Adventure, relaxation, delicious meals, and breathtaking views are waiting for you. There’s just one thing you have to do first – PACK!
We understand that packing can be a stressful task, especially when there are so many activities to do on a cruise. And when you take weather, destination, and limited space into consideration, packing gets even more complicated. For example, a cruise going to the Caribbean is going to look completely different than one for a December cruise porting in Alaska.
With so many variables to consider, we thought this guide was absolutely necessary to give families, friends, and loved ones the best vacation possible. Take note that because the majority of cruises are chartered for warmer destinations, many of our packing recommendations will reflect that; however, our list is general enough that most guests will want to consider these items no matter the destination.
Now, everyone knows the gist of packing for vacation; bring the normal t-shirts, underwear, sneakers, pants, etc. But, there are many items that most people wouldn’t think to pack on a cruise, which can be EXTREMELY helpful. Our expert concierge team put together 20 items you won’t want to forget at home or have to buy overpriced once on board.
1 – NATURAL MOTION SICKNESS PATCHES
Whether you know you get seasick or not, it’s always a good idea to pack some motion sickness patches. The days out at sea can be extremely hard for those prone to seasickness, and these patches work like magic. It sticks behind the ear – you’ll almost forget it’s there!
2 – OUTLET ADAPTER
Most cabins only have one or two ports per outlet. That’s why you should definitely pack an outlet adapter or extension cord that can expand the number of plugs. Just be aware that surge protectors are not allowed on the ship.
3 – ZIPLOC BAGS
One way to be prepared is bringing ziploc bags! These are multi-purposeful on vacation from keeping your phone or wallet dry while swimming, to packing snacks for the day’s activities. They are also great to keep wet clothes separate from dry clothes in your luggage.
4 – JACKET
With the ship in constant movement, wind and chilly weather are inevitable. You’ll most likely need a jacket when you spend time on deck, even in tropical climates. It can especially get cold in the evening, so a light jacket is a must no matter the daytime temperature. Plus, when the weather is extremely hot, the indoor facilities are typically overly air-conditioned; you could definitely get cold inside!
5 – BINOCULARS
There are lots to see at sea! Binoculars are an incredible way to see wildlife and landmarks from a great distance. They’ll come in handy when you least expect it, plus they are compact and easy to carry around. With binoculars, you can certainly check whale watching off your bucket list!
6 – SUNSCREEN
You’ll constantly be in the sun with all the on-deck activities. It’s important to put sunscreen on all of the time and have enough packed with you so you don’t have to buy more on the trip. Cruises tend to hike up the price, so the more sunscreen you bring, the better.
7 – ALOE GEL
In case you or your loved one gets too much sun, it’s a good idea to bring aloe vera gel. It’s perfect to soothe any burns or to cool you down after a long, hot day. Just like sunscreen, cruise lines and local shops will increase the price, so it’s better to just bring some yourself!
8 – INSECT REPELLENT
You won’t see many mosquitos while at sea, but as soon as you port, they come out. This is because mosquitos breed in standing, stagnant water. You should take precaution and apply insect repellent just as much as sunscreen. This will help you not get bitten!
9 – LANYARD
Once you check in for your cruise, you will be given a keycard. We highly recommend putting this keycard on a lanyard for easy reach. This card opens your cabin, is how you order drinks, and more. When it’s around your neck on a lanyard, it makes it more convenient for everyone!
10 – UNIVERSAL WATERPROOF PHONE CASE
You can get a waterproof phone case pretty much anywhere. They are easily accessible and perfect for cruises. You’ll probably want to keep your phone with you, so having a phone case that’s sand-proof, waterproof, and scratch-proof will allow you to safely use your phone in and around water.
11 – TRAVEL INSURANCE
It’s crucial that you have good travel insurance while on a cruise. You never know when an emergency can hit, so it’s important to be proactive. Urgent trips home, medical problems, and thefts are all usually covered with travel insurance. We urge you to buy travel insurance even if you don’t think you need it; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
12 – WATER SHOES
Mesh, slip-on water shoes are a cruise must-have! Water shoes are important to protect your feet from slippery docks, sharp rocks, and other sea objects. Plus, they have insulation to help regulate your body temperature – whether you’re in cool or warm weather. Water shoes are comfortable for walking around the beach, along trails, and in the water.
13 – SWIMSUIT COVER-UP
Be sure to bring a swimsuit cover-up that you love! This can be anything that is easy to just slip on, adding a little modesty after a quick swim or tanning session. With a cover-up, you can quickly switch activities and feel comfortable walking around the ship or on land.
14 – SMALL, PORTABLE FAN
Bringing a small portable fan not only helps give the room more air circulation but also adds some white noise to drain out any noise while you’re sleeping.
15 – LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACK
It’s always a good idea to carry a lightweight backpack on port days, or even for when you’re exploring the ship. Inside the backpack, you can keep a change of clothes, a towel, and sunscreen. Try getting a backpack that’s made out of polyester so it dries quickly when getting wet. The bag should be light enough that you can pack it in your luggage since you are trying to optimize space.
16 – TOWEL CLIPS
Towel clips are one of those items that many forget to bring. It’s not fun laying or hanging your towel to dry, just for it to be blown off in the wind. Towel clips will ensure your towels don’t fly away while the ship is in motion.
17 – REFILLABLE BOTTLE
Stay hydrated on your trip by carrying a refillable water bottle! You will definitely be craving water during the long days in the sun. Having your own bottle will keep you from having to constantly stop at a restaurant or shop to grab some.
18 – UNDERWATER CAMERA
Another cruise must-have for those snorkeling is an underwater camera! Prices for these types of cameras range, but overall, it’s a great addition to your trip! You can snap some photos of ocean life, never forgetting the incredible memories you had. It’s so much fun to look back at these photos after the trip and show friends and family all that you experienced.
19 – DOCUMENTS & PASSPORT
Do not forget your passport and other necessary documents! It’s always a good idea to keep extra copies of your passport and to keep it in your carry-on luggage, rather than your main bag. You do not want to lose these.
20 – HANGING TOILETRY BAG
The hanging toiletry bag is perfect for makeup, sunscreen, hair products, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. You can practically hang it anywhere in your bathroom, leaving ample space on the counter. Because the cabin quarters are typically smaller, you want to find little ways like this to optimize your space. Cruise lines usually give complimentary soap, shampoo, conditioner, and a hairdryer, so leave those at home unless you have a specific brand you want to use!
HAPPY CRUISING EVERYONE!
We hope this list helps you during the packing process and relieves any stress you may have. Remember, every cruise is different, so please feel free to modify this list as you see fit.