Packing Essentials for Your Cruise

Travel News Travel Tips & Tricks
Avator By Jonathan Owen
Marketing Manager
Published 26th April 2024
Last modified 3rd May 2024
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Packing for a cruise holiday can feel overwhelming with all the considerations – you’ll need clothes for different activities and climates, poolside attire, formal eveningwear, themed outfits, and all the accessories. Not to mention toiletries, medications, travel documents, and gear for shore excursions. Have no fear, this comprehensive cruise packing list will ensure you’ve got all your bases covered!

Clothing and Accessories

Let’s start with the obvious – clothing is a big part of any packing list for a cruise. You’ll want separate outfits for casual days, smart casual evenings, and formal nights. Double check your cruise line’s dress code so you know what’s expected.

For casual daytime wear, pack shorts, t-shirts, casual dresses and tops, plus some jeans or khakis. Don’t forget activewear if you plan to use the gym, and multiple swimsuits for pool days. You’ll also want cover-ups, hat, sunglasses, and sandals.

When it comes to eveningwear, be sure to pack a few nicer outfits depending on the number of formal and smart casual nights. For men, this could include dress shirts, pants, blazers or suits. For women, cocktail dresses, skirts, blouses or pantsuits. Don’t forget dress shoes, jewelry, and other accessories to complete your look.

No matter what climate you’re cruising in, pack layers like sweaters, jackets, and scarves. You’ll need them for cooler evenings on board and potential weather changes. For cold weather cruises, you can’t go wrong with warm coats, hats, gloves and waterproof boots.

Toiletries and Medications

While cruise ship bathrooms are typically stocked with basic toiletries, you’ll likely want to bring your own preferred brands of shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, and other personal care items. Don’t forget feminine products, shaving supplies, sunscreen, insect repellent, and medications.

Pack extra sunscreen – you’ll likely apply more than you realize. And bring along seasickness remedies just in case you need them. It’s smart to also include a basic first aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, etc.

Travel Documents and Technology

Of course, no cruise packing list is complete without travel documents. This includes your passport, visa if required, cruise boarding pass, cruise travel insurance info, and copies of other important documents. You’ll also want credit/debit cards, cash (including smaller bills for tipping), and a water-resistant document holder.

When it comes to technology, definitely bring your cell phone, chargers, portable power bank, and possibly a camera if you don’t want to rely on your phone’s camera. A waterproof case is a smart idea if you’ll be very active near water. You may also want to pack a luggage scale, electrical converter/adapter if required, and noise-cancelling headphones for a better sleep.

For the Cabin

While the basics like towels and soap are provided, there are several recommended items to pack to enhance your cabin experience. Bring magnetic hooks and clips to organize documents and decor items. A hanging toiletry bag can help maximize bathroom space.

Pack a power strip to avoid fighting over outlets, but skip surge protectors which are banned. Bring a travel nightlight, and perhaps a battery-operated fan or sound machine if you’re a light sleeper. Don’t forget laundry bags!

For Shore Excursions

What you pack for shore excursions will largely depend on your cruise itinerary and planned activities. A backpack or small daysack is ideal for carrying essentials. For beach stops, you may want snorkel gear, a beach bag, and sand toys. For hiking, pack appropriate shoes, sun protection, bug spray, and a reusable water bottle.

Items like binoculars, underwater cameras, insulated bottle coolers, and packaged snacks can come in handy for certain excursions as well. The key is to do your research and pack accordingly.

Other Miscellaneous Items

A few other recommended items to ensure a smooth cruise include: travel pillow, earplugs, written/digital travel guides, portable backup chargers, lanyards for carrying your room key, and of course any reading materials, games, or other hobbies you enjoy.

Consider also bringing re-usable tote bags for carrying purchases back from ports, and packing cubes or compression bags to maximize suitcase space. Finally, duct tape can fix almost anything in a pinch!

Packing Clothing and Accessories

Undergarments & Sleepwear

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

Casual Daywear

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

Smart Casual Eveningwear

  • Dress shirts
  • Blazers/suits
  • Slacks
  • Skirts and blouses

Formal Eveningwear

  • Suits/tuxedos
  • Cocktail dresses/gowns
  • Pantsuits


  • Sweaters/sweatshirts
  • Coats/jackets/raincoats
  • Hats/sun hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves/shawls

Beachwear & Activewear

  • Swimsuits
  • Cover-ups
  • Workout clothes


  • Sneakers
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • Dress shoes
  • Hiking boots/water shoes


  • Belts
  • Jewelry
  • Sunglasses
  • Purses/bags
  • Ties

Packing Toiletries and Necessities


  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Soap/shampoo/conditioner
  • Feminine products
  • Makeup/makeup remover
  • Hair products
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent


  • Prescriptions
  • Pain relievers
  • Seasickness remedies
  • First aid kit

Travel Documents

  • Passport/ID
  • Boarding passes
  • Insurance cards
  • Currency/credit cards


  • Cellphone/charger
  • Camera/electronics
  • Portable chargers
  • Headphones


  • Travel pillow
  • Earplugs
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Reading material
  • Wet wipes

For the Cabin

  • Power strip
  • Night light
  • Magnetic clips/hooks
  • Laundry bag

For Shore Excursions

  • Backpack
  • Water shoes
  • Snorkel gear
  • Beach bag
  • Binoculars

With this all-inclusive cruise packing list, you can feel confident that you’ll be prepared for every aspect of your upcoming cruise adventure. Bon voyage!