Your Guide To Packing For A Cruise Vacation
One of the keys to a successful trip is to make sure you have everything you need, when you need it. As avid cruisers, one of the questions we get the most is “what should I pack for my cruise?”. So, we have made a guide to packing for a cruise vacation to answer that question.
We are assuming this is a 7-day cruise with 2 formal nights (which can be skipped if you do not wish to dress up) 3 days at-sea, and 3 ports-of-call. Modify this list as you see fit.
Here is your ultimate guide to packing for a cruise vacation!
Need a place to stay the night before or after your cruise?
One of the most important things on your cruise will be your clothing. You’ll want to have several items that are great to pair with others to save room on your packing, as well as comfort, comfort, comfort. For instance, maybe you have a white blouse that can be worn with shorts by day and with a skirt for dinnertime.
- 3 outfits for ports-of-call
- 3 outfits for at-sea day
- 5 casual or dressy outfits for dinner (think mix or match)
- sundresses, pants, khakis, button-up shirts
- 2 swimsuits
- bathing suit cover-up
- undergarments (bra/panties/underwear)
- 2 formal outfits
- Unless you choose to opt out of
- 2 sets of exercise clothing
- 2 sets of pajamas
- sweatshirt or a lightweight jacket
- Even if you do not plan on needing a pair of tennis shoes, pack them just in case. Some ports and excursions involve a lot of walking or walking across uneven pavement or rocks.
- Just in case it’s chilly one day
- outfit for traveling home
Tip: Before going on your cruise, find out your cruise line’s dress code. Every night will have a different dress code and it is best to know ahead of time what is acceptable for each (casual, smart casual, formal). This will help you decide what clothes to bring!
Tip: Stick with basic or neutral colors so you can mix and match bottoms and tops. Try wearing a top for dinner and then wearing it the next day with shorts for sightseeing. Consider using a scarf or other accessory to change the look of an outfit.
Tip: Try to only bring what you know you will need. You may need room in your suitcase to hold souvenirs on the way home.
Personal items take up a great deal of space, but you’ve got to have them. Keep in mind that the cruise lines furnish soap, shampoo, conditioner, and a hair dryer. Unless you just like having the brands you are familiar with, you can save space by leaving those items at home.
- make up
- shampoo and conditioner
- body wash or soap
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- dental floss
- hair brush/comb
- curling iron or straightener
- hair spray/gel
- hair accessories
- bobby pins, ponytail holders
- hand soap
- I hate the bar soap used to wash your hands in the staterooms, so I pack my own liquid soap
- sewing kit
- shaving cream/razor
- lint brush
- medicine Kit
- pain reliever, nausea and diarrhea remedies, Band-Aids, antacids, cold medicine
Tip: Although most of these can be purchased onboard in the event that you forget them, they are expensive.
In Your Carry On Or Purse
When we travel, we pack our clothes and toiletries in a suitcase (which gets delivered to our stateroom), and a swimsuit (for boarding the boat prior to the luggage being delivered), plus the items listed below, in a separate Vera Bradley carry-on.
- cruise documents
- flight documents
- hotel documents
- money (cash and credit cards)
- health insurance cards
- jewelry (and other valuables)
- hand sanitizer
- phone and charger
- sunglasses, contacts, or reading glasses
- pens and a pad of paper
- gum or mints
- a change of clothes
- You never know when your luggage may get lost
Since all of our electronics require charging, we like to travel with a power strip to ensure that we have plenty of places to plug in.
- music player, headphones, and charger
- converters and adapters
- walkie talkies
- This is a way for families to keep track of where everyone is on the boat since cell phones do not work at sea
- laptop and charger
- camera, batteries/charger, extra memory card
- video camera and charger
This is where the fun stuff comes in. While the cruise will keep you incredibly busy, or totally relaxing, it’s always nice to have some things to pass the time or to keep track of your journey.
- sun visor or hat
- water toys
- these are a great idea if you have children!
- books, magazines, E-Reader
- underwater camera
- guidebook or journal
- carrying bag or tote
- this will be helpful for carrying items around the ship as well as on excursions
- water shoes
Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout. We can’t help but to be prepared for whatever may come our way.
- plastic bags
- these come in handy when transporting wet clothes at the end of your vacation.
- although there is plenty of food on the boat, buying snacks can get expensive and food is usually not available all hours of the day.
- Some cruise lines allow you to bring drinks on board, which can help save you tons of money.
Well, there you have it, our guide to packing for a cruise vacation. I hope no matter where your travels take you, that you have a blast!
If you have anything to add to our guide to packing for a cruise vacation, please let us know.
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Check out some of our other cruise posts:
Iberian Interlude with Princess Cruises