Cruise Packing Checklist: The Ultimate Guide

Booking your cruise can be tricky because there are so many options, but finding the perfect cruise packing checklist should be the easy part. After having been on 11 cruises around the world, I have created the optimal cruise packing checklist so that you will be prepared.

It has taken a cruise or two of forgetting things, under packing, over-packing, and not being prepared to create this ultimate cruise packing checklist.

Cruise packing checklist. The ultimate guide of what you should bring on a cruise.


Things to consider when packing for your cruise:

  • What is the weather like in the destinations you are visiting because this will determine your clothing choices.
  • Will you be going to any places of the world that require you to be covered up for visiting?
  • Is there a dress code on board?
  • Do you plan to eat anywhere that has a dress code?
  • Will you be partaking in anything that requires physical endurance?

The Ultimate Cruise Packing Checklist:

Cruise Packing Checklist: the ultimate guide in what to pack for your next cruise and what to leave behind.

  1. Start with the perfect luggage. I would only recommend luggage I use and love and that happens to be iFLY Luggage. Bonus: it is extremely affordable.
    1. Bonus: they offer a 10 year warranty on their luggage! I am using the same suitcase I got from them 2 years ago and it is still in perfect condition. Once you get your own, every cruise packing list will start with iFLY Luggage.
  2. Sort your luggage with packing cubes. Easily one of the best travel hacks. Having packing cubes is an easy way to sort your luggage and you will find it is easy to find your stuff. If you are looking through your suitcase for a bathing suit, you don’t need to wrinkle and destroy everything in its path to get to it. Each cube has its items packed and zipped.
  3. Documents! If you forget your passport/I.D that is required, this cruise packing checklist is just void, because you will most likely not be getting on your cruise. I cannot stress enough to make sure you have everything where you can access it.
    1. Make sure to print out your cruise documents to turn in when you check in at the port.
    2. Make a couple copies of your passport JUST IN CASE you lose yours.
  4. Check to see if you need a visa at one of the ports you are visiting and get it before you go.
    1. I did a Cuba cruise and it was extremely easy to get the visa, but I had to have it to board the ship.
  5. Power Strip. You are probably thinking this sounds crazy, but in this day and age of electronic use, its a must. I have yet to see a room that has enough plugs for all my equipment and often they have 2-3 plugs. If you need to charge 2 phones, a laptop, various camera batteries, all while using a flatiron, then this is a priority on the cruise packing list.
  6. Travel adapter and voltage converter (if needed). The last thing you want is to show up for your cruise and not be able to charge your electronics. Sure, you can most likely find one on board that will cost you an arm and a leg, but what if you need more than one? I HIGHLY recommend the travel adapter and converter I have.
    1. This BESTEK Universal adapter comes with 3 US plugs built in and 4 USB, giving you 7 charges at once. In addition, you get 3 adapters you can add to the plug for various regions of the world you are in.
  7. Motion sickness medication. If this is your first cruise, make sure you have notion sickness medication on your cruise packing checklist. You never know how your body will react and it is always better to come prepared. Double check it is non-drowsy so you don’t miss out on anything.
  8. Pack basic medications you are familiar with just in case. I can tell you through experience that I have forgotten to do this twice and was in big trouble. There is nothing worse than being in a country where they do not understand what you are looking for. In this specific case, I had a post nasal drip and was looking to dry it out with Sudafed. No one in Turkey or Greece had any clue what it was or how to get it. Ultimately paid $150 USD to get it from the doctor on board.
    1. Think cough and cold medications, pain relievers, something for an upset stomach.
  9. Prescriptions. This goes without saying, do not forget your doctor prescribed medications. Even though there is a doctor on board, this does not mean they will have what you need. Double and triple check your cruise packing list for these items if you have them.
  10. Sunscreen. You are on a boat which means you will be exposed to the sun. How much time you spend up on deck is your choice but you should be prepared.
    1. Bring an aloe Vera just in case you forget to reapply or end up getting burnt.
  11. Multiple pairs of shoes. Make sure you have at least 1 comfortable pair of walking shoes. You could find yourself on a walking tour that lasts 3 hours (if you book one) and have it be cobblestone. The last thing you want is to wear heels on this adventure. You should however bring a few pairs of shoes for different occasions. If you want to dress up for dinner or cocktails, make sure to bring appropriate shoes. Sandals of some sort if you plan to lounge by the pool or beach (if there is one). Your cruise packing checklist should have at least 3 pairs of shoes: tennis shoes, sandals and one nice pair.
