Packing Tips And A Packing List For Family Cruising


Today we are going to chart about my favourite thing as I share my packing tips and a packing list for a family cruise.I am cruise mad, I really don’t think there is any else like standing on a balcony looking out to sea with the warm sea breeze in you face. It’s that feeling of freedom and peace being at sea gives you.

But getting there isn’t quite as straightforward. Like all family trips cruising takes a lot of packing and preparation. For me that is all part off the excitement. Choosing the right dresses for formal evenings, packing plenty of sun lotion. And comfy shoes for port days. Oh I love cruise shopping, it has to be one of my favourite parts of planning a holiday.

Free Printable Cruise Packing List for Families
Photo Credit Sarah Christie, Cruising with Kids

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Packing Tips For Family Cruising

Ship view of Odyssey of the Seas
Photo Credit, Sarah Christie, Cruising for All

There is so much to think about and prepare. Such as informing your credit card company you will be visiting multiple countries. We once had our cards stopped whilst on a cruise because we used it in 3 countries in 3 days. Informing your bank before hand will prevent this happening. Once you are at sea it is a pain to sort out, we spent quite some time on the phone to our bank and had a hefty phone charge.

Researching cruise ports, are you getting off at every port? Are you doing you own excursions or taking part in the pre arranged trips. Some are worth doing and can save a lot of time. Whilst some really are worth doing alone, and having an adventure.

A Few Things To Consider Packing For Your Cruise, A Cruise Packing List For Families

Packing for Port Day on a cruise
Photo Credit Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Water bottle’s for port days. Socks for onboard activities such as ice skating and rock climbing, Sock aren’t something you think to pack when you are looking forward to a week or 2 in sandals.  

A small kit with toys, crayons and colouring books for quiet time in the cabin to keep little ones busy. I used to pack a meal time bag with colouring pencils and a book for meal times. We have a no electronics rule at meals times, and colouring or games of hangman keeps kids occupied between meals.

Cruise Carry On Bag

The North Star on Odyssey of the Seas
Photo Credit: Sarah Cruising With Kids

Pack a cruise carry on bag for embarcation day as you may not get your suitcase till later in the day.

  • A folder with all tickets, cruise 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.

Packing List For A Cruise Cabin

Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising with Kids
  • Hanging shoe storage
  • Magnets
  • Packing Cubes
  • Anti Crease Spray
  • Power Strip
  • Long Phone Charging Leads
  • Coffee Cup
  • Spare Battery Packs
  • Spare Camera Batteries
  • Pegs
  • Safety Pins And Mini Sewing kit
  • Small Medical Kit
  • Small Toys
  • Favourite Teddy or Comforter
  • Nappies
  • Nappy Sacks
  • Wet Wipes
  • Calpol

Packing For Sea Day

Get Our Free Cruise Packing List
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising with Kids
  • Swimwear
  • Pool Bag, packed with everything you need to for the pool
  • Overdress
  • Deck shoes
  • Sunglasses /Reading Sunglasses
  • Sunblock lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • After Sun
  • Book
  • Ipad (For reading the news)
  • Smart casual clothes/sundress (For speciality lunches)
  • Gym gear
  • Hat
  • Water Toys
  • Small Stroller Fan

Packing List For A Port Day

Norwegian Encore in port and Taino Bay Dominican Republic, Ncl is a great line for cruising for families of five,
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising with Kids
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Pen and small notebook (You never know)
  • Comfy shoes / hiking boots
  • Shorts/ shirts or dresses
  • Small umbrella
  • Lightweight jacket or something to cover your shoulders should you need too
  • Small pack of hand wipes
  • Pack of tissues
  • Antibacterial gel
  • Wallet with local currency including loose change.
  • Plasters

Packing List For Evening’s

Review and photo tour of Odyssey of the Seas
Photo Credit, Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
  • Evening Makeup
  • Check how many formal nights there are, you will need an outfit for each
  • Shoes to match
  • Bags to match
  • Check for any special themed nights ie white/red night
  • Cufflinks (We always forget these)
  • Bow Tie ( If you are doing dinner suits)
  • Necklace
  • Earrings
  • Dress Watch
  • Hair grips if you intend to put your hair up
  • Hairspray
  • Hair gel for the men
  • Colouring book and crayons if the kiddies are younger
  • IPad

Also Check Out The Royal Caribbean Fleet

Wonder of the Seas Guide
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean

And which Royal Caribbean ships are bigger.

And Check Our The Biggest Cruise Ships In The World

Thrill Island’s six record-breaking slides on Icon of the Seas
Photo Credit, Royal Caribbean

Check out the biggest of all the fleets and which cruise line has most amount of ships in the top 10.

Packing Guide and checklist for cruising with kids and teens taking into account port days and activities


  • 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.

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