We all love a good holiday no matter where we go or what type of trip it is, whether that be camping, road-tripping, or a 5* luxury getaway.
However, if you’re looking for a relaxing trip where you can see multiple cities or even countries in the one holiday then you should book a cruise!
If you’ve stumbled on this post, then you’ve already considered this idea or maybe you’ve even got one booked.
The question is - what do you pack for a cruise?
Now, that all depends on where you're cruising to, how long you’re going for, and what type of activities you plan to get up to!
Through our own experience, we’ve come up with the ultimate cruise packing list so you don’t have to!
Another great thing about going on a cruise is that they aren’t as strict with weight limits on your luggage, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
Without further ado, let’s get started…
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Before you start putting together a travel packing list, you’ll need to choose the perfect bag.
As your luggage will be confined to your cabin for the majority of your trip, this is a rather easy decision as you won’t be carrying it around for extended periods of time.
The bag you choose will differ depending on your travel style and preference, but for a cruise, I’d recommend taking roll-on luggage…
Roll-on luggage is a popular choice for cruise-goers as they’re easy to roll around the ship, and you can easily store them in your cabin.
Depending on your start location, you may need to fly to embark on your cruise. This is where roll-on luggage is extremely handy, as they’re so much easier to get through the airport.
You won’t be short of choices when it comes to carry-on luggage options, but one of the best companies for me has to be Horizn Studios!
Although their products are quite expensive because they’re a luxury brand, each luggage option comes with a variety of awesome features including in-built portable chargers.
There’s an in-depth review of Horizn Studios on our website, which outlines their different options if you’d like to learn more about this awesome company!
Although you won’t be carrying around your main bag during your cruise, you will want a good day bag as you’re likely to be disembarking the ship multiple times throughout your trip.
Many cruises will include several excursions where you can explore cities or head out on a tour, once you’re off the ship.
For this reason, you’re going to want a sturdy day bag that can fit everything that you need!
With so many choices, finding the perfect day bag isn’t easy but we’re here to help!
I love my Osprey day pack (which I’ll link to below), as it’s lasted for years and can carry all my valuables including our laptops and cameras.
Cazzy’s got a great day pack too which you can read about in our Tropicfeel Shell Backpack review. Not only is it stylish, but the bag can expand and contract to your needs!
There are a couple of things to consider when choosing the perfect day bag:
Our recommendations for cruises:
Now that you’ve decided on your luggage and day pack you’ll need to think about what you’re going to pack for your cruise.
I’m going to start with the essentials first, clothing, first aid, and toiletries, and then I’ll go through some of the other cool items you can take.
To make this cruise checklist easier to digest, I’ve split it up into four sections:
Putting together a packing list for a cruise isn’t easy as there’s so much to think about!
Now, the amount you pack will differ depending on how long your cruise is, but the items listed below are for a typical 1-week trip…
Depending on the time of year, it’s likely that you’ll be swapping out the shorts and t-shirts for thick jumpers, and thermal trousers.
To give you a rough idea of what to pack, I’ve come up with a winter packing list here…
Aside from a couple of clothing differences, this cruise packing checklist includes a lot of the same things.
Here’s a typical 7 day cruise packing list if you’re planning to cruise around hot countries…
For the below list, we’ve included some extras that you’ll want to pack along with some must-have items if you’re traveling somewhere even colder like the Antarctic.
Now, this is one thing we’d recommend avoiding if you’re looking to save money on a cruise.
Unfortunately, laundry services tend to be very expensive on cruises as many of them offer dry cleaning too.
To avoid this, I’d recommend packing more than you usually would. Remember, cruise lines don’t often have restrictions on luggage weight so unless you’re flying to your departure cruise port, you don’t need to worry about what you pack.
You can also pack a laundry soap bar to wash the necessities like your underwear and swimwear too.
However, the main thing to note here is that some cruise companies actually offer free laundry! You’ll just have to check in advance if this is something your cruise offers, but if it does then fantastic.
If your cruise doesn’t and you want to wash a few items, then just weigh up the prices first otherwise you’ll be in for a shock.
This may not be as important as standard vacations because your cruise is likely to have an extensive first aid kit.
However, we always carry one with us as it’s super handy for if you pick up some scrapes and bruises along the way!
