Cruise TipsHelp! What Do I Pack for My Cruise?

Help! What Do I Pack for My Cruise?

So you are all excited about your cruising adventure, but you have no idea what to pack for your cruise.  What do you bring and what do you leave at home?  This post will help answer some of those questions so you are prepared for your vacation away from land and can just focus on having a good time.

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What to Pack for Your Flight to the Port

If you are flying to your port you will want to keep any of those usual items out of your carry-on luggage.   Remember those liquid container rules and just to be safe keep your nail file tucked away in your suitcase and dress warm.  Most ports are in the southern part of the United States and you might be flying there from Maine where it is 30 degrees below zero, but you will absolutely roast when you land in Miami.  I suggest dressing in layers so you can shed them as you heat up in the tropical climate.

What Kind of Clothing to Pack

I’m not going to give an exhaustive list of what clothes you should pack.  (It’s up to you what kind of underwear you want to bring.)  But here are some tips for what kind of clothes you should take with you.  Much of this will depend on where you are going on a cruise.  If you are going on an Alaskan cruise you should dress in layers.  For any cruise in tropical climate you can bring the following:

  • Sandals (and/or crocs type shoes)
  • Flip-flops
  • Walking shoes (for those times you are not walking on the beach)
  • Swimwear
  • Formal clothing (if you want to attend formal night)
  • Shorts
  • Casual and dress pants (some ships don’t let you eat in the dining rooms with shorts on)
  • Various kinds of tops (tanktops and long sleeve shirts)
  • Hoodie or sweatshirt (yes, it can get chilly on some cruises with that fierce wind)
  • Wind breaker  or raincoat (cruise ships try to avoid bad weather, but you never know)
  • Hats (formal or casual)
  • Exercise clothing (in case you use the ship’s gym)
  • Sunglasses
  • A watch (since your phone will not work all the time, it’s nice to know what time it is so you aren’t late getting back to the ship.)

What to Put in that Suitcase (besides clothes)

Here is a basic list of things you will want to take with you on your cruise.  You can use it as a checklist if you want.  If I missed anything, please remind me in the comment section below.

  • Snorkel Gear (it’s cheaper than renting it)
  • Deodorant
  • Manicure set
  • Hair products
  • Wallet
  • Cleanser products (soap is usually provided but feel free to bring your own if you want)
  • Comb or brush
  • Dental products (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouth rinse)
  • Beauty products (make-up, nail polish, etc.)
  • Shaver or razor
  • Sun block and lotion
  • Glasses or contacts (bring extra ones too)
  • Power extension cord  (many rooms only have one outlet, so having some extra sockets help you to keep your cell phone, laptop, shaver, and other items charged up.
  • Laptop (or you can leave it at home and use the internet café on board)
  • Cell phone and charger (but who really needs it on during a cruise?)
  • Walkie talkies (read my post on walkie talkies on cruise ships here.)
  • Batteries (and a charger if they are rechargeable)
  • Camera
  • Underwater camera (so you can take pictures underwater if you go snorkeling)
  • Mp3 player (if you want some work out music)
  • Binoculars (especially on an Alaskan cruise)
  • Pain killer meds  (this stuff costs a fortune on the ship)
  • Other prescription drugs
  • Maps and/or itinerary for your trip
  • Small plastic bags (put your wallet in here to keep it dry on your excursions)
  • Large bag for your dirty laundry
  • Currency conversion chart
  • Journal (to document your trip)

What Documents to Bring with You

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate and state issued photo ID (if you don’t have your passport on a closed loop cruise)
  • Health insurance card
  • Medical history (especially if you are cruising by yourself)
  • Driver’s license
  • Auto insurance card (may be needed if you rent a car on one of the islands)
  • Air travel and cruise documents
  • Phone numbers of credit card companies in case your wallet is stolen or lost

What to Pack for Shore Excursions

You don’t want to miss that once in a lifetime shot of your husband or wife swimming with dolphins, parasailing, jet skiing in the Bahamas, or just walking along the beach, so be sure to pack that camera as well as a good pair of binoculars for any sightseeing.   Also remember to bring that zip lock bag for keeping your wallet and other items dry if you are doing any excursions in the water.  You will need to bring your photo ID and your passport might be a good idea in case you do get left behind.  But since you have your watch this should never happen because you will never be late, right?

It’s a good idea to bring that backpack with you from the ship because you will have a few things to carry along with you, and if you buy anything from one of the shops it will make it easier to carry.  Be sure to put some sunblock in that bag as well as anything else you will need on shore.

What NOT to Pack on Your Cruise

  • Towels
  • Remember not to pack anything in your suitcase that you can’t live without.  Put any of these items in your carry-on so it is with you at all times.
  • Walkie talkies.  I know I said to bring these, but don’t bring them if you are just going to be rude and annoying with them.
  • Weapons of any kind

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise TipsHelp! What Do I Pack for My Cruise?


  1. Flashlights are (I always take one for using at night to find the bathroom and not wake up my cabin mate). Not sure about tazers.

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