Home » Travel » The ultimate cruise packing list: don’t forget these items

The ultimate cruise packing list: don’t forget these items

You finally did it! You booked your cruise. Now, the next step is to start preparing and packing. Packing can be daunting, and you may constantly second-guess yourself and ask, “Am I forgetting something?” With all the anticipation and excitement, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. This is especially true on a cruise, as you’ll be in the middle of the ocean, so it isn’t easy to buy anything you forgot. 

So, what do you need? We compiled a list of essential items to pack for your cruise. 

USB power ports

While a power strip with a surge protector is banned on most cruise ships, many allow you to bring a USB power port. Why? Older cruise ships have minimal USB ports for charging your phone. But before you pack one, check the cruise company’s website to see if they are allowed. 

Travel adapters

Depending on the ship, the boat might have a limited number of North American or European plugs in your room. Remember to pack travel adapters to ensure you can charge your electronic devices without any issues. 

Versatile shoes

Woman Unpacking Faux Leather Sandals
Woman unpacking faux leather sandals she ordered in online store

The beauty of a cruise is that you travel to a new location almost every day, and your activities may vary. Bring some comfortable shoes such as slide-on runners, sandals or flats.  

Another thing to remember is if you like to dress up for dinner, opt for short heels to avoid falling, as sometimes the ship can get a little rocky. 

In addition to packing footwear suitable for various activities, consider including options like water shoes for beach outings or excursions that involve water activities. 

Extra carry-on clothes

adult woman packing clothes suitcase
JulPo | iStock

Packing a carry-on is always ideal, as after you board the ship, it can take a few hours for the concierge to bring you your bags. The last thing you want to do is wait to put on your swimsuit and dip in the pool or change clothes for the sail away party. Throw an extra pair of clothes, swimsuit, chargers, medications, and anything else you need access to immediately. 

Towel clips

Cruises tend to get windy, and towel clips can be super handy. It can get a little frustrating when your towel keeps trying to make a run for it or when you worry about whether it will still be there when you get back to your chair. 

Sun protection

Young woman applying sunscreen at the beach
AleksandarNakic | iStock

Don’t forget to pack essential sun protection items such as sunscreen, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and lip balm with SPF to shield yourself from the sun’s rays during outdoor activities.    

You’re almost always in the sun on a cruise, so packing sunscreen is necessary. While some might be available for purchase on the ship, it will be much more expensive. Another thing to remember when packing sunscreen is that some ports ask passengers to bring reef-safe mineral sunscreen. 

A bag to carry your cruise essentials

nikolas_jkd | Adobe Stock

Bringing a backpack, beach or cross-body bag, you can throw over your shoulder to carry essentials around your deck can be a game changer. Ships can be big, and you’ll want to avoid returning to your room to grab things. Plus, you’ll want a way to carry essentials like your passport, bathing suit, sunscreen, sunglasses and more on shore excursions. 

Themed night attire

See if your cruise has an events calendar that you can check beforehand. Cruises often have special-themed nights, like a formal night in the dining room where you will need to dress up to eat in that venue—or fun evening parties like white nights, tropical nights, and more. If you want to join, pack suitable attire for the dress code. 

Magnetic hooks

The space in cruise ship rooms can be a little tight, but the great part is that the walls are made of metal, which means they are magnetic. Packing metal hooks on a cruise is extremely useful, as it’s a great way to optimize your space by hanging towels, wet clothes, hats, and bags. Your room will be much cleaner, and your suitcase will be tidier.   

Medications and a small first-aid kit

It’s advisable to bring along any necessary medication in sufficient quantities for the duration of the cruise. Additionally, consider packing a small first aid kit containing items like adhesive bandages, pain relievers, motion sickness tablets, and antiseptic wipes for minor emergencies. 

Whether it’s your first cruise or you’ve been on one, motion sickness can be unpredictable and could seriously derail your trip, so be prepared. While cruise ships often have medications, the selection can be limited and pricey. 

Wrinkle release

What most people don’t know is that cruise ships do not have irons or steamers in the rooms, and you cannot bring your own aboard due to fire safety reasons.  

The last thing you want to worry about is wrinkled clothes, especially if you want photos of formal nights in your suit or dress. The solution? Bring some wrinkle release to help, and it will also freshen and deodorize your clothes. 

Outfits for any weather

It’s always best to pack clothes for any weather or climate that may come your way during your trip. Even if you are going to the Caribbean, you should pack some long-sleeved tops, pants, or a light sweater, as it can get a little chilly in the evening when you are on the water.   

Weather can be unpredictable, especially when at sea or in tropical destinations. A lightweight rain jacket will keep you dry without taking up much space in your luggage. 

Use packing cubes to make space for extra clothing. They can be handy for optimizing luggage space and keeping things organized.    

Need help planning your next cruise?

CAA Travel Consultants are happy to help you plan your next cruise and give you expert advice on everything from what to pack to shore excursions. Make an appointment to get started.  

Share on:
Scroll to Top