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!
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.
- Mancro Laptop Backpack for Travel, Anti-theft Laptop Backpack for Men Business Backpack Work Daypack with USB Charging Port, Grey or Dejaroo - Sand Free Mesh Bag - Strong Lightweight Tote For Beach & Vacation Essentials. Tons of Storage with 8 Pockets, Foldable, 17x9x15 inches, Pink with Blue Straps – Pick a smaller bag that you can pack all these cruise essentials in. We like to use a tote or a backpack as our day bag, as we use it again when we get off at different ports.
- Dr. Scholl's Women's Freestep, Mid Grey, 8 Medium Women – If you plan on enjoying the cruise ports and going on some excursions, you’ll need walking shoes. You’ll end up walking a lot and you’ll hate yourself if your feet start to hurt or get blisters, so make sure you get comfortable shoes.
- Dramamine Original, Motion Sickness Relief, 36 Count – Because of how big cruise ships are, most people don’t feel any seasickness on the cruise, but we always recommend to bring some dramamine just in case. For first time cruisers, we recommend packing this in your dag bag, in case you’re having trouble acclimmating to the boat.
- BugMace All Natural Mosquito & Insect Repellent Bug Spray, Repels Insects, Bugs and Mosquitoes. Pure Organic Blend, Long Lasting, DEET Free and 100% Safe for Babies, Children and Adults (2oz) – If you’re going to some warmer climates, it’s important to bring some bug repellant with you. You can also use these Mosquito Repellent Bracelets - Effective All Natural 100% Plant Based Insect Repellent Microfiber Bands - Pack Of 5 - ShieldWorx By FirstChoice if you don’t like using a spray.
- NeatPack Medium Size Hanging Toiletry Bag with Detachable TSA Compliant Zipper Pocket & Swivel Hook (Graphite) – You don’t to have to buy any toiletries on the ship because its all overpriced. So make sure to bring your toothpaste, toothbrush, seasickness pills, face cream, medications… in your toiletry bag. Fill up your small reusable travel bottles.
- Reusable water bottle – We carry our hydroflask with us everywhere we travel. We like to fill up our bottle with some ice and water before we head out to explore the port to enjoy some ice water while it’s hot.
- LEISUP Womens Spaghetti Strap Tie Knot Front One Piece Top High Cut Swimsuit Red M – we recommend you either wear your swimsuit or pack it in your day bag, so you can use the pool once you board.
- Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion | Vegan and Hawaii 104 Reef Act Compliant (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) Broad Spectrum Moisturizing UVA/UVB Sunscreen with Vitamin E | 8 oz – If you’re heading to the Caribbean or somewhere warm, definitely bring your sunscreen with you in your day bag. You’ll be getting lots of sun and you don’t want to burn the first day
- Hat/sunglasses – Definitely a cruise essential especially for the tropical cruises. Pack a hat or sunglasses in your carry on bag.
- Important paper work and travel docs – including id/passport, cruise documents, printed baggage tags…
- Roshop Women's Flowy V Neck Casual Sexy Summer Tank Top(Khaki,xx-Large(20-22)) – We think 4-5 is a good amount for the week. The nice thing about a cruise is you don’t. have to carry your luggage once you’re on the ship. But you’ll probably be amazed at how little you actually need.
- Columbia Women's Coral Point II Short, UV Sun Protection, Moisture Wicking Fabric – Usually 2 or 3 shorts is enough, as you can mix and mash throughout the week
- Casual pants or crops – pack 1 pair of pants that can go with a few different tops. We like to bring a pair of light Ybenlow Womens Palazzo Linen Pants Wide Leg High Waisted Drawstring Casual Long Trousers Brown since theyll be lightweight and easy to pack.
- Traleubie Women's Open Front Long Sleeve Soft Classic Knit Cardigan Pink M/sweater – It may get a little chilly at night on the ship, so having a light sweater or cardigan is smart.
- Casual dresses/Women Summer Off The Shoulder Sundress Strapless Floral Print Pleated Dresses with Belt（L,Leaf） – Bring a couple dresses that you can wear throughout the cruise. I found that I generally wore sundresses for dinner.
- MISSMAY Women's Vintage Floral Lace Long Sleeve V Neck Cocktail Formal Swing Dress (X-Large, Red) – You don’t have to participate in the formal dinner but if you choose to, you’ll want to have a nice dress/pants for that. Read the rules on your cruise lines elegant attire.
