One of the biggest questions we get asked about taking a cruise is “what should we pack for a cruise vacation?” We know packing for a cruise is unlike any other vacation. You also want to make sure you do not forget anything, because you are surrounded by water with little shopping opportunities. These two challenges can cause stress and uncertainty when preparing for a cruise.
We want to help make your life a little bit easier. We are going to share our cruise packing tips. In addition, we created a free pdf packing list, that you can print at home. So, let’s get started…
Packing for a Cruise | Attire
Packing for clothes (on a cruise) is a little different than a typical vacation. For a cruise, you will want to pack (2) outfits per day. This is in addition to swim suits/cover’s up for any Shore Excursions or pool time. So, why do you pack two outfits? During the day, you are more casual for fun on the ship or in port. In the evening hours, you are more dressy with dinner and shows. Some restaurant even have specific dress codes. We will often wear “church type” attire for the evening hours.
You can condense this double outfit process, by using the same blouse/shirt with shorts during the day. You can then wear the same top with a skirt or pants for the evening hours. For the kids, I usually have Kelly wear a collar type shirt during the day with shorts. In the evening, he can wear that same shirt with khaki pants. That way we can condense our suitcase to one or two bags.
You will want to double check your cruise to see if you have any themed nights. There may be a Pirate Night, White Night, or Formal Night during your cruise. Be sure you double check the theme nights, so you are prepared with the proper attire.
Closed Toed Shoes
If you are going on a Bahamas Cruise, you will want sandals/flip flops. However, you always want to pack at least one closed toed shoes. You may need it for an excursion, rock climbing, zip line, etc. Some of these activities require covered shoes for your protection.
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We always pack a few Ziploc bags. These are perfect for shampoo and conditioner. They are also great for wet swim suits.
You will want to pack a light jacket or sweater for evening hours (it can get cold in the air conditioning) or on the upper decks outside. Even in the summer months, it gets cool!
This is a MUST BRING! There are only a few iron/ironing boards on the ships. To help get those wrinkles out of your clothes, you can use the Downy Wrinkle Releaser. It is amazing!
Packing for a Cruise | Extras
There are a few extras you need to pack for your cruise, including:
- Bug Spray
- Big Tervis or Yeti Cup
- Shoe Rack
- Electronic, Chargers, and Batteries
- Charging Strip
- Waterproof Camera
We talk a lot more about these items in the packing video.
Download the Full Cruise Packing Checklist
We created a complete cruise packing list for your cruise on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and more. Get instant access to this free printable.
Packing for a Cruise | Day Bag
A day bag is for the 1st day and last day of your cruise. This bag contains swim suits, medicines, and important items you will need on your first day on board the ship and when you are exiting the ship and heading home.
Here are a few things you want to bring in your day bag:
- Copy of your Passport
- Drivers License
- Cash for Porters
Packing for a Cruise | Bonus
One of my biggest tips for packing…leave extra space in your suitcase for souvenirs. You will end up with tons of souvenirs and goodies from the Kid’s Club that you will need to carry home. We always leave half of our suitcase empty. This section is just to bring home some goodies. That way we have plenty of space for the trip home.
Here is a video with Hunter and Allison on what to pack for a cruise.
Here are some other cruise posts you may enjoy: