On most vacations, if you forget a toiletry or run out of socks, you can stop by a store a pick up what you need with minimal problems. On a cruise, however, opportunities to purchase forgotten items are very limited and your only options may be highly overpriced souvenir stores. A thorough packing list can help you avoid forgetting items and prevent overpacking. After all, it is important to avoid packing too much since cruise ship cabins are have only limited closet and drawer space.
Cruise Packing Checklist
Click the top image to access a printable packing list, or use the information below as a guideline for organizing the items you need to take along when you go to sea. If you need help downloading the list, check out these helpful tips.
- Cruise tickets
- Driver's license or other photo ID
- Marriage license for a honeymoon cruise since document names may not match
- Other travel documentation, such as airline tickets, rental car confirmation numbers, and hotel reservation details if needed
- Vaccination certificates if needed for certain cruise destinations
- Medical insurance cards
- Emergency contact information
- Addresses of friends and family to send postcards
- Shampoo and conditioner (use travel sizes to save space)
- Body wash
- Deodorant or antiperspirant
- Hairbrushes, combs, dryers, and other styling tools
- Instant hand sanitizer
- Bug spray if desired (particularly for tropical destinations)
- Vitamins and any prescription medication
- Medicine kit with small bandages, aspirin, and other minor medications
- Razors (for men and women)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash
- Casual shirts for daily wear (take one or two extra in case a change is needed)
- Shorts or jeans for daily wear
- Suitable attire for the cruise ship formal night, such as a dress, suit and tie, and appropriate shoes
- Watches and jewelry
- Belts if needed
- Exercise clothes to enjoy the ship's fitness center
- Multiple swimsuits so one is always dry
- Shoes for all occasions, including sneakers, formal shoes, footwear for dinner, and swim shoes or flip flops
- Sweater or windbreaker for cooler evenings
- Undergarments (bras, underwear, socks, etc.)
- Sunhats or caps if desired
- Cell phone and charger if desired
- Camera with film or extra memory card
- Personal music device if desired
- Extra batteries
- Portable alarm clock
- Waterproof camera cover if desired
- White noise machine such as a sound machine or small fan if desired for sleeping
- Tote bag for cruise shore excursions
- Small umbrella
- Highlighter to note interesting activities in the cruise newsletter
- Reading materials
- Children's toys if necessary
- Refillable water bottle
- Foreign language book or destination guidebook
- Cash, particularly small bills for tips and souvenirs on shore
Feel free to print this list as a handy checklist for all your cruise packing needs.
Cruise Luggage Packing Tips
Any cruise list will need to be customized for your particular vacation needs. To pack your luggage most efficiently, consider the following tips:
- Customize your free packing list for cruise ship travel to suit your destination. A sweater or windbreaker may not be necessary for a summer western Caribbean cruise, for example, but it may be essential for an Alaskan cruise.
- To lighten your luggage, choose clothing and accessories that can be interchangeable and worn with different outfits.
- Check the cruise line's dress guidelines, particularly for the dining rooms, to ensure you pack appropriate attire.
- Plan to pack for your shore tours as well as the destination. If you plan to go horseback riding on the beach, for example, long pants will be welcome.
- Always pack essential or expensive items such as passports, cruise paperwork, medication, and jewelry in carry-on luggage. Include a swimsuit or casual change of clothes for changing once you board the ship.
- Leave room in your luggage for souvenirs!
Helpful Planning Tool
A proper packing list can make planning for your cruise easier and more efficient. By knowing what you need to take and using a checklist to ensure you don't forget anything, you won't set sail without the essentials.