- Epic MMA Gear Flowy Racerback Tank Top, Regular and Plus Sizes Pack of 3 (M, 3 Pack A) – It’s nice to get a workout on the cruise ship while you’re sailing to the next destination. We generally bring 3 pairs of workout tops/shorts (or bring less and plan to wash them). Our workout gear can also be used when we go on adventurous excursions (like ziplining or hiking).
- BMJL Women's Sexy Detachable Padded Cutout Push Up Striped Bikini Set Two Piece Swimsuit (Small, Blue&Stripe) – You’ll be doing a lot of swimming and/or sunbathing either on the cruise ship or when you’re exploring the cruise ports, so we recommend bringing a couple swimsuits.
- MISFAY Bikini Swimsuit Swimwear Dresses for Women Beach Cover Up Swing Dress with Pockets Purple Gray – Having 1 or 2 swim coverups are easy to wear around the boat.
- Other necessities like bras, underwear, socks…
- Reef Women's Sandals, Stargazer, Black/Black, 9 – You’ll want a pair of flip flops to walk around on the cruise ship. We wore sandals most of the time, minus for dinner.
- MVE Shoes Women's Stylish Round Toe Dressy Mid Heel Pump, Silver Size 5 – It’s smart to bring a pair of dressy shoes for formal night
- Nike Women's Low-Top Sneakers, Grey Wolf Grey White Cool Grey 001, US 8.5 – Bring a pair of tennis shoes that can be used for both working out and for exploring the ports, especially if you are doing active shore excursions.
- Zhuanglin Men's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes,Darkgrey%,10.5 D(M) US – We end up doing lots of water activities at the cruise ports so we bring our water shoes with us.
- Hanging Toiletry Bag, Travel Toiletry Bag for Women Bathroom Makeup Bag, Large Pink Cosmetic Travel Bag Leather Waterproof for Accessories,Toiletries, Full Sized Container, Hygiene – We love having a toiletry bag that hangs so its out of the way in the bathroom. Cruise rooms can be small, so anything you can do to expand the space is helpful.
- OGX Organix Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner Set (19.5 Oz Set) – Like all other toiletries, bring small travel sizes
- Wet Brush Pro Detangle Hair Brush, Metallic Purple
- Kopari Aluminum Free Deodorant with Organic Coconut Oil, Original Scent, 2.0 oz
- everyone for every body Hand Sanitizer Spray: Coconut and Lemon, Travel Size, 2 Ounce, 6 Count – Make sure to bring a small travel size. We love this one that is a spray, as it dries fast and isn’t sticky
- Burt's Bees Lip Balm Stocking Stuffers, Moisturizing Lip Care Christmas Gifts for All Day Hydration, Ultra Conditioning with Shea, Cocoa & Kokum Butter, 100% Natural (2-Pack)
- Schick Hydro Silk Touch-Up Exfoliating Dermaplaning Tool, Face & Eyebrow Razor with Precision Cover- 3 Count | Dermaplaning Razor For Women
- Downy Wrinkle Releaser, Travel Size, Cruise Accessories, Light Fresh Scent 3 fl oz - 3 Pack – This travel size bottle is great for getting wrinkles out if you don’t want to iron. Its small and easy to use to keep your clothes looking nice
- Makeup and skin care
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.
- Sky Organics Organic Bug Spray for Body, Alcohol & DEET Free USDA Certified Organic to Protect & Repel, 4 fl. Oz. – Always smart to have bug repellant with you. We also like to bring the 12 Pack Mosquito Repellent Bracelet Band - [INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED] Premium Pest Control Insect Bug Repeller - Natural Indoor/Outdoor Insects - Best Products with NO Spray for Men, Women, Kids Children so we don’t have to worry abouy spraying all the time
- Band-Aid Flex Fabric Travel Pack - 8 Count, Pack of 12
- any medications you take
- Adventure Medical Kits Backpacking Refill Medications, 18 Count
- Renew Life Extra Care Go-Pack Probiotic Capsules, Daily Supplement Supports Immune, Digestive and Respiratory Health, L. Rhamnosus GG, Dairy, Soy and gluten-free, 50 Billion CFU, 30 Ct – We take probiotics all the time when were home, so we travel with them too. It’s smart to continue taking probiotics for your gut, as you’ll usually be eating different than you do at home
- PURELY beneficial Activated Coconut Charcoal 1200mg, 180 Capsules - Pills for Digestive System, Bloating, Vegan (1bottle) – activated charcoal is great if you’re feeling sick, or have a stomach bug. Activated charcoal helps flush out the toxins in your body. It’s also great for preventing hangovers
- Neosporin Original Antibiotic Ointment, 24-Hour Infection Prevention for Minor Wound, 1 oz – just in case you have an open wound
- Amazon Brand - Solimo Sunburn Relief Gel with Aloe Vera, 8 Fluid Ounce – you never know when you might get too much sun!
