When you have to decide what to pack for a cruise you have to be well planned and organized. You have to look at packing 3 separate wardrobes to be able to dress appropriately for your flight and arrival/departure at port, your stay onboard the ship, as well as for destinations where you get to roam around cities at the ports of call. This can seem quite tricky, but here are some travel tips on what to pack to make your cruise a pleasure. Use the clickable links to see some of our favorites!

what to pack for a cruise

What to Pack for a Cruise

Clothing and Accessories

Smart-casual shirts and T-shirts
• Skirts / long pants / jeans / shorts
• Dresses / suits
• Underwear / undershirts
• Stockings / socks
• Comfortable shoes
Athletic / hiking shoes
• Flip-flops / sandals
• Formal shoes
• Sweatshirts / sweaters / jerseys
• Jackets / coats / rainwear
• Poncho / umbrella
• Formal clothing
• Sleepwear
Swim suits
• Belts and hats
• Sunglasses
• Shawl / scarves
• Ties / gloves
• Jewelry (fashion, not valuable items)
• Purse
• Waterproof bag / beach bag
Laundry bag


Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
Hair products, shampoo and conditioner
• Nail clippers / nail file
• Sunscreen (our favorite is Neutrogena Dry Touch)
Soap / face wash
• Tweezers
Moisturizer / skin care products
• Deodorant / perfume / cologne
• Shaving kit (check out this one)
• First aid kit / medication / sea sickness pills
• Contact lens solution / contact lenses
• Insect repellant
• Comb / brush / hairstyling tools
• Feminine hygiene products
• Makeup and remover
Toiletry bag

Other Items

• Smartphone
• Microfiber towel
• Waterproof case for phone
Small flashlight with extra batteries
• Snorkeling gear / binoculars (optional)

Carry-on Items

• Book / magazine / e-book reader
• Cash (small bills for tipping)
Headphones / earbuds / earplugs and mask
Empty water bottle (fill after passing security)
Suitcase locks
• Important medication (chronic meds / headache pills, etc.)
Travel pillow / blanket
• Emergency contacts list
• ID / passport / tickets / credit cards
• Pen and paper
• Guidebook
• Keys (house / car etc.)

If you have a laundry service available on board the ship, you can pack less clothing as it can be washed and be re-worn. Some ships also do not have any formal events, so that can reduce the amount of clothing and shoes you need for the cruise. Make sure to check this before you pack. You can use packing cubes to help you make the best use of your luggage space and stay organized. You will also need to check what sort of climate the port stops have so that you can be dressed appropriately for the places you will visit along the way. You might also be given some specific instructions for certain excursions as well so that you can ensure you have the items available before you leave on the cruise. Remember to always be packed for inclement weather, as it can rain anywhere.


Another tip when deciding what to pack for a cruise is whether you plan on bringing home souvenirs, local crafts or similar items as you will need to have some free space in your luggage to pack these items to take home. Pack according to your needs as far as you can, but you do not need to stress out if you miss out an item or two of clothing or toiletries. Many items can be bought on-board, although you will be paying a lot more than you usually would. Pack well and enjoy your cruise!

If you want suggestions on where to take your family vacation, read our article on the best cruise destinations in the world. A Caribbean cruise perhaps? Click here.

Do you want to wear stylish and fashionable clothes on your next trip? Try Stitch Fix. Click here to get a discount.