautions with personal hygiene can help keep you healthy during your trip.

Electronic Devices And Chargers

Whether you plan to take photos, stay connected with loved ones, or relax with music or a movie, you must bring some electronic devices. Consider packing a:

  • Smartphone with a camera
  • Tablet or e-reader for reading, watching movies, or playing games
  • Camera for capturing memories
  • Laptop
  • A multi-port USB charger so that you can charge all of your devices at once
  • Remember to pack the charging cables for each of your devices
  • If you’re traveling internationally, you may need a power adapter to use your chargers in foreign outlets

Travel Documents

Bringing all the necessary travel documents for your next cruise is essential when packing for a cruise. Including your:

  • Passport
  • Visa (if required)
  • Cruise ticket or cruise documents 
  • Driver’s license

Consider bringing a lanyard that allows you to attach your cabin card. You will need your cabin card for everything on a cruise.

Photo Tour of Naples Italy
Photo Credit Sarah Christie, Cruising for All

What Else Do I Need To Pack?

These items are often overlooked and can be the difference between a good cruise and a great one:

  • A power strip can be handy as the cabins often have limited electrical outlets, but some cruises do not permit them, so check with your cruise line before packing one
  • Packing a laundry bag can help keep dirty clothes separate from clean ones and make it easier to do laundry
  • Packing a small fan can help keep the cabin cool, comfortable, and noise-free, especially during the hot summer months
  • Waterproof phone case
  • A nightlight
  • Towel clips to keep your towel on the lounge chair
  • Over-the-door storage holder to keep electronics and toiletries organized
  • Refillable water bottle


  • Alicia Richards

    Alicia Richards is the founder of Travels With The Crew. This family travel site contains itineraries, tips for traveling with kids, and travel inspiration. Alicia helps busy moms plan vacations that the entire family will love.

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