- Anker 20,100mAh Portable Charger, Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output and PowerIQ Technology, External Battery Pack for iPhone 15/15 Plus/15 Pro/15 Pro Max, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and More and cords – We take this portable power bank with us everywhere. You can charge your electronics wherever you go. This powerbank is compact and charges fast.
- Canon PowerShot SX530 HS Digital Camera with 50x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 3-Inch LCD HD 1080p Video (Black)+ Extra Battery + 24GB Class 10 Card Complete Deluxe Accessory Bundle And Much More – You’ll want your camera to take lots of awesome photos of your cruise
- GoPro Hero7 Black — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 720p Live Streaming Stabilization – for any water activities or shore excursions, having a action camera that is also waterproof is awesome. You can take underwater photos of you snorkeling, or while ziplining, without worrying about ruining your camera.
- GorillaPod® 3K Kit – a small, compact tripod that helps your photography while your cruising
- Cruise Power Strip No Surge Protector with USB Outlets - Ship Approved (Non Surge Protection) Cruise Essentials in 2023, 2024 & 2025 – there aren’t that many power outlets in your cabin, so having a power strip is useful to bring if you have a lot of electronics. We like this one because it also has usb outlets to charge your phone.
Things that make cruising easier
- COOLOO Swim Goggles, 2 Pack Swimming Goggles for Men Women, Goggles Swimming Adult Youth Teen Kids, Anti Fog Pool Goggles – If you like to swim, bring some swim googles to do some lap swimming on the cruise or on the beach
- Greatever Full Face Snorkel Mask, Snorkeling Gear for Adults Kids with Latest Dry Top Breathing System and Detachable Camera Mount, Foldable Panoramic View Snorkeling Mask Set, Anti-Fog & Anti-Lea... – If you plan on visiting any beaches, theres a good chance you’ll be doing some snorkeling. Save yourself some money and bring your own snorkel mask
- BAGAIL 6 Set Packing Cubes,3 Various Sizes Travel Luggage Packing Organizers(Bright Pink) – Packing cubes making packing so much easier and more organized. Not only can you fit more things in your bag, but you will know where everything is
- Seaview 180° Sand Free Beach Blanket. Extra Large 7' x 9' Beach Blanket Waterproof Sandproof. Compact Sandproof Beach Mat Made of Durable Parachute Nylon – When heading to the beach, its nice to have a compact blanket for the beach. This one folds up small, has anchors, and dries quickly.
- Small bills – Cash is important on the cruise and for cruise excursions, but you want to make sure you have small bills for tipping
- YOUOWO 5 Pack Lanyard with ID Badge Holder Cute Breakaway lanyards for Women Kids Keys Cruise id Badges Holder Card lanyards with Name Badges Holders Lanyard Wide 0.79 inches(2cm) – They sell lanyards on the cruise, but they can be very expensive. You’ll be carrying your sign and sail card around with you all the time, and if you don’t want to carry a purse or wallet, a lanyard is the easiest.
- EVISWIY 48LB Magnetic Hooks for Cruise Cabins Refrigerator Locker Classroom Heavy Duty Magnet Hooks Hangers for Hanging BBQ Grill Tools Keys 10 Pack – There aren’t many places to hang things in the cruise room. There is lots of metal in the rooms, so these magnetic hooks work perfectly.
- MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack 5L/10L/20L/30L/40L, Roll Top Sack Keeps Gear Dry for Kayaking, Rafting, Boating, Swimming, Camping, Hiking, Beach, Fishing (Orange, 10L) – If you plan on doing excursions on a boat or even just hanging at the beach, a dry bag will be a lifesaver. You can put all your electronics inside and it will protect it from the water.
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 policy – it’s smart to always have travel insurance, especially if you are traveling during hurricane season.
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.
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!
If you liked this cruise packing list, check out these other packing lists:
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