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What to Pack

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

Everything You Need for the Perfect Cruise Vacation

woman folding clothing to pack into a suitcase
Photo Credit: Unsplash, Sarah Brown

Packing for a cruise can feel like a daunting task, but we’re here to help make the process much easier! We’ve broken the list down into categories to help you pack.

Customize Your Packing List By Answering These Questions:

How many nights is your cruise? Where are you going? Somewhere hot, moderate, or cold? Are you going on any excursions that require special clothing? Will you need to dress up for formal night(s) or a specialty restaurant experience?

By answering the questions above, you can start to think about how much clothing you'll need, what luggage you'll use, and what weather to expect on your vacation.

The Essential Items for Any Cruise:

  • Undergarments including underwear, bras, undershirts, socks, etc.

  • Pajamas or lounge wear

  • Toiletries including deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hair brush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, makeup remover, cotton swabs, tissue, shaving tools, cosmetics, lotion, contraceptives, feminine products, etc.

  • Medicines including prescriptions, medical equipment, over the counter medicines, digestive aids, motion sickness preventatives, headache relief

  • Comfortable shoes such as flip flops/sandals, sneakers, nicer shoes for dinner, water shoes for beach/excursions

  • Sun protection including sunglasses, reef safe sunscreen, hat, lip balm with SPF, aloe gel in case of sunburn

  • Daytime outfits where you can mix and match tops and bottoms for greater flexibility

  • Evening outfits including dresses, slacks, blouses, button-down/collared shirts, etc. (Note: check the cruise line's dresscode for the dining room and specialty restaurants)

  • Swimwear including swimsuits, trunks, coverups, rash guards

  • Gym clothing (if you plan to be active) including pants, tops, sneakers, socks, sweat headbands/wristbands, sports bra, fitness tracker, etc.

  • Outerwear in case of inclement weather or cold air conditioning onboard such as sweaters, coats, rain jackets

  • Chargers for all packed electronic devices including chargers for your phone, watch, tablet, laptop, e-reader, gaming devices, razor/trimmer, medical equipment, etc.

  • Travel documents including passport/birth certificate, photo ID, negative COVID test, vaccination card, boarding pass, credit card for onboard purchases

Leave These Items at Home:

Some items are not permitted on cruise ships. Check with your cruise line for additional banned items. Confiscated items are often available for pick-up after disembarking.

  • Weapons or anything that could be used as a weapon

  • Illegal drugs and substances

  • Flammable liquids and explosives

  • Items that generate heat or produce an open flame such as clothing irons, hot plates, steamers, candles, coffee makers, etc.

Optional Extras to Consider Packing:

  • E-Reader pre-loaded with e-books or physical books

  • Handheld gaming devices

  • Snorkeling gear

  • Binoculars

  • Laptop

  • Beach bag

  • Waterproof camera, cell phone cover, ID storage

  • Sewing kit

  • Clothing stain remover pen or wipes

  • Cash for extra tips

  • Carry-on alcohol (check your cruise line’s policy for specifics and allowances)

  • Carry-on water bottles and non-perishable snacks (check your cruise line’s policy)

  • Sea pass/ cruise card holder

Packing Your Bags:

We strongly encourage packing a carry-on bag that includes your medicine, travel documents, and other essentials. In addition to a carry-on, you can select the luggage size that's right for you since there aren't weight limits or size restrictions for bags like you often experience with airlines. For reference, we each pack a carry-on backpack and then share one large suitcase. You will receive luggage tags to affix to your bags prior to arriving at the cruise terminal. Make sure to follow the luggage tag instructions for connecting the tag to your bag. Tags are often available for download or may be mailed to you. Once you arrive at the cruise terminal, curbside porters will load the bags you'd like to have delivered to your stateroom onto luggage carts. Consider bringing a tip for the porters. This is optional, but greatly appreciated.

Happy cruising!


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