The Ultimate Cruise Packing List: Cruise Essentials and Packing Tips

Cruises are a fun way to see a lot of different places easily. You only have to worry about packing for a cruise once and then don’t have to worry about packing up until your cruise is over. Each day you wake up at different location. We love cruising because there are so many options on the cruise ship with fun activities, entertainment, and unlimited food. We always enjoy a caribbean cruise, because there are so many great places to see. Cruises also are super family friendly! But it can be stressful to know what to take on a cruise. We’ve put together a huge cruise packing list with all our cruise essentials, including a cruise packing checklist. If you’re going on a cruise for the first time, this cruise packing list will help you to not stress about your cruise packing. Don’t forget to print your own cruise checklist for your next cruise!

cruise packing checklist

What to pack for a cruise

Before you start packing for your cruise, think about what you will be doing while on the cruise. If you choose to do any cruise excursions while at the ports, make sure to pack some active clothes and shoes. There will be at least one formal night, if you wish to participate, bring a nice outfit for the dinner. Also bring some non-formal dinner wear for the other nights on the cruise ship. You’ll probably be walking around on the cruise ship a lot, so you’ll want some swim cover-ups or sundresses. Since most cruises tend to be about a week, we’ll make this packing list based on a 7 day cruise, but if you are going on a 10 day cruise or even 14 day cruise, you can adjust the quantities as needed. We tend to pack very light, as we have found we don’t need as much as we think, but we know some people just like to be prepared so here is everything you need for a cruise.

Ultimate Cruise Packing List

You are going to want to pack a bigger checked bag, that will get delivered to your stateroom later on the first day, and also a carry on or day bag. The day bag will have all your cruise essentials in it, as you most likely won’t be getting your bigger bag until later. You’ll want to explore the ship right when you board, so make sure to pack the cruise essentials in your carry on bag.

Cruise essentials

how to plan a cheap cruise

Cruise attire

Search for cruise specials



First aid

We always have a small first aid kit anytime we travel, just in case. Here are some things you should have if you need them.


Things that make cruising easier

cruise essentials packing
Things to do in one day on cruises:
St Thomas for one day
St Lucia for one day

Important Travel Documents

  • Passport – Americans don’t need a passport, but its always wise to bring one just in case
  • Goverment issued license or drivers license
  • Cruise documents (itineraries, booking reciepts, excursion papers, luggage tags…)
  • Credit card/debit card/cash
  • Travel insurance policyit’s smart to always have travel insurance, especially if you are traveling during hurricane season.
what to pack for a cruise

Cruise Packing Tips

  • Use your beach bag or tote as your carry-on onto the ship. The tote or backpack will also be useful for exploring the cruise ports each day. Put your cruise essentials (swimsuit, book, sunscreen, sunglasses…) in your beach bag, so once you check in you can go enjoy the cruise ship. It will be a little while until your checked luggage will arrive at your room and you don’t want to miss the fun!
  • Don’t pack too much! Remember, it’s ok to wear some things again, or to mix and match. You don’t want to have to carry extra stuff!
  • Pre-print and attach your luggage tags. You will need to have your luggage tags on your checked bag before you board the ship. You can do this online before you get to the cruise port, and it makes things much easier and faster once you board.
  • Each cruise line has its own rules on amount of alcohol you can bring, make sure to read the rules before you bring too much. If you don’t follow the rules, it will get confiscated when you check into the ship.

All ready to book your next cruise vacation? Check out cruise specials here

You are all ready for your next cruise vacation! Hopefully this cruise packing list will all the cruise essentials you need and tips for packing for a cruise helps you prepare for your cruise. Don’t forget to download your printable checklist! Do you have anything you think we should add to our cruise packing list? If we missed something, comment below, so we can add it!

Ultimate cruise packing list, including all your cruise essentials and tips for packing for a cruise #cruise #packinglist

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