What Do You Need to Carry Around on Cruise Excursions

Bring money, sunglasses, and identification on a tour.

Knowing what do you need to carry around on cruise excursions can help you plan a fantastic vacation where you won't miss a minute of the excitement at your different cruise destinations.

About Shore Excursions

Cruise lines offer a wide range of pre-arranged tours at different ports of call. Popular cruise shore excursions include:

  • Snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, and other water sports
  • Cultural and historical sightseeing tours, possibly with cultural performances or food sampling
  • Shopping tours
  • Swimming with dolphins or interacting with other marine life such as stingrays or sea lions
  • Visits to popular attractions such as zoos, botanical gardens, museums, plantations, and wineries
  • Adventure tours with ATVs, jeeps, jet skis, or canopy zip line rides
  • Golfing, regatta sailing, horseback riding, kayaking, and other athletic tours

The key to knowing what you need to bring on a cruise shore excursion is to understand what type of tour you will be taking. Before booking a tour, read the description carefully and note the estimated exertion level, type of transportation, age or weight requirements, and other recommendations. Passengers with questions about the appropriateness of different tours can ask the shore tour expert or consult with the tour booking desk on board. Many ships also offer a port tour overview either during the first afternoon before the cruise departs or individual talks prior to visiting different cruise ports.

So, What Do You Need to Carry Around on Cruise Excursions?

Different shore excursions will have different requirements. Water-based excursions, for example, may recommend that guests bring a beach towel or appropriate footwear, while a more relaxed shopping tour may require nothing more than spending money.

Excursion Essentials

Essential items that all passengers need to bring no matter what shore excursion they take include:

  • Tickets: Tour operators will collect the tickets issued by the cruise line and passengers without a ticket will not be allowed to participate.
  • Cruise Ship ID Card: Every passenger must bring their ID card when leaving the ship as a security precaution. The ID card will also be required when reentering the port area to return to the ship.
  • Photo ID: A driver's license, government issued ID, or passport will be required to pass security in foreign countries and be allowed back into the port area. Different countries may require different forms of identification and passengers should check current requirements before traveling.


While very little is required to enjoy a shore excursion, most passengers take along extra supplies, such as:

  • Camera with memory cards, film, and batteries
  • Sunscreen for longer tours or those spending most of the time in the sun
  • Bug spray for visiting jungle or river areas
  • Beach towels or dry clothes for water-based excursions
  • Cash for shopping, including small bills for tour operators' tips or incidental charges such as renting lockers
  • Port maps that highlight tour meeting areas and recommended shopping locations
  • Sunglasses or a hat for skin and eye protection
  • Bottled water to stay hydrated on hot days or during athletic excursions
  • A foreign language dictionary or phrasebook suitable to the destination
  • The daily cruise newsletter with information on re-embarkation requirements and ship departure times
  • Emergency contact information for family members, the cruise line, and the associated cruise travel agent
  • Essential medications for health conditions or potential problems such as headaches or nausea
  • Small snacks such as candy or a piece of fruit to stay refreshed
  • Weather-appropriate attire such as an umbrella for rainy days or a light jacket for evening excursions

Passengers who opt to take a variety of supplies for their shore excursion should consider a sturdy bag that can also serve as a tote for souvenirs. Canvas bags or backpacks are lightweight and convenient options.

What Not to Bring

Certain items should never be taken along on shore excursions.

  • Large Sums of Cash: While using cash for onshore purchases can be more convenient, passengers who anticipate expensive purchases should use credit cards instead to safeguard their money. Small merchants may also be unable to offer change for large bills.
  • Alcohol: Many port authorities will not permit passengers to bring alcoholic beverages off the cruise ship.
  • Weapons: For security reasons, no firearms, knives, or other weapons or potentially dangerous items may be taken on shore excursions.
  • Poor Attitude: All cruise passengers should remember that while on a shore excursion, they are guests in a foreign country. An attitude of superiority or disdain is unwelcome and can make the shore tour a much less pleasant experience. Especially problematic guests may be removed from the tour without refunds.

What do you need to carry around on cruise excursions? Whatever supplies you need to enjoy the tour with ease and comfort. Some passengers may prefer to carry very little, while others want to be prepared for more remote situations so nothing can potentially mar their tour. Whatever you choose to bring, being prepared will help you explore a new culture in a fun and exciting way.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
What Do You Need to Carry Around on Cruise Excursions