150+ Ideas Must-Have Items For Your Cruise Packing List

Packing List For Cruise Checklist

If you’re wondering what to pack for a cruise, here’s a list of essential items you will want to bring along.  You also don’t want to miss some cruise-specific tips as well as what you don’t need to pack for your cruise at the very bottom of this post.

While you may not necessarily need over 150 different things to bring on your cruise, you can filter through the list to identify things you specifically want to have on hand.

There are things you can buy onboard your cruise if you need them but expect to pay a premium because they can be expensive.  You should also take into consideration that some the shops aboard ship may be closed in the evening or during port visits, or could inconveniently run out of supplies.

Cruise-Specific Supplies

  • Towel beach lounge/chair straps These straps stop the wind from blowing your towel away and save your spot while you’re in the pool.  If you have resistance rubber exercise bands, the light-rated band can also be used as a chair strap.  And oversized hair clips work well too.
  • Lanyards Use these to hold your cruise cards. If your card doesn’t come with a hole for attaching a lanyard you can get it punched at Guest Services or in the casino.
  • Post-It notes  Use post-it notes to leave messages or reminders for your family on your door or in your cabin, or special requests for your cabin attendant.
  • Odor neutralizer Cabins are small; bathrooms are smaller.  Have something on hand to freshen up the room or prevent bathroom odors is a must on a cruise (Febreeze, Poo-Pourri)
  • Small fan (under 10″) If you don’t have a balcony or are in an inside room with no windows, you may want a fan to keep air circulating.  A fan is also great for adding “white noise”.
  • Refillable Water bottle or thermos  Having a larger beverage container is nice for when you want to bring something to drink while in port.  It’s also more convenient than carrying cups around the ship.  The 16 ounce Contiqo travel mug is our favorite for cruises and shore exercusions.
  • A highlighter pen Use this to highlight activities you like on the daily itinerary.  Bring different colored highlighters so that your cabin companions can highlight their preferences.
  • Small bills ($1, $5, $10, $20)  If you need cash, ATM fees can be pretty high aboard the ship.    You’ll want small bills to tip porters and room service, and don’t forget your cabin stewart.
  • Ear plugs If you are a light sleeper or if your cabin is under the pool deck or near elevators and stairs, ear plugs will help you keep your sanity.
  • Kyss bags or luggage locks If you’re poolside or at the beach, you can use these locks with their thin cables to secure your purse, tote or backpack to your lounge chair and enjoy a swim without someone taking off with your bag.  Select a lock with an extended cable because standard luggage locks only have 2 1/2 inches of slack which will make it hard to attach your bag to a chair.  Safe Lock offers a luggage lock with a 7 inch cable.

Avoiding Cabin-Clutter

  • Magnetic hooks The walls and doors inside cruise cabins are made of steel so magnetic hooks can be placed pretty much anywhere.  You can hang them from the ceiling for decorations.  Wall hooks are great for holding towels, totes, purses and toiletry bags.  When you’re buying magnetic hooks, keep in mind that the rated weight (25lbs, 50lbs, etc) is for ceilings.  The rated weight drops by almost two-thirds for wall use.  A 22lb hook can only support 7lbs if used on a wall.
  • Hanging shoe organizer You can hang a shoe organizer on your closet doors, on magnetic hooks, or even inside your closet.  These organizers not only hold your shoes, but they are also ideal for toiletries, brushes and anything else that would normally have to be stored on precious counterspace.
  • Power outlet bars or strips – These should not have an extension cord or surge protector; most cruise ships will confiscate those.
  • Hanging toiletry bags


  • Compression bags
  • Neck pillow
  • Luggage travel belt

Just For Fun

  • Balcony hammock
  • Door decorations to make finding your cabin easier (think crime scene or caution tape)
  • Door

Outing and Port Essentials

  • Micro umbrella
  • Rain poncho
  • Lightweight daypack backpack (10L, 12L or 15L)
  • Lightweight zippered tote for port trips to carry back any purchases
  • Water shoes
  • Battery bank cell phone charger
  • Binoculars

Undergarments & Sleepwear

  • Underwear
  • Socks/stockings
  • Bras
  • Undershirts
  • Pajamas

Casual Attire

  • Shorts
  • Jeans/khakis
  • T-shirts/tank tops
  • Sundresses/skirts

Formal Attire

  • Dress shirts
  • Blazers/suits/tuxedo
  • Slacks
  • Cocktail dresses/gowns
  • Skirts/blouses
  • Dressy pantsuits


  • Sweaters/sweatshirts
  • Coats/jackets/raincoats
  • Hats/sun hats large brimmed for extra sun protection
  • Gloves
  • Scarves/shawls

