what to pack for a cruise
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25 Must Pack Items For Any Cruise

what to pack for a cruise

25 Useful Items You’ll Be Glad Your Brought on Your Cruise

I love planning and being prepared (such a dork, right?) but even the most prepared traveler forgets a few things now and then. No big deal… you can run to a store nearby most places you visit.

Except not on a cruise you can’t!

Cruises are not like most vacations because once you get out to sea, there isn’t much you can do if you forget to pack some items. Or discover you need something you never even thought about.

Sure, you can buy a lot of stuff on the ship itself, but you’ll pay a BIG price to do so. Lucky for you, I rounded up the top 25 items you need to pack for a cruise to get you packed and prepared!

Because there’s nothing worse than forgetting something when you are miles out at sea.

Get more tips for planning your cruise by following me on Pinterest!

* This post may contain affiliate links, you can view my disclosure policy here.

What You Should Pack For a Cruise!

1 – Wrinkle Release Spray

Did you know that cruise lines do not allow irons on board? That’s right, so if you have any wrinkly clothes, you will need some good travel size wrinkle release spray to get the wrinkles out. Especially for those formal nights!

2 – Mini Steamer

Wrinkle release spray does a good job on your basic shirts and shorts but for the nicer dresses and pants, get a mini steamer. These things are amazing, easy to use, and easy to travel with. They are also inexpensive and have basically replaced my iron at home too.

3 – Poo-Pourri

The rooms are small and the bathrooms are even smaller! Need I say more? Do yourself and your cabin mates a favor and get some Poo-Pourri to lighten the smell you may have after all those endless trips to the buffet.

4 – Ziplock Bags

I always bring a handful of ziploc bags on any cruise I go on. They are great for travel and you can put small items (like lotion or mini liquor bottles!) in them. BUT, you can also use them to put some snacks from the buffett in. Which we did a lot before we headed to each port. That way, you have snacks all day long.

5 – Binoculars

Every port you go to, there will be tons of things to see. Don’t miss anything! Bring an affordable pair of binoculars on your cruise. If you see whales off in the distance when you are out to sea… do you really want to miss that?

6 – Motion Sickness Medicine

I’ve seen people get sick who swear they never had motion sickness before. It’s not something you want to wait until you’re already puking to find out. They do sell motion sickness patches on the ship, but they are super expensive. So grab a pair of motion sickness patches or pills BEFORE you head to sea.

7 – Water Bottle

Stay hydrated while walking around each port! Because you don’t want to drink the water in most countries, grab a water bottle and fill up on the ship. These great collapsible water bottles are great for travel .

8 – Fake Shampoo Bottles

This isn’t for everyone (and you didn’t hear this from me!) but if you want to sneak some alcohol onto the boat, these fake shampoo bottles are the perfect way to do it.

9 – Excursion Printables

Be organized so you can make the most of every minute you are in port with these detailed cruise planning sheets. Just sign up and print out as many as you need!

10 – Bug Spray

I’ve been on both an Alaskan cruise and a Caribean cruise and I have needed a LOT of bug spray in both places! I can’t even tell you how many times other passengers have had to borrow some from me because they didn’t plan ahead. So don’t forget to grab a travel size bottle of bug spray.

11 – Slip Resistant Sandals

It took me until my second cruise to bring a pair of these slip resistant sandals with me. The decking on the cruise ship is SLIPPERY! And I honestly think they hose it down about a hundred times a day. I’ve slipped and so have many others. Trust me, you’ll be glad you had these!

12 – Camera

Pretty self explanatory. You’ll encounter a thousand great memories and you don’t want to miss out on them. And sometimes, a phone judt can’t do the job. Even if you’re not a professional photogrpaher, grab yourself a begginners DSLR like the Nikon D3500, or get yourself the best travel camera if you plan to do more traveling in your future!

The Fuji mirrorless camera is lightweight, compact and honestly the best value you can get for a professional camera, that’s easy enough for anyone to use.

13 – Power Strip

Cruise ships only have ONE outlet in each cabin. That’s it! So to charge all your phones, cameras, chargers, electronics… you’ll need to expand. Get a travel power strip with USB ports in it to make sure you can charge everything you need at once.

14 – Portable Charger

With all the pictures and videos you’ll be taking, your phone will die long before your port day is over. Bring an affordable portable charger with you to keep your cell going all day long. My charger kept 5 adults happy with charged phones all day long.

15 – Flat/Foldable Suitcase

There is actually a really good amount of room under the beds in each cabin. My lightweight hardshell suitcase fit perfectly under the bed when opened up, and acted almost like a drawer under the bed.

16 – Phone Dry Pouch

I bought one of these super cheap dry pouches for my daughter and ended up using it more then she did. You can put your phone and cards in here and it literlaly kept everything bone dry while going down water slides and even snorkeling with sea turtles.

17 – Towel Clips

It can get windy while your cruise ship is sailing along the ocean and that wind will send your towel flying. Get some fun and creative towel clips to not only hold your towels in place but as a good way to recognize your chair.

18 – Lanyard

You’re gonna get tired of carrying your key card around with you and trust me, you use it like every 10 minutes while on a cruise. Do yourself a favor and get a lanyard to keep your hands free (for the drinks!). These are also great for kids who get their own cards and you won’t have to worry about them losing them.

19 – Small Backpack or Tote

Make sure you have a small backpack with you for your port days. You can’t just run back onto the boat when you need something, so you have to make sure you take everything with you. From your passport to cash, to port itinerary, even a sweater or sunscreen.

I love this portable backpack because it folds up easy to stick in my suitcase.

20 – Watch (not a smartwatch)

Get yourself a cheap, waterproof watch that is NOT digital. When we went on our Caribbean cruise, we passed through 3 times zones in one day! And the ship time stays the same anywhere. So the ship time can say one thing while the clocks in port say something different. Get a cheap watch and set the time to SHIP TIME. And keep it that way!

21 – Sticky Notes

Your phones will not work out at sea and sometimes your only way to communicate with fellow friends and family is by leaving them notes. Grab some sticky notes to be able to leave messages on fellow travelers doors.

22 – Chapstick

Between the wind and the sun, your lips will most certainly take a beating. Prevent them from getting chapped or windburned with some chapstick that comes with a good SPF (yes, they make that!)

23 – Small Flashlight

Cruise cabins can get really dark at night, and there are no nightlights available. A small flashlight will help anyone out, especially little kids who have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

24 – Beach Lock Bag

I came across this handy little device on my second cruise and I now use it on almost every vacation I go on. It locks right to your beach chair so you can keep valuables safe ahile you grab a drink or head to the buffett for lunch.

25 – Sunscreen

Because… duhhh!… if you are headed out on a Caribbean cruise, then sunscreen is a MUST. But don’t dismiss it for cold weather cruises too. Being out on the deck at sea might feel cold, but can still expose your skin to a lot of sun!

Keep Reading:

What you shouldn’t worry about

One thing you’ll love about cruise lines is that they don’t have all the restrictions that airlines do. You won’t have to limit your bags or the weight of them. And you definitely don’t have to worry about liquids being less than 4 ounces.

Sometimes, we will fly into the city our port is in and then go to Wal-mart and grab the toiletries we know we’ll need. So our suitcases can be packed to the limit with fun clothes!

Don’t forget to follow my travel adventures and see more cruising photos on Instagram!

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what to pack for a cruise

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One Comment

  1. When I was on a Carnival cruise ship security opened every shampoo bottle in all bags! Checked and carry on bags both. They were making sure what was in the bottle was actually shampoo! And if it was alcohol they confiscated the “shampoo”! Don’t even try it, it WILL NOT work !!

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