What to pack? This is easily one of the most-discussed topics for cruisers – newbies and veterans alike. One of the best things about cruising is that a lot of your standard conveniences and necessities will already be available for you onboard your ship. So there are dozens of items you won’t need to pack for your cruise.
In addition, there are numerous you shouldn’t pack, either, because they are simply not allowed to be brought aboard by passengers. Here is our list of stuff you can keep off your packing list for a cruise. You don’t need these…
Unless you have a very specific snack-food addiction (Pringles or gummy worms, perhaps?), you don’t need to bring any snacks or other foods. Cruise ships are loaded with food to suit your basic sustenance needs and almost any craving you have, too. Even if you have food allergies or unique preferences or restrictions (gluten-free, lactose-free, halal, kosher, etc.), you can make arrangements ahead of your cruise, and the culinary team onboard will ensure they are ready to accommodate your dietary needs.
These are provided in your stateroom, usually in a drawer at the desk in the living room.
Pool and Beach Towels
Policies differ, but they will either be ready in your cabin when you get onboard or available at a station by the ship’s main pool area. Some lines have a check-out service for using the towels and might charge a hefty fee if they are not returned at the end of your cruise.
Sure, bring the kiddo’s absolute favorite ONE toy. (You’ll want to be able to fend off that meltdown mode on your cruise.) But the cruise ship’s kids’ club will be loaded with tons of new stuff that will grab your children’s attention, from trained staff who run the activities to board games, movie nights, crafts, video games and computer time.
Strollers and Baby Stuff
Some of the major cruise lines like Disney Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line offer rental or free loaner programs for many toddler necessities like strollers or Pack ‘n Play cribs or other amenities. Royal Caribbean offers diapers, baby food, wipes and other necessities that can be ordered pre-cruise and delivered to your cabin. Check with your cruise line to see what is available. You might be able to avoid a lot of extra packing.
Don’t bring these items, either (or check the rules carefully or risk confiscation) …
Booze and Other Drinks
Most cruise lines allow two bottles of wine per person, but other drinks like bottled water, juices, beer and hard alcohol are prohibited by most cruise lines.
These remote-controlled flying cameras are all the rage for awesome travel photography from a new perspective. Only a few ocean cruise lines allow drones onboard — and only for use when on land and outside of the port areas.
Power strips are allowed if they do not have a surge protector, but a wide array of items with cords are not allowed on cruise ships. This means clothes irons and steamers, hot plates, blenders, coffee makers, humidifiers and heating pads. (Passengers with sleep apnea can bring their CPAP machines onboard a cruise ship; it is recommended to bring an extension cord, too.)
Candles and incense are not allowed.
Only qualified service animals are allowed with proper documentation and approved for cruising at time of booking.
This might seem obvious. But even marijuana, which has gained legalization in many states where cruisers live, remains illegal to bring onboard a cruise ship. Pot is still classified as illegal by federal U.S. law, which is the law that covers the cruise industry. Cruise lines rules strictly prohibit cannabis use of any kind – including medical marijuana, pot and edibles like brownies and gummies.
Bicycles and foldable travel bikes are generally prohibited unless they are allowed as part of a charter or theme cruise for cyclists.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.