Here are some of the things that you’ll want to include in your personal first aid kit…
If you don’t yet own a travel first aid kit, then here’s a good option to buy.
It contains the majority of what you need and you can then just add in any other items you want to take with you.
Plus, it’s small enough to tuck away in your backpack and not take up much space.
There are a couple of toiletries that you’ll want to include on your packing list for a cruise:
Top Tip: Don’t worry if you forget any of these toiletries!
Some cruise ships will often supply little bits like this anyway, and you might find that you’ve already got soap, shower gel, and shampoo in your bathroom.
Even if you don’t forget things, cruises tend to have at least one or two on-board shops where you can buy these items.
In fact, when you’re at sea you can shop duty-free so you can get some great deals. This is especially the case if you’re looking to buy perfumes or aftershaves.
So, just keep that in mind!
Unless you can plan ahead (which I wholeheartedly recommend), you may have to withdraw cash from an ATM at some point during your trip.
Whether that be whilst at port or onboard the ship (god help you), you’ll have no problems accessing an ATM. However, you won’t be happy with the bank withdrawal fees!
This differs for every country so it’s impossible to comment on every destination, but I can tell you that ATM fees on cruise ships are often extortionate. In fact, you can be charged $6 just to withdraw your own money!
Not only that, but lots of ATMs charge currency conversion fees. Make sure you’re aware of these by checking the screen before you proceed.
Don’t worry I’ve got a cheeky solution for this, that I’ll mention in a minute!
During your cruise, I’d also recommend taking more than one card with you. This means you’re covered if one gets lost or stolen.
We tend to take four with us, two in my wallet, one in my big rucksack, and one in Cazzy’s rucksack or day bag.
We’ve tried plenty of travel cards over the years, but our favorites are Monzo and Revolut!
They’re UK-based cards, so just check if they’re available in your country of origin first.
Both Monzo and Revolut allow you to withdraw money like any other debit card and pay for things in normal transactions. However, there are a few highlights to having a travel card like this!
For starters, these cards can be used in any county and won’t charge you currency conversion fees. Yes, you heard that correctly.
Each of them also allows a certain amount of no-fee ATM withdrawals each month so you can save money that way too. Even better, both Monzo and Revolut are free to open!
All you need to do is download the app and enter your details, and then you’ll be sent a card. After the card is activated, you can reap the rewards and save some cash.
Just make sure you select the ‘pay in local currency’ option as you’ll get the best exchange rate.
If you want to learn more about these travel cards, then we’ve written a comparison article ‘Monzo Vs Revolut’ on our website.
When putting together a cruise essentials list, there are some important documents that you’ll need to have. Otherwise, your trip isn’t going to be smooth sailing!
Here are the documents that you’ll need to pack:
To give you a quick idea, here’s a list of the photography and tech gear that we’ve taken with us whilst on a cruise!
For those wanting to take epic photographs then I’d recommend investing in a DSLR camera.
Not only will it allow you to up your photography game, and capture memorable moments, but it opens up so many awesome opportunities.
There are lots of options on the market which can feel pretty overwhelming at first. However the best (and most popular) makes tend to be Canon, Nikon, and Sony.
We use the Sony A7iii and couldn’t recommend it enough!
If you’ve invested in a DSLR camera then you’ll want to grab a wide-angle lens next!
We bought one to take with us to Bali and we’re so glad we did. It’s allowed us to capture landscapes like never before, whether that be towering mountains or striking coastal cliffs.
Having a wide-angle lens has opened up a whole new world, but there are endless options out there - so how do you possibly decide which one to go for?
Well, it will all depend on the make of your camera!
To make things simpler, Amazon has a handy tool that allows you to check whether a specific lens will fit your camera model.
Over the years, we’ve developed a love for YouTube and that means documenting our travels along the way. You can check out the videos from our current round-the-world trip on our channel!
There are a variety of blogging cameras to choose from, but we recommend the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II for capturing video footage.
The sound recording on this camera is fantastic, and you’re also guaranteed great-quality photography and video footage.
Don’t get me wrong DSLR cameras are incredible and we always try to keep ours on us. However, they’re bulky, and sometimes we’d just prefer to use something lighter.