  12. Cash. Often times in ports you will find souvenirs, a beverage or snack, need a taxi, etc. There are many places in the world where cash is the currency, so have cash on hand.
    1. Make sure to also let your bank and credit card companies know where you are traveling so they don’t flag your account for suspicious charges. Trying to make a phone call to them could cost a fortune.
  13. Toiletries. Some cruises have nice shampoo, conditioner and soaps already in your bathroom, so check with your cruise line before packing these items. In the off chance that they do not, plan to bring enough
    1. shampoo
    2. conditioner
    3. brush
    4. soap
    5. body wash
    6. tooth brush
    7. toothpaste
    8. q-tips
    9. deodorant
    10. make-up remover
    11. moisturizer
    12. shaving cream
    13. razors
    14. perfume
    15. hair products
    16. hand sanitizer
  14. Curling iron, flat iron, beachwaver, or whatever you use to style your hair.
  15. Camera(s). Whether you have one camera or three, don’t forget to check them off your cruise packing checklist. There is no better way to document your cruise than with photos. If you are looking for a camera, I use a really affordable Canon that I take almost all my photos on. If you want a waterproof camera for slides, beaches, pools, etc – I recommend the GoPro Hero 6.
    1. Don’t forget to also pack:
      1. memory cards
      2. trip-pod
      3. camera case
      4. selfie stick
      5. back-up batteries
  16. Portable WiFi. I use Skyroam when it works in other countries. It will not work on the cruise ship, but it will work in some of the ports you go to. What’s nice about Skyroam is that when you activate a pass it is good for a full 24 hours AND up to 5 devices can be connected. It is very affordable and you only pay for 1 day at a time.
  17. Phone bank for extra charge. Nothing quite ruins a vacation like having to go back to your room and charge your phone. Having a small phone bank on you when you leave the ship will be crucial if you plan to take a lot of photos, use the internet or make calls.
  18. Clothing. This cruise packing checklist has variables when it comes to clothing. Remember the questions I asked at the beginning? Those are going to determine how you pack. If you are going to Alaska, your attire is going to be vastly different from the Caribbean.
    1. As a rule of thumb, always make sure to pack these basic items and then the rest of your items should be based on weather.
      1. Bathing suit
      2. Comfortable pajamas
      3. Under garments – and make sure to bring a few extra because you just never know.
      4. At least one nice outfit for a dressy evening (assuming your cruise has no dress code in general).
      5. Fitness attire if you want to work out on board or take a class (assuming they are offered).
  19. Clothing for specialty nights. Check with your cruise line to see if they offer something of this nature. I have seen themed decade nights, white parties (where everyone wears all white) and formal nights. If you are feeling like you want to take full advantage of your cruise, this is a great way to do that.
  20. Reusable water bottle. You can refill your water bottle in your room and in dining areas. It is nice to take on and off board as well as a way to reduce the use of single use plastics and save you some money.
  21. Alcohol. Please check with your cruise line first to see if they allow it and what the limits are. Some cruise lines will allow ONE bottle of wine per guest that you can bring on with your luggage. If this is the case, grab a wine key so you don’t have to pay a corking fee.
    1. Some cruise lines will allow you to bring your own wine and check it in with them and they charge a corking fee.
  22. Collapsible bag just in case you buy too much stuff and need to get it home. Would this be a cruise packing checklist if I didn’t warn you to bring extra luggage?
  23. Laundry bag for your dirty clothes.
  24. A Book for reading on the deck on sea days.
  25. Pack a pen to fill out forms and to circle what you plan to do on each day when you get your schedule.

Cruise Packing Checklist: What To Leave Behind

You don’t have to bring everything but the kitchen sink on your cruise. Your cruise packing checklist is merely a guide of what you should bring to survive while you are away from home.

  1. Food. Cruises are designed to keep people fed. You don’t hear about a lot of people losing weight on a cruise. It is quite the opposite. Your cruise packing checklist should not, repeat not, include food.
  2. Multiple outfits for each day. Cruise staterooms are not that big. Unless you are paying for a high end suite (and sometimes not even then) you will not have a closet like at home. Your cruise packing checklist should have a few extra outfits so you can be prepared but not several per day.
  3. Drones. Unless you have permission (and it can be hard to get) a lot of drones are banned from cruise ships. So take “drone” OFF your cruise packing checklist.

I hope you find this cruise packing checklist helpful. It took several tries to get it right, but this is my ultimate packing list.


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The ultimate cruise packing checklist! These are the top items everyone should pack to bring on their cruise.


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