The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

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If you have never been on a cruise before, or perhaps have not been on one in a long time, it may seem intimidating to know what to pack.  It’s not like you can easily obtain what you forgot when you are in the middle of the ocean. Some cruises, like repositioning cruises, are even more intimidating because you are going multiple days without seeing land.  Do not worry, this packing list will help with all the items that you specifically need for a cruise outside of the items you would normally pack for a trip. We are also throwing in a few tips to help you have a better experience on board.

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

Cruise Packing List

Printed Luggage Tags

You should check-in online at least a week before and print your luggage tags! They must be affixed to your luggage when you get to the port. Do not put luggage tags on before you fly, wait until you are on the ground.

Luggage Tag Covers

Do not look like a first-time cruiser when you board.  Purchase luggage tag covers to ensure that your pre-printed luggage tags do not get ripped off and thus, your baggage will not be misplaced.  

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing


Avoid seasickness and post-cruise vertigo with Bonine.  Yes, Dramamine works too, but Bonine causes less drowsiness and dry mouth than Dramamine.  Also, Bonine requires only one dosage a day, although the price of a package is a little more than Dramamine.  If you run out, they carry Bonine on the ship.

How Much Clothing To Pack

At least two outfits per day – day and night.  Be prepared for formal nights. There are usually 2-3 formal nights on a 7-night sailing.  This can mean black tie with some cruise lines, but these days it usually means evening chic.  There is no need to pack that old bridesmaid dress you have been holding onto, but be sure to kick it up a notch compared to your other evenings onboard.  Check with your cruise line for specific guidelines.

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

Split Your Clothes Between Your Baggage

If you are flying to the port with checked baggage, make sure to pack some clothes in your carry on in case your checked baggage gets lost.  If traveling with another travel companion, split your clothes between your checked baggage. If one of the bags is lost, you’ll have some clothes until your bags arrive.

Pack Wine In Your Baggage

Yep, you can bring at least one bottle per person over 21.  Check with your cruise line for exact rules.  

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

Do Not Put Your Passport In Your Luggage

This is for those who drive to the port, because obviously you would not allow your passport to go under the plane in your bag – RIGHT?!  Please say right! The luggage guys are quick and then you’ll realize that your passport is in your bag so you have to wait for them to find it and that can take a while.  Not the way to start your vacation!

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

Reusable Beverage Cups & Water Bottles

Think of Mother Earth and consider bringing reusable cups and water bottles for your trip.  There is no need for a new to-go coffee cup with every caffeine booster throughout the trip!  Also, plastic bottles and straws are not a good combination with our oceans. Please do your part to reduce plastic usage!

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

A Lanyard For Your Sail Card

You do not need to carry a purse on board.  All you need is a lanyard for carrying around your sail card which is what you use for payment on the ship.  

Extension Cord or Cruise Power Strip

There are usually only two plugs in a cabin, so if you need to plug in your hair appliances while charging your phone, it will not happen!  You can bring an extension cord or this power strip specifically made for cruise ships.

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

Large Magnetic Hooks or Foldable Hangers

The walls of a cruise ship are metal, so you can attach magnetic hooks for extra hanging.  Alternatively, you can pack foldable hangers if you want to hang up much of what you have packed.

Decorations For Your Door

All of the doors look the same, so do yourself a favor and decorate your door so that you can differentiate it between all the others.  This can be something as simple as a gift bow or something more creative.

White Boards

Attach a whiteboard to the outside of your door so that you can communicate easily with others that are traveling with you.  Keep in mind, if you do not buy onboard wifi, you will not be able to connect with those you are traveling with easily.

Bonus Cruise Tips:

  • Do not live out of your luggage while on board.  Unpack everything as soon as you are in your cabin, then store your luggage under your bed to give you more room in the tight quarters.  
  • The onshore excursions are notoriously overpriced and overcrowded.  Consider booking your onshore excursions with a travel advisor.
  • If you want to go to the spa, but are worried about the prices, go for a tour of the spa when you board.  Many times they will offer you a deal to entice you to book a treatment while on board.  
  • Do not forget to download the app before you get on the ship.  If you did not purchase the WiFi package, you should put your phone on airplane mode as soon as you board so you do not connect to the ship’s WiFi and pay per minute pricing.

Now, you should be well prepared for your upcoming cruise.  For any outstanding questions, consult the website of your cruise line for additional details.

The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing


For more information about traveling on cruises, make sure you read Everything You Must See On An Eastern Caribbean Cruise.


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The Cruise Packing List You Need For Your Next Sailing

Photo credits:

Jen Boles
Jen is a culture-loving twin mom, obsessed with finding flight deals that dictate where her family will explore next! She started traveling internationally with her twins before they turned two and wants to give other families the confidence to travel far with their children. She is the owner and Chief Exploration Officer at Explore More Family Travel. When she's not planning a fabulous vacation, you can find her doing all the mom things like car pick up lines, cheering on the sidelines, and visiting local playgrounds.





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