If you’re cruising through the Caribbean or Mediterranean then there’s a good chance one of your port days will offer the chance to go swimming or snorkeling.
For this reason, I’d recommend bringing along an underwater/action camera along to capture your adventures.
The most popular brand is the GoPro due to its incredible durability, 4K footage, image stabilization, and incredible fisheye lens. Naturally, the best models are the newer ones!
Although popular, there’s no denying that GoPro’s aren’t cheap. However, there are plenty of GoPro alternatives out there if you’re looking to spend less money.
Just be aware that many of them won’t offer the same quality or specifications!
For those who are keen photographers, why not take a drone with you to capture some of the epic landscapes you wouldn’t otherwise see?
In my opinion, the best option on the market is the DJI Mini 2.
It weighs less than 250g which means it’s lighter than most drone restrictions, however, you’ll have to check the rules in each port.
Although there are plenty of travel drones on the market, the DJI Mini 2 is fantastic value for money as it charges quickly, and offers amazing-quality images and footage.
If you don’t mind spending a bit more cash you can go for the DJI Mini 3 too.
However, you’ll want to double-check your cruise’s rules on drones! Some of them are banned onboard completely and have to be stored away until you’re out on a shore excursion.
For more information, check out this guide to drone rules on cruises!
The great thing about cruising is that the majority of ships all offer a type of safe. These are found in the cabins, which means you don’t have to worry about leaving your tech gear out in the open.
For this reason, you can always take your laptop with you. That’s usually the case for digital nomads who work on the ago, but you can always take it for other reasons too.
That could be to edit photos if you’re a keen photographer or to watch your offline downloads with Netflix.
Here are some other tech things that you might want to take:
Many people tend to forget about health and safety when planning a trip, but it’s one of the most important things to think about.
Here are a couple of things you should pack…
If you’ve got the room, then here are some other items that may come in handy:
Now that we’ve come up with the ultimate cruise packing list I’m going to note some of the things that you don’t need to pack…
Here’s more information on what not to pack for a cruise…
Here are some final travel tips to help you put together the ultimate cruise packing list…
The first thing to consider is the type of dress code that your cruise requires. Whilst many are relatively casual, some require ‘smart dress’ for dining and evening entertainment.
If that’s the case, then you’ll need to pack a suit or dress and some smart shoes at the very least. Before your trip, just make sure you check the ‘dress code’ of your cruise company to ensure you’ve packed suitably.
For those traveling to hot destinations, I’d recommend going for light-colored clothing as this will reflect the heat. You’ll stay much cooler this way, than if you were to go for black or dark colors as they absorb the heat.
However, it’s not just the color that matters! Going for lightweight materials such as cotton will also help to keep you cool.
Before you start putting together your cruise packing list, you’ll want to print off your itinerary and look at the available activities (or tours that you can organize yourself once at port).
Cruises themselves offer a variety of onboard activities, but you’ll also find that you can often go snorkeling, hiking, or kayaking throughout the trip. As such, you’ll need to pack accordingly.
One of the main things to remember when packing for a cruise is to have comfortable walking shoes with you. Now, that could be boots, trainers, or another type of shoe, and will all depend on the type of cruise you’re doing.
If you’re on an adventurous cruise through the Arctic then hiking boots/shoes will be needed, whereas if you’re in the Mediterranean you can get away with a comfy pair of sandals or trainers. Having suitable footwear is one of our top cruise packing tips!
I can’t stress this enough, make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen when heading out on a cruise. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter what the temperature or weather is going to be - it’s very easy to get sunburnt at sea due to the wind and spending a lot of time in the ship’s pool!
For this reason, slather yourself in SPF 50 and wear lightweight clothing that allows you to cover up.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, putting together a packing checklist for a cruise isn’t easy.
There are so many things that factor into what you need to pack, whether that be the location, time of year, ‘class’ of cruiseliner or the activities you’ll be getting up to.
Hopefully, this guide has given you a good idea of the essentials you’ll need for a cruise. You might even have some ideas of things to pack that you probably wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.
If you’ve found this cruise packing list helpful, then we’ve got plenty of other travel packing lists on our website.
For help planning the rest of your adventure, here are some other guides that you might find useful: