Ahoy there! Planning a cruise vacation is an exciting adventure, and as your friendly & experienced travel advisor, I’m here to make sure you’re fully prepared for an incredible journey at sea. Packing can be a daunting task, but fear not! I’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll walk you through the top 10 essential items you should pack to ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience. So grab your suitcase and let’s set sail together!

  1. Travel Documents: First things first, don’t forget your travel documents! These include your passport, cruise tickets, identification cards, and any necessary visas. It’s crucial to keep them in a safe, easily accessible place throughout your trip. Double check your cruise documents to ensure they match the information on your passport exactly, spelling including middle names if on passport, birthdates and make sure your passport does NOT expire for at least six months after the last date of travel. Check the expiration date right away and if necessary, renew it WAY early as it takes a while to get passports back these days. Plan ahead. Use the safe in your room. Don’t walk around with your passport or huge amounts of cash on the ship, you won’t need it as everything is charged to the credit card they have on file. It’s a cashless society once on board.
  2. Comfortable Clothing and Footwear: Cruises offer a variety of activities and dining options, so be sure to pack a range of comfortable clothing suitable for both fancy evenings on the ship and casual outings during the day. Don’t forget to include swimwear, cover-ups, and beachwear for those relaxing poolside days. A comfortable pair of walking shoes and flip-flops are essential for exploring the ship and shore excursions.
  3. Medications and First Aid Kit: It’s always wise to bring along any necessary medications you may require during your cruise. Additionally, packing a small first aid kit with essentials like pain relievers, band-aids, motion sickness medication can save the day in case of minor ailments or emergencies. I always advise my new to cruise clients to pack a day bag the day you board the ship. They will take you big bags and deliver them to your stateroom later in the day (so the elevators don’t get clogged with luggage on embarkation day) so bring what you need and want with you during the first day, valuables, pool attire, etc. You’ll be able to board, have lunch & explore the ship. Your cabin will usually be ready after 2pm. So explore the public areas and familiarize yourself that first day of embarkation! Maximize this free time to roam.
  4. Electronics and Chargers: While it’s good to disconnect and enjoy the cruise experience, having essential electronics such as a smartphone, camera, or tablet can enhance your journey. Don’t forget to pack their chargers, adapters, and power banks to ensure you stay connected and capture those memorable moments. Note that you can’t use your phone on board so you may want to put it in airplane mode and use the ship’s Wi-Fi. What’s App works really well on a cruise and it’s free – just make sure you are on Wi-Fi and add all your parties phone numbers before you leave!
  5. Sun Protection: The sun’s rays can be quite intense while cruising, especially in tropical destinations. To shield yourself from harmful UV rays, remember to pack sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a lightweight, long-sleeved cover-up.
  6. 6. Seafaring Essentials: To fully embrace the nautical ambiance, consider packing a few seafaring essentials. These could include a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated, a waterproof camera or smartphone case for capturing underwater wonders, and a small day bag for carrying your essentials during shore excursions. Packable, string backpacks work well and bring a Ziploc to put your phone it when you are on a sandy beach!
  7. Evening Attire: Many cruises offer formal or semi-formal evenings, so it’s a good idea to pack a a couple dressier outfits. Men can opt for a suit or a smart blazer with dress pants, while women can choose from cocktail dresses, elegant skirts, or dressy pantsuits for these dressier nights on the ship. You’ll see everything from tuxedos to nice jackets and pants….long gowns to cute sundresses. It’s more relaxed these days on many ships and you can opt out and dine somewhere else if you don’t want to get fancy. Remember to check your cruise line’s dress code for specific guidelines.
  8. Power Strip and Extension Cord: Cruise ship cabins often have limited power outlets, which can be frustrating when you have multiple devices to charge. Packing a power strip or extension cord will ensure you have enough outlets to keep all your gadgets powered up without any hassle. I usually pack a charging cube with two usb ports in it. To charge two devices at once. Check to ensure if you need power adaptors in the countries you’ll be visiting. These can be bought online for very low prices.
  9. Toiletries and Personal Care Items: While most cruise ships provide basic toiletries, it’s a good idea to bring your preferred products for personal care. Pack travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, and any other items you can’t do without. Most cruiselines do not provide conditioner – so pack that. Don’t forget items like toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss, hairspray, saline solution and any necessary medications as they are expensive to purchase in the ship’s gift shop!
  10. Entertainment and Snacks: Although cruise ships offer a multitude of entertainment options, you might want to bring some of your favorite books, magazines, or games to enjoy during downtime. Additionally, packing a few snacks like energy bars or trail mix in case you get stuck off the ship without food. Most cruiselines provide water as you get off the ship for shore excursions but some don’t (plastic bottles are being phased out) so be prepared.