What to pack for a cruise? I’m sharing with you my cruise packing list. Everything you can possibly bring to a cruise and what not to bring to a cruise. From what cruise attire to bring to the little things you need in your cruise stateroom to make it a more organize cabin. And hope you will find my cruise packing tips useful whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a past cruiser.
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BRING A CARRY ON BAG FOR THE 1ST DAY OF A CRUISE
What to pack for the cruise for the first day of a cruise? A small carry-on bag as your checked bags will take some time to arrive in your stateroom. Make it light with only your 1st-day cruise essentials as staterooms may not be open yet when you board. If you’re a light packer like us, a carry-on bag will be enough for a 3 or 7-day cruise. But if you love packing a lot, go ahead and bring a small carry on for you to bring up and a bigger luggage that can be delivered to your room.
- Proper Travel Documentation (ex. passport or birth certificate, visas)
- Important paperwork (tickets, insurance information)
- Wallet (cash, credit cards, driver’s license)
- Prescription medications in their original containers
- A change of clothes/Swimsuit
- Personal toiletries
- Or anything else you might want access to before your luggage arrives
- Get this waterproof passport holder/wallet with strap
NEVER GET HUNGRY ON A CRUISE. CHECK YOUR CRUISE DINING OPTIONS WITH ALL OUR CRUISE FOOD ARTICLES:
- You can order Freshly Made Tacos & Burritos on Carnival Cruise
- Chef Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint onboard Carnival Cruise is a Must Try
- Princess Cruise Afternoon Tea
- The Better Cruise Breakfast Buffet is on board Princess Cruises
- Carnival Cruise Menu & Food Pictures
- Princess Cruise Menu & Food Pictures
- Must Try: Carnival Cruise Sea Day Brunch
BRING A GOOD CAMERA
Capture all the fun whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a past cruiser. Your options:
- Phone Camera will work but make sure to bring a waterproof case for it and a photo backup device to make more space.
- A Small Camera: Light and handy for shore excursions.
- Professional DSLR Camera: This is what I bring for really good pictures.
- Disposable Camera
- Instant Cameras: Great for sharing your group photos immediately when cruising as a group.
- GoPro Camera: Takes photos and videos and is waterproof.
CRUISE CASUAL ATTIRE TO FORMAL DINNER
What clothes to pack for a cruise? You’re on vacation, you can dress casually on a cruise except for dinner at the dining rooms where it is smart casual (shorts, T-shirts, and bathing suits are not considered appropriate attire in the dining rooms) at dinner most nights and formal during formal nights. Plan to bring clothes while on board the cruise and for shore excursions.
- Shorts, jeans, pants, or skirt
- T-shirts or Tops
- Maxi Dress – choose from these 20 Long Maxi Dresses that’s perfect for a cruise
- Sleep Wear
- Workout clothes and Sports Bra
If you’ll be touring any museums, cathedrals or churches on your shore excursions, it’s always wise to dress conservatively.
For formal nights you’ll need cocktail dresses for women, suits, and ties – or tuxedos – for men. Tuxedo rental may also be available, check your cruise line. Formal nights are usually held for a night if you’re cruising 3-5 days, more formal nights for longer cruises, check your cruise line.
You may have your dinner buffet (usually at the top deck where breakfast and lunch is also served) in casual attire though.
- 2 Swimsuits
- Swimsuit Cover
- Towel Clip
Flip flops or sandals by the pool, sneakers or hiking shoes or running shoes for the gym and shore excursions, heels/leather shoes for the main dining room, and water shoe for the beach. I bring 3 all the time (flip flops, running shoes, and heels). And yes, don’t forget to bring socks.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A CRUISE: FOR SHORE EXCURSIONS
Small backpacks or totes can be quite useful for carrying cameras, sunscreen, water bottles and other items around the ship or in port during your shore excursion.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A CRUISE: CRUISE PACKING ESSENTIALS
- Cellphone Charger
- Toiletries – soap and shampoo is available on board at the very least.
- Sunscreen and Insect Repellant (as needed)
- Hat and Sunglasses
- Water Bottles
- Extension Cords or Power Strips – due to limited outlets in the room.
- Binoculars are a must for Alaska and other wildlife-heavy itineraries.
- Poncho or travel umbrella
WHAT TO PACK FOR A CRUISE: EXTRAS
- Magazine/Books for poolside reading
- Laundry Bag to separate your dirty clothes in your luggage
- Magnetic metal clips to hang some items like your itinerary since rooms can run small.
- Over the door Shoe Organizer – for your things like accessories, medicine, toiletries, etc since the bathroom has hardly any counter space.
- Phone Earphones
- Mini Sewing Kit
- Lanyard – for your cruise key card
- Motion Sickness Medication
- Nausea Relief Wristband
CRUISE PACKING TIPS:
- Be sure to leave some room in your luggage for all those souvenirs and mementos.
- Wear your heaviest shoes during embarkation and disembarkation so you don’t have to pack them.
- Pack small items inside larger ones for efficiency.
- Bring an additional empty bag for those acquired extras.
- Most cruise lines will let you bring soda and water onboard, saving you the expense of paying inflated onboard rates for nonalcoholic beverages. Do check cruise line requirements before bringing it.
- There is a laundry room for some ships especially for those cruising longer, so check before you pack your entire closet.
WHAT NOT TO PACK TO A CRUISE:
Weapons, illegal drugs, and other items that could interfere with the safe operation of the ship. The United States Transportation Security Administration also recommends that you do not pack fragile or expensive items (such as jewelry) in checked luggage.
Coming Soon: What to Pack when Cruising with Kids!
CHECK OUR OTHER CRUISE POSTS!
- Group Cruise Tips: Family Reunion Cruise
- 101 Cruise Tips
- What Princess Cruises Kids Daycare Looked Like
- Tips for Cruising with Kids
- Princess VS Carnival Cruise: Which Cruise is Right for You
- Reasons to Love Cruising