Beachwear & Activewear

  • Swimsuits
  • Cover-ups
  • Workout clothes/activewear


  • Sneakers
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • Leisure shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Specialty footwear (hiking boots/rainboots/water shoes)


  • Belts
  • Ties
  • Jewelry
  • Wristwatches
  • Eyeglasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses cases
  • Umbrella/poncho


  • Purses
  • Daypack/beach bag
  • Collapsible tote
  • Ziplock bags Snack-sized for making mini-first aid kit for port stops, quart-sized to hold food to bring along for port stops or to store food brought back to the cabin; gallon-sized bags can hold wet clothes on the way back from port outings.  A sandwich bag-sized ziplock is great for grabbing buffet items to eat later by the pool or snack on during shows (the buffet line usually closes for a few hours after lunch and dinner and is closed overnight).  Though not waterproof, ziplocks work in a pinch in protecting your phone if you forgot to bring a waterproof pouch for your phone.
  • Wet bag / dry pouch (water or beach excursions, both for your cell phone and cash)
  • Luggage locks


  • Laundry bag
  • Laundry kit (detergent/wrinkle-release spray/stain remover)


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Facial cleanser/skincare products
  • Moisturizer
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Contact lenses/case/solution/eye drops
  • Nail file/clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Cotton balls/pads
  • Q-tips
  • Liquid hand soap  (unless you prefer washing your hands with tiny bar soap)
  • TSA-approved toiletry travel bottles

Hair & Makeup Products

  • Brush/comb
  • Hairstyling tools
  • Hairstyling products
  • Hair accessories
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Perfume/cologne

Health & Safety Products

  • Pill organizer
  • Sunscreen/aloe vera
  • Insect repellent
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Birth control
  • Pain relievers
  • Medications/vitamins
  • First-aid kit
  • Seasickness remedies
  • Tissues
  • Hand wipes
  • Hand sanitizer small bottles you can toss in a purse or pocket there are sanitizers around the ship, but it’s easier to have it on hand especially after touching handrails.  You’ll also want it to use in ports.
  • Benadryl
  • Stomach upset heartburn gas-x
  • Masks Things get pretty crowded and tight during your mandatory safety muster.   Muster can last 30 or more minutes; longer when other passengers are late or disruptive.  Having a mask onhand is essential when the guys behind you or next to start coughing away.

OTC can be expensive on cruises, less  expensive or even free from onboard medical center

Stomach issues, hopefully not noravirus.  But over eating and related stomach upset and GI issues are common.

Wallet & Money Belt Items

  • Wallet/money belt with cash/ATM card/credit cards
  • Driver’s license/international driver’s license
  • Passports/visas
  • Medical insurance card
  • Travel insurance information

Documentation & Contact Info

  • Travel documents (cruise boarding passes/airline tickets/hotel info/itinerary/etc.)
  • Printed/personal luggage tags
  • Maps and directions if you don’t have them on your cellphone
  • Travel guides/phrase book
  • Prescriptions/list of medications/medical history
  • Copies of passport/important documents/credit cards/etc.
  • Important phone numbers (credit cards/emergency contacts/etc.)
  • Addresses/e-mail addresses for friends/relatives
  • Small notebook/journal
  • Pens/highlighters


  • Cell phone and charger
  • Laptop/tablet and charger
  • Camera/lenses/memory cards/batteries/charger
  • Voltage adapters (for international pre-/post-cruise hotels)
  • Alarm clock
  • Power strip
  • Portable speaker
  • Headphones
  • Binoculars
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Battery bank
  • Outlet expander cubes

Watch Your Own Movies

You are probably not going on a cruise so you can sit in your cabin and watch movies.  But you may just want to see a good movie as you relax in bed after a long day. Most cruise ships offer 2 or 3 different free movie channels, but free movie options can be limited depending on what you like to watch.  You also have the option of buying newer pay-per-view movies; these run about $9.99.  But if you have a streaming service, you can download movies you like to your phone or tablet and watch those at your leisure.

