Packing for a Cruise: 30 Things You May Not Think to Take – Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned cruiser, you need to read this list before taking your next cruise vacation!
This post may include affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.
On Sunday we leave on our family vacation and we’re taking another cruise! As far as cruise lines go, we’ve been on Carnival, Disney and this time we’re booked on Royal Caribbean. We’ll be cruising on one of the largest ships in the world – the Oasis of the Seas.
There’s no doubt we will be blown away by all this megaship has to offer. With 25 dining options, a zip line, ice skating rink, rock climbing walls, surf simulators, numerous pools, nightly shows and seven distinct neighborhoods, like Central Park, (where the center of the ship opens up to the sky and features lush tropical plants and trees spanning more than the length of a football field) there will never be a lack of things to do.
So, with all of that awaiting us. . .we’re super excited as you can imagine. If you’re here visiting today, I’m guessing you, too, may have a cruise planned or you’re thinking about taking one. There are always those “standard items” that most people know to pack. Clothes, toiletries, swimsuit, first aid kit, etc.
But what about some of those “unique” items that only experienced cruisers may know to pack? That’s what we’re here to talk about today. So, let’s get started packing for a cruise!
- Mesh laundry bags – useful for putting damp items in to dry or gathering up dirty clothes.
- Pop-up hamper – great for storing dirty clothes and keeping things organized in the cabin.
- 180 degree view snorkel mask– perfect for novice snorkelers and those who don’t want to rent or use someone else’s snorkel gear. These snorkel masks allow you to breathe freely while the mask is in the water without a separate snorkel. Great for kids!
- Over-the-door shoe organizer – helps keep you organized in your cabin and perfect for storing toiletries, hair dryers, water toys, etc. since counter top space is limited.
- Travel clothesline – when the retractable clothesline in the bathroom isn’t enough, a travel clothesline can often be rigged in the cabin to help dry things overnight. On our last cruise I was able to string a line between the balcony door and an anchor point next to the bathroom.
- Card from a deck of playing cards – place into the slot by the door for lights in the cabin. Although you are expected to use your “cruise” card/ID, by bringing your own card, it ensures you don’t forget your cruise card in your room.
- Magnetic hooks – Did you know cruise cabin walls are made of metal? They are! Use magnetic hooks for hanging jackets, towels, swimsuits, hats and whatever else you can think of!
- Waterproof smartphone case – awesome for taking to the pool, on boats and even snorkeling – anywhere your phone is at risk of getting wet!
- Beach bag with built-in cooler – What’s better than a big mesh beach bag? One with a built-in cooler right in the bottom. Keeps drinks and small picnic/snack items cold while you’re at the beach!
- Lanyards – Our entire family uses lanyards to keep our cruise cards safe and easily accessible while on the ship. Eventually when all cruise lines transition to RFID bands, we may not need these anymore. But until then. . .
- Motion sickness meds – I’m a firm believer in motion sickness prevention. I’m not sure if any of my family members would get queasy on a cruise, but I’m not willing to find out. We all take meds each day. Bonine is my pick for adults and we use Dramamine for Kids for the littles.
- Power banks – No matter where I go, I always take several power banks along to charge our phones and devices when we’re on the go.
- Power strips – Electrical outlets in cruise cabins are limited. Bring one or two power strips with USB ports to make charging your electronics a breeze.
- Antibacterial wipes – Need I say more? Use these to wipe down the TV remote and surface areas in your cabin, dining tables and your hands while out and about. I even “disinfect” our phones and iPads each night before bed.
- Gallon ziplock bags – I use gallon bags for packing kids clothes, carrying snacks, keeping bottles with liquids contained and also transporting damp or stinky clothes back home.
- Detergent packs – Stains and dirt are inevitable. Get more wear out of less clothes by hand washing shirts, swimsuits and shorts out in your sink or bathtub and allowing them to dry overnight.
- Beach chair towel clips – It can get windy at sea. Towel clips keep your towels in place on your chaise lounge. There’s nothing worse than having to adjust your towel every few minutes.
- Luggage tags – With the exception of Disney, many cruise lines have you print out your luggage tags on your own. To protect the tags from the elements and avoid the hassle of stapling or worrying that the paper tags are going to fall off, these plastic tags can be a lifesaver and they’re made for most popular cruise lines.
- Rash guard – The sun can be brutal, and days out at the pool can prove to be painful if you’re not well-protected from the sun. Apply sunscreen throughout the day and wear a rash guard for even more protection, especially when you’re exploring ports of call.
- Sun hat – So often, people forget to apply sunscreen to the top of their head and end up burning the part in their hair. A hat can protect the top of your head but can also protect your ears and shade your eyes and face from direct sunlight.
- Waterproof bag – Store your valuables in a waterproof bag inside of your purse or beach bag. If you’re spending a day at the beach or pool, it’s just a smart idea.
- Duct tape – What will you need this for? Repairing flip flops, keeping curtains closed, fixing luggage. It can come in handy more often than not. I mean, what CAN’T you do with duct tape?
- Post-It Notes – Great for leaving notes for family back in the cabin or even using as bookmarks out at the pool. Yes, some people still read real, paper books. 😉
- Mosquito bracelets – Instead of lugging along spray while visiting ports, try one or two mosquito bracelets. If you’re going to be doing a lot of swimming the bracelets might not be the best choice, but if you’re just touring on land, these bracelets could last for the entire cruise.
- Highlighter – Great to have when looking at the cruise ship’s daily newsletter (many ships still don’t have apps for this). Highlight the activities and programs you’re interested in checking out each day.
- Clothespins – Clothespins are great for helping hang wet items up in the shower or helping to pinch the curtains closed those mornings you feel like sleeping in.
- Wax warmer night light – These genius inventions function as both a night light AND an air freshener for the cabin. One of my favorite wax scents is Fire Amber and I get them for $2 a pack at my local Walmart. Another good scent would be vanilla. Keep things pretty neutral and simple.
- Bathroom spray – not sure if I need to do a lot of explaining here. You’re going to be eating lots of food and living in a small cabin with one toilet and probably multiple people. Enough said.
- Insulated water bottle – great for having with you at the pool or in port. The insulated water bottle I have can keep ice frozen in my water for up to 12 hours!
- Downy Wrinkle Releaser – because who wants to iron anything on their cruise? If you have a clothing item with a few too many wrinkles for your liking, bring along some spray to help get those wrinkles out!
Whew! So, what do you think? How many of these things have you packed for a cruise? Which ones had you never thought of? I can’t wait to hear what still might be missing from this list! If you have something to share, I would love for you to comment! I’m sure we all will find it helpful!
Ready to Ditch the Clutter?
If you feel like you're DROWNING in "STUFF" and are ready to break through the clutter, there's no better time to start than right now!