  • Tablet or phone with downloaded movies
  • HDMI cable
  • HDMI to tablet/phone adapter
  • Universal remote

Here’s a handy guide on youtube for setting up your cabin television for movie viewing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGloEaAr30o


  • House/car keys
  • Snacks/chewing gum
  • Reusable water bottle tumbler Contigo
  • Travel aids (earplugs/sleeping mask/travel pillow)
  • Pleasure reading (magazines/books/e-book with charger)
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Snorkel/goggles
  • Kids/baby gear (diapers/toys/games/etc.)
  • Duct tape not the whole roll, just enough to repair luggage, secure power cords, cover blisters, set a broken toe, fix a loose hem.  Wrap several feet of duct tape around a 3″x2″ piece of cardboard or an expired credit card.
  • Lightweight serving tray most cruise lines have gotten rid of trays, convenient for bringing back breakfast to your cabin or order room service and use their tray for the duration
  • Back-up Reading Glasses It’s too easy to misplace reading glasses; have an inexpensive pair of reading glasses on standby if you happen to break or lose your readers.
  • USPS Mail hold
  • Pet sitter

Alcohol and Beverages

Many cruises allow you to bring a pack of soda and wine onboard.  Don’t forget to pack a portable corkscrew in your checked bag.

What you might not need to bring

  • Blow dryer
  • Clothes line (they’re in the bathroom)
  • Laundry bag
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap (unless you prefer your own and are okay with what they provide)
  • Extension cords (not allowed)

Bonus Tips

Stateroom Attendants (AKA Cruise Cabin Stewart)

Cabin stewarts are one of the keys to making your cruise enjoyable.  They work very hard to accommodate you and any special requests you may have.  Be courteous to your cabin stewart and let them know they are appreciated, especially when you make extra requests.  With that said, nothing shows your appreciation more than tipping.  If you do need to make special requests, be sure to tip a little extra at the beginning and again at the end of your cruise.

On embarkation, your cabin stewart will swing by and introduce themselves.  If you know what extra or special requests you’ll need in advance, have a written list available to give to your stewart.  If you’re not there when they stop by, you’ll probably find a card with their name on it in your cabin.

Many of these items listed below can also be requested from Guest Services, but they assist thousands of passengers and room stewarts can expedite your request.

There are things that you can request from your cabin stewart that aren’t automatically provided.

  • Opening balcony partitions to adjoining cabins
  • Swap out balcony chairs for a lounge chair
  • Daily ice bucket refills (sometimes you’ll use the tiny trash can with a plastic liner if there’s no bucket)  You can even ask that the ice bucket stay in your mini-fridge so it doesn’t melt as quickly.
  • Mattress topper or extra duvet covers If your mattress was configured using 2 twin beds or your bed is uncomfortable, you may want to ask for a topper.
  • Let your stewart know if you will be needing more than 2 towels per person per day.
  • If you brought wine aboard, you can ask your stewart to bring wine glasses and a corkscrew.  That will save you $15 for the uncorking fee.  You can also pick up glasses yourself from the bar.
  • Extra or firmer pillows
  • Extra clothes hangers
  • Additional blankets
  • Let your stewart know if you prefer that additional sleeping areas be closed up during the day (bunks, trundle beds, sleeper sofas)
  • Empty the mini-bar fridge
  • Needle and thread for sewing hems or repairs

If your room stewart was super helpful, in addition to a little extra tip be sure to mention them by name in your survey.  That extra shout-out might get them a little more time off and is definitely a bonus because surveys are used during employee evaluations.

Your Cell Phone

There are a few extra things you should do before you cruise to protect your phone, your data, and avoid extra carrier fees.

  1. Add Login Authentication Whether it’s biometric security, a PIN,  pattern, or password, make sure that no one can access your phone if you leave it unattended, lose it, or if it’s stolen.
  2. Update Your Lock Screen Security You can add a custom notification to your lock screen should someone find your phone.  Navigate to your phone’s Settings to access the Lock Screen Display.  You can add a custom lock screen message such as “If found, please call xxx-xxx-xxxx” to direct someone to call one of your cabin companions should you lose your phone.
  3. Take Photos Of Documents Once you’ve added extra security to your phone, take photos of all your important travel documents such as your passport, your driver’s license, your credit cards, etc.  Should you lose anything, you will have a copy stored on your phone.
  4. Turn On Airplane Mode Once you’re onboard your ship, turn on airplane mode to avoid connecting with the onboard maritime network.  This network charges by the minute and can be dangerously expensive.  It will even charge for background apps that use data.  You can turn off roaming once you’re at a port of call, but make sure it’s connected to your phone carrier and not the ship’s maritime network.
  5. Use The Cruise Line’s App An easy way to stay connected with your cabin companions while onboard is to use the cruise’s app.  You can usually send SMS texts via the app for free or for a small charge.

Extras That Make Your Cruise Even Better

  • Late night ice cream Self-serve soft serve cones are usually available up until midnight.
  • Free continental breakfast room service From 6am to 10am  Want a light plate of fruit, muffin or toast and coffee before heading up for a full breakfast or waiting for brunch?
  • Late night snacks After dine-in dinner, ask for a cheese plate and a fresh fruit plate to go.
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